During WWII, Ernest Thompson served our country in the Navy on the USS Missouri. He was there when Japan surrendered to the United States and has made it his mission to share his war experiences with younger generations.
His grandson, Jonathan, is the CEO of the Battleship Iowa, the sister to Ernest’s ship the USS Missouri. The two men took an active part in saving the USS Iowa from being scrapped, and when the ship arrived in Los Angeles, Ernest would go visit it frequently to tell visitors his story.
But in early in 2016, Ernest had a bad fall and couldn’t walk or stand up, which meant he couldn’t travel to the ship.
When the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center heard that, they decided to bring the Navy to Ernest for once.
They coordinated with an Iowa Volunteer Coordinator and put together a group of Navy Selects who showed up in front of Ernest’s house one afternoon. The group stood at attention in their blazing yellow shirts and sang the Navy march song “Anchors Away” in the middle of the street.
As seen in the video below, the entire time the group sings, Ernest stands on his porch in a full salute, which is the first time he has stood up since his fall. After the song is finished, the chief selects walk up to Ernest to shake his hand and wish him well.
When asked what he thought of all of this, Ernest replies, “This is the best day of my life.”
Ernest passed away peacefully at the age of 99 on November 3, 2016. As a man who loved his ship dearly, the family has requested that instead of flowers, donations be made to the Ernest R. Thompson Memorial Fund, Pacific Battleship Center, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA, 90731.
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