Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pearl Harbor Survivor

 David Willis, program chair and Lester Hartley, Pearl Harbor Suvivor.
Lester Hartley joined the U.S. Navy on September 6, 1940.  On November 11, 1940 he was assigned to the USS Jarvis, a destroyer.   They sailed from Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California and then west to Hawaii.  On December 6, 1941, the Jarvis was in port at Pearl Harbor for routine maintenance.  Lester Hartley received orders to be transported back to the mainland to enroll in Navy Diesel School.  He presented his orders to receive transportation but was told to return to his ship.  Lester told the Kiwanians, “I guess you know what happened the next day.”

From the machine room on the Jarvis, Lester heard planes buzzing nearby ships and saw them drop something.  He said they were always doing maneuvers and gave it no mind until he saw more planes and debris and smoke.  About that time general quarters was sounded and Lester reported to the Number 4 Gun where he shot at incoming enemy planes.  Lester stated that, “He did not see any ships hit by torpedoes or bombs because everyone had too much to do to stand around and watch.”
The Jarvis made its way out of the harbor and Lester was safe.  He did receive an injury when a watertight door shut on his wrist but no harm from combat.   In January, 1942 the Jarvis rescued 187 men from the torpedoed fleet oiler Neches.  Later that year Hartley received orders to report to Diesel School at Norfolk, Virginia.  He made it there this time.  The Jarvis was part of the Guadalcanal campaign and on August 8, 1942 was attacked and sunk in the Pacific.  None of the 233 men on the Jarvis survived.  
Hartley continued in the Navy until his discharge on November 3, 1946 and later enlisted in the Naval Reserves where he served his country for another 18 years.  Hartley worked for Detroit Diesel Allison in Indianapolis and currently resides in Hancock County.  He was active in the National Pearl Harbor Survivors Association until that organization ceased existence on December 31, 2011. 

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Greenfield Kiwanians perform service projects to help people and organizations. We also perform service projects to raise funds to support Riley Children's Hospital and many local charities.