February 27, 2015

Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets

Loren Wilkerson, World War Two veteran

Low Moor, Iowa is the epitome of small town America. A post office, the city park that doubles as a ball field (with the local farmer’s corn field snug up against the property line), and a nicely appointed community center where they hold Sunday chicken dinners, especially on Low Moor Days.  My apologies for the quality of the scanned picture, but when I wrote to the Clinton Herald newspaper I received no reply to my request for a digital copy of their photo.

Loren Wilkerson, World War Two veteran

This year’s celebration of Low Moor Days included a parade that included three World War Two veterans as grand marshals. That man in the middle is my father-in-law, Loren Wilkerson.

Loren served in the Navy on the Cape Esperance in the South Pacific, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. It was on that ship that he and the crew encountered one of the Pacific’s typhoons. He doesn’t talk about that storm much, other than to say he was mighty scared.

Loren Wilkerson c. 1944 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Loren Wilkerson c. 1944 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Born in 1925, Loren was just a young guy all of the age of 19 when he joined the Navy.  As the oldest of 10 children he had been making his way on his own for many years, but going to war and being thousands of miles from dry land had to be somewhat of a culture shock.

Loren Wilkerson 1943

Loren Wilkerson 1943

I am proud of all the veterans in our family, and whenever I have an opportunity to meet a vet outside of our family, I make it a point to say “thank you”. That’s what they did in Low Moor this July, the whole town said “thank you” to these three men. Good for them!

COG -77th Edition – Disasters

Cape Esperance, US Navy WWII era

COG -77th Edition – Disasters

My father-in-law, Loren Wilkerson, was in the Navy during World War II and near the end of the war he was on the CVE (carrier vessel escort) Cape Esperance as they made their way to Leyte Gulf for the battle that would eventually take place there.

On their way to the eventual battle, the Cape Esperance encountered one of the worst typhoons in naval history.  Named typhoon Cobra, it wreaked havoc and caused many deaths for the US Naval vessels caught in its path. If you are interested in reading more about this storm, I recommend the book Typhoon, The Other Enemy by Robert Calhoun. My husband read the book and sent it to his dad. (I didn’t get to read it before that happened, so I just ordered a copy of the book for our library today.) Even though Robert Calhoun was onboard a different ship, his experiences were essentially the same as Loren’s.

Admiral Nimitiz letter to the Pacific Fleet dated 13 Feb 1945 gives an accounting of the ships involved and the damages they suffered. Not only were ships lost, but the Aircraft Losses from Typhoon Cobra 1944 were extensive. The total of the lives lost was at least 800. At one point, Loren said the ship’s captain wanted to abandon the Cape Esperance, but the men didn’t want to do that, and they fought to save the ship instead.

It’s my goal to document Loren’s history, either in the Navy, or as a civilian, so that his descendants will know stories of his life. On July 24th of 2008 the city of Low Moor, Iowa honored their WWII veterans and my article Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets is a more extensive recounting of his experience during typhoon Cobra.

Kitsap Veterans Remember Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor attack

Pearl Harbor attack

They Remember

Kitsap County has a large military presence, with many veterans who settled here after their time in service.  Two months ago our local paper, the Kitsap Sun put out a request to the community for Pearl Harbor survivor’s to share their stories.

There was an excellent article in the paper today with some of the veteran’s stories, but their web page has actual interviews of twelve who are still living to enable them to tell their stories. I know watching interviews can be time consuming, but maybe you can watch one or two at a time and come back to watch more.

Thank you to all of our military who have served, or are presently serving.

Personally, I am so grateful to the Kitsap Sun for compiling these stories and sharing them with all of us. As the saying goes, “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it”.  Click on an interview and learn something today. :)  I did!

Lone Sailor Now In Place In Bremerton, WA

Lone Sailor Statue Arrives on Bremerton’s Waterfront

As the daughter of a Navy veteran of WWII, I am happy to see this statue going up on the waterfront here in Kitsap County, WA. Bremerton is a well-liked area for Naval personnel, as well as retirees and their families. Because of our temperate climate as well as a wealth of activities that include ocean fishing, skiing, hiking and any other kind of outdoor activity you can imagine, we have become a sort of destination city and county.

Would you like to show your appreciation for all of our troops serving in the military right now? Head on over to eMOM (eMail Our Military) and see how you can make a difference!

Source: Kitsap Sun news site

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