Milton Eugene Carlisle passed away on the 20th of April, 2012 after a long and productive life. I never met the man, but I’ve known many like him. He was a member of that “Greatest Generation” of Americans, those who set aside their lives to help win WWII, and keep our nation, and the world, from being plunged into darkness.
Seaman Carlisle served as a Captain’s Orderly aboard USS Kwajalein, CVE-98, an escort carrier. His wasn’t a fancy job, nor particularly dangerous, though there are many ways to be injured or killed aboard any vessel. He ran messages, helped with paperwork, and did any one of a number of things that needed to be done in order for the Captain & his staff to function. It was an important job, just as every job in the military is important, and THAT is what should be remembered. His country needed young men, he saw where his duty lay, and he raised his hand and took the oath. That set him apart, and made him someone special.
After the war, Milton moved to Cache Valley, Utah, and started from scratch to build a new life. I also grew up in Cache Valley, and knew many, many men like him. Noble in their straightforward way, their willingness to do whatever was needed in order to put a roof over his family’s head, food on their table, and to increase his family’s prosperity.
Milton represents the kind of man that Americans used to be, the kind found everywhere. He didn’t need welfare. He was willing to work for what he had, to give a day’s honest work for a day’s honest pay, and he succeeded. He started out doing this and that, including driving an ice truck. But when he saw an opportunity, he took it. From his obituary:
He moved to Logan, Utah, in 1959 when natural gas was brought to Cache Valley. …… He worked for Mountain Fuel Supply Company, currently known as Questar Gas Company, for 43 years. He started out as a ditch digger and worked his way up to be the service manager of the Northern Division.
Imagine how many of today’s youth would be willing to dig ditches laying pipe. They’d rather wait for “something better” to come along, and draw welfare while doing it. But Milton worked with his hands, and through the years steadily advanced from one of the pipe crew to management. He climbed that ladder of success, and was rewarded for his hard work. But there was more to him than that.
He was an avid fisherman, hunter, square dancer, boater, bowler, gardener and jack of all trades. His mother always said, “Gene can do anything.”
He served as president of the Cache Valley Boat Club. He was a varsity Scout leader, in the Elder’s Quorum presidency, Sunday School presidency, stake building security supervisor, assistant librarian, Sunday School teacher, and Priests Quorum advisor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ……. He will be widely remembered as an excellent pickle maker, apple cider maker and right-hand helper to his wife’s canning. With a pocket knife, shovel or tractor, there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t do.
A full life, lived in a wonderful area of the country, and a productive life. I wish I could have met him, but I knew so many just like him. Men whose youth was set aside to risk their lives in the crucible of war. Men who, having seen the worst of humanity, came home to make a better life for themselves and those around them. They used their skills and self-discipline to work hard and become successful, to be a PART of society, and not dependent on it. They had eachother, and that was enough. There is much we can learn from them and their lives, so much worth emulating. We don’t need a large, intrusive government to help us. All we need is ourselves. Faith in eachother, faith in ourselves, and faith in God.
Milton’s obituary may be read here.
More on USS Kwajalein here:
Fair Winds, and Following Seas, Shipmate.