Jack E. Carr, Don Karna, A.D. Kreigshouser

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.

Jack E. Carr
Date of birth: Nov. 10, 1914
Dates of service: 1942 to 1945
Hometown: Portales
Lives in: Portales
Theater and locations of service: European and the Pacific
Branch: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit and specialty: Merchant ships; armed guard
Veterans organizations: VFW

In his words: Responsible for the safety of merchant ships traversing the course to Europe and the Pacific, Carr commanded 40 Navy guards and gunners.

Civilian merchant ships were recruited during World War II to convey supplies to the troops overseas. In the case of Carr’s ships, they were carrying fuel, making them a choice target for the enemy.

“We carried 135,000 barrels of high-octane fuel for the Air Force into Liverpool, England. It was very dangerous cargo. We got along pretty good. We thought we saw one or two sub(marine) packs, but they always turned out to be fish or something. We turned out pretty lucky.”

Later, carrying “fog oil” (used by the Navy to screen the fleet at night from enemy dive-bombers), Carr and his men moved into the port at Leyte in the Philippines.

Don Karna
Date of birth: April 26, 1929
Dates of service: May 1946 to May 1947
Hometown: Michigan, N.D.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: South Pacific
Branch: Marines
Rank: Private 1st Class
Unit and specialty: VMF 214 “Black Sheep Squadron,” aviation electronics
Veterans organizations: VFW 3015 and Air Force Sergeants Association

In his words: Onboard the USS Rendova, Karna served performed aviation electronics maintenance and repairs on Marine fighter planes.

“They were the old prop jobs. They were very easy to maintain, very easy compared to the high-tech planes today.”

Their objective in the South Pacific was to train squadron personnel for carrier landings and their days were spent performing regular duties.

“It wasn’t that bad; I thought it was decent. You’re busy enough.

“I never got seasick, I kind of enjoyed it: It was my first time out on the big pond.”

Karna continued his military service after World War II, serving in the Army from 1947 to 1951 and from 1955 to 1989 in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves.

Serving in Korea and Vietnam, he completed his military career as a chief master sergeant in the Air Force.

A.D. Kreigshouser
Date of birth: July 13, 1924
Dates of service: 1943 to 1946
Hometown: Adina, Miss.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and locations of service: Nagasaki, Japan
Branch: Marines
Rank: Corporal
Unit and specialty: Occupation forces

In his words: Almost 30 days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Kreigshouser’s division arrived to enforce order in the decimated city.

“All hell was broke loose and it wasn’t very nice. As we got off of the ship and on to the boats going in, there were bodies as thick as you see. It was terrible, just terrible.” Having just arrived, Kreigshouser and a buddy decided to explore ground zero.

“We started to go for curiosity walks. We had heard of the bombs. It was pretty quiet, everybody stayed inside. In some respects it might have been kind of stupid, but we didn’t have sense enough not to.

“We crossed an area where there was almost nothing… now I think about what kind of a stupid thing that was.”

Sixty years later, he still has a skeleton key he found near the door of a destroyed Catholic church, bent and weathered. It is a memento of an event featuring one of the only two nuclear bombs used in war.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com