Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Parents and Their Experiences with Pearl Harbor

These are some excerpts I am taking from the history I wrote of my father after he passed away.

Before the attack on Peal Harbor, the War had effected Rigby where my dad lived.  The 1941 Yearbook tells the story of Company F, 116th Engineers.  This company was called into active duty in September of 1940, just as school was starting.  The football team had a poor year, and this was partially to blame.  Many of the team members were part of this unit.  "Many of the regulars on the team departed for military training at about the same time school opened last fall.  This crippled the team considerable."  (Rodeo 1941)
Pearl Harbor: The attack on Pearl Harbor took place during Dad's Junior Year.  This attack I am sure had a lasting effect on Dad--as it did the entire nation.  A book about the USS Arizona talks of this effect, "Probably every American alive that day could remember precisely when and where the horrible news became known to them, whether they were listening to the radio or watching the Dodgers play the Giants in a late season football game in New York." (The USS Arizona, Joy Walden Jasper et al)  Mom remembers hearing the story Sunday evening from a neighbor boy who had been listening to the radio. (Ileen Wardle)  Verna [dad's sister] recounted how her family heard of the news.  "We had just moved into a house on the road.  Dad [Grandpa Wardle] bought an old radio.  We moved in on Saturday but he wouldn't let us listen to the radio until Sunday after breakfast.  The first thing we heard on the radio was the bombing of Pearl harbor.  Our neighbor's son was stationed at Pearl, Udell Toomer.  It wasn't until the next day that his family got word that he was all right." (Verna Green)
Captain Mervyn Bennion, who was Captain of the U.S.S. West Virginia, died in this attack.  He was the cousin of Ellis Chase, Audrey's [dad's sister's] husband.  Ellis' full name was Ellis Bennion Chase.  His mother was Ida Bennion.  For more of Captain Bennion's story look here.
On the two-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor dad wrote to Audrey, "I guess it was just two years ago today whet it all started.  We've got quite a bit to get even with."  (Jim Wardle letter)

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