Clarence Busch only spent twenty-three of his ninety-nine years in the Navy, but those twenty-three years left an indelible mark on him and those who knew him. Like most men his age, he served in World War II, but unlike many of his generation, he served before the war as well.
He was stationed in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and was witness to the beginning of the great world conflict that was about to unfold. He saw the end of it too, as well as the entire Korean War.
His goal had been to match Bob Hope and George Burns as a centenarian, but he missed it by a year and one month. He was buried yesterday in West Union, South Carolina, the last remaining Pearl Harbor survivor from Oconee County.
He spent less than a quarter of his life in the Navy, but the picture his family used for his obituary was of him in uniform. His service in the Navy was the only thing mentioned besides family and details about the funeral itself.
We sometimes forget the impact that military service has on the lives of those who served, and those who surround them – the families, friends and coworkers. For Chief Busch and his family, it was obviously a pivotal part of his life.
Thank you for your service, shipmate, and may fair winds and following seas accompany you on the great, peaceful journey that awaits you.
[Chief Busch’s story was sent to me by Brad, Navy veteran and survivor of the Forrestal fire.]