Downtown tarpon springs - historical train depot
I photographed a wedding recently (which I never do) at the historic train station in Tarpon Springs. I scouted the location a few weeks early and lingered a bit at my grandfather's display case. I don't have time to tell you and my grandfather's whole story in a blog post. But you're in luck - there's a wonderful book on the subject written by our talented family friend, Jill MacGregor. Get a copy here.
The story is a tale of bravery and faith. In WWII, Robert Gause, was aboard the USS Indianapolis to deliver the atomic bomb that would end the war. On their way back from their mission, they were torpedoed twice. The first torpedo went right into my grandfather's room (where he should have been. He had been sleeping above deck by the grace of God because it was too hot below). The first blow wedged him in between a bar and the wall, the second blast set him loose. He grabbed two lifejackets and abandoned ship. After watching their ship sink to the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean, the men huddled up in groups. They cried, they prayed and the Captain made an announcement - they had not gotten out an SOS message. No one knew the ship was sunk. No one was looking for them. They closest land was miles away, and it was Japanese. Basically, there was no hope.
My grandfather had barely begun leaning into God at that point in his life. He was married to a spitfire of an atheist. He hadn't made any declarations of faith, but in this moment, he had to make a decision. He gave his full heart to God in that moment, surrendering to the only one who could save him. He committed himself to God, whether he would live or die. He led the group of sailers in a prayer and told him not to lose hope.
After 5 scalding days and freezing nights in shark infested waters, they were in fact rescued. A plane spotted them by chance and called for a rescue mission. Of the 1,195 men on the ship, only 317 survived, making this the largest naval disaster in US History.. The details of my Grandpa's story are riddled with miracles at every turn. It is evident that God had his hand on him for those 5 days. He never went back to his old life, this wasn't just a foxhole faith. It transformed his life, his wife's, and his future generations. Please do yourself a favor and buy the book to read more!