MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – In May 1942, retired Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gale, then a young seaman, fought in the Battle of Coral Sea aboard the USS Lexington. Now at the age of 91, Gale can still remember every moment of that battle.
Gale shared his stories with Marines and sailors during a Warriors of the Faith event at the base chapel aboard MCAS Miramar, Calif., Jan. 23.
Warriors of the Faith is an event designed to bring active duty and veteran service members together to share their stories. The program began two months ago at the station chapel.
“It helps vets have that connection to active duty and makes them feel like they are still contributing [to the armed forces], which they are,” said Cmdr. Wayne Freiberg, the base command chaplain with the MCAS Miramar Chapel and a Hopkins, Minn., native.
The program promotes the community coming together and shows how veterans used their beliefs to help them through their experiences.
“This is an outreach of the chapel to let people know that we’re here,” said Freiberg. “You can be a warrior and have faith combining the two make us resilient and healthy.”
Most the members of the program are members of the chapel and are connected to Miramar in some way.
“[Miramar] is like home to me,” said Gale.
In 1974, while stationed here, Gale helped build the Miramar Sports Complex and the Great Escape which Miramar Marines use even to this day.
Even 73 years later, he can still recall many memories even the first day he joined the Navy.
“I joined Dec. 14, 1940. The day after I turned 18,” said Gale.
Gale served aboard the USS Lexington and remembers the blows to the ship which lead to it sinking during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
The Lexington’s port water main ruptured after being hit by a torpedo, added Gale.
His recollection of his experiences fascinated Marines, who came out to hear the story of this historic battle.
“He’s a great man,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob Flores, a bulk fuel specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and a Brooklyn native. “I’m just excited I get the chance to relive the past.”
By listening to the stories of veterans, Marines can understand pieces of the history that built the military they are a part of today, explained Flores.
The chapel does the Warriors of the Faith monthly and welcomes anyone to come hear the tremendous stories of these veterans.