Robert E Gause
The United States of America is famous for being involved in a variety of wars. Every soldier that fought for our country is a hero, whether they were in the Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force. Robert E. Gause battled on the USS Missouri (BB-63) in the Korean War for his four years of service in the Navy. The Missouri is most recognized for its work in World War II, but it greatly helped the effort of the Americans in the Korean War.
The USS Missouri has a rich history within the United States of America since its start in June 1940. The Missouri was the last completed US Battleship, although most people assume the Wisconsin was completed last because it is numerically higher. The Missouri fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Gulf War. The nickname of the battleship is “Mighty Mo” or “Big Mo” because of its impact on World War II. At the end of WWII, the Japanese surrendered and signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945 aboard the Missouri (Wikipedia 1,2).
Facts About Missouri
Missouri was first commissioned on June 11, 1944 to help the efforts in World War II. It was the last ship commissioned by the US’s navy (Wikipedia 1). The Missouri was 260.43 m in length, 32.98 m in beams, and its speed was 33 knots (World Book Encyclopedia 126). The battleship was sent to Pearl Harbor in December 1944, then traveled to Japan to add backup to the troops already fighting. The Missouri worked closely with Task Force 58, and then later led the 3rd Fleet. They were responsible for shooting down five enemy planes, helped destroy six others, and scored one kill (Wikipedia 3,4).
Robert E. Gause
Robert Eugene Gause was born on June 29, 1931. He met his future wife, Pearl Joann Prochnow, on August 7, 1949. Shortly after, Robert was deployed to the Battleship Missouri. He left during May of 1950 to start his call of duty for the Navy. During his tour of duty, he came home for a brief period and wed Joann on May 16, 1952. The day after his wedding, Robert returned to the battleship. He stayed aboard the Missouri until March 1954 (P. Joann Gause).
Robert's Time In The Korean War
Robert’s four years on the Missouri were spent fighting in the Korean War. It was the first American battleship to support the United Nations on the Korean Peninsula after departing from Norfolk (Wikipedia 7). The Missouri was the source of many bombardments in the war before returning back to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard to prepare for its second tour. The Missouri was used as “Cobra Patrol” alone the shore to protect the other troops. Later, the battleship was relieved from its duties by the New Jersey. It returned to Norfolk before being decommissioned (USS Missouri BB-63 US Navy 1).
Working on the ship was not an easy task. Robert manned a five-inch (barrel size) gun during his time on the battleship. This was his most important job on the ship, because it took great concentration and strength (P. Joann Gause). Robert wrote to his wife, “Darling I am just about too tired to write this letter. I have been working about 12 to 16 hours a day for the past 3 weeks now. Baby I am really tired too.” (Robert E. Gause) Robert also drove the transport ships, called PT Boats, which carried people from the ship back to the shore (P. Joann Gause).
Life In Marion
Robert’s wife Joann stayed in Marion, Indiana while he worked for the Navy. She lived with her mother on Meridian Street because the Navy did not pay well enough for her to live on her own (P. Joann Gause). In a letter Robert wrote to his wife he said, “I am sending you $20.00, that is all I have for now.” (Robert E. Gause) Due to the lack of adequate funds, Joann had to get a job at Birds Eye Packing Plant. She weighed boxes to accurately check the amount of lima beans inside them to assure every employee was doing their job (P. Joann Gause).
Time With Family
Robert did not have many leaves while he was in the Navy. He rarely came home so Joann had to travel to Virginia to see him while he was in port. She would live in Virginia for two to three months just to spend time with her husband. Joann said she missed her husband while he was away and went on to add that, “He was the love of my life for forty seven and one-half years.” (P. Joann Gause)
Many people were injured during the Korean War, but Robert was not one of these people. The only injury he received during his four years was rope burns. One day some men were painting the side of the ship when their scaffolds suddenly let loose and they started to fall. Robert grabbed the ropes that tied the men together and held on with all of his power. It took a few minutes before any help arrived to get the person back on board so the ropes severely burned Robert’s hands (P. Joann Gause).
After working in the Korean War, Robert was sent to Norway for three months. The men on the Missouri also traveled to Cuba to pull targets for other ships while they were practicing their shooting. Robert did many things for our country’s navy and was rewarded with different ribbons and medals. These medals can be found in his wife’s house to this day in Marion, Indiana where she lives. Although Robert only served for four years, he debated signing up for another term. He always kept a positive attitude about his duties and was humbled from his experiences (P. Joann Gause).
Robert died from lung cancer on January 9, 2000. His memories from his time fighting for our country stay in the minds and hearts of his family and friends (P. Joann Gause). Robert Eugene Gause was a true hometown hero to the people in Marion, Indiana. Every member of the USS Missouri is a hero for his or her efforts in saving our country. To this day, the Missouri is a memorial in Pearl Harbor (Wikipedia 1). --Sam.Fitzjarrald 09:46, 31 May 2007 (PDT)
"Battleship." World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. B ed. 1978. Pgs 126-127.
Gause, Pearl J. Personal interview. 11 May 2007.
Gause, Robert E. Letter to Pearl Joann Gause. 04 Feb. 1953. Joann. 1114 Wildwood Ct., Marion.
"USS Missouri (BB-63)." US Navy. 24 Apr. 2000. Naval Historical Center. Pgs. 1-2. 06 May 2007 <http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/ships/battleships/missouri/bb63-mo.html>.
"USS Missouri (BB-63)." Wikipedia. 15 May 2007. Pgs. 1-9. 19 May 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Missouri_(BB-63)>.