Thursday, December 1, 2011

American Legion to Honor Pearl Harbor Survivor

Pearl Harbor
The American Legion Post 153 in Park Ridge, NJ is sponsoring a 70th anniversary event to honor Thomas Mahoney (center), 89, of Union, NJ.
Thomas is a survivor of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

He was born in Hohokus, NJ in 1922. During the Great Depression, he and his brother Harold worked on the Tice Farm, which was 360 acres.

Before World War II, the US Navy allowed brothers to serve on the same ship under certain conditions. Both Thomas and Harold served on the Seaplane tender USS Curtiss at Pearl Harbor.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese devastated the Pearl Harbor naval base. Fortunately, the two brothers were not injured. Two battleships were sunk, the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma. Six other ships were damaged but were able to be repaired to fight against the Japanese. After the attack, Thomas fought in 16 battles in the Pacific aboard the destroyer, the USS O'Bannion.

In 1946, Thomas left the navy after six years to return to civilian life. Harold and his wife went to work managing Tice Farm.

According to Thomas, three other brothers served in World War II: Edward, the youngest, was wounded in Europe and after the war enlisted in the US Navy. Consequently he died at age 36 from effects of wounds.

Thomas and his wife Claire have been married for 65 years and they have two daughters, Lauren and Kathleen.  After retiring Thomas has concentrated his efforts on promoting the New Jersey Pearl Harbor Survivors Organization.

The even will be held at the Park Ridge Elks Lodge. Members of the Park Ridge Golden Age Club will be there along with officials, buglers, clergyman and members of Post 153.

We owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to Thomas and Harold. Their service to our country should never be forgotten.

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