space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* WIAA Announces Fall Sportsmanship Recipients
* DNR Puts Aside Proposal to Stock Big Green Lake with Atlantic Salmon
* Crivitz Players Top Scorers in Hoops Club
* Coleman Wrestlers Take Care Of Esky; Wolverines Also Notch Win
* Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Comments Chart Next Steps

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Marine Gunderson Once Survived 3 Days and Nights in Hurricane

By Vern Hollister



With Veterans Day Sunday, Nov. 11. the Nation turned to thanking men and women who served their our country. Schools held thankful remembrances, and other observances took place, including reunions among those who shared a common bond. This year marks the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps.

Eight or nine times in the past 20 or so years, Ken Gunderson, an Armstrong Creek resident and before that a resident of Goodman, travelled to St. Louis, Mo. for a reunion of crew members and families of 13 Marine Corps pilots who landed in the Pacific and survived for three days and three nights before being rescued.

At age 92 this month, Gunderson received his wings and reported for duty in the Pacific Theater. On his first mission, along with 23 other pilots in formation, he was on his way to move from one location to another in a Pacific Island chain controlled by the Japanese military. Without advance warning of weather conditions, the 24 pilots hit a “tropical hurricane.” Thirteen pilots landed on the 40-50 foot waves and trusted their lives to seat life rafts in which they sat. Eventually, they connected with one another while being bounced around. They tied themselves together with a section of rope made of hemp, and the pilots rode out the storm before eventually being spotted by a navy search plane.

Gunderson said he has gone to the reunion begun by a master sergeant and his family about every other year. He wished to travel to St. Louis in 2012. He asked Goodman resident Maurice “Maury” Casper if he’d like to go along and help drive. Casper served in the Navy from 1952-1961 on the USS Lake Champlain, an aircraft carrier.

Once he said to me, “I’ve got a reunion down in St. Louis,” Caspar said. “Would you like to go with me? We’ll take my car, and you can help drive.”

Gunderson would pay the expenses. He needed someone to help with the driving.

Two other veterans, younger, heard about the plans for the trip at the 8-HI Club in Goodman. Their reaction, according to Lenny Laabs and Mike Castelic, was “Road Trip? We’ll go on a road trip.”

Laabs served in the Navy out of Norfolk, Va., from 1962-1965 and Castelic was a former Army engineer. They were not only interested in the weekend trip, but they also had some concern for the the two veterans taking off from Goodman by themselves. They also thought it may be a good idea to rent a car. Castelic connected with Paul Eliason of Broadway Chevrolet in Green Bay who happened to be a Marine veteran. One serviceman to another, after hearing the story, Eliason said, “We’ll give you a car to drive.”

On Oct. 21, the four left with Laabs and Castelic doing the driving. When the quartet arrived at the hotel in St. Louis, each had a room and surviving members of the crews and families were present for the banquet and reunion. The hotel set up a “ready room,” just as if Gunderson, one of the two surviving pilots was preparing for another mission. The other survivor couldn’t make it because of health issues. Gunderson gets out almost everyday, and, according to reports, shoots a mean game of pool in a winter league that just began,.

Gunderson said that on previous reunions their stories have been taped. This year, he said a showing on a PBS station in Orange County, Calif., is scheduled, and the hope is that it will be picked up by other PBS stations.

When the 24 pilots left, they were unaware of the storm raging in their flight path. Roughly half the pilots and their planes didn’t survive the hurricane. Officially, they were “lost at sea” and “missing in action.”

They lost their planes, also, after releasing their seats, but Gunderson and the dozen others survived because of their own ability to handle the first intake of salt water and get away from the planes without being drawn underneath. Gunderson likened the survival raft to being in a “baby’s bassinet.” For two hours, as the were tossed about, they paddled with their hands to reach a comrade, connect, and then search for another. Sometimes they were at a wave’s crest and could look down to see another pilot. They struggled to use their lengths of hemp rope to tie them to one another.

Ocean water caused them to have the dry heaves. For three days and three nights, the 13 rode the waves, sang at times, and at other moments shot at sharks which followed them. About 5 p.m. the third day, a Navy search plane spotted the pilots. At 11 p.m. that same evening, they climbed a ladder thrown down from the deck of a destroyer to safety, put on clean pajamas, and slept in a bed that a sailor gave up for exhausted Marine pilots.

Gunderson followed this, his first mission, with over a 100 more. Nearing the age of 92 this month, he left with Laabs, described by Caspar as a “bilge rat,” a Navy veteran who worked with engines like those for Gunderson’s carrier. Caspar, they teased, only raised and lowered the anchor. Caspar said with a touch of pride, he could tie any knot the Navy required.

