On 2 August 1944, in the North Atlantic, the USS Fiske made visual contact with U-804, a Nazi submarine. The Fiske along with the USS David L. Howard made an attack run on the now submerged submarine. Suddenly, the Fiske was torpedoed, split in two, and sunk, while U-804 slipped back to its patrol. Thirty-three of her men were killed and 50 badly wounded by the explosion. One of those was Seaman Second Class Robert Louis Earnest, my great-grandmother’s brother. He was initially wounded and rescued by the USS Farqhuar, but died later that day. He was only 29 years old, leaving behind his wife of ten years and their son. He was buried at sea and there is no place to go to mourn and honor his memory. The best we have are the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. His posthumous Purple Heart is not reward enough. He is a hero for America, but before he was a hero, he was family — my family.
With great love and admiration, your great-grand niece.