GREENVILLE — The Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution invited all local veterans for doughnuts, baked goods and coffee, on Wednesday, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
The “stop in” took place at the Darke County Extension Services Office meeting room, in Greenville, Ohio. Helen Wright was the committee chair for the event, which hosted 40 people.
“The veterans were very appreciative and enjoyed the event,” Wright said. “Fort GreeneVille DAR are strong supporters of our military and veterans.”
DAR members in attendance were: Regent Debbie Nisonger, Helen Wright, Doris Aultman, Caroline Petitjean, Chris Nehring, Corrinne Zwiesler, Mary Jane Dietrich and Karen Burkett. Several visited and reminisced, including: local veterans, two from Preble County, and seven WWII veterans. One WW II Veteran, Herbert M. Saylor enjoys the opportunity to renew old friendships and gain some new.
“It does show the appreciation from the community,” Saylor said of the event.
Saylor said he is very comfortable talking about his time serving the country.
“I sometimes think too much emphasis is put on the things that we did,” he said. “I think we did it for a good reason.”
Saylor served the U.S. Navy from 1944 — 46, on a battle cruiser, the USS Guam. He served for the duration of the war plus points gathered in service. He joined to follow his four brothers who served.
“I graduated from high school one night, and was in boot camp the next,” he said.
Saylor recalls a couple highlights from his time spent during the war.
“We went in about 35 miles off of the coast of Japan to rescue an aircraft carrier USS Franklin,” he said. “We also went in with the occupational forces and brought part of them home.”
Another WW II Veteran Tom Whitton served from 1942 — 46. He had graduated from high school and couldn’t get a job, he said. He wanted to be a navy pilot, but the U.S. Navy was taking quotas of men from different areas and they were out of space for him. Instead, he served the U.S. Marines, on the Fleet Marine Force.
He remembers his time spent on the Hawaiian Islands. In Hawaii, martial law was declared within hours of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and it lasted for nearly three years, until October 24, 1944.
“When I got over there we were doing the security and the word was, if someone came out at night and lit a cigarette or match, shoot them,” he said. “In total darkness, a cigarette light or match light would travel a long way. The military didn’t know if the Japanese had troops on the Hawaiian islands or not. The islands were pretty desolate at that time.”
Larry McLear, was drafted in 1965. He served in the U.S. Army’s 196th Light Infantry Brigade, during the Vietnam War, until 1967. The Light infantry are units of soldiers that have no attached tank units or armored personnel carriers, and fewer artillery pieces and helicopters than the heavy, mechanized infantry divisions. Once transported, they tend to walk to war, rather than ride.
“It was the army’s first Light infantry,” he said. “We could move fast — we could go anyplace.”
He enjoys gathering with other veterans, as they have much in common, all having served in the military. He believes the treatment of veterans has improved.
“People recognize the veterans now, and they are trying to help us out,” he said.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.