Service members honorWWII veteran Harold Estes

Story and photos by MCSN Dustin W. Sisco

Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det Hawaii

Hawaii service members and close friends honored the life of a World War II veteran and retired Navy chief petty officer in Honolulu and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on July 9-11.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service on July 9 aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial for retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Harold B.

Estes, who died May

17. His ashes were intered during a ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on July 11.

Estes received full honors during the memorial ceremony, including whistle salutes from five naval ships and a color guard administered by the National Sojourners Inc. in Hawaii.

Mike Buck, the master of ceremonies for the event, said Estes achieved many important accomplishments in his life.

“He is credited with reinvigorating the leadership and membership of the Honolulu Navy League, as well as helping to bring the USS Bowfin submarine and this ship, the Battleship Missouri, to Hawaii,” said Buck. “Both iconic vessels are now anchor members of the Pearl Harbor historic sites.”

At the interment ceremony, the chief petty officers who attended the memorial service paid their respects to Estes by dropping their right collar device into a box which was interred with Estes’ remains.

Close friends of Estes gave remarks about the late chief petty officer.

“The number of people here today is a testimony to what a special person Harold Estes was and how many people’s lives he touched in so many different ways,” said Alexander Gaston, close friend of Estes.

Estes enlisted in the Navy in 1934 at age 19. Including service in World War II, Estes served aboard the battleship USS California, the tug USS

IUKA II, t h e attack transport USS Henrico and a variety of other ships and shore commands.

After retiring from the Navy on June 15, 1955, Estes received several honorary titles, including Pacific Fleet command master chief.

Even after Estes retired, he served the Navy far beyond his 21 years of active service, said Buck. “His involvement with the Navy and the chief petty officer community lasted until his passing and will last for years to come.”

(This note to the Estes story was offered by Keith DeMello of McNeil Wilson.)

A couple days after the public remembrance ceremony on July 9, Chief Harold B. Estes’ ashes were interred at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in a private ceremony on July 11. Estes was laid to rest with his wife Doris at 3:30 p.m.

There were about 200 Navy chiefs in attendance who filed past his urn, and each one dropped their anchor in a wooden box made out of the original teakwood deck on the main deck of the Battleship Missouri. As the vault in the columbarium was being sealed, all of us Navy chiefs sang “Anchors Aweigh.”

Once a chief … always a chief.

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Category: News