Of an Iron man, a Pearl Harbor, and a copper helmet

Too often we forget that the biggest part of the battle at Pearl Harbor came after the Japanese were sailing away.

By 0915 on 7 December, Navy divers and salvage teams were hard at work.

Throughout 1942 and part of 1943, Navy divers worked on salvaging destroyers, supply ships, and other badly damaged vessels. The divers faced extraordinary dangers: poisonous gas, unexploded ordnance, as well as the unknown of the destruction that awaited them below. Through the course of the Pearl Harbor effort, Navy divers spent approximately 16,000 hours underwater, during 4,000 dives.

It appears that possibly the last of these iron men has stepped up for his last dive. U.S. Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle passed away at age 103 last week.

In this photo taken during World War II, Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle is seen getting into his deep see dress diving outfit, which weighed more than 216 pounds with the spun copper helmet. (Credit: Hartle family via San Diego Trib)

In this photo taken during World War II, Navy salvage diver Ken Hartle is seen getting into his deep see dress diving outfit, which weighed more than 216 pounds with the spun copper helmet. (Credit: Hartle family via San Diego Trib)

As reported by the San Diego Tribune:

David Ball, an officer with the national Navy Divers Association, said he’s pretty certain that Hartle was the oldest Navy diver from the Pearl Harbor salvage era. The World War II salvage divers held regular reunions for many years, but as more and more passed away, the gatherings stopped. At this point, the oldest divers in the association are in their 90s, said Ball, a San Diego resident.

Hartle passed away Tuesday afternoon at the Vista Del Lago memory care center in Escondido.

More on this incredible man’s story, here

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as GUNS.com, Univesity of Guns, Outdoor Hub, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the US federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “Of an Iron man, a Pearl Harbor, and a copper helmet”

  1. Aron Levy says :

    My 92 year old grandfather passed away yesterday. He was a waist gunner/ radio operator on Liberators flying out of the Maldives. It is so sad we are losing these men.

    Aron

    I typed this with my thumbs. Please excuse my brevity.

    >

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