space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Coleman Finishes Undefeated, On Top Of M-O
* Maroons Make It Six Straight Over Marines
* Free Basketball Clinic For Boys Grades 3-6
* Michigan Muskies Fit To Fight In Wisconsin
* Marinette County Deer Advisory Council Second Meeting Oct. 28

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
10-23-2014Obituaries
Joyce A. Zorn

10-23-2014Obituaries
Genevieve Van Iten

10-23-2014Obituaries
Susan J. Tetzlaff

10-23-2014Obituaries
Ralph J. Schoch

10-23-2014Obituaries
Francis D. Menacher

10-23-2014Obituaries
Paul R. Madary

10-23-2014Obituaries
Kyle Adam Kobrow

10-23-2014Obituaries
Frances L. Hammersley

10-23-2014Obituaries
William Fumelle

10-23-2014Obituaries
Lucille M. (Opper) Dietzen

10-23-2014Obituaries
Betty E. Bourassa

10-23-2014Obituaries
Ruth J. Bolander

10-23-2014Obituaries
Kenneth Behnke

10-23-2014Obituaries
Lenore M. Teige

10-23-2014Obituaries
Arlene Smolander

10-23-2014Obituaries
Richard R. Moore

10-23-2014Obituaries
Cecil E. Kuhnle

10-23-2014Obituaries
Mabel Konell

10-23-2014Obituaries
Rev. Ralph J. Gillis

10-23-2014Obituaries
Lorraine Fritz

10-23-2014Obituaries
George E. Belaire

10-23-2014Obituaries
Mary F. Baron

10-23-2014Sports
Coleman Finishes Undefeated, On Top Of M-O

10-23-2014Sports
Maroons Make It Six Straight Over Marines

10-23-2014Sports
Free Basketball Clinic For Boys Grades 3-6

10-23-2014Sports
Michigan Muskies Fit To Fight In Wisconsin

10-23-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-23-2014Perspectives
From our readers

10-23-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

10-23-2014News
Lake Fire Hosts Trick, Treaters

10-23-2014News
4 Area Students Graduate UW-L

10-23-2014News
Lioness Raffles at Equity Nov. 7

10-23-2014News
Karla Blohm Benefit Oct. 25

10-23-2014Community - Wausaukee
Pembine Senior Class Craft Fair

10-23-2014Community - Wausaukee
Remove Decorations Wausaukee Cemetery

10-23-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Acts On Budget, Pumper Truck, Old Tires

10-23-2014Community - Wausaukee
Acts On Mobile Home Variance, ATV Route

10-23-2014Community - Crivitz
Loomis Historical Thanksgiving Meal

10-23-2014Community - Crivitz
FAB Event & Planning Business Opens in Crivitz

10-23-2014Community - Crivitz
Dr. Nichols To Speak At Cornerstone Nov. 2

10-23-2014Community - Crivitz
CBA Lists Events, Seek New Director, Secretary

10-23-2014Community - Coleman
Red Arrow Snowmobile ATV Club Booyah Party

10-23-2014Community - Coleman
Lena Fall Craft, Bake Sale Oct. 26

10-23-2014Community - Coleman
Lena School Hires Worker, Names Delegate

10-23-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman-Pound Library Open House, Renovated

10-23-2014Front Page
LCS Detroit Launch Makes Big Splash

10-23-2014Front Page
Bill Reynolds Gets Tentative Nod As County Administrator

10-23-2014Front Page
Hwy. 141 Expressway To Give DOT Access Control

10-23-2014Front Page
Town of Peshtigo Works Out “No Increase” Budget

10-23-2014Front Page
Anderson, Pazynski Chair, Vice Chair At Twin County

10-15-2014Sports
Marinette County Deer Advisory Council Second Meeting Oct. 28

10-15-2014Sports
Another Big Invite, Another Strong Bulldogs Showing

10-15-2014Sports
Season Coming To Close, Badgers Still On Top Of M-O With Perfect 14-0 Mark

10-15-2014Sports
Playoff Picture Taking Shape

10-15-2014Perspectives
From our readers

10-15-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

10-15-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-15-2014Obituaries
Nancy L. Trepanier

