In Loving Memory of

USS Euryale Official Website


On Eternal Patrol
August 6, 1920 - August 29, 1991

This page is in recognition of my father, John Henry "Pete" Fields. No kid could have asked for a better dad.--Sheri Lytle

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John Henry 'Pete' Fields

This picture was taken on the homestead in Kozsta, Iowa just after Dad enlisted in 1941. He was 21 years old.

Dad was a plankowner on USS Euryale (AS-22) and was aboard ship from her commission date of 2 December 1943 to the day that she arrived at San Francisco in 1946. He served as a molder in the ship's foundry. His rate was ML 1/c. Dad was honorably discharged in August of 1946.

This picture was taken somewhere on leave. I know the sign behind him reads, "Chicago", so maybe a train or bus station.

John Henry 'Pete' Fields

Dad's Uniform Decorations

Petty Officer First Class Collar Pin
Petty Officer First Class Shoulder Insignia

Dad's Medals

American Campaign Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Asia Occupation Service Medal

Dad's Division Picture, 11th Division Hull & Repair
Dad's Honorable Discharge Certificate.
Dad's VFW membership card, which he carried in his wallet for 44 years.
Mom and Dad were married on December 24, 1946, just 3 months after his discharge.
Three days short of their first anniversary my sister, Diana Kay, was born.
Dad's final resting place at Linwood Cemetary, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I can see his plot section from my front porch....

Dad is memorialized at the Admirial Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Dad's "Walk of Honor" certificate
Dad's brick on the "Walk of Honor"

My favorite stories of Dad

Before you read these stories, let me just say that we loved our dad and we loved spending time with him. But rarely in public.

Dad was a "hillbilly" as we put it. He spoke his mind and he didn't mince words. He had high expectations for himself and he held others to those standards as well.

He was shaped by the terrible events of the Twenties and Thirties; the Stock Market crash, the Depression and the Great Dustbowl. He was the 10th of 11 children and grew up on a scrap of dirt in a poor rural community.

He learned how to squeeze a nickel and turn it into a dime. In fact, that was his earliest lesson to us. Sacrifice today for tommorrow.

At a very young age he joined the CCC, and traveled the nation to help build roads, bridges, anything he could.

After the war, he returned home to work in a hot, dirty, dangerous, steel foundry for years, putting every spare penny away to buy his own business. He succeeded and he owned that business for nearly 40 years. He was one of the most respected contractors in the area.

You can travel all over the city and see his concrete work still intact. We didn't find out until after we bought our house that Dad had replaced some sidewalk on our property. Today, where some areas are crumbling, the sections that my dad replaced are still perfect after 50 years.

But, nonetheless, he was still a hillbilly....

The Motel

We were on vacation in California in the early fall of 1965. My dad was frugal with his money, to put in mildly.

It was late in the evening and we were still driving up and down the coastal highway looking for a motel with the cheapest rates. As we sat in the car waiting for him to come out, we watched as motel sign after motel sign either winked out or turned on their "No Vacancy" sign.

Finally, there was only one left. I went in with Dad to get a soft drink while he haggled with the manager over price. After the manager wouldn't budge on his rates, my dad accepted and as we were walking out to get our luggage, he turned to the manager and said, "For Christ's sake, I didn't want to buy the godddamned place, I just wanted to rent a room!"

The Restaurant

We had been fishing all day and all of us were tired and hungry. Dad decided to treat us to a meal out. That always came with mixed feelings. We never knew what he was going to do in public and nine times out of ten we had to duck out of a place in utter embarrassment. It was the "hillbilly" in him and although it was an endearing trait in private, it was usually a curse in public. In a nutshell, you never had to wonder what was on Dad's mind because he never hesitated to tell you.

The waitress forgot to bring water with the menus and we held our breath waiting for Dad to say something upon her return. He didn't! We silently breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe we would get through this meal without a scene, for once.

The waitress arrived with our salads, but not Dad's soup. Uh oh, there's going to be trouble. We watched as the muscle hardened and twitched in his jaw, but he said nothing. Who was this man? What did he do with our dad?

Then our meals came. The steaks looked delicious and we were ready to relax and enjoy a wonderful family meal out when Dad cut into his steak and saw that it was not medium rare but medium.

We waited for him to explode on the waitress but he didn't. Instead he stabbed his steak with his fork and flipped it into the booth behind us. There he was, there was our dad....

The Picnic

At the beginning of my 12th summer, Dad woke me up early on a Saturday morning and said, "Call your friends and see if they want to go on a picnic today." With excitement, I roused myself and immediately called all the neighborhood kids. "Dad's taking us on a picnic. Get here as soon as you can!" In no time the house was filled with excited kids. Everyone knew they were going to have a great day out with Mr. Fields. He loved kids and they loved him. And he knew how to show kids a good time.

We all piled into the bed of the old pickup and happily let the wind and bugs slap our faces as we tried to guess which magical spot he would take us to. The Knee-Hi orange soda bottles clanked and rattled in their wooden case as we bumped down a dirt road that we didn't recognize.

We came to a stop in this giant, flat meadow without a tree in sight. The grass was the greenest I had ever seen. And oh so manicured. Where was the creek? Where was the tree to set our picnic under?

As it turned out, we were in a sod field. Dad had a big landscaping job on Monday and didn't want to pay his men overtime to cut and roll sod on a Saturday. But Dad, true to his funloving nature, made a great adventure of it for us. He got some very cheap labor that day. We were paid in bologna sandwiches and warm pop. When we got back into town, we all got ice cream cones.

I'll never forget that drive home. The sun was low on the horizon, the truck ride felt smoother than it ever had, ice cream was dripping down our dirty little chins and everyone was smiling. Especially Dad....

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