During their half time show on Friday, Sept. 25, “That Altus Band” will honor Charles Stewart, a WWII veteran who served aboard the U.S.S Cobia which is now on display at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.
Hailing from Hitchcock, Okla., Stewart joined the Navy in July 1943, just a few months after graduating high school and only 17 years of age.
After completing basic training and torpedo school, he was one of only 20 to be selected for submarine duty. Upon arriving at the submarine base in New London, Connecticut, he completed 14 more weeks of additional training.
Over the next several months, he was assigned duties such as overhauling ships and on Nov. 20, 1944, he was transferred to the submarine U.S.S Cobia as a member of its crew.
Cobia’s most colorful battle took place in February 1945, when she engaged two armed Japanese sea trucks in a running gun duel. Cobia sank both of them, but not without the loss of Ralph Clark Huston Jr, a 20 mm gun loader and Cobia’s only casualty of the war.
Having survived the war, Stewart was honorably discharged on Jan. 12, 1946.
In 1950, Stewart published a book titled “The Blind Fight”. All information contained in this book was taken from a small notebook which Stewart carried on his person during the war. He dedicated the book to his three sons so that they may know the part he played during the war and how proud of every ounce of energy, sweat and fear he contributed to make this a safer, better place for them to live.