Like so many rural and urban boys all across America Orville Shaw felt a need to answer his country’s call when he dropped out of high school to join the fight against the Japanese in 1944. Born on May 25th in 1926 the young Shaw was a mere 18 years of age when he volunteered to join the Navy. At this point the fighting was still raging in the Pacific and he believed it was his duty to serve.
In August of 1944 he left his native Mills County and was sent to the Naval Training Base in San Diego California. He trained here for twelve weeks and then was assigned to the troop carrier USS Cullman ATA 78. In March 1945 Orville and his shipmates headed for Pearl Harbor where they were involved in training and inter-island transport duties until early July.
At this time they headed back to San Diego where they would load troops and cargo. Once loaded they sailed to Eniwetok to answer calls for troops in the Marshall Islands and to Ulithi in the Caroline Islands. After delivering the troops to these islands they were off to Batangas Bay in the Phillipines.
Orville said that the Cullman was designed to bunk 3,500 troops but that there was significantly more than that number on board. He said there were soldiers sleeping any place that they could find because they did not have a bunk. The Cullman was in a convoy of more than 50 ships taking troops and cargo to the Pacific for battle.
Shortly after the fighting ended, Orville and the USS Cullman sailed for Tokyo Bay. While in Tokyo Bay they were docked right next to the USS Missouri where the Japanese signed the surrender on September 2, 1945. As a 19 year old sailor Mr. Shaw climbed to the top deck of the Cullman where he witnessed General Douglas MacArthur and several of the military’s top brass accept the Japanese surrender.
He said very frankly that he had a great position and had a bird’s eye view of the signing. It was a joyous celebration and brought an end to the greatest war this planet has ever seen. The ship then loaded soldiers who had believed they would be part of a bloody invasion and transported them to Okinawa for post-surrender duties.
Back in the states Orville was discharged from the Navy in 1946. He found the love of his life in Lampasas when he met and married Thelma “Dodie” . Together they raised three children: Ronny, Tana, and David. They have a host of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Two of their grandsons Brandy and Clayton joined the military after graduation. Clayton remains in the US Army.
Witnessing one of the greatest events in American history was something for a 19 year old kid from Goldthwaite Texas. According to this fine gentleman and great American prior to witnessing the signing of the surrender, the biggest event that he had ever seen or the biggest celebration he had ever heard was on a scrubby baseball diamond somewhere in Mills County.
With seven boys in his family and his father the Shaw clan could almost field a team of their own. He enjoyed the leagues that he played in growing up. He played just about every position in the game except catcher. There is not time for me to tell about all the game highlights that he has shared with me while I was sitting in his barber chair. There were also some pretty hilarious antics that accompanied those highlights as well.
Orville was quite a fighter and did some boxing in his younger days as well. I’m sure he had plenty of practice with six brothers. Three of those brothers served in the military during World War II. He said that at one time that there were 15 boys from the Shaw-Rose (his mother’s family) families serving. Out of all those cousins and brothers only one was killed in action.
He has spent over 60 years in barbering business. He began in the metroplex before settling in Comanche. He is one fine man and a friend to anyone who darkens his door. I could listen to him tell stories of his youth, his business, and his service for hours. He is typical of the “Greatest Generation”: responsible, accountable, and very caring.Comanche National Bank P.O. Box 191 · 100 East Central · Comanche, Texas 76442 This is paid advertising. Contact email@example.com to feature your business or event here on TexansUnited. We will get you noticed!