By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
Shortly before 8 o’clock in the morning 70 years ago today, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers and sailors died in the devastating attack. Another 1,000 were wounded.
This past Veterans Day, Lee Trainor who lives at the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that we manage in Moline, Illinois, talked with me about where he was when he heard the news and his experience in World War II.
He was living in Kansas City and had gone to Hutchinson, Kansas, for a visit. Hutchinson is located on the Arkansas River, nearly 40 miles northwest of Wichita. There was a radio playing on a small table in the lobby of the hotel where he was saying. It stopped playing so he went over to see what was wrong and heard the announcement.
Two weeks later, Lee went into the service of our country at the age of 18. He was in the second wave of Marines to land on Iwo Jima in the battle with the Japanese for this strategic stronghold in 1945. He watched from within a few hundred yards as Marines raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi.
He spent nearly six week in combat on the island but says he does not remember a single thing from about the third day until the last day of combat. About 4 a.m. that morning, a live mortar landed just two feet away from where he was standing. He reasons that the mortar did not explode because the volcanic soil he was standing in was so soft.
Following his discharge from the service, Lee went to the University of Missouri (Mizzou) in Columbia and on to enjoy a career in newspapers and advertising. While working for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, he had the opportunity to cover President Eisenhower at a ranch up in the high country.
Fred Collins, another resident of Heritage Woods of Moline, was working as a machinist at the Arsenal in Rock Island when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He served as a Fighting Seabee in the South Pacific. He was part of the Battle of Okinawa, which was the largest amphibious invasion of the Pacific campaign and the bloodiest battle in the Pacific War. Reportedly, more people lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa than in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Fred talked about serving in a fox hole during the battle, with bullets flying and Kamikaze aircraft and mortar shells dropping from the sky. His buddy serving next to him in the fox hole was killed. Fred was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his service.
Resident John Suggs spoke with me about serving in Pearl Harbor for two years. He worked for ship repair unit.
I also had the pleasure of talking with a resident who had a sister who went into the WAVES in World War II to preserve family history. Their father had served in World War I and they could trace ancestor serving in our military back to the Civil War. She worked as a mechanic in Norman, Oklahoma.
Above is a picture of many of the residents at Heritage Woods of Moline who served in one of the branches of our military. We thank these and all Veterans for their service.
Veterans Who Live at Heritage Woods of Moline
|Ronald Fording||Air Force|
On History.com, there is a Pearl Harbor section with video, pictures and more. Click here to view the webpage.
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Tags: Affordable Assisted Living Community, Battle of Okinawa, Fighting Seabee, Fox Hole, Hawaii, Heritage Woods of Moline, Hiroshima, Hutchinson Kansas, Iwo Jima, Japan, Kansas City, Lee Trainor, Mount Suribachi, Nagasaki, Pearl Harbor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Eisenhower, Rocky Mountain News, U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, University of Missouri, US Bronze Star Medal, US Flag, US Marines, World War II