Albert Q. Ebel II, 90, served his country with the U.S. Navy, enlisting the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941. On the eve of Pearl Harbor Day, he spent a few minutes with reporter Debbie Behrends to chat about his service.
Behrends: When did you join the Navy?
Ebel: I enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed and served for four years. I saw 10 naval battles in that time.
Behrends: On what ship did you serve?
Ebel: I was part of the first crew of the USS Iowa on her maiden voyage. It was a shakedown cruise. We sailed all over the North Atlantic. On one trip, we took President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt to Africa and brought him back home to the states.
Behrends: What was your job on the ship?
Ebel: I was a fire controlman first class. I fired all the 16-inch guns. That was my battle station.
Behrends: Do you have any particularly vivid memories of your time on board the ship?
Ebel: I remember one time there was a kamikaze coming at our ship. I ran about the length of a football field and a half to get to the middle of the ship to my battle station. Somebody asked me if I was scared. I told him no, but I ran by a lot of guys that were.
Behrends: What did you do when you got out of the Navy?
Ebel: My uncle bought a farm in the Fox River Grove area. Then we moved to Marengo and then we farmed in the Genoa area. My son still farms around Kingston.
Behrends: I understand that you were able to go on an Honor Flight to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. What was that like?
Ebel: It felt good to be able to see it. That memorial is something. It’s a serene, quiet place where you can reflect on that time.