Broken Bow, NE: AseraCare Hospice Pinning Ceremony Honors Brookestone View Veteran for Service in the Navy

AseraCare Hospice recently honored Brookestone View resident and Navy Veteran Al Schipporeit in a pinning ceremony. Al’s beautiful bride of 61 years, Marilyn and two of his grandchildren were in attendance as he received a lapel pin and certificate of appreciation. The team from AseraCare asked Al to share what inspired him to such great accomplishments in his life. With tears in his eyes and a proud smile Al leaned towards Marilyn, gestured towards her and said, “It was for her.”

Al graciously accepted an invitation from this writer after the pinning ceremony to tell his story in greater detail for this In The Loop posting. Al joined the Navy in June of 1952; he went to boot camp near the Great Lakes, then went to technical school in Oklahoma. After three months in Oklahoma Al moved to another school in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated highest in his class and received the honor of first choice of squadrons. Al moved to California and joined a sea plane squadron stationed there.

Al and his squadron were responsible for flying PBM sea planes (planes that only land on water). After being in California for a time Al learned he was assigned to a job in Korea and was looking forward to the experience. After a year of being in the Navy Al shipped out to Korea; he flew to Hawaii for a month of training and testing of skills. After receiving excellent results in the test Al received commendation.

After training was completed Al flew to Midway Island and refueled before landing in Iwakuni, Japan. His job during this time was to fly over the water on the coastline, patrolling for submarines and to check on the ships there. He was on duty there for six months before planning to return to California.

When the tour was over Al and another service member flew back to Japan to head back. During the flight there was an oil leak, the flight engineer reported there was not enough oil on board to get back to the base. Al remembered that they had just gone over a range of mountains. The pilot had to increase the RPM’s of the engines to the point where an engine caught on fire. They got the fire out, but the engine was hanging down and it caused such drag that they lost altitude, they were coming down, and flying only about 5,000 feet at that time. They were prepared with parachutes in case they had to bail out, but the landing went well, the engine did not break off. They landed the plane on the water; Al recalled the landing was tough, but safe.

At this point, they radioed for help, but the Sea Plane Tinder, the closest help in proximity would not be able to get there to pick them up until at least midnight. They floated in the plane, through choppy stormy waters because of a typhoon that was coming until a boat came through tied them on and towed them to a nearby harbor on the coast of Japan.

Al flew back to Japan, finished his tour of duty there, and returned to the U.S. in February 1955. During his service he earned a series of medals. After his service in the Navy Al met Marilyn at a friend’s wedding. They were both in the wedding party, he the best man, she the maid of honor. Al laughed, describing the whirlwind courtship and how he proposed six weeks after the wedding. Al and Marilyn were married in September of 1955.

Since his service days Al described his love of history and genealogy (he traced family roots all the way back to East Prussia). Al shared he enjoyed his work compiling historical facts about Blaine County, for the historical society. We recently compiled some of these stories, as well as a Nebraska Life Article from 2012 that included an interview with Al and organized them under Al’s MyPage profile on the iN2L (It’s Never 2 Late) computer system.

Al was humble and gracious while discussing the honors he received in his service as well as the praise he received during the AseraCare pinning ceremony. He shared that he is looking forward to reading through his articles and other history, genealogy, and Navy specific content that was personalized for him on the iN2L.

Thank you to AseraCare for the pinning ceremony and to Mr. Al Schipporeit for his service and willingness to share his story.

Mission – Dignity in Life

Submitted By:

Cameo Rogers, CTRS, CDP, CDCM, CADDCT, Life Enrichment Coordinator