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0030-W2M-04/2003
Bob Matheny , Tech Sergeant
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Mess cook/ammunition handler. At Pearl Harbor during attack., USS Nevada
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As an eighteen-year-old seaman, Bob witnessed history on a ship deck. He saw the first Japanese warplanes approach the naval base at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day, December 7, 1941. Born in Columbia, Louisiana, Bob enlisted in the Navy in late summer of 1941. Requesting service with his brother, Bill, on the USS Nevada, Bob boarded the ship in Pearl Harbor on October 17. A few weeks later, during the surprise attack, Bob manned fourteen-inch guns, fought fires, and served on casualty details. Later he was assigned to a destroyer, the USS Wadsworth (DD-516) on which he served the rest of the war, including Navy operations in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Bob sailed home in September of 1945, but re-enlisted. Bob switched to the Air Force for the last four years of his career. He retired in 1962 as a tech sergeant, then worked in the insurance business for twenty-seven years.