Greatest Generation visits Wheeler & Schofield

| December 13, 2014 | 0 Comments
Edward Stone, a Navy veteran of World War II and survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, meets Soldiers as he arrives on WAAF. Stone and 11 other "Greatest Generation" veterans were treated to a tour and static displays of a Black Hawk helicopter and a Stryker combat vehicle. Later, they paid their respects at the 25th CAB’s memorial and dined at the Warrior Inn.

Edward Stone, a Navy veteran of World War II and survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, meets Soldiers as he arrives on WAAF. Stone and 11 other “Greatest Generation” veterans were treated to a tour and static displays of a Black Hawk helicopter and a Stryker combat vehicle. Later, they paid their respects at the 25th CAB’s memorial and dined at the Warrior Inn.

 

Staff Sgt. Sean Everette
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — For some, it was a return to the scene of one of the most memorable days of their lives.

For others, it was the first time they had visited this particular part of Oahu.

But for all 12 of the World War II veterans who visited Wheeler Army Airfield and Schofield Barracks, Dec. 5, it was a chance to take a walk down Memory Lane.

“It brings back all of the memories,” said Jack Holder, a former Patrol Bomber Y (PBY) pilot who was stationed on Ford Island during the Japanese attack on Oahu. “This was a wonderful occasion to be invited on this. When I was here in the Navy, I never did get to Schofield, so this is a revelation. I’m glad I get to see it.”

Thomas Pesto, a former staff sergeant in the 24th Infantry Division, was playing football on WAAF the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked.

“The memories were so bad that morning,” he said. “I always think about how we were over on the other side of the hangars playing football. Why I looked at my watch at two minutes till 8 a.m., I’ll never know, but I looked at it, and then looked up, and there’s this squadron of Japanese planes coming in.”

Pesto, Holder and the 10 other “Greatest Generation” veterans were treated to a tour of one of the historic hangars hit during the attack on Wheeler. During the tour, they also had the chance to climb into static displays of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and a Stryker combat vehicle. Afterward, they hung lei on the Soldier’s Cross at the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Memorial and had lunch with Brig. Gen. Bryan Fenton, the 25th Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General-Operations, at the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Warrior Inn dining facility.

“It makes a significant difference to us when we can take the past and link it to the future,” said Lt. Col. Josh Higgins, 2nd Battalion, 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, as he addressed the veterans at the 25th CAB Memorial. “It gives us purpose. It gives us direction. It gives us that pride we need to continue to serve our country. You’re an inspiration to us all.”

Fenton added, “Thanks for spending the day with us today. We very much appreciate it. It gives us a chance to stay in touch with our teammates and tell you, ‘Thank you,’ in person.”

The 12 visiting Greatest Generation veterans were brought to Hawaii by the Greatest Generations Foundation to honor the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu.

 

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Category: News, Observances

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