Jack Grimm, a Bend veteran who was one of the few remaining survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, died Sunday at Partners in Care Hospice House after a brief illness, said his daughter, Patricia Nelson.
Grimm was 93. In December, he was interviewed and profiled by The Bulletin for a story that appeared on Dec. 7, 2012, the 71st anniversary of the attack.
Out of about 84,000 service members stationed on the island during the attack, the Veterans Administration estimates that fewer than 3,000 remain. Seventy-one years after the attack, the youngest of Pearl Harbor veterans are well into their eighties.
Grimm was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and was based at Wheeler Field, about 16 miles north of Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese attacked U.S. forces on Dec. 7, 1941.
The 21-year-old had just arrived at Pearl Harbor in November 1941 after finishing flight school in Luke Field, Ariz.
Grimm told The Bulletin that the sounds of strafing and bombs going off woke him on the morning of the attack.
As low-flying Japanese aircraft flew above, U.S. service members did their best to put up a fight.
“Single airplanes would come by,” he said. “Even the guard at the gate was shooting a shotgun at him. That was doing no good, but at least he was shooting.”
Grimm was born Dec. 31, 1919 in Sacramento, Calif., to Homer and Anna Grimm. He married Irene Ryan on July 23, 1944, who preceded him in death in 1992.
He was living in Sacramento and had decided to apply for the Army Air Corps' cadet program in early 1941. For Grimm, the prospect offered a $205 monthly salary, a hefty sum for a young man in 1941.
Entry into the program that trained military aviators was competitive, and Grimm was glad to be selected, Nelson said.
Grimm went to New Guinea after Pearl Harbor, flying 158 missions and shooting down two enemy aircraft. His wartime duties also took him to Central Oregon to train pilots in Redmond. Grimm received the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards.
For Grimm, it was the start of a 20-year career in the military that went well beyond World War II as he served his country in Germany, the Philippines and Massachusetts.
Grimm initially trained to fly P-40 fighters, and went on to fly at least 16 different kinds of aircraft throughout his military career.
During his service in Redmond during the war, Grimm came to enjoy Central Oregon. He moved his family there before doing a two-year tour in Japan at a base that didn't have housing for dependents at the time.
After serving in Japan, Grimm retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force in 1961.