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ISNU’s Pearl Harbor connection, 74 years later

ISNU 1937 yearbook photograph of Carl Wene.

ISNU 1937 yearbook photograph of Carl Wene.

On this 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember our Redbird alumni who lost their lives during the course of World War II.

By 1946, seventy eight men were listed on the University Gold Star Honor Roll. The honor roll was symbolic of the service flags commonly displayed by military families during the war. Gold stars represented a family member who had died in service while a blue star represented a family member who was serving in the armed forces. The university’s honor roll recognized the students and alumni of the university who had died while fighting in the war.

While we aren’t aware of any ISNU alumni who were killed during the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, we do know of one alumni who was stationed there shortly before it was attacked. Ensign Carl Wene was a former student of ISNU, attending in the late 1930’s before he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1940. One year later, in October 1941, Wene was stationed at Pearl Harbor. We aren’t sure if he was at Pearl Harbor during the attack, but given his aviation work for the Navy, we’re pretty sure we was involved in some aspect of the event.

On January 30th, 1942, Wene was reported missing when he and the rest of his aircraft crew did not return from a mission near Fiji. Though he was officially listed as Killed in Action in 1943, Wene’s remains were never recovered. Wene’s name is listed on the Honolulu Memorial, also known as Courts of the Missing, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Related Article: Collection Spotlight: Smith Hall Thanks to a student's hard work, Smith Hall's important connection to WWII history has been preserved.

Wene and the other seventy-seven listed on the University Gold Star Honor Roll were remembered at a ceremony in Capen Auditorium on May 19th, 1946. Led by J.D. Logson, an ISNU alumni and WWII veteran, the ceremony honored the fallen and their families.

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