An Iowa aboriginal thought to it is in the oldest survivor the the Pearl harbor attack died last month.

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Clayton Schenkelberg, who was born in 1917 in Carroll County and also joined the U.S. Marine in 1937, died in a senior care facility April 14 in mountain Diego, California. He to be 103.

News reports about Schenkelberg v the years often referred to hardships throughout his early on life in Carroll: his mother passed away when he to be 9 year old, the great Depression hit once he to be 12, and also his father was killed in an accident once he to be 17.

At age 20, he joined the Navy. Four years later — Dec. 7, 1941 — he and also his brothers Jerry were stationed at Pearl Harbor as soon as the Japanese struck. Clayton was a torpedoman in ~ a submarine station and also Jerry was a crewman on the battleship Nevada.

Clayton Schenkelberg was nearing the end of his transition when the bombs began to fall, he told the san Diego Union-Tribune. Rather of safety the remainder of his day with his girlfriend Alithea Coito, as he planned, he choose up a rifle and fired at the low-flying planes together they passed.


He was amongst several soldiers directed to move a train loaded v warheads, each containing 550 pounds that explosives, far from the base, follow to the story. "True come his "can do" attitude, (Schenkelberg) commandeered the train and removed the explosives come safety," the Union-Tribune wrote.

“Sure, i knew I could be killed,” Schenkelberg said. “But it had actually to it is in done.”

Neither Schenkelberg brothers was injured at Pearl Harbor. They rejoined the next day as soon as Clayton was sent to the Nevada v some supplies, follow to a 1991 Des Moines Register article marking the 50th anniversary the the attack.


Worried about the reported heavy loss of life aboard the Nevada, Clayton sought his brother. At that moment, stated Jerry, he was in a work information cleaning out the kitchen, which had actually taken a fight in the raid.

"I was transferring out some chicken in pans and walked the end on deck and there to be Clayton. We simply hugged each other," said Jerry, who died in 1996.


Clayton and Alithea married in 1942. The couple settled in san Diego and Schenkelberg operated as a institution custodian after practically 30 year in the Navy. Castle were together 74 years until her fatality in 2016. They had seven children and also 17 grandchildren, follow to his obituary.

In his later on years, Schenkelberg took treatment of his wife, that had Alzheimer"s Disease. He caught COVID-19 in the critical year but was not sickened through the disease, the Union-Tribune reported.

Schenkelberg was an active member the the neighborhood Pearl port Survivors combination chapter till it closeup of the door down 2 years ago. Another Pearl harbor survivor, Stuart Hedley, 99, stated Schenkelberg was modest and also kind in an obituary by the Union-Tribune. 

“He was an outstanding gentleman, really humble, and always ready to loan a hand,” Hedley said. “I’m honored to have called him a friend.”

The official fatality toll in ~ Pearl Harbor to be 2,403, according to USA TODAY, including 2,008 marine personnel, 109 Marines, 218 army service members and 68 civilians. The the dead, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona, the wreckage of which now serves together the key memorial come the strike that ushered America into world War II. Fifty-five Japanese additionally were killed.

The total number of wounded was 1,143, including 710 Navy, 69 Marines, 364 Army and also 103 civilians, the Pearl Harbor visitors Bureau says.

Hedley estimates less than 100 Pearl port survivors remain. He"ll lead the "two-bell ceremony," a classic Navy farewell, during Schenkelberg"s funeral business Thursday in san Diego.

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Robin Opsahl consist of trending news for the Register. Reach them at ropsahl
registermedia.com or 515-284-8051.