Chelsea Area Historical Museum to Present First Person Memoir



Joe Hale was a young man in Chelsea in 1942. Pearl Harbor had been attacked, the hitching posts on Main Street were being sent to the scrap drive, and the town was practicing Black Out drills…just in case.

So Hale, and his buddy Dan Ewald, enlisted in the Marines.

On Monday, March 13, 7 p.m., at the Chelsea Depot, the Chelsea Area Historical Society presents a reading of the Chelsea native and WWII veteran’s mini-memoir that captured that snapshot of local and world history.

CAHS program chair, Dave Strauss, is excited to bring Hale’s stories back to Chelsea.

“One of the most brutal battles and iconic photographs from WWII occurred on Iwo Jima,” he said, “and we have the backstory of that photo.”

As a marine, Hale was part of the amphibious assault in February 1945, which lasted six weeks.

“Joe was one of the many young men willing to sacrifice their lives for America and its democracy,” Strauss added. “There is a reason why this is the greatest generation.”

Hale’s work - which he wrote for the CAHS when he was visiting Chelsea in 2012 - is remarkable in its detail, said Janet Ogle-Mater, CAHS secretary.

“When he writes that ‘Eight battleships were firing broadsides; dozens of cruisers, destroyers, and LCTʼs, converted into rocket firing boats, were firing thousands of shells at the island and the landing beaches,’ you feel like you are there,” Ogle-Mater said. “It’s both thrilling and scary, especially when he notes that the whole operation was expected to be short and swift. They had no idea it would become so bloody, so intense, so famous.”

The readings will be paired with photos from Hale’s personal collection, the Museum’s collection, and the National archives. A summer exhibit will feature Hale’s career work from his years as an animator artist at Walt Disney.

Registration is requested for this event either by email or phone: or 734.476.2010. The event is free for CAHS members or with a $10 donation for non-members.

The mission of the Chelsea Area Historical Society is to gather and preserve Chelsea area history, educate the public, and promote the restoration and preservation of historic buildings and sites for future generations. The museum is located in the 1853 Boyd House, at 128 Jackson St., across from the Chelsea Depot. For more information, visit or call 734.476.2010.

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