We often ask the interviewee about his or her mentors in their formative years. Rev. Ed Helm was my pastor, and a major positive factor in my own young life. If they made a movie about Ed Helm it would be called The Encourager. Ed was a member of an elite Navy group in World War II called the Armed Guard. It wasn't until our interviews with Glen Franklin and Fred Peeples that I began to fully understand the full impact of this service. The Armed Guard were regular Navy gunners who were assigned to Merchant Marine ships. They were on their own, with ships that were slow and heavily loaded with volatile cargos, against a determined enemy. The Armed Guard had the highest causality rate of any Navy group in World War II.
Ed Helm also served on board a unique Navy ship, the U.S.S. Virgo. To fully appreciate the story of the Virgo, one needs to go to Max Huber's excellent, award winning site on the ship that was the true life ship of Mr. Roberts fame www.uss-virgo.com.
Ed's early ministry
Gun operations, it's OK to die
The Armed Guard
The following pictures of the USS Virgo and its crew were found after Edwin's death. They are in thumbnail form, click each picture to see it full size.
Can you help us identify these crew members? If so please email us the information and we will add it to the site.
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