by Catherine Starnes   

When I was growing up, I loved achieving, competing and learning. My first hero was my conservative Christian father who fought in World War II. 

He served on the U.S.S. Montgomery (a DM-17 originally built for the First World War), a destroyer ship designed to protect the larger battleships. Destroyers were always the first to be attacked. The battleships would sometimes shoot over them to hit the enemy.

The sailors of the ship had shifts of two hours watching, then two hours sleeping, but “Bed Check Charlie”, a Japanese plane, would occasionally attack ships creating a nerve-racking existence for sailors from an enemy always ready to strike. As a quartermaster signalman, my father reported information to officers regarding weather or other activities, replacing vulnerable radio communication.  

In Ngulu Bay, Micronesia, the Japanese set underwater mines. With the Montgomery leading, the US Navy came to “fret out” these on Salvo Island. While going into the atoll, a mine struck the Montgomery. Sailors jumped into the Pacific Ocean and floated for hours until a cargo ship rescued them. Five men died in the attack. A cargo ship brought survivors to Pearl Harbor where they salvaged parts off sunken ships. Luckily Dad survived and here I am writing to you!

Republican General Eisenhower (and later President) guided the Greatest Generation to World War II victory and is a military hero. I believe the Republican Party values a strong military fighting force. 

In high school, watching Firing Line and Election 1980, I noticed Republicans promoted freedom, excellence, and prosperity. William F. Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Jack Kemp and Jean Kirkpatrick all inspired me. President Reagan wanted to recreate the 1920’s economic prosperity of Republican President Coolidge. He also wanted to defeat the Communists who tormented millions in Eurasia and planned to oppress the rest of the world. Communists tormented others because they hated the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ and worshipped the Government. Those who follow this path are in torment.

During the 1980’s, I witnessed the Reagan Revolution. The US transformed from the high misery index economy of Jimmy Carter to two decades of soaring economic prosperity. Millions of people were also freed from the chains of Communism.

I have always been a Bush and Buckley fan because they are Republican Yale graduates, just as I am. Perot and Clinton attacked President Bush in 1992, so I volunteered for the Bush campaign. A  Providential push led me to volunteer during Election 2000 because the ambush and attacks might happen again. In Florida, Gore’s lawyers tried to throw out military ballots because they did not have the proper stamp or markings. Then he wanted endless recounts from selected districts. 

I wrote about this to the Tampa Tribune in 2004 and my letter was the Letter of the Day. The Tribune always respected and honored our military. Republican President Bush needed all hands on deck to fight the evildoers of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Republicans supported the military during that difficult time. Within a short while, Democrats politicized support of the military for their own gain.

I am a Republican because I believe in the heritage of this country, and in the people who serve it.


Catherine Starnes of Plant City is a member of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee.