Thursday, October 31, 2013
Gale Mohlenbrink, a survivor of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, joined his shipmates this week when his family scattered his ashes near the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Mohlenbrink, 89, passed away on July 7th, 2013 in Idaho. His widow, Onah, told Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii that it was her husband's wish to have Pearl Harbor be his final resting place:
"It really gave me a sense of closure. He didn't really like to talk about what happened but he came back to visit many times. It was important to him and he always called this place paradise."
Onah, along with Mohlenbrink's daughters Shiela and Corinne, committed his ashes to the ocean following memorial services at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.
Pearl Harbor survivor liaison Jim Taylor said Mohlenbrink joined the Navy when he was just 17-years-old:
"Needless to say, he witnessed the horrific attack at a very young age."
Mohlenbrink saw the attack unfold while ashore on the Captain's Gig while his ship, the USS Northampton, was out to sea.
He described the chaos of December 7, 1941 to the Twin Valley Times-News in 2011, on the seventieth anniversary of the attack:
Mohlenbrink was startled out of his slumber, like many other servicemen, by the sound of explosions. Topside, he saw low-flying planes, with a red sun on their wings, strafing the harbor and dropping bombs. The servicemen grabbed weapons, fearing an impending land invasion by Japanese forces, and kept watch through the night and into the next morning.
Mohlenbrink self-published a memoir before his death about his time in the Navy.