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Remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Today is the 63rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I interviewed my first Pearl Harbor veteran in 1991 for the 50th anniversary of the attack.

Gardnerville resident Leroy Ingram was on board the USS Oklahoma when she was torpedoed Dec. 7, 1941, and he had a ripping yarn to tell.

He was on the battleship’s boatdeck when he saw the airplanes coming in and thought it was dive bombing practice.

“About that time the first bomber pulled up and I saw that red meatball on the underside of the wing and I knew what was happening,” he said.

Ingram ran for his battle station in the aft 16-inch turret magazine when the first torpedo hit. He had just made it to the powder magazine deep in the ship when the order to abandon ship came. He and his mates tried to escape through the gun turret, but the hatch was jammed.

They started forward looking for an escape route as the ship rolled over onto her side. As he and two other sailors were making their way, the ship rolled all the way, with her superstructure touching the bottom.

They found a compartment where water was rushing into large portholes and had to wait as the compartment filled so they could get out. One minute Leroy was squeezing through the hole and the next he was on the surface, swimming away from the wrecked ship, lucky to have survived.

Leroy and I stayed in touch for a couple of years after and I remember getting a call from him when I moved to the Appeal.

He was active in the Northern Nevada Pearl Harbor Association until he left Carson City in 1999. He never got to see the 60th anniversary. He died in a California nursing home the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

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Appeal writer Karl Horeis took a picture of Glen Plake signing a poster for a Carson High School student on Friday night’s showing of Warren Miller’s “Journey.”

“The turn-out was the best in all four years they’ve been doing this,” Karl said.

This is the first year Plake, a Fallon resident and extreme skier often seen sporting a fluorescent mohawk, has participated in the event, hosted by Kevin Gallegos of The Sporting Rage. Sponsors included Michael Hohl Honda/Subaru, KPTL, JJ’s Ear Candy and the Carson Nugget.

Money raised from ticket sales will go to the Carson High Varsity Ski Team, according to Carson High ski coach Jack Reinhardt.

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I spoke with Skaag and Bee Skau at Java Joe’s on Thursday. Skaag was reading the Appeal at the next table as we were talking about some of the issues of the day.

Bee, who retired as a Carson City teacher after three decades, asked if I worked for the city. I introduced myself and Skaag and I talked about the newspaper business while Bee and my wife, Jennifer Hollister, talked.

Skaag’s interests were political, but Bee remembered having little Luke Ackerman in her class at Bordewich-Bray.

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You’ve heard of Abbot and Costello, but now here comes Dietsch and Richardville with the famous “Who’s on First” bit.

Joe and Marv performed the bit in the Senior Follies and are now taking their show on the road, or at least across town, to raise money for the Carson Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels.

Call Marv at 883-0703 for information.

Kurt Hildebrand is city editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at hildebrand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.