Our Heritage

Larry Bryant

 

Even before graduating from high school, my Dad, Wilson L. Bryant Jr., joined the Navy in April 1943 at the age of 17. He was stationed at the following locations for education and training on an accelerated schedule:

·  July 1943 – Oct 1944 – Doane College, Crete, NE (Naval V12 Unit, earned 3 years college     credit)
·  Nov 1944 – Jan 1945 – Asbury Park, NJ, pre-midshipmen school
·  Jan 1945 – May 1945 – Northwestern University, midshipmen school
·  May 28, 1945 – commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy at Northwestern University
·  June – Aug 1945 – Miami, FL, advanced line officer school

In August 1945, barely two months after commissioning, he took a train for five days to San Francisco, and in another two weeks he was in Guam, where he stayed only five days before being shipped out to Saipan. There he was on a ship of five officers and 64 enlisted men doing patrol duty while the war wound down. Although he missed all “the action”, he remained in the Navy reserves for over 20 more years.


My father-in-law, Clarence Brock Harrell was the most quiet, unassuming, self-effacing man I have ever known. As with many men of his generation, the few years he spent in the Army Air Corp during World War II became the defining period of his life.

Despite the passing of almost 60 years, his closest friends to the very end remained his “buddies” from the 9th Services Squadron of the 13th Air Force—guys with names like Dirt Dobber, Sully, Whitey, Blanket, and Opportunity Opp. To them he was just Rebel or CB. As their annual gatherings grew smaller in number, they would reminisce more about the days they spent on Espirito Santo, Guadalcanal, Munda, Los Negros, and Moraiti, or how they sailed 60 days from Camp Shank, NJ, through the Panama Canal to reach the Solomon Islands.