Sailors' Stories: Elgin Staples
Rescued With the Help of His Akron, Ohio Mother


Gary Sinise tells the true story of Signalman 3rd Class, Elgin Staples of Akron, Ohio.  One summer night in 1942, he was aboard the USS Astoria, which was in the fight for control of Guadalcanal.  After completing his watch at midnight, he fell into an exhausted sleep.  Two hours later he was awakened by an explosion from enemy fire.

Instinctively, he put on his life belt before going topside to help.  As he approached a gun turret, the deck below his feet disappeared and he found himself in the water.  After four hours in the water, he was picked up by an American destroyer and returned to his ship.  Not long after that, the badly damaged Astoria rolled and went under, depositing Staples in the water once more.   Find out the role his mother played in the rescue of her son and many others as well.

4 1/2 minute video

Elgin and his mother

This photo, missing for 40 years, of Elgin Staples and his mother, was returned to him courtesy of the "Chicken Soup for the Veterans' Soul" publishers.