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* * * Tribute: Lt. J.G. Robert Sterling, WWII Pilot MIA, by Gramma & DoN * * *

Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Jun 20 2007, 10:53am


Views: 2211
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* * * Tribute: Lt. J.G. Robert Sterling, WWII Pilot MIA, by Gramma & DoN * * * Can't Post

 


Tribute to Lt. J.G. Robert E. Sterling



Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth
onsended?giedd sculon singan
gléomenn sorgiende on Meduselde
þæt he ma no wære,
his dryhtne dyrest and mæga deorost

'An evil death has set forth the noble warrior
A song shall sing sorrowing minstrels in Meduseld…"
'that he is no more,
to his lord dearest and of kinsmen most beloved'
— sung by
Éowyn in The Two Towers







Grammaboodawg and Daughter of Nienna
Together pay Loving Tribute
to the memory of Lt.J.G. Robert Elmer Sterling
Gramma's Uncle and
a Guardian Angel
Who fell from the skies to his doom
Protecting the people and the nation that he loved



Grandma was widowed when Uncle Bob was 14. She raised 4 sons and 1 daughter alone since the beginning of the depression. She lost 2 of her 4 sons during WWII while the other two both served in the Marines. It helped Grandma when a fellow pilot who was with Bob during his last battle contacted her after the war and told her he saw Bob's plane dive through the enemy flack over and over, attacking the enemy ships. When the attack was broken off, he saw Bob pull out of his last dive and turn with the rest of the aircraft as they headed back to the American fleet. Bob's plane was shot up, yet he was still in control... but he and his navigator never made it back. It's unknown if the plane finally failed from multiple hits, if Bob succumbed to injuries, or if they ran out of fuel. It's sad, but we never knew what the navigator's name was. All we know is that he was from New Jersey. Their records were lost in a government office fire in St. Louis in the mid-1960s along with thousands of other military/veteran's records.

In 1997, I visited the abandoned, 100+ year old family farm in Ohio for the first time in over 25 years. I also visited the graves of my Uncles, Aunt, Grandparents, and Great Grandparents... generations of my Dad's family. But it was then I noticed there was no marker for Uncle Bob. I decided to contact the Government about getting the standard bronze marker for all veterans. I ran into some pretty strange roadblocks. They initially denied me in a September 3, 1998 letter responding to my May 11, 1998 request. Part of my problem of getting the marker was that the government wanted me to supply the paperwork that he'd been cremated or buried. They didn't read the attachments telling that he was lost at sea and his records were destroyed in the fire. After a couple more years of jousting, I got Uncle Bob's marker and had it mounted on his father's headstone in Ohio.

During one of our recent discussions on TORn, I mentioned that somewhere at one of Hawaii's War Memorials, there was a marker for Bob. As you'll see in Daughter of Nienna's incredible journey, she generously offered to go on a Quest in search for Uncle Bob because she lives near the Memorial I spoke about. Let's just say I'm staggered by what she discovered and how she's dedicated hours of research, journeying and creativity into bringing my Uncle to life more than I ever imagined. When I told my Mother and family that she not only found him but was creating this tribute for him, they were deeply moved. We'd always talked about him and he's always been considered one of the jewels of the family, but this has brought him closer to us than ever before.

We grew up knowing Bob's story; but since my visit to the farm (now being restored by our family after 30 years empty), he had become someone very real to me. I can't thank Daughter of Nienna enough for taking on the Quest of finding Uncle Bob's mark on the Memorial in Hawaii. Now I need to get to Ohio and get a picture of his veteran's plaque!

Even though I never knew Uncle Bob, I've noticed that in every picture I've seen of him... he's smiling. I'm told he was brilliant. Studies and challenges came easily to him. He was very tall... 6'4". I would think that it would have been quite a challenge for a pilot in such a confined warplane. He was also a consummate joker. His brothers and he were incredibly close and always did things together. I would have loved to hang out with him and hear stories that, I'm sure, would have me riveted for hours and hours. — Grammaboodawg



The Journey started for me this past Memorial Day when I wrote about the ceremonies at The National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater. Gramma responded telling me about her uncle: Lt. J.G. Robert Elmer Sterling, pilot in the Army Air Corps from Pontiac, Michigan, and how he made it through the largest Air Battle in the Pacific, but ended up missing, presumed that his plane went down in the ocean.

