Dale Knowles | MVH Caribou Veteran Stories | U.S. Navy

Author: MVH Caribou
Posted: March 19, 2019
Category: Maine Veterans of the Month

Dale Knowles was born in Pittsfield, Maine, in December 1944.  He is one of four children born to Althea and Ralph Knowles.  Dale describes his family as hard working, family oriented and his father as very strict. His favorite childhood memories include, helping family friends on their farm, swimming with his brother and sister, and helping his mom garden and can veggies.

Dale enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Higgins Classical Institute and served from 1966 to 1988.  His brother, Paul, also served in the Navy from 1967 to 1969.  Dale’s father, Ralph, wanted to enlist in the military but was turned away due to medical issues. 

Before joining the military, Dale carefully considered his options in the varying branches of service.  He chose the Navy because he knew he would have hot meals every day and a bunk to sleep in every night.  Dale recalls the useful life skills he learned in boot camp:  how to do laundry, how to hang clothes up to dry without clothespins, how to swim, how to use a rifle, and how to use clothes as a life preserver. Dale had a few different jobs during his service, including ship fitter, carpenter, welder, and pipe fitter.  He served aboard the USS Jason (AR-8), USS Exultant (MSO-441), and USS Falcon (ASR 2).

Dale served during the Vietnam War and visited many ports during his 22 years of service.  A few of the places he visited were the Philippines, Antarctica, Japan, Hawaii, Taiwan, New Zealand, Spain, Yemen, and Kenya.  He always enjoyed sampling the different cuisines at his ports of call.  Among his favorites were New Zealand (the best for “high class dining”), Philippines, Japan, and the floating restaurants of Hong Kong. Dale retired with the rank E7 and was awarded the Vietnam Medal, National Defense Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. He fondly recalls the good friends he made during his service. He also remembers sailors standing in the steam room, then going outside in Antarctica and watching the steam roll off their bodies.  Dale enjoyed his time during in the Navy and would do it all over again if he had the chance.

Dale married Beverly in 1972, and they have two children, Sarah and Paul. They also have one granddaughter, Chloe, who Dale likes to call Squirt.  After retiring from the Navy, they settled in Aroostook County.  He spent the first year of his retirement remodeling their home.  When he rejoined the workforce, he worked in a variety of occupations, but the one that gave him the most satisfaction was working with handicapped children at the Work Opportunity Center.  Dale was also a Boy Scout leader and a Mason.

Dale enjoys living at Maine Veterans’ Home – Caribou.   He appreciates the secure environment, the regular schedule for his medications, activities, and overall having something to do most of the time. His favorite activities include:  art classes, bingo, puzzles, reading the paper, watching TV, leatherwork, outings (especially bowling), bus rides, and going out for lunch.  Dale feels that, in addition to his service in the Navy, his greatest accomplishments are his family and working with children.

Thank You, Dale, for your service to our nation!

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