Posted by: SJS | November 1, 2020

He believed in democracy enough to fight for it–Red Stahley was a winner

Red in dress blues - formal shot
Red Stahley, USN, 1944

My father’s first assignment in WWII was with PT Squadron (RON) 15 in the Mediterranean in 1944. On bases in North Africa and small islands off the coast of Italy, his job was to serve as a radio operator helping to maintain the communication network that linked the PT boats, PT tenders, and PT bases.

It was not uncommon for the bases to be strafed by Nazi fighter planes. Dodging bullets was simply a fact of life for the sailors on PT bases.

Red’s first assignment in the South Pacific was with Squadron (RON) 27 in 1945 where he was assigned as a radioman to PT 373. On a particularly horrendous jungle river patrol in Borneo, he remained steadfast at his radio while his boat was being raked by heavy machine gun fire as the 373 and the 359 completed their mission of taking out a Japanese communications tower. He and his fellow radioman on PT 359, Tom Saffles, maintained close contact so their skippers could successfully carry out the attack. Red and Tom formed the link holding the mission together.

One PT sailor on the 359 was killed in the attack and a PT crewman on the 373 was gravely wounded. The mission was dangerous, harrowing, and very, very costly.

If my father was courageous enough to put his life on the line in service to our country in WWII, then I can damn well sure devote my time and energy to preserving our democracy in times of crisis and danger–like the times we are living in now. So I will work without ceasing to encourage my fellow citizens to vote for candidates who believe in justice for all, racial equality, truth, decent healthcare for every American, and the importance of science in education and government policy.

And I’m not stopping after this election ends.

I know now–as I have never known before–that freedom isn’t free and that the work of democracy goes on each and every day. So I intend to stay with the work of building democracy as long as I can draw breath. It is one small way to honor the legacy of my father and all those who have worn the uniform of the American Armed forces since our nation began.

And anyone who would ever refer to the members of the American military as “losers” or “suckers” does not deserve to live in this nation, much less hold elective office. One who would dare make remarks like these is the scum of the earth.

Vote. Vote. Vote. VOTE. Please–for God’s sake–VOTE.

It is the least you can do for this nation we are privileged to call our home.

Red at Biserta, North Africa
Red at Bizerta PT Base 1944


  1. Powerful and effectively communicated passion, values and insights. I love the way you connected your dad’s fighting to protect our Country and what it represents with YOUR fighting for democracy! Great Job Steve!!! 👍

    • Thanks so much, Jay. Most of the comments on my blog somehow found their way into my spam file and I am just catching up with them now. I deeply appreciate your steady support and encouragement of my work on the blog–it means a lot. Looking forward to catching up when the time is right. S

  2. Hearing what your father endured in order to preserve our way of life in the U.S. is inspiring as is what you are now doing and committing yourself to given our current predicament.

    • Dudley, Thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement. Sorry for the long delay in responding–I’m still catching my breath from the campaign. So many of the blog comments went directly into my spam folder and I am just catching up with them now. My work on the blog continues to give me fuel for my efforts. Hope your photography work is flourishing. S

  3. great to hear mate, are you doing any volunteering during the election? Thank you to your father for his service. Completely agree with everything you said.

    • Thank you, Lloyd. I was heavily involved in a Get-Out-the-Vote effort here in WV. The work was rewarding and I had the opportunity to work with a group of idealistic, passionate young people who really inspired me. I’m still catching my breath from our work which went from mid-September to mid-November.

      • Good on you. Democracy now more than ever needs to be cherished.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: