MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – Ken Tate has lived in Manitowoc for most of his life. But he didn’t grow up there.

“When the war started, I was a senior in high school (in Brooklyn, New York). I wanted to quit and my mother said, ‘No. If you graduate, I will then sign the paper to let you get in the Navy.’ That’s the best thing she ever did,” said Tate.

A 17-year-old Brooklyn boy at the time, Ken Tate was just shy of being able to join the Navy without a parent’s signature.

Soon, he’d be in Manitowoc waiting to board the USS Rasher, in the midst of the second world war.

“Well you know, a young kid, teenager, away from home and I thought the war was a big adventure. I really enjoyed the Navy,” Tate recalled. It was exciting and dangerous, I enjoyed every minute that I was in the service.”

Tate recalls his time on the Rasher deep beneath the seas of Perth; Better than you might expect.

Air conditioning, laundry, and not as cramped as people think.

“All during the war, we stayed mostly on the surface. People think we’re always underneath the water, but we had radar that the Japanese didn’t have, so we could pick up an airplane or another ship way ahead of time, then we could dive,” Tate said.

In ’45, Tate got out of the Navy and married the girl from Manitowoc he met during his early years.

He still lives here today, as the last living crew member from the USS Rasher during WWII.

And he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I think it was the right thing to do. And, even though sometimes when people are killed, you think about that, but this is what this country is all about, and so you did your job. I made the right decision,” Tate said.

Tate went on to get his degree in social work using the GI Bill at UW Madison, and worked as the director of social work for Manitowoc County for 35 years.