Gramma asked me to find his name which is honored at the cemetery. I gladly obliged. It’s a good walk for me, not very far, uphill, good exercise. I had excellent weather that following Friday and went on a Quest for Robert, as I came to call it.

My intent, here, is to honor Lt. J.G. Robert E. Sterling with this memorial on the date of his demise over the Pacific Ocean. He is indeed a hero, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts. Robert was also credited for sinking one of the enemy ships single-handedly, according to Gramma. Robert captured my imagination and my heart in the sense that I can visualize him blazing across the skies in his Helldiver or his preferred Dauntless and the sorrow that I feel that he has almost vanished from every record and has no grave. It has been my great honor and joy to reunite Robert with Gramma and her family.

The two of us have been sharing PMs for three weeks on this journey, so now, our conspiracy unmasked, we have contrived this joint post to pay tribute to a fallen warrior who loved his family and compatriots and found joy in flying. It has really been an amazing experience for me to do — full of tears, joy and sorrow and rewards — this and now I would like to share that experience with you. Below is Gramma's Tribute to Robert. Within this post are a series of "sub-posts" that tell the story of Robert's final battle in WWI and my quest to find him and give him to Gramma. There is also a page of references.

Gramma and I invite you to follow the Quest for Robert in the "Tribute Posts" clearly marked responses in this thread. Then, please join Gramma and myself in paying a homage to Lt. J.G. Robert E. Sterling, a fallen Rohirrim of the skies as only those of us from Rohan, Gondor, Lóthlorien, the Shire, Rivendell, Ithilien, Fanghorn, the Loney Mountain and Dale and all else where Free Peoples of Middle-earth dwell know ho to do. Daughter of Nienna

(Note: It would be helpful to make your responses to the primary post, or to each other, rather than the individual "Tribute Posts" so as not to separate them, scattering them about within the thread. That way, they can be found and read in order easily. Nobody will fuss at you though. Smile)


Photo Album of
Lt. J.G. Robert E. Sterling





Uncle Bob and my Dad as boys visiting the farm.






Grandma and Bob during his last stateside visit in 1942.




Dad and Mom shortly after their marriage in 1943.






A caricature of Bob by a friend.




Bob in his pilot's gear






Uncle Bob on the porch
with two little cousins at the farm in Ohio


The pictures of the young ladies with Uncle Bob on the porch are two little cousins and all were visiting my Great-Uncle Virgil's farm in Ohio. It's the family farm that was virtually abandoned after my Uncle passed away in the mid 1960s. It was built by our family in 1876 and didn't have electricity until the 1950s and no plumbing until my cousins returned and we all started to restore it in 1998. It's in the middle of nowhere in Amish country; and when you go down the nearly mile-long lane to get to the farm house, barn and outhouses... you feel like you've crossed over into another time, ancient, simple... probably a lot like entering Lorien, come to think of it. We visited that farm all the whole while I was a little girl. It was so special, and this town is where the cemetery is where Uncle Bob's plaque is :)






Top: Andy and Jimmy
Bottom: Bob and Dad (John)




Bob in the cockpit of Dauntless





Remember to read the tribute pages below
Bob's story is there!







To be continued… on Parts One, Two, Three, Four





Nú on théostrum licgeth Robert se léofa
hæ´letha holdost.
ne sceal hearpan sweg wigend weccean;
ne winfæ´t gylden guma sceal healdan,
ne god hafoc geond sæ´l swingan,
ne se swifta mearh burhstede beatan.
Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended
giedd sculon singan gléomenn sorgiende
on Meduselde thæt he ma no wære
his dryhtne dyrest and maga deorost.


Now dear Robert lies in darkness,
most loyal of fighters.
The sound of the harp shall not wake the warrior;
nor shall the man hold a golden wine-cup,
nor good hawk swing through the hall,
nor the swift horse stamp in the courtyard.
An evil death has set forth the noble warrior
A song shall sing sorrowing minstrels
in Meduseld that he is no more,
to his lord dearest and kinsmen most beloved.

Lament for Théodred



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~








Art Gallery Revised, Aloha & Mahalo, Websites Directory

Nienna: “ those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope . . . All those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom." — Valaquenta

Subject User Time
* * * Tribute: Lt. J.G. Robert Sterling, WWII Pilot MIA, by Gramma & DoN * * * Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 10:53am
    *** Quest for Robert, Part 1 — Searching for Robert, part A *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 10:56am
    *** Quest for Robert, Part 2 — Searching for Robert, Part B *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 10:58am
    *** Quest for Robert Part 3 — Battle of the Marianas *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 10:59am
        *Robert's Pilot Picts* Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 21 2007, 5:37am
    *** Quest for Robert Part 4 — Memorial Walk *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 11:00am
    *** References related to Lt. J.G. Robert Sterling *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 11:01am
    *** Grammaboodawg's Account of Robert's Battle *** Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 11:03am
    Heroes dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 20 2007, 12:25pm
        oh dernwyn... grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 20 2007, 1:12pm
            Oh wow Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 6:47pm
                This is for you grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 12:27am
        Oh dear! Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 6:41pm
    Connections squire Send a private message to squire Jun 20 2007, 12:57pm
        When you think of the scope grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 20 2007, 1:27pm
            Fantastic anecdote! :-D / Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 7:15pm
            Oh...fudge! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 21 2007, 1:02am
                world peace thru the power of chocalate...ummm! / Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 21 2007, 1:46am
                Maybe that's why grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 8:53am
            Wish my dad could have known your dad . . . Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Jun 14 2010, 5:10pm
            I don't know how I could have missed this thread! Am reading now-- Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Jun 14 2010, 5:18pm
        Mahalo, Squire Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 7:13pm
    *speechless*salutes* // Advising Elf Send a private message to Advising Elf Jun 20 2007, 1:07pm
    Thanks to you both Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Jun 20 2007, 1:49pm
    "Lord, if the tempered winds be near" a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Jun 20 2007, 6:04pm
        Oh dear! Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 20 2007, 7:27pm
            no, no pilots a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Jun 20 2007, 11:27pm
        Beauiful! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 12:35am
        I never knew there was that last verse - thank you! // dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 21 2007, 3:05am
    I've been reading the 1944 diary of Howard Fogg Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Jun 20 2007, 9:45pm
        So many grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 12:40am
    Wow... hatster Send a private message to hatster Jun 20 2007, 10:00pm
        Oh geez! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 12:43am
        {{hatster}} // dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 21 2007, 3:07am
    A beautiful and important story // kareniel Send a private message to kareniel Jun 20 2007, 11:42pm
    Good work. GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Jun 21 2007, 12:25am
        P.S. I believe I found the memorial page for gramma's uncle GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Jun 21 2007, 12:31am
            You're right!! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 1:16am
                That confirms it! Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 21 2007, 3:29am
    I can't read anymore - too many tears in my eyes! GreenHeart Send a private message to GreenHeart Jun 21 2007, 1:22am
    One more... dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 21 2007, 1:44am
        *GASP!* That's IT!! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 1:52am
    A lovely tribute. Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Jun 21 2007, 2:42am
        It is so mind-boggling dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jun 21 2007, 3:03am
            Thanks. / Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Jun 21 2007, 5:59am
            A perfect moment for her grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 9:10am
        {{Aerin}} Astounding! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 9:09am
            Thanks for the encouragement, and P.S. Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Jun 21 2007, 3:18pm
                I believe grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 4:50pm
                    Yep, that's our part of the state! Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Jun 21 2007, 7:58pm
                        Wow! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 22 2007, 9:36am
                    I'm dumbfounded. Nerdanel Send a private message to Nerdanel Jun 23 2007, 2:15am
                        Cool! Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Jun 23 2007, 5:16am
                        Whoa.... grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 25 2007, 12:31am
        incredible story! Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 21 2007, 9:35am
    This is an incredible work of love. silneldor Send a private message to silneldor Jun 21 2007, 2:49am
        ohhh... an image that's so appropriate. Thank you! // grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Jun 21 2007, 9:11am
    WOW Annael Send a private message to Annael Jun 21 2007, 4:02pm
    Moving and beautiful story, Nerdanel Send a private message to Nerdanel Jun 22 2007, 6:30pm
        so true! Daughter of Nienna Send a private message to Daughter of Nienna Jun 22 2007, 7:21pm

 
 
 

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