With the connection of those four at the 8-HI Club, the hardy veterans took a Road Trip to recall one of the harrowing experiences that veterans throughout the country have experienced. On Veterans Day, they are thanked for their courage and what they have done to keep this Nation free.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
12-17-2014Sports
WIAA Announces Fall Sportsmanship Recipients

12-17-2014Sports
DNR Puts Aside Proposal to Stock Big Green Lake with Atlantic Salmon

12-17-2014Sports
Crivitz Players Top Scorers in Hoops Club

12-17-2014Sports
Coleman Wrestlers Take Care Of Esky; Wolverines Also Notch Win

12-17-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

12-17-2014Perspectives
From our readers

12-17-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

12-17-2014Obituaries
Josephine V. Truel

12-17-2014Obituaries
Lois G. Sielaff

12-17-2014Obituaries
William J. Shelton

12-17-2014Obituaries
John D. Maye

12-17-2014Obituaries
Arbutus A. Lowry Lutri

12-17-2014Obituaries
Cecil E. Kuhnle

12-17-2014Obituaries
Judith Francour

12-17-2014Obituaries
Charles B. Drewry Jr.

12-17-2014Obituaries
Milton E. Dettman

12-17-2014Obituaries
Paul B. Sutek

12-17-2014Obituaries
Jodine S. Stone

12-17-2014Obituaries
Dr. Yulia Seledsova-Mamonov

12-17-2014Obituaries
Chase M. Polfus

12-17-2014Obituaries
Irene T. Miller

12-17-2014Obituaries
Ethel H. Brouette

12-17-2014Obituaries
Bernice F. Gronnert

12-17-2014Obituaries
Bonnie L. Gorshe

12-17-2014Obituaries
Mary Bradley

12-17-2014Obituaries
Clarence Bird

12-17-2014Obituaries
James E. Betzinger

12-17-2014Obituaries
Allan J. Belair

12-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Okays Ordinances, Tire Recycling Costs

12-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
T/Wausaukee Buys Voting Machine, Increase Wages

12-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Updated On Rescue Squad Contract

12-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Podiatrist at Assisted Living

12-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz VFW Auxiliary Unit Given Certificates of Awards

12-17-2014Community - Crivitz
200 Enjoy Village Sleigh Ride, Santa

12-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Christmas Gospel Jam is Dec. 19

12-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Lists Students of Month

12-17-2014Community - Coleman
CHS Financial Aid Meet Jan. 6

12-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Library January Events

12-17-2014Community - Coleman
Markiewicz Bank Branch Manager

12-17-2014News
Christmas Gospel Jam is Dec. 19

12-17-2014News
Area Graduates UW-M Dec. 14

12-17-2014News
Wausaukee Legion Party Dec. 21

12-17-2014Front Page
Over 100 Attend Chamber Christmas Tree Lighting Event

12-17-2014Front Page
Board Chair Sends 40-Week Petition Back To Committee

12-17-2014Front Page
Town Peshtigo OKs $1,000 A Year Raise For Fire Chief

12-17-2014Front Page
Propose New Type Of Littoral Combat Ship

12-17-2014Front Page
Riverside Cemetery To Choose Trustees, Set Rules In February

12-10-2014Sports
Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Comments Chart Next Steps

12-10-2014Sports
Bulldogs Fall To Blue Devils; Cougars On Top In Pulaski

12-10-2014Sports
Majewski, Klaver Power Bulldogs To Blowout Victory Over Suring

12-10-2014Sports
Crivitz Prevails Over Oconto

12-10-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

12-10-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

12-10-2014Obituaries
Harold Lawrence Wolff

12-10-2014Obituaries
Robert J. Vandenberg

12-10-2014Obituaries
Ralph J. Tiegs

12-10-2014Obituaries
Vivian R. Sturman

12-10-2014Obituaries
Ralph A. Schneider

12-10-2014Obituaries
Fay L. Schmidt

12-10-2014Obituaries
Allan Schmidt

12-10-2014Obituaries
Sybil I. Schaut

12-10-2014Obituaries
Mike H. Opolka

12-10-2014Obituaries
Scott L. Colson

12-10-2014Obituaries
Bruce L. Borgen

12-10-2014Obituaries
Robert J. Becker Sr.

12-10-2014Obituaries
Donald R. Anderson, M.D.

