The road also brought me family members of other STRONG men. Building the web site in 2012 was absolutely the best move I have made on this road, and in this journey. So many people have found me while researching their father, grandfather, uncle or whatever these men were to them. I'm constantly amazed at this. The sharing of information warms me to no end. Every family has a story or two, and the fact that they share them with me nearly leaves me speechless. That's not easy, just ask my family.
I got another hit from a new family member this week past, the daughter of Roy Edwin Smith, CMC (chief machinists mate). Roy survived, having been picked up by the Chevalier. At the time he was listed as “unwounded”, but as every man who made it can tell you there were issues below the skin that were as devastating as those seen in broken limbs and wounds that produce visible scars. Roy's daughter Carol tells me a bit about his life after STRONG, and her family's efforts to learn about him:
“I am the daughter of CMC (Retired) Roy E. Smith, who served on the USS Strong 467 from 5-29-1942 thru 7-1943. He was on the ship when it was scuttled in the Solomon Islands, after being torpedoed by the Japanese. My Father was retired on a medical disability within one year after returning from the incident in the Solomon Islands. He died in 1966. I didn't get to grow up with my Dad due to the death of my Mother when I was very young. My Father sent us to live with his brother and although I saw my Dad from time to time, I really knew very little about him. Thanks to the Dept. of Military Personnel Records, I was able to obtain my Dad's personnel records and thus began a journey of really getting to know my Dad and his 20 year career in the Navy. My Father never spoke a great deal about the sinking of the USS Strong. I was delighted to be able to learn more about this moment in his life through his records. It was a truly significant event in my Father's life that I can now share with my children and grandchildren, none of whom ever met him.
I would like to add my Father's name to the USS Strong DD467 Family tribute. I am grateful that you have set up this site for folks like me to turn to in order to learn more about the USS Strong 467 and her gallant crew. My daughter is an avid scuba diver and I know we will watch with great interest to see if the USS Strong can be located.
Thank you again for the opportunity to share my feelings about this great ship and be able to expand my knowledge about it. I am adding your website information to a scrap book that I have put together for my family about the USS Strong and my father's time on board.
Roy was a plank owner, on the ship before commissioning and to the end. I so look forward to learning more about him, and to helping his family get to know their father, grandfather and great-grandfather. And as always, any stories, letters or photographs you may like to share about your STRONG man would be appreciated and possibly the focus of a future blog. Also, Stephen Harding is well into the book about STRONG, but is always willing to learn new things that may add to the story.
The reunion in Groton, Connecticut is about 3 weeks away. I've learned that another man who survived STRONG will attend, someone who has never attended a reunion before. I look forward to meeting Donald Fawcett and his family, and to introducing him to Jim Merriman. Jim is the only survivor to attend every year. These men haven't been in the same place together for 71 years. It will be amazing.
And to Carol and others, it's my pleasure.