Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 27, 2012

John Golden of Exline takes trip to see war memorials in Washington

By Curt Oden, Exline Correspondent
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Hasn’t this record breaking heat been really something this week? We have had way too many days of 100 degrees and above temperatures. We sure need a cool down and some rain for a change.  

The recipe for this week sounds like a cool treat during this hot weather. It is for time-honored Southern pie, that received its name for traditionally being placed in the “icebox” to chill before serving, instead of having to bake it.

Lemon Icebox Pie


2 cups graham cracker crumbs; ½ cup sugar; 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted; 2 cups fresh lemon juice; 2 -14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk; 2 egg yolks; 16 vanilla wafers; 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled; 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Heat oven to 400°. Process crumbs, sugar, and butter in a food processor until evenly combined. Transfer to a 9″ deep-dish pie dish and press into bottom and up sides to create a thick crust; set aside.

Combine juice, milk, and egg yolks in a bowl; beat on medium-high speed of a hand mixer for five minutes. Pour into prepared crust; bake until crust is browned and filling is only slightly set, about 20 minutes. Place wafers around edge of pie, pushing them gently into filling; let cool. Freeze until set, at least two hours, or up to overnight. Whisk cream and vanilla in a bowl until stiff peaks form; spread evenly over pie and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Back on Tuesday, June 5  John Golden of Exline, went on an Eastern Iowa, Honor Flight that left from Cedar Rapids, and flew with about 80 Veterans to Washington, D.C. They went to visit the World War II Memorial and other notable sites in the Nation’s Capital. The military veterans that went on the trip, ranged in age from 80 to 98 years old.

John, was a veteran of World War II, who served in the United States Navy on the destroyer, the U.S.S. Patterson, the DD-392 as it was designated in the Pacific Ocean. While in the United States Navy  during the second World War, John was sent to radar training school, where he was taught to operate a new system to detect incoming planes on radar.

He said while serving on the destroyer, he first saw action in 1944. One time, he spotted incoming Japanese zeros headed towards their fleet on the radar screen. He had to go and report the sightings to a superior officer and then report to his battle station on the ship, which was as the “Site Man” on a five-inch gun, which was operated by a crew of six men, to help shoot down the incoming suicide attack planes.

As a sailor onboard the destroyer, he said his ship served in the 3rd Battle Fleet and the 7th Battle Fleet, at different times. He said the lighter destroyers like he was on, would travel on the outside of the convoys with the heavier battle ships and aircraft carriers on the inside, like the U.S.S. Enterprise, which was part of one of the Battle Fleets he was with during the war.

John also recalled, how they used to track enemy submarines on underwater sonar and once got credit for dropping depth charges and sinking an enemy submarine. Another time, he told of how their own depth charges blew off the sonar detecting equipment off of the bottom of their own ship and they had to go to a dry dock and have it replaced.

While serving in the Navy onboard ship, John said they participated in naval battles at Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and in the battles of the Philippines at Luzon and Mindanao.

He related how during some of these naval engagements, they rescued survivors from  U.S. Navy, sinking ships that were hit by Kamikaze suicide attack planes. On Jan. 4, 1945 they rescued over 100 crewmen from the escort carrier, the Ommaney Bay. The next day, they picked up survivors from another destroyer, the U.S.S. Stafford and the escort carrier U.S.S. Manila Bay.

On Jan. 13, the U.S.S. Patterson was credited with shooting down a suicide attack plane that threatened the carrier the U.S.S. Salamaua. The ship then went on to Ulithi in the Carolines and prepared for the impending attack on Iwo Jima.

The ship left there by Feb. 10, and was in the screen of escort carriers for the attack on Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. The ship then rescued survivors from the escort carrier, the U.S.S Bismarck Sea. The Bismarck was sunk by an enemy torpedo attack airplane, off the coast of Iwo Jima on Feb. 21. 

After rescuing crewmen from the ships, there was no room for them below deck, so they stayed on the top deck until they could be transferred, to a larger ship when they could.

