Gilmore remembered at ceremony

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Gone but not forgotten &8212; veterans gathered Saturday in front of Memorial Stadium to remember a Selma native whose legacy lives on for submariners across the country.

Under a blue April sky, men and women gathered on short benches to hear the story of Howard Walter Gilmore, who lost his life in World War II while serving as commanding officer of the submarine named U.S.S. Growler. They were decorated with jackets indicating their contribution to United States military service: submariner, World War II, Korean War.

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An honor guard from Selma&8217;s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3016 stood behind the memorial erected in honor of Gilmore and dedicated in April 1988.

Allen Stone came from Montgomery to attend the ceremony.

He recited the total amount of time he spent in military service before retirement – 39 years, 6 months, and 20 days. Stone said he remembers when submarines ran on batteries that weighed more than 1,640 pounds. He said changes he has seen on military warcrafts since he served in World War II are staggering.

A.J. Atkins, who coordinated much of the ceremony, said he feels close to many veterans and is willing to do anything to help out.

Gilmore was aboard the Growler when the submarine encountered an enemy gunboat named the Hayasaki. The Growler maneuvered around the gunboat then attacked it, damaging its plates. The crew of the wounded boat fired back on the submarine, and Gilmore was hit.

Because there was not enough time for Gilmore to get below deck before the submarine was submerged, he ordered his crew to take the submarine under, calling out &8220;Take her down!&8221;

Gilmore&8217;s body was not found on a later search, and there are no accounts of the Japanese capturing him. Gilmore was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism.