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Herndon High Graduates and Pearl Harbor

Believe it or not, 1957 Herndon High graduate Earl C. Dudley, Jr. was imprisoned as a baby in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In light of today being the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, I thought it might be interesting to look at what two Herndon High graduates were doing on that day.

A local author, Robert F. Dorr of Oakton, has a new book out titled “Mission to Tokyo” which describes what 1940 Herndon High graduate Milburn P. Sanders was doing that day: "On December 7, 1941, one brother took me with him to the country and we rode around the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in his 1932 Plymouth coupe, and then returned to Washington at the end of the day. Since his car did not have a radio, we were unaware of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We were surprised to find an Army command car, armed with a machine gun, guarding Key Bridge. Then we got the news.  Subsequently, Pearl Harbor created work for me.  I mailed the reports of damage to ships in the Pearl Harbor attack to the naval shipyards.”  Sanders would later on become a seaplane tender tasked with rescuing downed B-29 crew members.

1957 Herndon High graduate Earl C. Dudley, Jr. was 11 months old and living
in Manila in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Japan was expected to bomb Manila next so Dudley’s father had sent his family to the mountains to take shelter.  On December 8, 1941, “my mother had me out for a stroll after breakfast when the bombing attack came in,” Dudley recalled. His mother lost a leg in the attack and Dudley almost lost his life when he couldn’t be revived by a doctor after he suffered a severe shrapnel wound to the left knee that would result in a life-long injury. A quick-thinking nurse revived him with gauze soaked in whiskey.

Mr. Dudley stated in a 2010 interview that “with my parents, I was interned in the Japanese internment camps for a little over three years in the Philippines, and we were rescued by a very dramatic operation of the 11th Airborne Division on February 23, 1945.”

Maybe next year when we pass our Town “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” proclamation we can also mention the civilians who were injured and killed during that time.

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