Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Date of birth: May 5, 1925
Dates of Service: Sept. 1944 to May 1946
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Pacific
Rank: 1st Class Petty Officer
Unit and Specialty: Secret Special Forces
In his own words: Giving up a full basketball scholarship at Oklahoma State University, Vandevender went to join the Navy. Following basic training he was sent to Pearl Harbor. Although at war, he still managed to play basketball on a Navy team.
During his time in the Pacific, damage to his ship brought them back to Pearl Harbor. While waiting in the dry dock for the ship to be finished, he was reassigned to special forces training. Serving the rest of his time in a special forces unit, he says he is thankful that he returned home safely.
“Thanks to God I was blessed and highly favored to return home. I will always love and remember all those who didn’t return. Some were my buddies, all were my/our heroes.”
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: