SGM, U.S. Army (Retired)
Sterling Cale was born on November 29, 1921 in Macomb, Illinois. He enlisted for Lighter-Than-Air Training (Dirigibles) at Lakehurst, New Jersey. When the German blimp, von Hindenburg, exploded and burned, the Navy Department cancelled the program and Sterling graduated as a hospital pharmacist’s mate (Corpsman) from the school in San Diego, California
He was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital at “C” Landing, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawai’i. PhM2c Cale was transferred to the shipyard dispensary in July of 1941. Completing night duty on the morning of December 7, 1941, he arrived at the receiving station around 7:00 a.m., signed out with the master-at-arms and went outside. In less than hour, he noticed planes diving on the ships at Battleship Row and decided it was another mock attack, when suddenly a plane turned off to the right and he saw the “Rising Sun” on the wing tips and fuselage. He gasped as he said, “My God, those are Japanese planes, and we are being attacked.” Later, PhM2c Cale also was in charge of the burial party removing bodies from the USS Arizona.