For their heroic effort, the United States Navy issued the crew of the U.S.S. Patterson,  a plaque for rescuing those men from those sinking ships during the naval battles. The plaque was then displayed on the ship.  

The U.S.S. Patterson remained with the escort carriers at Iwo Jima until March 10, 1945 and then it eventually was sent to get ready for the taking of Okinawa, which was hoped would lead to the end of the war.

After the Second World War ended, the ship eventually traveled through the Panama Canal and was decommissioned at the New York Naval Shipyard on Nov. 8, 1945. The ship was held in reserve until her name was taken off of the official Naval Vessel Register on Feb. 25, 1947. Eventually the ship was sold for scrap on Aug. 18, 1947 to a company in Philadelphia.

For its service the U.S.S. Patterson received 13 Battle Stars during World War II.

Years later, the plaque that the ship had received for rescuing all of those crewmen, was presented to the widow of the ship’s captain.

John recalled he attended a few reunions with the men who served on the U.S.S. Patterson during World War II, beginning in 1989 in New Orleans. He said over the years due to age, illness and passing away, the men able to attend began to dwindle. The last reunion he went to, was held in Brigham, Utah in 2007. At that gathering, only three men who served on the ship were there and ten widows of the crewmen. So, he said they agreed to no longer have any more reunions.  

John recalled how for the Honor Flight, he and his wife Joy, journeyed to Cedar Rapids where they spent the night at a nice motel. He had to be ready to go to the airport by 5 o’clock in the morning, with the flight taking off from the Cedar  Rapids Airport around 7 a.m. that day.   

The flight was sponsored by the “Cedar Rapids Corvette Club” and it took about two hours to fly to Dulles Airport, just outside of Washington, D.C. in Virginia. There upon their arrival, they were greeted by a water cannon salute to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine veterans that were onboard the flight.

They were taken on busses from the airport to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial. They also got to see the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and the Memorial dedicated to the Veterans of the Korean War. The men on the trip, also saw the statue of the men raising the flag on Iwo Jima, as well as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Which he said, you could not get close to, since it was damaged in the earthquake that occurred on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. It is currently closed indefinitely.

They were also driven around the city and got to see other sites, including Ford’s Theatre where President Abraham Lincoln was shot on the night of April 14,1865.  

During that day, they got to visit Arlington National Cemetery, where they saw  the changing of the guard, which was a moving event.

John said all of their meals were also provided during their one day trip, some of which, were in box lunches they were given to eat on the plane, as they traveled along.

Upon their arrival, back in Cedar Rapids at 10 o’clock that same night, hundreds of people both young and old, were lining the hall ways in the airport to greet them.   The crowd was  thanking them for their service and shaking their hands as they came back from their memorable trip.

John said they were all provided with a free disposable camera, so they could take photographs during their trip and then, they were also given free developing, once they were home.

Each man on the trip, were also given a matching shirt and cap to wear that day, plus they later received a nice plaque commemorating their memorable one day journey, to recall what happened so many years ago.

I hope everyone had a nice time out at the county fair last week, despite the high heat. Among all of the other events that the Exline Ramblers 4-H Club showed in during the week long fair, they also did a couple of group projects this year.  

Their group project was to honor Marine Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick, who was originally from Centerville.   His parents are John T. and Barbara (Buchanan) Riddick. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Thursday Jan. 19, 2012.  The services for his funeral, were held on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 29 in Centerville.   

The club put together a scrapbook about the incident, in his honor that was displayed at the county fair.  It won a purple ribbon and will go on to the Iowa State Fair next month. Following the state fair, the scrapbook will be given to the Riddick family.   

Another group project the Exline Ramblers did this year, was to put together eight benches. These were placed around the Appanoose County fairgrounds. The 4-H club now has these benches for sale. You may purchase them for next year’s fair in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one. For more information on this project, you may call one of the Club’s leaders, Shawn Tait at (641) 895-1094. So, congratulations to all of the people that participated in the county fair this year.