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Childhood experience at Pearl Harbor leads to a lifetime of service for Minnesota man – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-03-04 14:07:20 –

It’s a day I’ve lived forever in memory of Thomas Gilmour.

Gilmour was a 10-year-old boy who lived in Pearl Harbor before, during, and after his fateful day. This day continues to influence the life of service.

He was born on August 3, 1931, at the home of a local midwife, Mrs. Vikene, in Forrest and Thora Gilmore, Blackduck, Minnesota. The small house stood for decades in Black Duck, where the school now owns. This is where the Black Duck High School Building Trade Class builds a house every year. The Gilmour family’s property in Hines, Minnesota remained home when they moved to Hawaii in 1940.

At the age of 89 on that notorious anniversary, Gilmour took the time to share his memories.

Tom Gilmore (right) and his brother Forest Jr. are posing just a few centimeters from the gas meter outside their home in Pearl Harbor, where a stray from Japanese strafing was out. Submitted photo.

Tom Gilmore (right) and his brother Forest Jr. are posing just a few centimeters from the gas meter outside their home in Pearl Harbor, where a stray from Japanese strafing was out. Submitted photo.

Forrest Gilmour Sr. and his son Forest Jr. were hired as US Navy civilian mechanics in Pearl Harbor in 1939 when the Navy built a family residential area just outside the naval base fence. Forrest Sr. moves his wife Tora and his young children Tom and Gloria to live together in Hawaii.

“And when the attack came, that was where we lived,” said Thomas Gilmour. “I think we were there for just over a year when that happened. At around 7am, my sister and I were playing outside. When an attack occurred, we saw it. Everyone was out on the street. We didn’t know what was going on, it could have been a mock war exercise and it was I didn’t know if it was a real attack, but one morning I told all the workers to report their location as the car passed through the residential area.

“We said goodbye to them, and that was the last time we met my father and brother for a few days. We didn’t know what was happening to them, and they I didn’t even know where we were. Later on December 7th in the afternoon, another car came to the residential area. There was a speaker and he was told to take me to a safe mountain by bus. It was still unrealistic, but my mother, sister and I stayed at Kamehameha King University in the mountains for two nights. “

Gilmour wasn’t yet clear what was happening in Pearl Harbor, but everything changed as the bus climbed the mountain away from private residential areas.

“I saw two planes burning, and I could see a cannon defect in the air,” Gilmour said. “Then it turned out to be real. I could see a Japanese plane passing by with a large horizon sun and a giant torpedo carrying underneath it at the tip of the wing. I remember everything pretty clearly. “

Smoke erupted from Pearl Harbor from the family residence where Gilmour lived. Submitted photo.

A few days later, Tom, Flora, and Gloria returned home from the mountain sanctuary, with little damage to the home itself, except for one exceptional catastrophe.

“I hit our house with a bullet,” Gilmour said. “There was little damage to the residential area as Japanese fighters properly concentrated the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, one large bullet hole in the house is 50 caliber, a few inches from the gas meter. It was from an indistinguishable bullet.

“We have stayed in Pearl Harbor for nearly a year,” he added. “As a kid, we continued our daily routine. We played and swam in the sea. We took a sugar cane train to the fields and slaughtered sugar cane just outside the fields. I ate. But a gas mask was also issued that was ordered to carry around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I still have mine.

“In the aftermath of the attack, the Navy built a bomb shelter in our backyard and the government installed a cabled airship. Alert. At night, the search light turns on in the air. A power outage at night. The whole island went out of power and I had to put something in the window. I remember selling cardboard for power outage materials when I was a kid. An inspector who came at night, Hikari When I saw, I went to the electric box outside the house and turned off the power, so people were very careful about power outages. “

In late 1942, the entire Gilmour family boarded SS Matsonia and left Hawaii. This ship was a Navy transport ship during World War I.

“It took five days to reach Pearl Harbor from the mainland, and to avoid detection by aircraft and submarines, Matsonia and the Navy’s support vessels moved in a zigzag during the voyage, so it was a return trip. It took 7 days. ”

Gilmore’s returned to Hines, “on the same 40-acre site where I was born and raised 89 years ago and is still alive,” Tom said. “I lived there until 1953. The draft board was breathing from my neck and I wanted to join the unit of my choice. So I went to the recruitment center and enlisted. “

In 1953, Tom Gilmore joined the United States Army and was eventually promoted to Sergeant E8. Submitted photo.

In 1953, Tom Gilmore joined the United States Army and was eventually promoted to Sergeant E8. Submitted photo.

Tom was active for three years and in the Army Reserve for another 35 years.

