Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
Robert Kline pictured on Christmas Eve December 24, 1937 soon after graduating from the Newport Rhode Island Naval Training Station. His first ship assignment will be the U.S.S. Arizona and he received orders to report to the USS Arizona on March 8, 1938. The US Navy pistol belt and leggings (also known as Gaiters or spats) pictured above and seen worn on Robert’s Seaman uniform are now on display at the KFT American History Museum
I can only assume that Robert was exhilarated in hearing the news his first assignment was the U.S.S. Arizona. In 1937, the Arizona was no ordinary ship. It was the flagship of the U.S. Naval Pacific Fleet, but more so, the ship had become world famous in 1934 due to Warner Brothers filming the romantic comedy “Here Comes the Navy” on board the actual ship. Starring James Cagney, Pat O’brien, Gloria Stuart and Frank McHugh, the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and earned over $1.7 million at the box office. President Herbert Hoover took a vacation cruise to the Caribbean aboard the Arizona after it went under a complete modernization in 1931. The U.S.S. Arizona was the pride of the Navy, and it must have been exciting news for any sailor to start their career aboard this ship.
Taken in late January or early February of 1938 in Olean, NY, this is the last known photo of Robert Kline with his family before leaving for San Pedro, CA to board the U.S.S. Arizona. Robert completed his basic training in December 1937 and was allowed 30 days of vacation before beginning his new ship assignment. Throughout the next 3 years, Robert would send home items to his sister Ruth, who he is standing next to above. (From left to right: Arthur Kline (father), Eugene Kline (brother), Grant Kline (brother), Anna Ruth Kline (sister), Robert Kline and Jerry Kline (brother) at the bottom.