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Last Kansas Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

KSAL Staff - September 22, 2017 5:30 am

The last survivor of Pearl Harbor from Kansas has died. Earl M. “Mike” Schaeffer Jr. died Saturday in Hays and was laid to rest Wednesday in Assaria.

Schaeffer was a longtime resident of Assaria. The 95-year-old was a retired U.S. Air Force veteran with 21 medals of service and commendation from World War Two. Schaeffer was 19 years old when he survived the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941.

Schaeffer was a retired US Air Force Veteran and a retired office manager of the Salina Planning Mill.  He was a survivor of the Japanese Pearl Harbor Air attack on Hickam Air Field, Dec 7th, 1941.  He was a Radio Operator & Gunner on B-18 & B-17 aircraft flying 95 missions at Hawaii, The Battle of Midway, Central Pacific, Guadalcanal & Northern Solomon Islands.  He was awarded the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters & many other Service medals & Awards.

Schaeffer was a Radio Operator on the B-29 when it was being tested at Smoky Hill Air field the Summer/Fall of 1943.  He was a Master Sergeant & served the air force including 2 tours of Europe in Germany & Formosa.  And in the United States in Colorado, Nebraska, Mississippi, Texas and Kansas.  He was a recruiting sergeant at Salina and McPherson, KS from 1946-1949.

In a Pearl Harbor Day interview on KSAL Radio  Schaeffer recalled being at Hickam Field on December 7th, 1941.

 

Schaeffer was a history buff interested in all theaters of WWII and primarily in the Pacific.  He and his wife Rozella enjoyed traveling back to Hawaii for Pearl Harbor Survivor Reunions.  On one trip, they met President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary.  He enjoyed listening to music, especially James Last & Mantovani Orchestra.  He was an avid collector of Merklien Trains from Germany, music, and stamps and coins from around the world.  He always believed in doing the right thing and taught this to his sons and grandchildren.

He was a member of the Assaria Lutheran Church, The Pearl Harbor Association, 72nd Bomb Group, 11th Bomb Group, 5th Bomb group, 13th Air force Veterans Association, VFW & American Legion.  Distinguished Flying Cross Life Member & Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans Life Memorial.

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