September 2, 1945 - 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender.

In 2016, I had the amazing experience to sit down with Iowa's last living Pearl Harbor survivor, Clarence Pfundheller of Audubon. While he didn't have a direct connection to Manning, he knew quite a few people from the area and was good friends with Bud & Thelma Mohr and Bud & Elsie McMahon...the reason being both Buds were in the Goochs Best feed business and Clarence was a salesman for Goochs, so they met up quite often.

I spent several days interviewing Clarence and then on the last day I was going to give him the final version to go over one more time, I found out that he was killed in a car accident.

I only knew Clarence for a week but he was the type of person you meet the first time and it's like you knew them your whole life.

I'll start with his story and then show some pictures from the September 2, 1945, world-changing event.

Clarence Pfundheller part 1

Clarence Pfundheller part 2

Clarence Pfundheller part 3

Clarence Pfundheller part 4

One thing I want for the Manning Veterans' book is to have more than just the name, rank, and serial number, and even more than the military story but some background on the person, their family history, growing up, and if they have other close relatives who served so it will be a family Veteran book...I want to make the Manning book a very unique book about the military history of the community and tell who these people were.
Clarence's story is a good example of what I'm looking for the over 1000 Manning connected Veterans.
Now I won't be able to use every picture and all of the non-military history and in some cases not all of the military information but with a two-volume book in the works I should be able to use quite a bit of the information for those who have a lot of pictures and information, and there will be many who I only have a picture or maybe just a name...but I'll make sure everyone who submits information will be in the book.

Now the pictures I'm showing below are nothing unique, because you can find all of them on the Internet.

BUT, they are special because they were collected by our Manning Veterans, most who were not actually there but some were either on a nearby ship during the surrender or on the Island of IE Shima, where earlier in mid-August the Japanese envoy landed.

Albert Claussen who is still living and a cousin of the late Ila (Claussen) Rix, was on IE Shima and saw these preliminary events. He purchased these souvenir pictures.

Japanese plane lands on IE Shima August 19, 1945

Planes overhead - photo by Al

First-hand account by Al Claussen:
Al got to see a lot of this event since their camp and the airfield were near each other. Planes would fly right over the camp.
When they brought these Japanese officials in there on 2 planes, they hooked on a cleat-track (type of dozer) to one of the Japanese "Betty Bombers" that was made into a transport. It was wet and he pulled around a revetment (protective wall) and missed it and got stuck.
Al noted the long swords some of the Japanese had on and that the US envoy didn't want anything to do with them or shake hands. The Japanese were then put on a US C-54 transport.

One of the Japanese planes landing on IE Shima August 19, 1945

Note the long Japanese swords that Al mentioned seeing.

Scanned from news magazine articles

Japanese military and civilian envoys board a C-54 transport plane at IE Shima, Ryukyu Islands, August 19, 1945. They were flown to Manila to receive instructions concerning surrender and occupation arrangements.

Two more Manning boys were overseas during this time frame and also purchased surrender pictures.
One was Joseph Stein...he was stationed in Guam & Saipan at the time.
Duane Wegner, was stationed at Okinawa and purchased several souvenir pictures of the event.

September 2, 1945 on the USS Missouri
Photos from Duane's collection.

I'm not sure if this was prior to the official surrender or a previous envoy before the surrender.

One person who was on his ship near the USS Missouri was Eugene Case. We interviewed Gene to get his military story but for some reason he never brought it up about being nearby during the September 2, 1945, event.
One day he brought it up to me while I was visiting him in the Plaza.
He mentioned it a couple more times, but I don't remember the specifics he told me.
Then like what happens so much for me, Gene passed away before I could find time to record his story about the surrender.

The rest of the surrender pictures came from the Joe Stein collection...

Every now and then I pose these questions about WWII:
What if the Japanese won?
What if the Germans won?
What would the world look like today?
What if the United States of America never got involved?
Remember the 16 million Americans who fought during WWII, 400,000 who died...72,000 unaccounted for yet today.
Remember that millions of those Americans who served during WWII were descendants of the South from the Civil War era.
If the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) were victorious, would the United States of America still exist?
Would we now be speaking German or Japanese?
How many other countries around the world would now be under the Axis rule?

If we were now under Japanese Imperialism or Nazi control, I highly doubt the current protestors would be able to complain and riot like they do right now...they would be shot or disappear during the night, including their family members.

So thank God the United States got involved during WWII to destroy Imperialism, Nazism, and beat back the Communism/socialism that followed.
Thank God we were a "UNITED" States of America and that no matter whether they were descendants of the South or of the North, our BRAVE military personnel preserved the FREEDOMS around the world.

Another situation to think about.
Gene, Duane, Al, Clarence, and probably Joe (as the Army barber), were either training or would have started training for the Invasion of Japan, but for the dropping of both atomic bombs on Japan.

Before anyone with their high and mighty moral values today, judge or criticize those 2 bombs, remember that had the Invasion of Japan, occurred, most, probably all of these 5 guys would have probably been killed...which means they would not have come back to this area to marry and raise children.

My mother still has 2 living cousins who were training for the Invasion of Japan when the Japanese surrendered. While listening to their stories and conversations one time, I noticed they both commented how their children once were questioning the 2 atomic bombs...both dads then made a statement to their kids "you might NOT be here today if those bombs weren't dropped."
They were surprised at the comment until their dads told them that they were training for the Invasion of Japan and probably would have never returned home, alive.
The kids never mentioned the 2 bombs again.

One thing that I admired about mom's 2 cousins is they both said they weren't for the 2 bombs because it saved their lives, but for the millions of Allies and even Japanese citizens who would have been killed if the Invasion would have occurred.

So before you judge people of the past - educate yourself with that history and PUT yourself in their shoes - you might find that you have a completely different and less judgmental view!

Back to Dave Kusel's main page