Staff Members Share WWII Family Stories
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
A core part of the museum’s mission is to preserve the legacy of the men and women who served in the Pacific Theater of World War II. This mission hits particularly close to home for members of our staff with family members who served in this theater of operations. As a part of Museum Week 2018, we asked several of our staff members to share their family stories and pictures with us.
Chris McDougal, Archivist & Librarian
This is my granduncle Wayne L. Lee (1918-2002). He entered service five days before the attack on Pearl Harbor and was released from service two days after Christmas in 1945. “Shorty”, as he was nicknamed, was an artillery and antiaircraft instructor before deploying with Battery C of the 325th AAA Searchlight Battalion to participate in the Okinawa campaign. Wayne directly influenced how I ended up working at The National Museum of the Pacific War and memories of him are a reminder to me why my job is important and how lucky I am to be here.
Marty Kaderli, Director of Development & Membership
Having been fascinated as a boy by his uncle’s bi-plane flying over their wheat fields, Dad joined the Army Air Force in 1943 as the war heated up. The military took him out of Kansas for the first time in his life. He trained in Texas and Oklahoma, and when he got his wings, he was off to Australia for assignment with the Air Transport Command. He used to joke that he “bombed lots of railroads, factories and warehouses - until his superiors decided they’d better ship him overseas quick before he did any more damage!” Piloting a C-47 transport plane, he flew throughout the Southwest Pacific Theater assigned to the MacArthur headquarters and supported the invasion of the Philippines and the battle of Peleliu, where he and his squadron were pressed into action evacuating wounded from that horrific bloody action, flying 24/7 round trips for nearly two weeks. Never in front-line action himself, he used to sigh and say “I never beat the Red Cross anywhere”.
Shannon Hudson, Admissions Supervisor
My grandfather, S1C William Jarral (Jerry) Hudson – USNR, served in Pearl Harbor in Aircraft/Airport Service. He was present in Pearl Harbor during the West Loch disaster and aided in the cleanup. He returned to the US mainland aboard the USS Texas (BB-35) in December 1945 where he settled in north Texas with his wife Viola and raised for children. Soon after being discharged he acquired a job with Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth Texas and said he was sure that the time spent working on aircraft in Pearl Harbor was how he was able to get a job at Bell Helicopter, where he retired.
Stephanie Hagee, Director of Memorials & WWII Society
My Grandad, ACMM Robert L. Hagee, USN (ret) would best be described as courageous, hardworking, straightforward, a cowboy and always learning. He truly never met a stranger. He was an Aviation Chief Mate’s in the Navy and in WWII served on the USS Bainbridge. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is truly one of the heroes in my life and I’m proud that his legacy will live on for generations to come not only through me, but through his plaque honoring him at our museum. Love you and miss you, Granddad!