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
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
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
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
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 www.cohassetveteransmemorial.com.