Robert William Shearn (February 9, 1918 – )
The following information was taken from a phone conversation with Robert Shearn on July 6, 2011. Many thanks to Mr. Shearn for taking the time to call and share memories from his life and service:
When Robert Shearn was assigned as Engineering Officer of LCI(L)-11, he remembers Vice-Admiral Lorenzo Sabin Jr. telling him they were “scraping the bottom of the barrel.” Although the Vice-Admiral was joking, Mr. Shearn took exception to this. Robert Shearn was a member of the first LCI(L)-11 crew and was soon promoted to Executive Officer.
LCI(L)-11 left the United States and arrived in North Africa. They had a 42 year-old farmer from Minnesota [probably Joseph Rom] aboard for the voyage who got so seasick they had to “leave him on the beach” upon arrival.
On July 9, 1943, LCI(L)-11 landed at Licata, Sicily and successfully disembarked 75 men and 2 officers from the British Army. Mr. Shearn remembers the date, because it was his mother’s birthday. He said her prayers were with them that day as they suffered no damage or casualties.
Robert Shearn remembered John A. Hardy, part of the LCI crew, who was from Boston. He was known to signal incoming freighters to obtain good food and other provisions for the crew. Otherwise, they lived off Army rations. He said the LCI had a good crew of mostly “young men.”
Mr. Shearn departed LCI(L)-11 on December 20, 1943 (see below passenger lists) and entered Naval Submarine School in New London, Connecticut on January 2, 1944. He later served in the Pacific aboard the USS Pompon, a Gato Class Submarine. Mr. Shearn separated from the Navy after arriving in Mississippi via New Orleans for Navy Day on October 27, 1945. He later worked in sales and has remained active in the local Submariners Association. Originally from the Bronx, Mr. Shearn currently resides in Hampton Bays, New York. He has a wife, Madeline, and a large family, which includes 17 great-grandchildren.
The above documents show that Robert Shearn flew from Port Lyautey, French Morocco to the Port of New York December 26-29, 1943 aboard American Export Airlines. He was residing at 3308 Polo Place in the Bronx.
The above photo shows Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), in his Coram District Office, presenting Robert Shearn with his medals during a ceremony on January 3, 2008.