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Pearl Harbor survivor Glenn Lane passes away

This photograph shows Pearl Harbor survivor Glenn Lane in his heyday as a member of a Navy combat air crew. It was taken just a year after Pearl Harbor. Lane passed away Saturday. - Photo courtesy of ussarizona.com
This photograph shows Pearl Harbor survivor Glenn Lane in his heyday as a member of a Navy combat air crew. It was taken just a year after Pearl Harbor. Lane passed away Saturday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of ussarizona.com

For decades, Glenn Lane had one of the best war stories in a town filled with retired members of the military. The Pearl Harbor survivor proudly shared his account of the infamous attack with the Oak Harbor community at many different venues.

Famously, he may have been the few people in history to be onboard two battleships taken out by the enemy on the same day.

Lane, a 55-year resident of Oak Harbor, passed away Saturday, Dec. 10, at Skagit Valley Hospital. He was 93 years old.

“He died in his sleep, which is what he always said he wanted,” his daughter Patricia Anderson said. “He was always quoting that Kenny Rogers song that says, ‘The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep’.”

A memorial service to honor Lane will be held at Wallin Funeral Home on Monday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m.

Lane and his new wife, Abbe, had been planning to go to Hawaii last week for the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, but they canceled after he fell ill.

Lane survived both the USS Arizona and the USS Nevada. He was a radioman on the USS Arizona and saw Japanese torpedo bombers attacking ships docked at Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. After the ship was hit, he was blown off the battleship while fighting fires and swam through the burning harbor to the USS Nevada, another doomed ship. It was hit by bombs and a torpedo, forcing the ship aground.

After Pearl Harbor, Lane served as a member of combat air crews, mainly in Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers. His military career spanned 30 years and three wars. He finally retired as Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s first command master chief.

Despite suffering burns and shrapnel wounds at Pearl Harbor, Lane didn’t receive a Purple Heart until 60 years later. Anderson said she was shocked to learn that he never got the medal and she went on a crusade to make sure he received the honor. After a lot of paper pushing and phone calls, Lane was awarded the Purple Heart at a base ceremony attended by the Navy leaders, dignitaries and politicians.

Anderson said she’s been working to ensure that the memorial service is done with full military honors, but she’s having some trouble finding the correct paperwork. She said local Pearl Harbor survivors are planning on attending.

Afterward, Lane’s ashes will be interred in the USS Arizona under the waves of Pearl Harbor.

“Divers will take him down and place his ashes in the gun turrets of the ship,” Anderson said.

Lane was born Jan. 29, 1918 in Iowa. He and his first wife, Beverly, moved to Oak Harbor in 1960 and raised six children. Beverly, his biggest booster, passed away in 2007. He remarried last year and had been living with his new wife in Sedro-Woolley.

 

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