12-10-2014Obituaries
Dolores H. Schroeder

12-10-2014Obituaries
Carol M. Rickaby

12-10-2014Obituaries
Ronald Reinert

12-10-2014Obituaries
William R. Presl

12-10-2014Obituaries
Dorothy G. Palmer

12-10-2014Obituaries
Harold J. LaCosse

12-10-2014Obituaries
Gladys I. Krei

12-10-2014Obituaries
Donna R. Johnson

12-10-2014Obituaries
Dorothea Jaeger

12-10-2014Obituaries
Kazmiera Gromoske

12-10-2014Obituaries
Judith A. Fuchs

12-10-2014Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post/Unit 66 2014 Christmas Party

12-10-2014Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire Auxiliary Christmas Party

12-10-2014Community - Wausaukee
29 Children at Silver Cliff Christmas Party

12-10-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Fire Department Sportsmen Raffle Winners

12-10-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Students Earn Students of Month Honors

12-10-2014Community - Crivitz
Christmas Gospel Jam is Dec. 1

12-10-2014Community - Crivitz
CAWC Auction Realizes $4500

12-10-2014Community - Crivitz
17 At Active Seniors Dinner

12-10-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board Dec. 15

12-10-2014Community - Coleman
7th Village of Pound Christmas Parade Dec. 13

12-10-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman School to Host Senior Citizens

12-10-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Names Students of Month

12-10-2014News
Wausaukee Legion Party Dec. 21

12-10-2014News
Santa Letters Due Dec. 14

12-10-2014News
Suring Church Cookie Walk on Dec. 13

12-10-2014News
Lena Cookie Walk Dec. 15

12-10-2014Front Page
Marinette Musician in Concertina Hall of Fame

12-10-2014Front Page
County To Reap Savings In Health/Dental Insurance Costs

12-10-2014Front Page
State Aid Payment Puts Grover Back In Black

12-10-2014Front Page
County Forest Income Keeps Setting Records

12-10-2014Front Page
Disposing of Drugs Is Becoming A Problem

12-03-2014Sports
Preliminary Deer Harvest is 191,550, Down 8 Percent

12-03-2014Sports
Cougars Claim Two Victories In Bonduel

12-03-2014Sports
Wolosyn Goes Wild, Scores 19 As Badgers Beat Up On Wolverines

12-03-2014Sports
Bulldogs Kick Off Season With Solid Win Over Marines

12-03-2014Perspectives
From our readers

12-03-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

12-03-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

12-03-2014Obituaries
Robert C White

12-03-2014Obituaries
Dale M. Vanderfin

12-03-2014Obituaries
Jerry A. Uecke

12-03-2014Obituaries
Lennice M. Swearingen

12-03-2014Obituaries
John Stiglitz

12-03-2014Obituaries
Mary E. Sodergren

12-03-2014Obituaries
Russell R. Schroeder

12-03-2014Obituaries
Edythe E. Sager

12-03-2014Obituaries
Joann M. Richardson

12-03-2014Obituaries
Arthur Plutchak

12-03-2014Obituaries
Margaret M. Patz

12-03-2014Obituaries
Raymond R. Olson

12-03-2014Obituaries
Thomas R. Mueller

12-03-2014Obituaries
Karl H. Missbach

12-03-2014Obituaries
Mary L. Miller

12-03-2014Obituaries
Francis J. McDougal

12-03-2014Obituaries
Nancy J. Makuen

12-03-2014Obituaries
Shirley A. Lisowe-Beaumia

12-03-2014Obituaries
Lew J. Jopek, Sr.

12-03-2014Obituaries
Myron D. Janik

12-03-2014Obituaries
Elizabeth Brown

12-03-2014Obituaries
Luella Swiatnicki

12-03-2014Obituaries
Lennice M. Swearingen

12-03-2014Obituaries
John Stiglitz

12-03-2014Obituaries
Mary E. Sodergren

12-03-2014Obituaries
Russell R. Schroeder

12-03-2014Obituaries
Alice C. Redfearn

12-03-2014Obituaries
Arthur Plutchak

12-03-2014Obituaries
Lawrence P. Ozechowski

12-03-2014Obituaries
Patsy L. Nuttall

12-03-2014Obituaries
Ronald E. Meyer

12-03-2014Obituaries
McCue Children

12-03-2014Obituaries
Arnold F. Marble

12-03-2014Obituaries
John C. Kobylarczyk

12-03-2014Obituaries
Nancy A. Kartheiser

12-03-2014Obituaries
Keith L. Kamps

12-03-2014Obituaries
Eunice M. Hollingsworth

12-03-2014Obituaries
Richard G. Hofer

12-03-2014Obituaries
Patricia L. Harper

12-03-2014Obituaries
Fannie M. Fillinger

12-03-2014Obituaries
Everett M. Edminster

12-03-2014Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Bahl

12-03-2014Obituaries
Glen W. Anderla

12-03-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Grade 5-8 Basketball Tournaments

12-03-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Blood Drive Dec. 8th


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Is Christmas too commercialized?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2014
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites