Every day we become a part of history either by deliberate action, generational link, act of nature or proximity. We are all living history. And, yes even this winter of all winters will be recalled and compared in the years to come with comments like, “remember the Winter of ‘14.”
Rush County Schools is blessed with teachers who bring history to life for their students every day. However, when one student remarked “my dad was a part of the Cuban Missile Crisis,” you take note and pursue the comment a bit further.
Come to find out Phillip Green’s dad Clarence Green was indeed on the USS Pawcatuck AO108 that took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“When you have this kind of living history right here in Rushville, it just seemed like a given to invite him to Benjamin Rush Middle School to talk about what he did in the military and during this historic event,” Kent Wise, BRMS Social Studies teacher, said.
Clarence Green enlisted in the Navy in 1947. Thus began a 30-plus year career with the United States Navy. Early in his service, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Va. (1948). After Korea, he served on the USS Arneb AK56 that delivered supplies to Thule, Greenland, for construction of a base. His next reassignment (on independent duty) was that of a Minesweeper on the USS Grackle AMS13. In 1956, his assignment was with the second Marine Division at Camp LeJeune, NC.
Mr. Green recalled, “on a training cruise, the ship made their port of call in Havana, Cuba. At that time, the Cuban leaders were Batista and Fidel Castro. They and their followers were operating the country at that time.”
It was in 1961 Chief Petty Officer Green was reassigned to the fleet tanker, USS Pawcatuck AO 108. The Pawkatuck took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis Naval Blockade. It was the Pawcatuck that refueled the ships of the blockade. From there, he saw further duty on the USS Arcturus AF52, the Marine Corps Recruiting Office in Nashville,Tenn., and finally with the First Battalion, Seventh Marines in Vietnam (1967).
“Mr. Green made history come alive for my seventh grade history classes. Instead of reading about the event or seeing a move reenactment, they were able in inner act with the history maker himself. It doesn’t get much better than that,” Wise said.
(Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund Director/Information Officer for Rush County Schools)