Howard R. Gleason

Hero Profile - WWII

Address when enlisted - 38 Atlantic Avenue

Date of Sacrifice March 27, 1945 - Age 22

Ltjg Howard Gleason ., the communications and commissary officer aboard the US Submarine Trigger. Gleason had been assigned to the Trigger in Nov 1944 and had served as its officer captain of its gun crew, before being promoted in Feb 1945. The vessel was presumed lost with all hands about March 27, 1945.

Link to Lt. jg Howard R. Gleason's Ship web page

Navy veteran lived life on the water
Byline: By Samantha Brown SAMBROWN@CNC.COM

Howard Gleason was always a man of the sea. Growing up in Cohasset surrounded by ocean, he spent many happy summer days sailing with his friends and taking part in water activities at the Cohasset Yacht Club. While coasting along the shores of his hometown, Gleason gained the experience that would one day lead him to pursue a career in the United States Navy, where he served as a lieutenant during World War II. Gleason was born in 1922 to parents Hollis and Emily Gleason. One of four children, he lived at 38 Atlantic Ave. with brothers Edward and Herbert and sister Eleanor.

Eleanor remembers how her brother always had an affinity for the ocean. She recalled the year her brother, along with boyhood pals David Place, Dave Ketchum, and Bill Binnian bought an old 34-foot sloop for $400, which they spent the entire summer refurbishing. She recalled how proud they were of the boat, and how they used it constantly. Place said he remembers when the boat was finished, the three sailed it all the way down to Mt. Desert Island in Maine.

But when summer was over, Gleason was a student at Derby Academy in Hingham, as was Place. The two would sometimes ride their bikes up the newly constructed Route 3A to school, which Pace recalls was quite an adventure for elementary school boys. Eleanor remembers she would take the train from Cohasset station to Derby every day.

When the snow started to fall, Pace said Gleason could always be found skiing. Even in the 1930s, before Mt. Washington had a ski lift, Gleason could always be found on the slopes.

During his high school years, Gleason attended boarding school at the Kent School in Connecticut. Although he was many miles away, distance couldn't quell the love he felt for his high school sweetheart Betty Stearns, who grew up on Jerusalem Road.

After graduating from high school, Gleason went on to study at Harvard College, where he participated in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program. Gleason enjoyed his naval training tremendously and sped up his courses to enable him to graduate early and enter the Navy. However, after graduation, he made his love for Stearns official, when they were married in October 1943.

While at Harvard, Gleason had an experience that would forever change his life, when a Naval Submarine Corps recruiter spoke to the cadets, sparking his interest in underwater submersion. After enlisting, Gleason was assigned to the USS Submarine "Trigger" in November 1944. Gleason began his career aboard the submarine as the Officer Captain of the gun crew. He then received a promotion and became the Communications and Commissary Officer in February 1945. However, on its second to last mission, while on patrol near the Ryukyu Archipelago in the South Pacific, Trigger was presumed lost after a lengthy lapse in communication. Gleason and 88 fellow crewmates paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom March 27, 1945. Gleason was just 22 years old.

Eleanor remembers it was well into the spring before the Navy notified the family Gleason and his submarine were missing. Her two other brothers and her husband, John Bleakie, were also away at war, and she had moved back home to Atlantic Avenue to be with her parents.

Eleanor said she remembers sitting in the gardens with her mother one afternoon when a telegram arrived with the news of Howard. Fearful it would aid the "Japanese propaganda machine", the family was forbidden from telling anyone the submarine was lost.

On Memorial Day 1948, the town of Cohasset dedicated the extension of Margin Street to Gleason, calling it Howard Gleason Road. He was the last Cohasset man to die during World War II. Shortly after the war ended, Norman Todd died from the effects of radiation exposure from the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. His was among the first Marine units to enter the city.

Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee Glenn Pratt provided the Mariner with the information for this article. For more information on Howard Gleason or any of the Cohasset veterans who have paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom, please visit the Cohasset Veterans Memorial Committee Web site at

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Cohasset Massachusetts