My dad was at Pearl Harbor. Not on that fateful December 7th in 1941, but several months later, with the waves of American soldiers that sailed into the South Pacific to wage war with the Imperial Japanese forces.

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Seventy-four years have passed since that attack on the U.S. Naval Base on the island of Oahu.  About 845,000 American veterans of World War II are still alive, remembering their part in the deadliest conflict in all of human history.

My father, Lloyd Shaw, left the farm in northern Maine and hopped a train to Portland to enlist in the U.S. Army. Like many soldiers, he didn’t tell us much about the battles, so I can only piece together information from family memories and personal research.

The Landing Ship on which my dad was traveling to Saipan, the Philippines and Tinian met with disaster while it was docked at Pearl Harbor. Here’s an excerpt from an officer in that same deployment:

“An explosion of indeterminate cause set fire to several of the LSTs… The LST 240 was one of several able to power up, extinguish its deck fire, and escape the inferno, in which many sailors lost their lives. The LST 480 sank in place, along with half of our Battalion’s equipment.”

After the fire in dock, soldiers in my dad's company had to cram onto another ship and bunk wherever they could for the rest of the voyage until they arrived at their island battlefield.

My father served as a radio operator in the Pacific during the war, working with a triangulation team to plot enemy targets. (Lloyd Shaw on the left in photo below)

 

Shaw Family Collection

Today, I’m remembering Pearl Harbor Day—and my dad, who passed away 20 years ago this month.

One bit of karmic trivia: After WWII, my father took a job at the new A&P grocery store on Main Street in Presque Isle. It’s the very same building that houses the Townsquare radio stations where I work today.

This article was originally published on Dec. 7, 2012.