The South Pacific
WWII Museum

January 21, 2019

We Remember Milton L. Staley

It was with much sadness that we learnt this morning of the passing of Milton L. Staley, aged 99. Not only was Milton the last known survivor from the sinking of the SS President Coolidge, he was just as importantly a D-Day hero, Purple Heart and Silver Star recipient, frequent Facebooker and a wonderful friend of the South Pacific World War II Museum project. But rather than have us tell you about his wonderful life, we thought we’d let his nephew Richard Staley do that, in this touching tribute he posted on our Facebook page.

Another of the Greatest Generation has joined the long green line of WWII veterans who now march slowly into the past Friday evening.

My uncle enjoyed the status of an international rock star — not the arrogant, self-indulgence of a musician, but the respect, sometimes adulation and love of scores of friends at home and in places as widely separated as the Southwest Pacific, Belgium and France. He was a hero — Silver Star and two purple hearts — but he was quiet and always unassuming. He loved his country, his beloved wife (his childhood sweetheart whose passing he mourned until his last moments on earth), his family and friends. And even younger vets he met in the coffeeshop and adopted as family.

Tough times make tough people. Milt and my father and uncle Ed lost their mother at an early age. They grew up in hardscrabble northern Minnesota during the Great Depression. Their graduation ceremony to adulthood was induction into the US military for service in the greatest war in history.

Milt was a gentle man. But he was always a warrior. The Redding Police chaplain who prayed with us for Milt’s departed soul was a Lakota Sioux. The battlecry of Sioux warriors, he said, was also an affirmation of life — live each day as if it was your last:

“Hoka Hay!” (Today is a good day to die.)

It is seldom a good day for those left behind, but for Milton Leroy Staley it was a release from pain. He wanted to celebrate his 100th birthday in May, but Friday he decided that it was time to rejoin Aunt Dorie and his mother and father and brothers and son in a better place.

Hoka hay.

Presentation Thumb

Chief of Aus Defence
gifts flag to Museum.

The Museum receives a
commemorative flag from
Australia’s defence chief.

Our VSA star hits 
the airwaves in NZ.

The Museum’s Kevin McCarthy
is interviewed on Radio
New Zealand.

Vale Allan Power

We honour the passing of a diving legend and one of
the true pioneers of tourism
on Espiritu Santo.

New War In The Pacific 
Project On Google Earth

The Museum has lent its support to an exciting project from The Ocean Agency.

High Commissioners 
Support Museum Project

Museum representatives meet with the Aus & NZ High Commissioners in Vila.

Official US Charity Status Close

The South Pacific WWII Museum is close to receiving 501(c)(3) charity status.

Creating a dream

Bradley Wood, Founding Chairman of the South Pacific World War II Museum,  describes the plans for the construction of the museum in Luganville, the main town on Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu and the role he sees the museum playing.

Where to find us

The South Pacific World War II Museum will be built on the island of
Espiritu Santo, one of the islands that make up the Pacific Island nation
of Vanuatu. You can zoom in to see just where that is on the map.

Come And Experience Espiritu Santo