St. Peter veteran talks about his World War II experiences

St. Peter veteran talks about his World War II experiences

St. Peter veteran talks about his World War II experiences

World War II veteran James Don “J.D.” Slarks of St. Peter didn’t serve in front-line combat. But those war memories remain vivid.
From 1943 to 1946, Slarks served as a Seaman Second Class with the U.S. Navy Seabees responsible for constructing island runways. But he experienced fighting and helped pave the way for American airplanes to land during the Pacific War against Japan.
“Our main duty was to build airfields,” Slarks said. “That meant tearing down all these palm trees. And when you got those down, it was all mud. And we had to get rid of that and get that surface so planes could land.
“We weren’t in the battle all the time. The Japanese would come up and try to keep us from landing. And when they found out that they couldn’t do it, they would send airplanes over us to bomb us, but they couldn’t get rid of us.”
Remembering one his most precarious missions, Slarks said, “One night I volunteered to go with the engineering survey crew that was going to lay out the airstrip. Our job was to protect them. We got up there, and there were still Japanese around, and they weren’t supposed to be. They were supposed to be cleared out. It was a little dangerous.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply