AEF Remembers 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary
150th Bald Eagle Release
Pearl Harbor Survivors Attend Release & Name Eaglet
December 21st, 2016
This month marks the 75th Anniversary month of the sneak attack that took place on Dec. 7, 1941 and killed more than 2,400 Americans at Pearl Harbor.
On Saturday July 9th 2016, three of the last living survivors of the infamous Pearl Harbor attack witnessed a beautiful remembrance ceremony conducted by the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation. The AEF released its 150th Bald Eaglet into the wild from its Douglas Lake “hack tower” (artificial nesting tower) into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in honor of all U.S. Servicemen and Servicewoman who died during or survived this Day of Infamy.
The three of them collectively named the eaglet “Survivor.” A flag folding, “Amazing Grace,” the Star Spangled Banner, and a special patriotic performance by local celebrity singer/songwriter James Rogers made this remembrance ceremony special for these honored guests.
The three Peal Harbor survivors in attendance were:
Private First Class (PFC) Clement Hauger, born on October 25th, 1921, enlisted in the 251st Coast Artillery of the California National Guard in June, 1941. On the day of the attack, he was close enough to observe the planes diving in on Pearl Harbor and to see the anti-aircraft guns firing back. A Japanese plane flew low enough to skim his barracks. While on patrol, he came across a downed Japanese fighter with two dead Japanese aboard. He had to guard the craft that night, armed with a shotgun. He served from 1941-1945. Among many awards, he has received the American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, & Bronze Star.
Lt. Col. James A. Seals, born on April 5, 1916, enlisted in the Marines in July 1940. Private First Class (PFC) Seals was stationed on the US Naval yard USS Pennsylvania in Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1941, Seals had just disembarked the Pennsylvania and walked about 200 yards when it was bombed by the Japanese. Seals spent two days identifying bodies and retrieving dog tags of the deceased. Seals served from 1940-1961. Seal has received numerous decorations including two Presidential Awards.
Tech Sgt. Durward Swanson, born on June 12th, 1921, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1939. On the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked, Swanson was on his way to bed when he was notified that the Japanese started the attack, hitting the base chow hall and killing more than 100 Airmen. He immediately went to the main gate to help out in security. He helped as much as he could, to include riding to the base baseball field to retrieve an Airman and facing dangerous encounters along the way. He helped set up base security and was one of the two Airmen who retrieved the American Flag on the main post that day. He served from 1939-1945 and was the President of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association from 2004-2006. He received the Distinguished Flying Medal and a Bronze star for his acts during World War II.
Two other WWII Veterans were present at the release. Private First Class Earnest Ray Kear, born in January 9th 1927, enlisted in the U.S Army in early 1944 and served in Unit C Company attached to the 3rd Armor Division of the 28th Regiment and served under general Patton in Germany. He served from 1944-1946. Chief Hospital Corpsman Frank Lowe, born December 17th, 1919 joined the Navy in 1939 and was assigned to Fleet Marine Corpsman School and landed in Guadalcanal in 1944. During the Korean War, he landed at Inchon and was at the Chosin Reservoir. He retired in 1969 after 30 years of service.
“Survivor” wore a green and orange patagial wing tag marked “PH6.” The AEF is hopeful to receive photos of the eaglet in the wild wearing this tag in the weeks and months to come to ensure that it has survived its critical first year in the wild.
This 13-week-old eaglet was hatched and raised by the AEF’s non-releasable Bald Eagle breeding pair “Freedom” and “Faithful Spirit.”
The American Eagle Foundation has been releasing captive-hatched and translocated eaglets into the wild from its Douglas Lake Hack Towers since the early 90s. “Infamy” is the 150th eaglet the AEF has released on Douglas Lake, but the AEF has participated in hundreds of other eaglet releases throughout Tennessee. The purpose of the AEF’s breed-and-release program is to help repopulate Bald Eagles in East Tennessee.
About the American Eagle Foundation
The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore and protect the USA’ s living symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey. The AEF is celebrating its 31st year of carrying out its mission through Education, Repopulation , Conservation, & Rehabilitation. It is headquartered in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN. Learn more at www.eagles.org.