Monthly Archives: May 2016

Military career of Dr. Robert L. Hess

My father, Robert Lawrence Hess, was born on 29 September 1924 in Orange, New Jersey. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He was in sea service during WWII.  Here are some details of his service in the Navy.

Robert Hess attended the V-12 (victory 12 Navy College Training) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This quote is from the link below, “The purpose of the V-12 program was to generate a large number of officers for both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to meet the demands of World War II, far beyond that turned out annually by the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and standing U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School to that point.” program. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-12_Navy_College_Training_Program

In 1945, my father received 2 BSE degrees from the University of Michigan which he had earned in under 3 years time.  One degree was in Engineering Mechanics and the other one in Engineering Mathematics.

He went  on to officer training at Columbia University, New York.

He served as a Junior Division Officer, Main Engines Division, on a heavy cruiser called the USS Oregon City. His rank was Ensign.

Later, he served as an auxiliary Division officer on a pair of light escort carriers the USS Kula Gulf CVE-108 and the USS Manila Bay CVE-12

 

I believe that he received an American Theatre ribbon and a Victory Ribbon WWII.  As I understand it, the American Theatre described the Navy’s desire to secure the home land from the Axis powers.

Other military work:

In 1957 my father was given the title of Technical Director of Project Michigan.  He was instrumental in extending optical data processing to the field of automatic photo-interpretation.  He was able to apply his knowledge of physics and mathematics to research teams who represented them to general officers of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. The Department of the Army awarded him the Outstanding Civilian Service Award and Metal.

In 1964-1965 my father was the personal representative of the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff for Intelligence and led teams of scientists through a comprehensive field review of the Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities both in Europe and Korea.  The Army implemented over 70% of this technical recommendations for the Korea area.

My father would also become a civilian consultant to the Secretary of the Army, ASA (R&D), Chief of Staff, and the Chief of Research and Development to advise on scientific and related matters to the Army.

1943 Portrait photo in US Navy uniform

Robert Hess ensign winter series 2with text Robert in Navy Khakiswt hess given army award

 

Robert Hess U.S. Oregon City

 

 

Relatives in the Canal Zone? (Hint: Meador)

When Louis Riley Meador was born on April 1, 1889, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, his father, Robert Lewis Meador, was 27 and his mother, Charlotte Lucinda “Lottie” Shipman, was 24.

Meador research page

Louis’ father died when Louis was only 6 years old.  In the census of 1900 Louis is living with his mother and his siblings: Jasper, Maude and Rita.

Louis’ sister, Maude Lillian Meador , is our family’s direct ancestor.  This makes Louis Meador (who is rthe subject of this blog) a  Great Uncle.

At the age of 28, in the 1917-1918 WWI draft registration, Louis states that he is short, slender, with blue eyes and light colored hair.  Perhaps, one of the most interesting things about his registration form is the PERFECT penmanship.  He lists his residence as 104 Wall, Eureka Springs, Arkansas (I believe this was his mother’s home).  He lists his occupation as draftsman.  He lists his employer as Clark Jacoby of Chariton County, MO. (see photo at the end of this blog)

Louis married Marie Van Norden in 1929 in the Canal Zone, Panama where he was in a supervisor position on the construction of the canal.  They had no children.

Other than some census records and a treasured photo found on Ancestry, there was little information known about Louis until I recently came across an article from June 12, 1929 that addressed Louis’ upcoming marriage to Marie Van Norden.

The article was from a newspaper named “The Morning Call” of Laurel, Mississippi.

This led me to find ship records for 1931 when Louis Riley then 42 years old and his much younger wife who was then 25 years old took passage on the ship “Iriona” from Panama Canal Zone to New Orleans.

In the 1940 census, Louis and Marie lived on Paris Island Road in rural  Beaufort, South Carolina.  He lists his occupation as engineer stating that he has completed 4 years of college.  He lists his employer as the US government and his annual income as $3,200.

Louis died in November 1985 in his hometown, at the age of 96.  (Helpful hint, in the news story below Mrs. Louis Church is Louis’ sister, Rita May Meador)

 

HelJune 12 1929 Laurel, Mississippi part 1June 12, 1929 part 2July 27 1929 Hattiesburg American part 1Hattiesburg American part 2.pngLaurel daily reader laurel mississippi Sep. 9, 1926.pngCatalogue of the University of ArkansasEmporia Gazette from Augus 9 1933.pngship records

Louis Riley Meador WWI draft registration