On 21 September 2011 M25 members honor a 30 year Navy Veteran and father of one of our own. The father of M25 member, Richard Getchell (“RAGS”) died on 16 September following heart failure. Almost 200 friends, family, politicians and shipmates gathered in a small rural town in Texas to bid farewell to Torpedoman’s Mate First Class Alfred Getchell, USN Retired. Those who knew him well honored him and those who never met TM1 Getchell still owe him a debt of gratitude. Alfred was a great American hero.
Alfred joined the US Navy in December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He diligently served our great nation onboard various ships throughout the Pacific theater. He was assigned to USS St Louis (Lucky Lou) in 1944. Prior to reporting aboard Getchell had found himself in less than favorable sights with a previous command. TM1 had missed ship’s movement, a court-martial offense. Instead of being awarded 18 months of hard labor, grace was extended and he only served 30 days in the brig. Determined to improve his character, Getchell did an about face with honor, courage and commitment. That’s when, on 27 NOV 1944, Getchell’s life was forever changed. Courageously manning a 40mm gun onboard “Lucky Lou” Getchell courageously eliminated a kamikaze attack to his ship. In the face of danger, he undauntedly distinguished himself in military service and was awarded a medal of commendation by his command. He went on to serve our nation throughout WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars.
M25 member, LCDR Tim Moore (“PADRE”), USN Chaplain was asked to officiate the memorial service. His commanding officer allowed him time to travel to Granbury, Texas to honor this great American. Through M25’s ministry with Run for the Wall, RAGS and PADRE met and formed a unique bond known to Sailors. We are honored to have been a small part of honoring this great warrior!
Please keep RAG’s family, friends and shipmates in prayer as they mourn the loss of their hero, one of the great Americans. Al will be laid to rest at a later date in a full military ceremony somewhere in the now quiet and peaceful waters of the Pacific Ocean, a place where he was changed forever into a noble and godly warrior.