The Oldest Montana Pearl Harbor Vet Died at Age 99 Last Week
Montana lost a legend last Friday (3/17) and I must have checked out of the news cycle over the weekend because I just heard about it today. Charlie Dowd was the oldest living Montana Pearl Harbor veteran. State elected officials shared condolences via Twitter over the weekend.
Dowd was just a teen, stationed at Pearl Harbor.
The Navy vet was just 17 (apparently they were a little loose on the whole, "18 and up thing" during WWII) when the Japanese bombs began to fall on Pearl Harbor. He and another radioman first ducked under a table, then grabbed their rifles and started shooting at the low-flying attack.
57,000 Montanan served in World War II
According to a KTVH report, 57,000 Montanans served in the war effort. 15 lost their lives at Pearl Habor. Charlie Dowd made it home.
Charlie Dowd earned two Bronze Stars and other commendations for his service.
While not a Montana Native (he was born in Rochester, NY, and spent much of his post-Navy life in Florida), Charlie Dowd moved to Anaconda in 1984 when he was in his 60s to hunt and fish. An avid sportsman, he became involved in local outdoor recreation clubs.
Montana Representative Ryan Zinke, himself a Navy veteran, recounted meeting Charlie and watching him tap out Morse code on the table as he talked about his 4-year, 10-month service in the Navy. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Dowd "served on fighting vessels in the Pacific Theater in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea until the end of the war and was discharged in December 1945." according to his obituary.
RIP, Charlie Dowd. A true Montana hero.
Images of Pearl Harbor - The Day and the Memorial