Harry “Ed” Lacey

Sharna Johnson

On a PC boat carrying 65 men and measuring 173 by 15 feet, Lacey remembers

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Harry “Ed” Lacey
Date of birth: July 24, 1925
Dates of service: 1942-1946 Navy, 1950-1970 Air Force
Hometown: Charleston, Illinois
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Caribbean, Brazil
Branch: Navy and Air Force
Rank: Master sergeant
Unit and specialty: USS 1203 PC boat, USS Kennedy Bailey (destroyer) — electrician
After discharge: Clovis

In his words: On a PC boat carrying 65 men and measuring 173 by 15 feet, Lacey remembers the crew getting along pretty well. Of most PC boats, Lacey’s was a little unique, being one of the few to have sonar and radar capabilities, two new and highly secret technologies at the time.

Chasing enemy submarines in the Caribbean, the crew was on constant alert for targets. Lacey they “used depth charges to blow a hole in them, we got one, maybe two.”

Submarines weren’t the only ones affected by the intense explosions of the depth charges, he said, humorously recounting the time when “we flipped our own seam.” He explained that they dropped too many depth charges and cracked the bottom of their own ship.

“The ship was taking on water,” he recalled. “We went back into a floating drydock and they pumped the water out.” He described how the repair crew went beneath the ship to patch the crack.

Ironically, at the same time, Lacey’s future wife was a “Rosie the Riveter,” welding in a Maine shipyard to make ends meet during the war. It wasn’t until later that they met each other. However, their two-day, whirlwind romance led into a marriage that has lasted more than 50 years.

Taking to military life, Lacey served in the Navy during World War II, transferred to the Air Force, served in Korea and remained in active duty until retirement.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com