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Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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Ernie.JPGBorn to Henry Zimmerman, a blacksmith, and his wife, Mary, in Minnetonka, Minnesota on 27 November, 1924, was Ernest Zimmerman.  He grew up in Minnetonka with his five brothers and sisters; he attended school there and started Hopkins (MN) High School but didn’t finish because of the draft.  He could have been deferred to finish high school but wanted to go into the military because his brother and friends were already serving.

At the Fort Snelling induction center he was chosen to go with the Navy instead of the Army, and was shipped to boot camp at Farragut, Idaho, for basic training; he did fine in part because of his two years in the Home Guard, a unit somewhat like the National Guard but for younger kids not old enough for the military.

He was assigned to become a radioman striker and was sent to the University of Wisconsin for six months of training.  He completed school and was given orders to report to the USS General R. E. Callan (AP-139) a troop transport where he would serve until after the War was over. He traveled around aboard the Callan and visited ports all over the world. He was one of only a few who rated and wore both the Asia Theater Campaign Medal and the Atlantic Theater Campaign Medal.092213906.jpg

vet.jpgThe USS R.E. Callan would leave port with troops headed for the war with a convoy escort and often a dirigible which would leave them alone and defenseless after a few hundred miles 

Ernie was given an honorable discharge in 1947 and returned to Minnetonka.  He later joined the Navy Reserve which took him into the Korean Conflict after he was recalled for duty. He served aboard cruisers this time including the Newport News and the Salem along with one other that has escaped his memory.  One of the cruisers was the flag ship.  He handled all radio traffic for the entire task force.

vet2.jpgIn spite of the fact he was put in harm’s way he considers himself very lucky his ships didn’t engage in hostile action.

After the end of the Korean Conflict Ernie returned to Minnetonka thus ending his Navy career.

He took a job as a dental technician where he worked several years before finally taking another dental technician job at Hagman Dental Labs where he worked until he retired in 1990.Newport_News.jpg

He is a proud member of the VFW.

Ernie has been an active member of the amateur radio (ham radio) world for many years who still travels across the globe but today on airwaves instead of on ships.

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