O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon recounts Pearl Harbor attack

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

This week, we are continuing Robert Mertz’s experiences during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, recounted in June 1942 while he was on leave back home. “His crew dropped one bomber flying at high altitude, and he is confident several other hits were scored. Mertz said he remained at his post during the entire ordeal except for the last 10 minutes when he was removed because of a wound from shrapnel. After the battle, he was removed to a station hospital at Pearl Harbor where he remained a patient for nine weeks. The ship on which Mertz was stationed was badly damaged in the encounter but many of the men have since returned to their posts and the ship is now in service, having sailed under its own power to a West Coast dry dock … He said he has been on duty practically all of the time since he recovered from his wounds.” (More next week.)

75 years ago, Dec. 25, 1941

With organization of a Civilian Defense Unit in O’Fallon, citizens are urged to fill out the questionnaire in order that they may be placed in the position best fitted in accordance to their qualifications in case of emergency. Quite a number have already been turned in, but the majority are older people, few young persons either male or female have registered. The thought that, “it can’t happen here,” should be dispelled. War is no respecter of communities.

50 years ago, Dec. 22, 1966

The state Highway Department declined to grant the city of O’Fallon its request to move the “City Limits” sign east to the actual city limits just east of the Parkview Colonial Manor Nursing home on Highway 50 (at Weber Road). The City Limits sign is now at Smiley Street, and the city council thought the marker should reflect the actual size of the city. However, the state department replied that the area to the east was not sufficiently developed to warrant changing the sign.