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Larece Galer brings you the latest military news. To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Painesville Township Sailor saw it all

Robert Caygle, 92, of Painesville Township, was a young man fresh from a Madison farm when he joined the Navy in 1940. Little did he know when he reported aboard the USS Niblack DD-424, a destroyer, he would witness history.
As a range finder, it was Caygle’s job to site the targets and give the coordinates to the ship’s guns. His station was about 60 feet above the ship’s water line.
“There were a few times I had to duck out of the way of waves,” Caygle said of the rough weather he witnessed.
Caygle was aboard the Niblack on the way to Iceland, when a merchant ship was torpedoed and sunk in April 1941. The Niblack was picking up the survivors, and when an enemy submarine was spotted, the captain ordered depth charges be dropped.
The official version of the incident says the depth charges scared off the submarine. Caygle, however, disagrees.
“I was there and saw the junk and debris in the water,” he said. “In my opinion we sunk it.”
Caygle and the Niblack were involved in escort duty when the Reuben James was torpedoed and blown in half in October 1941. This ship is considered to be the first U.S. Naval ship lost in World War II.
Caygle was aboard when the Niblack took part in a support convoy to Casablanca after the Allied landings on the Moroccan Coast. He also saw action during the invasion of Sicily, entering Palermo Harbor aboard the Niblack following the capture of the city by the Allies.
After the Niblack sustained damage to some of the ship’s hydraulic systems in 1944, the destroyer headed for New York to undergo repairs. She was ported for a week while being repaired.
“I slept most of the time we were there, we had been so busy,” Caygle said. “At times, we were at general quarters two or three days at a time.”
After heading back out to sea, Caygle was involved in the invasion of southern France in 1944. The Niblack and the Gleaves were the only two destroyers in the 8th Fleet that qualified as fighter director destroyers.
He was transferred in 1945 to Electric Hydraulics School in Washington, D.C., and parted company with the Niblack. The ship went on to the Pacific.
Caygle was discharged from the Navy in 1948. He returned to Lake County, settling in Painesville Township to raise a family. He retired from truck driving in 1983.

Family picnic at Post 112
American Legion Post 112, 6671 Middle Ridge Road in Madison, will host a family picnic at 2 p.m. Saturday at the post home. The picnic will feature Whipples the Clown at 2:30 p.m., kids games at 3 p.m. and Jungle Terry at 4:30 p.m. For details, call the post home at 440-428-7893.

Painesville Legion hosts flea market and garage sale
American Legion Post 336 Annual Color Guard Flea Market and Garage Sale will be 9 to 5 p.m. today and Saturday at the post, 60 Chester St. in Painesville. Table space is available for $5 per table outside and $7 per table inside, per day. For details, call 440-357-7711.

Chardon VFW has rummage sale
Chardon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6519, 752 Water St. in Chardon, will host a rummage sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday at the post home. No furniture or clothing will be available. For details, call the post home at 440-285-3699.

BALD run rolls out of Painesville Legion

American Legion Post 336, 60 Chester St. in Painesville, will host the Annual BALD Run (Bikers Aiding Local Diabetes) June 29. The run is $15 per person, bike or automobile. First bike out from Post 336 will be at noon and last bike to the Post at 5 p.m., with four stops on the run.
Breakfast will be served at 10 a.m. BALD Run Inc. is a nonprofit organization, with proceeds benefiting those in this area affected by diabetes and assisting them in the management and care of their disease. Tickets are available at Post 336. For details, call 440-357-7711.

Event will help veterans in need
A family fun event at the Geauga County Fairgrounds, 14373 N Cheshire St. in Burton, will be noon to 4 p.m. June 30. The festivities will feature music by Switch, motorcycle pulls and drag races, a 50/50 raffle, a food vendor, military vehicles, a special motorcycle and more. Donations will be accepted at the gate. All proceeds will benefit the newly formed Veterans Housing Fund, a joint project of the Burton-Middlefield Rotary and Geauga Habitat for Humanity.
This event will mark the conclusion of a 50- to 60-mile escorted motorcycle ride through the county that is expected to draw hundreds of riders, led by Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland and Midge, the smallest police dog. The motorcycle riders will begin arriving at the fairgrounds at noon, as the fun gets underway.
Geauga Habitat for Humanity will be accepting confidential nominations of veterans in need. Nominations also can be sent to Burton-Middlefield Rotary Ride, P.O. Box 516, Burton, OH 44021. For details visit or

Catholic War Veterans at festival and air show
Catholic War Veterans Post 1959 of Lake County will host a membership/poppy drive, 50/50 raffle and TV raffle at the St. John Vianney Catholic Church Festival, July 11-13; and at the Gathering of Eagles event slated for July 12-14 at Lost Nation Airport in Willoughby. For information about the group call Second Vice Commander Ken Kirchner at 440-257-2156 or visit

Reverse Raffle benefits Wounded Warriors
Mentor VFW Post 9295, 8682 Mentor Ave. in Mentor, will host a reverse raffle beginning at 5:30 p.m. July 13 at the post home. The evening will include side boards, a 50/50 drawing, and a $1,000 giveaway. Dinner will be served 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed by the drawing at 7:15. Tickets are $20 donation and all proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warriors. For details call the post at 440-255-3473 or Bud Spreng at 440-255-2917.

To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this article. We have always known Robert Caygle to be one of the greats. Now, everyone else will too. Thanks Dad for everything you did for America and your family. To all the other veterans who served, thank you as well. Remember to respect our veterans and listen to them. They all have history to tell... they lived it.
David and Lynn Caygle.

June 22, 2013 at 12:46 AM 

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