Charles Sehe: Thank you, Nevada, for unforgettable visit

Charles Sehe, 92, served on the USS Nevada, the only battleship to get underway during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Charles Sehe, 92, served on the USS Nevada, the only battleship to get underway during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

How does one person thank the many individuals and special groups of Carson City who have enthusiastically provided the various means in many ways for me to visit their beloved state of Nevada? I sought my answers from my experiences aboard the battleship USS Nevada during World War II, moments of solitude and reverie.

This venerable ship has had a resounding success in performing her specific wartime tasks, accomplished only by the unity of a joint action by the Nevada’s seven operational departments. The officers and crew members of the gunnery divisions had been instructed by the senior officers of the ship to elevate the life and spirit of their potentials to its zenith of combat readiness. These potentials could only be accomplished through the action of those individuals’ self-realization, i.e. the full development of that person’s own talents and capabilities, and yet there seemed to be an additional motion and spirit that impels their desire to reach that level of “combat readiness.” Critics would call it a sense of pride, a sense of intense pride.

In my own way, when I could be free from the strained tension of “combat engagement” and to gain several moments of relaxation, I chose to sit on the fantail near the ship’s stern. Here, I could watch the foaming sea water being churned up by the two turning propellers some 45 feet below. This mesmerizing scene would leave my mind freely at any particular moment, for I needed to distinguish what I desired and actually needed, if I survived the war, as I sought out my life’s meaning. Why me? Why didn’t I die during those grisly years of World War II?

I firmly believe and fervently claim now our ship had a living soul and that ethereal spirit had come from the proud citizens of the great state of Nevada. You have shown me this with pride in your voices and tears the USS Nevada had always been surrounded by thousands of crew members and native Nevadans who had held her in deep respect, and a part of her mystique will always remain with us.

Gov. Sandoval, Nevada state officials, Carson City administrators and proud citizens, I couldn’t have expressed it in any other way. Thank you!

Thank you very much for this impressive and unforgettable visit.

Charles Sehe, a Minnesota resident, is a Pearl Harbor attack survivor. Sehe, who was aboard the USS Nevada during the attack, was recently honored in Carson City.


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