USS Parche Navy Veteran: Discover Bob's Story
Bob, who calls American House Keene home, is 95 years young.
At age 19, Bob joined the Navy during WWII.
He was assigned aboard the USS Parche submarine as a baker, and served on all six of Parche’s war patrols in the South Pacific and China Sea.
“There’s three of us left… out of 192. I used to send newsletters every Christmas to the guys. Now you’re communicating with the sons and daughters,” Bob explained.
Bob assisted in feeding a crew of 85 people three meals a day, and shipmates praised the cinnamon rolls he would send up to the bridge for the lookouts. He baked 15 to 18 pies each night, birthday cakes for the enlisted men, and his recipe for bread started with 50 lbs. of flour.
“My mother used to make a breakfast item and it was fried cornmeal. Well, I thought I would make it for the guys. It made so much smoke, they had to bring the submarine to the surface,” Bob laughed.
During one of the patrols, their skipper was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for a battle where they surfaced in the middle of an enemy convoy at night sinking several ships in 45 minutes of action.
“You’re elbow to elbow down under the water without much room. You can’t fight with people. You’ve got to be part of a crew that works together,” Bob said.
He returned home to Maine safely from the war in 1946, and attended the University of Maine. After the war, Bob became a high school biology teacher.
Bob married his wife, Judy, and they raised two sons, who each became USAF pilots.
Today, Bob and Judy love to visit Maine and eat lobster.
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