Robert (Guns) Sourisseau

Distinguish Service Award


Distinguish Service Award

To Robert (Guns) Sourisseau:

Guns service to our Association, our Members, representative of Ship's Company and its Air Groups, is and has been truly legendary. It has included, but certainly not limited to, the following:

He created a web page strictly for all the Essex Air Groups and their accomplishments, never mentioning to anyone what costs were involved in maintaining the web site. Five years ago the request was made to improve our Memorial Service by having a ship's bell rung after each name is called. In searching for a ship's bell to ring at the Memorial Service, it was discovered the cost was substantially more than our organization could afford. The findings were submitted to our Executive Board, of which Guns was a member. He stated there was a ship's bell at the foundry where he worked and would check to see if it was still there. The bosses donated the bell to Guns and he and his son worked tirelessly to polish the dull finish to a beautiful luster, and then made and added a cradle and ringer. They took it one step further, and made a custom box so the bell could be transported each year for the Memorial Service. Since the bells completion Guns has rung the bell at each Memorial Service prior to 2005. He is certain that he will hear the bell ring twice for each deceased member even though he will not be there.

He was very instrumental in having the Plaque made and donated that is now aboard the USS David McCampbell. Again, when asked if he would help in sending reunion advertisements to all the military magazines and organizations we have listed, meaning some twenty-five. He never flinched, just picked up the ball and got the job done.

He is currently serving as an honored Member of our Board of Directors (Class of 2007). Additionally, he is serving as the Chairman of the Reunion to be held in San Diego in 2007. He has planned and organized a Memorial Service to be conducted aboard the Aircraft Carrier Midway Museum which promises to be the most meaningful of any Service ever held.

He is the epitome of an Essex Sailor, both present and passed, and has no peers in extending his brotherly love, compassion and friendship to all those who have likewise served. "Well done good and faithful Servant".

Given under our Hands and Seal in compliance with the unanimous resolution of all the Officers and Board of Directors on behalf of all your Shipmates, this day of January, 2006.

Frank R O'Connor - USS Essex Chairman

Bruce Sims - USS Essex Secretary

Another group showing their appreciation and love for a fellow shipmate. 


Bruce Sims, Berlyn Ware, Chuck McCammon, Joe/Barbara DuErmit and Bill/Marge Stephan gathered at Bob "Guns" Sourisseau's house in Southern California on January 17th. These three men were Guns' shipmates while they spent their tours of duty aboard the USS Essex.  This reunion was carefully planned with the help of Kay Sourisseau, and all those mentioned above to make this a special day for Guns.

This above group of pictures is on Monday when the guys first got here. We were busy telling each other sea stories and laughing about old times so I didn't take many pictures. Berlyn had never been to the Pacific ocean so we took a ride over the mountain to San Juan Capistrano. We stopped near the Catholic Mission San Juan Capistrano and had lunch. Filled the boys up with tacos and rice and frijoles (beans) - Just like us Californians. In the picture of the guys in the restaurant parking lot you can see the Mission Church behind them. The Church was built in 1776. After that we stopped and picked up some Budweiser and Odouls and we went to Dana Beach. We spent some time on the beach enjoying the sunshine and drinking our beer. Berlyn really enjoyed it - hey it was snowing back home! Back home again at Gun's Stonebroke Ranch we just kicked back and relaxed.

On Tuesday they were getting ready to go into town when Chuck asked if there was a swimming pool here in the park. There was and he said he wanted to see it so we went to the swimming pool. Right next to the swimming pool there is a Recreation room. We could see there was somebody in the rec room. In going to check it out Guns was completely and absolutely surprised! Bill Stefen and his wife Marjorie were there from Bonita, CA , and Joe DuErmit and his wife Barbara were there from Julian. Guns sons and Grandsons were there.

They had a surprise luncheon for Guns. That's when they presented the Framed Certificate to Guns, what a beautiful thing it was. In the picture of Guns family, on his right is his son Daniel, he is the one who did all the work on the bell and made the cradle for it and the box to carry it in. On Kay's and Guns left are his grandson's Adam and the youngest Blake, then Michael and his wife Tiffaney. Mike is the one that helped Bruce make arrangements to fly out here and arranged the motel and rental car for the guys. Mike and his family were there to meet them when they arrived here at Ontario airport.

What a great and pleasant surprise!

Guns writes, "Chuck, Bruce, me and Berlyn stand next to the Certificate. Son Mike hung it in my room, complete with its own light. "Thank You" are such small words. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me. I will cherish it. When I'm gone my sons and grandsons will cherish it. I know you and the Judge had a great deal to do with it Frank - the words, the nice frame, working it out so it would arrive at just the right time - all of it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

The guys have one for the road and son Mike looks on as we say our good byes. They had to get up around 4:00 AM to catch their plane. They had a wonderful visit.

More Pictures Taken While Out at Guns

Sadly we must announce here that Guns passed away from Lung Cancer on 25 Feb. 2006.


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