Borgnine, Ermes Effron, GM1c

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Last Rank
Gunner's Mate 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
GM-0000-Gunner's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Gunner's Mate
Primary Unit
1942-1945, GM-0000, USS Sylph (PY-12)
Service Years
1935 - 1945
GM-Gunner's Mate
Two Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Jeff Owejan (weeje), CMC to remember Borgnine, Ermes Effron, GM1c.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Los Angeles, CA

Date of Passing
Jul 08, 2012
Location of Interment
Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Hollywood Hills, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Famous People Who ServedUnited States Navy Memorial
  2016, Famous People Who Served [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2016, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
USS Lamberton (DD-119)USS Sylph (PY-12)
  1936-1941, GM-0000, USS Lamberton (DD-119)
  1942-1945, GM-0000, USS Sylph (PY-12)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Oct 08, 1935, Service entry date and Serial Number
  Oct 08, 1935, Navy Muster Reports list him as Ermes Borgnine
  Feb 15, 1936, Received on USS Lamberton
  Jul 07, 1939, Temporary Transfer to US Naval Hospital Mare Island CA
  Aug 08, 1939, Returned from US Naval Hospital Mare Island CA
  Oct 07, 1939, Extended Enlistment for 2 full years
  Feb 11, 1941, Promoted to GM3c
  Oct 07, 1941, Honorably Discharged
  Jan 22, 1942, Re-enlisted after being out since Oct 1941
  Jan 22, 1942, Promoted to GM2c
  Jan 29, 1942, Received on USS Sylph
  May 17, 1942, Muster Report list as Dangerous Waters
  Nov 16, 1942, Promoted to GM1c
  Mar 18, 1944, Temporary Transfer to US Naval Hospital Brooklyn, NY
  Apr 19, 1944, Returned to USS Sylph from USNH Brooklyn
  Aug 08, 1945, Transferred to Receiving Station( Armed Guard Center) Brooklyn, NY
  Feb 20, 2013, General Photos18
  Mar 27, 2016, Naval History Bio
  Mar 27, 2016, Year of the Chief Challange Coin1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Early Life
Born Ermes Effron Borgnino in January 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut, the actor was the son of Italian immigrants and the grandson of Count Paolo Boselli, who shared his apparently abundant financial wisdom with King Victor Emmanuel of Italy. Borgnine graduated from New Haven's high school in 1935 and worked a stint selling vegetables off the back of a truck before enlisting. It was while he was pondering his future as a vegetable salesman (at the same time fully aware of how lucky he was to have a job in those lean years) that Borgnine's gaze fell upon a U.S. Navy recruiting poster. Not long thereafter he was in the Navy, an experience that he still credits with making a man out of him. It also provided a fertile atmosphere for the development of his future character in television's McHale's Navy. 

Navy Life 
The apprentice seaman remained in the Navy for ten years (including one hiatus), from October 1935 to October 1941 and then from January 1942 to September 1945. His first tour was served on board the four-stacker USS Lamberton (DD-119). During the 1930s the Lamberton operated out of San Diego, towing targets for surface combatants, submarines, and aircraft, a role that was to serve her well during World War II. She also participated in experimental minesweeping exercises and was redesignated DMS-1 (minesweeper, destroyer) in November 1940.

In 1941 Borgnine left the Navy, only to reenlist after Pearl Harbor. From January 1942 until the end of the war he served in the USS Sylph (PY-12), a converted yacht devoted to antisubmarine-warfare activities throughout the war. Operating first out of Tompkinsville (New York) and then New London (Connecticut), the Sylph patrolled for German U-boats during 1942, a devastating year for American merchantmen off the East Coast. In the fall of 1943 she was assigned to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and a year later to the naval base at Port Everglades, Florida, along with her unit, the surface division of the Atlantic Fleet's Antisubmarine Development Detachment. She was used mainly for training sonarmen and testing and researching new sound and antisubmarine equipment. The Sylph and her unit contributed greatly to the U.S. victory over Germany's vaunted undersea gray wolves. 

During his naval service Borgnine rose in rank from seaman to gunner's mate first class. Upon his discharge in 1945, he was allowed to wear the American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, and the World War II Victory Medal.

He returned to New Haven but could not muster any enthusiasm for the life of factory work that seemed to loom before him. He seriously considered reenlisting in the Navy, but finally, encouraged by his mother, he decided to give show business a whirl. A logical choice, he concluded, as he had always liked to ham it up.

The GI Bill gave Borgnine the means to pursue his education, and he studied for six months at the Randall School of Dramatic Art in Hartford. Next, in the spring of 1946, he was off to the Barber Theater in Abindgon, Virginia, for some real-life experience. He wound up staying there for four years, working at whatever was needed at the moment--driving, scenery-painting, various stagehand chores. At last he persuaded his higher-ups to let him get on the stage during a performance, and there he remained. After appearing in numerous plays throughout the following few months, the budding actor decided it was time to move on to New York.

The city greeted him with its customary indifference, and Borgnine had his share of tough times before getting a part on Broadway in the play Harvey, in the role of a hospital worker. This led to other theater work, including the role of Guildenstern in a production of Hamlet that traveled to Denmark and Germany to entertain U.S. servicemen.

After appearing in several more plays as well as television programs, one of which was Captain Video, Borgnine landed his first work in movies, China Corsair (1951). Now it was time for Hollywood, but by now he had also been typecast as a villain. Several fine roles resulted, including From Here to Eternity (1953), before his performance in Marty (1955) proved definitively that Ernest Borgnine was a versatile actor. After winning the Academy's best-actor award in 1955, his future was secure. His work in All Quiet on the Western Front (1979, costarring Richard Thomas) helped win that movie an Emmy nomination.

Big, friendly, and endowed with a Latin gusto for everyday life, Borgnine was known for his amiability and lack of pretention. The father of three children, he had been married since 1972 to Tova Traesnaes. He was wed four times previously; his renowned 1964 third marriage was to Ethel Merman.

Borgnine continued to make movies and television shows; in 1995-97 he played a doorman in the sitcom The Single Guy. He still corresponded with some of his old Navy pals, and as an honorary flight leader of the Blue Angels, he often took the team to dinner when they flew into Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California. Mr. Borgnine died 8 July 2012 in Los Angeles, at the age of 95.

Other Comments:
In October 2004, Borgnine received the honorary title of chief petty officer from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott.

Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine obtained a lifelong dream of advancement to chief petty officer.  The actor who played Lt. Cmdr. Quniton McHale in the 1960s television show, "McHale's Navy," not only played a sailor on TV, he served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years.  Borgnine enlisted in the Navy in 1935 serving on destroyers and submarine chasers.  He served his commitment until 1941, but after just three months of being a civilian again, Pearl Harbor was hit by the Japanese and Borgnine returned to active duty.  Borgnine went to sea with the Navy -- helping to guard the U.S. Atlantic Coastline during the height of World War II.  He rose to the rank of Gunner's Mate 1st Class.  He left the Navy after the war in 1945, but he says he never forgot what he learned.  "Of all of my successes in life, including all that I've earned in acting, being in the Navy is my greatest achievement," Borgnine told an audience at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.  "The camaraderie and the work ethic is something that I always remembered... and it's what got me through things the rest of my life."  Borgnine was presented with a Chief's pin, hat and given the title, "Honorary Chief Petty Officer" from the highest ranking enlisted man in the U.S. Navy -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott.  Scott does not give out such honorary titles very often, but he said because of Borgnine's Navy service, and his support of the Navy and it's families, Borgnine deserves this special advancement.

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