Pearl Harbor survivor recalls fateful event


Tribune photo by Aaron Piper / Don Herther, one of the grand marshals at the 2012 V-J Day Parade, stands in a vehicle as he waits for the parade to start. Herther is a survivor of Pearl Harbor, and held the rank of Master Chief with 42 years of service before retiring.

At 90, rural Vallonia resident Don Herther has trouble remembering some of the important dates in his life, including when he retired and when he moved to his home in northern Washington County.

But the veteran of the U.S. Navy has little trouble remembering where he was Dec. 7, 1941.

“God willing, I may be one of the last survivors of Pearl Harbor,” Herther said earlier this week. “I was just a teenager.”

Herther joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in Indianapolis when he was 17. It was a decision that kept him from graduating from high school.

“I was in the reserves, and they mobilized us before graduation,” Herther said.

Herther said he was lured into the Navy after watching news shorts, most of which showed a battle wagon plowing through the waves.

“I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.

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