What an honor to be pictured with 91-year-old retired Navy Captain John Arens at the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library in Cape Coral, Florida.
Every Tuesday, the SWF Military Museum offers lunch for veterans and family members. Up to 200 attendees enjoy the lunch and camaraderie each week.
Captain Arens, a Toledo, Ohio native, born in 1926, has an impressive military career.
He first served in the Merchant Marines near the end of WWII. As a teenager he joined this non-military organization which protects transportation of commercial goods and passengers during peacetime. However, in times of war, Merchant Marines can provide assistance to the US Navy.
While in the Merchant Marines, he was drafted into the US Army and served as an Airborne Ranger in the Korean War with the Army Rangers 187th Airborne.
In the 1960s, he trained for and became a Navy SCUBA diver and worked for a number of years in the Arctic. After that, he skippered a Navy spy ship during the Cold War years.
He retired at age 59 from military service in 1987, but the Navy called him up in 1991, along with other retired captains, to serve in Iraq’s “Operation Desert Storm.”
John Arens has stories to tell about his time in the Merchant Marines, the Army, and the Navy. His stories are the stuff I see in the movies.
God bless you, sir, and thank you for your patriotic services.
If you want to go to the lunch for veterans, show up at the museum, sign-in, and enjoy lunch. If you have a group, call first. Look for the man in dress whites and shake his hand. He has served our country well. And don’t forget to visit the museum. It is one of the best in the country.
4820 Leonard Street, Cape Coral Florida 239-541-8704.
While you are there, look in the September 11th exhibit. You will find my book (coauthored with Janice Hall Heck) Triumph Over Terror about my experiences serving as chaplain at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Thanks, Bob Ossler, Chaplain
You can find me on Facebook at Bob Ossler Chaplain
and on Twitter at @bobosslerchaplain
Article by Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck