Thursday, July 18, 2024
Michael Stone Online

Pearl Harbor Survivor Who Later Soothed Soldiers with Music on Guadalcanal Recalls the Attack

Francis “Dutch” Scholtz played a late gig with his dance band that Saturday at an officers club and didn’t get back to his barracks until 1 a.m.

This was nothing new for the skilled pianist and private in the U.S. Army Air Forces. Officers would often have their wives with them there on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and the couples’ cocktail parties needed some background music.

Volunteering in late 1940 after high school in Iron Mountain, Michigan, Scholtz’s peacetime year on the tropical island carried this vacation-like gaiety: music, tennis, poker, getting off work early daily.

“It was a nice place to be,” he remembered. “There’s good weather. It couldn’t be better — played tennis every day. Oh, it was great. … We only worked half days, and so half the day was for fun.”

But the merriment came to a devastating end on Dec. 7, 1941 — “a date,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Congress and the nation on Dec. 8, “which will live in infamy.”

Read the full story in Senior Times magazine.

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