He was initially assigned to the Army’s 35th Quartermaster Munitions and later transferred to Colorado-based Mountain and Cold Region Training Command. He spent two winters at Camp Hale, 110 miles above the Fort Carson substation mountain. Camp Hale’s army lived in an arched hut with wooden floors and frames, covered with insulated canvas. Each hut put 10-12 men to sleep.

“The oil heater couldn’t go unattended all night, so I had to put out the fire at 10 or earlier for safety,” Gilmour said. “In the morning, our boots were frozen on the floor. At night, the temperature dropped to single digits, and in a year it snowed 110 inches two weeks before Christmas.”

Gilmour returned to active duty for ski training in Alaska with infantry for six weeks in January and February 1975.

“It really coped with the cold and mountain training I had, and to some of the guys there in the unit I was training us with at Fort Carson long ago. I even met. I graduated second in class. At that time, the Reserve Unit was doing a lot of winter training in Fort Carson, so I became a ski instructor when I went to winter camp. ”

Combining his military service with his ham radio expertise, Tom Gilmore was hired as a firefighter in the summer of 2004. Submitted photo.

Combining his military service with his ham radio expertise, Tom Gilmore was hired as a firefighter in the summer of 2004. Submitted photo.

After retirement, Gilmour renewed his old interest in ham radio and was licensed to the Paul Bunyan Radio Club 18 years ago. Since then, his wife Shirley has joined him as a licensed operator. It’s a combination of Gilmour’s ham radio experience and his work as a map-reading instructor in the Army, 16 years ago when he hired the National Park Service for a short fire watch stint in Yellowstone National Park. It led to an adventure when I was struck.

“It was supposed to be a volunteer deal,” he said. “But when they saw my experience, they insisted on paying me $ 11.40 per hour. Shirley came in for about nine days and I went to Mount Washburn at an altitude of 10,243 feet in Wyoming. I stayed for 42 days.

“It was also a tourist destination, so the first floor of the building I was in was a visitor center overlooking the Yellowstone Volcano caldera, the second floor was an observatory, and the third floor was 16 x 16. Shirley and I were on the top of the fire. A 360-degree glass foot cage that stays in the finder.

“Some people walked a very long way and hiked miles to get there, so when there were tourists from places like England or Australia, I took them to the top. I went and saw the view from my dormitory. The area is usually dry as a tinderbox, but during that season the countryside is wonderfully green all year round and I didn’t report a single fire did.”

Gilmour’s service on Mount Washburn ended with two natural wonders. One is the Perseids meteor shower, which occurs only once a year in August, and the other is an ice storm.

“My daughter Tamara spent the last few nights with me, lying in bed looking out the window and counting at least 41 shooting stars,” Gilmour said. “Honestly, I didn’t really want to get off. I liked it there. But shortly after I moved on August 14, a big ice storm struck. They were icicles. He said he was sticking out horizontally straight out of the building. They had to close it and take the man who replaced me off the mountain. “

Tom Gilmore stands on the Works Progress Administration bridge built at the beginning of the Black Duck River, which flows out of Lake Black Duck. This was the bridge that his father, Forest Gilmour Sr., worked on in 1938, just before he moved his family to Pearl Harbor in 1940. Tom was at the age of 10 when the Japanese were in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I was attacked. Submitted photo.

Tom Gilmore stands on the Works Progress Administration bridge built at the beginning of the Black Duck River, which flows out of Lake Black Duck. This was the bridge that his father, Forest Gilmour Sr., worked on in 1938, just before he moved his family to Pearl Harbor in 1940. Tom was at the age of 10 when the Japanese were in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I was attacked. Submitted photo.

Gilmour is a member of Black Duck’s American Legion Post 372 and has been a color guard and honorary guard for many years. He is a wounded soldier, a member of the Black Duck Regional Elderly Center, attends worship at Black Duck’s First Elderly Church, and plays harmonica for special music at the Church and the Good Samaritan Center. .. He and Shirley still live in their childhood homes and are active in the lives of their communities.

The FDR said, “With confidence in our army, with the endless determination of our people, we will have an inevitable victory. So help our God.” I have completed the declaration of war with Japan. The Americans accepted that determination and willingness to victory and were only children in Pearl Harbor, but Tom Gilmore’s determination and life of service, with the belief that he would strive for his patriotism and victory of the country. It can be said that he really started from that day, he loves and continues to serve to this day.

A video submitted about Tom Gilmore can be seen below, courtesy of David Quam of Bemidji:

Childhood experience at Pearl Harbor leads to a lifetime of service for Minnesota man Source link Childhood experience at Pearl Harbor leads to a lifetime of service for Minnesota man

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