10-15-2014Obituaries
Donna L. Rowley

10-15-2014Obituaries
Clarence W. Retlick

10-15-2014Obituaries
Douglas J. Payette

10-15-2014Obituaries
Beverly A. Johnson

10-15-2014Obituaries
Marie P. Holquist

10-15-2014Obituaries
John (Jack) E. Voyle

10-15-2014Obituaries
Roger C. Utke

10-15-2014Obituaries
Betty L. and Lloyd Tuma

10-15-2014Obituaries
Jackie Teteak

10-15-2014Obituaries
Anne C. Smith

10-15-2014Obituaries
Eunice C. School

10-15-2014Obituaries
Phyllis M. Rothlesberger

10-15-2014Obituaries
Gladys K. Rhoades

10-15-2014Obituaries
Emily M. O’Connor

10-15-2014Obituaries
Robert L. Ness

10-15-2014Obituaries
Eunice F. Meinert

10-15-2014Obituaries
Joseph F. McAuliffe

10-15-2014Obituaries
Betty Ann Kress

10-15-2014Obituaries
Norbert J. Jaworski

10-15-2014Obituaries
Agnes M. Hoffman

10-15-2014Obituaries
Marie A. Harris

10-15-2014Obituaries
Marilyn P. Graham

10-15-2014Obituaries
Marjorie E. Chaney

10-15-2014Obituaries
John P. Butts

10-15-2014Obituaries
Irene M. Brekke

10-15-2014Obituaries
Penny L. Berger

10-15-2014Obituaries
Wesley W. Anderson

10-15-2014Obituaries
Gene H. Albers

10-15-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Library Digital on e Books

10-15-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Clerk is Institute Grad

10-15-2014Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire, Rescue Plans Bake Sale

10-15-2014Community - Wausaukee
Big Crowd Attends Fall Fest at Wausaukee Oct. 4

10-15-2014Community - Crivitz
Halloween at Assisted Living

10-15-2014Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Kindergartners Take Part in “Flat Stanley” Project

10-15-2014Community - Crivitz
Haunted Hallways, Bingo at School Oct. 30

10-15-2014Community - Crivitz
MI Special Meet To Finalize Budget

10-15-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman-Pound Lions List Coming Events

10-15-2014Community - Coleman
T/Pound Board Asks Plan Unit To View Lot Coverage

10-15-2014Community - Coleman
Kickers Halloween Party at Equity

10-15-2014Community - Coleman
A Teen Lives at the End of Life

10-15-2014News
Lena Legion To Retire Old Flags

10-15-2014News
Lena Fall Craft, Bake Sale Oct. 26

10-15-2014News
Benefit For Schlies at Baseball Training

10-15-2014News
Benefit for Karla Blohm, Cancer Victim

10-15-2014Front Page
Over 600 Attend Diggers Meet, Greet

10-15-2014Front Page
Marinette Marine Launches USS Detroit on Saturday

10-15-2014Front Page
Water Utility Shows Positive Return Rate

10-15-2014Front Page
Goodman/Armstrong School Tax Levy Drops Due To Revenue Caps

10-15-2014Front Page
Grover May Seek Permission To Exceed State Levy Limits

10-08-2014Sports
October Signals The Opening Of Many Furbearer Hunting And Trapping Seasons In Wisconsin

10-08-2014Sports
Niagara Still Playing Strong; Rest Of M-O Remains Up For Grabs

10-08-2014Sports
Peshtigo CC Enjoys Another Strong Outing

10-08-2014Sports
Cougars Keep Top Spot

10-08-2014Perspectives
From our readers

10-08-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

10-08-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-08-2014Obituaries
Jack L. Wright

10-08-2014Obituaries
Gordon W. Thomas

10-08-2014Obituaries
Jeffrey M. MacDonald

10-08-2014Obituaries
John C. Gustaveson

10-08-2014Obituaries
Kathleen B. Genke

10-08-2014Obituaries
Ronald J. Enderby

10-08-2014Obituaries
Donald Drolette

10-08-2014Obituaries
Ronald L. Bubolz

10-08-2014Obituaries
George R. Anderson

10-08-2014Obituaries
Rose V. Zimanek

10-08-2014Obituaries
Oren Woodworth, Jr.

10-08-2014Obituaries
Gerald W. Smith

10-08-2014Obituaries
Kenneth J. Reese

10-08-2014Obituaries
Richard C. Ratajczyk

10-08-2014Obituaries
Keith A. Neubert

10-08-2014Obituaries
Ronald "Ronnie" F. Magee

10-08-2014Obituaries
Rosemary LaCanne

10-08-2014Obituaries
Donald E. Hoppe

10-08-2014Obituaries
Walter A Fuchs, Sr.

10-08-2014Obituaries
Geraldine M. Farley

10-08-2014Obituaries
Bernie G. Doucette

10-08-2014Obituaries
Robert L. Wellens

10-08-2014Obituaries
Doris M. Walters

10-08-2014Obituaries
Daniel J. Timm

10-08-2014Obituaries
Agnes C. Thoney

10-08-2014Obituaries
Joanne M. Thomas

10-08-2014Obituaries
Eleanor A. Oliva

10-08-2014Obituaries
Rev. Ralph C. Merkatoris

10-08-2014Obituaries
Michael H. McDermid

10-08-2014Obituaries
Richard J. Luchene

10-08-2014Obituaries
Margaret L. Kragie

10-08-2014Obituaries
Walter P. Haluska Sr

10-08-2014Obituaries
Todd A. Gunderson

10-08-2014Obituaries
Paul K. Davis

10-08-2014Obituaries
James H. Davis

10-08-2014Obituaries
Carrol M. Charlier


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think the Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate in the November 4 election?
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