Ervin Schmidt Named Grand Marshal of Edmonds 4th of July Parade
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 14:58

 

Pearl Harbor Survivor Witnessed the Beginning
and End of World War II

EDMONDS, WA: MAY 7, 2013 - The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Veteran Ervin Schmidt as the 2013 Grand Marshal of “An Edmonds Kind of Fourth” Parade. Erv, as his friends call him, is a highly decorated Naval veteran, and has been a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for 65 years. He lives in Edmonds and is a member of VFW Post # 8870 in Edmonds. The members of Post # 8870 are proud to honor and recognize Ervin’s service to our grateful nation. (See below for more information on Ervin Schmidt.)

With an over 100-year tradition, “An Edmonds Kind of 4th” is a cornerstone of the community, engaging families and businesses and kicking off a summer full of family and community centered activities. “An Edmonds Kind of 4th” features a 5K Fun Run, Children’s Parade, Main Parade and Evening Mini-Concert & Fireworks that entertains, dazzles and wows over 25,000 spectators.

 

An Edmonds Kind of 4th Schedule

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Event

Time Location
5K Fun Run

10 am

Edmonds City Park, 3rd & Walnut

Children’s Parade presented by Windermere Real Estate - Edmonds

11:30 am

Downtown Edmonds

Main Parade

Noon Downtown Edmonds

Edmonds Firefighters Waterball Competition

2:30 pm

City Park, 3rd Ave. S & Pine

SeaWolves Soccer

4 pm

Edmonds-Woodway High School Stadium, 7600 212th St SW

Evening Entertainment & Food Vendors

7:30 pm

Civic Field, 6th & Bell

Fireworks Display

10 pm Civic Field, 6th & Bell

The Hazel Miller Foundation continues as a long-term partner and named sponsor of "An Edmonds Kind of 4th". A very generous grant announced by the Foundation in 2012 ensures funding for the popular Edmonds 4th of July celebration in 2013 and for years to come. Hazel and her husband, Morris, were long-time Edmonds residents with a love of Edmonds. Their financial gifts continue to create a sense of community in Edmonds.

 

 

Marching Bands Wanted!

What’s a parade without the rhythmic stomp and beat of marching bands? The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is recruiting marching bands to perform during the 2012 Fourth of July Parade. Please visit www.edmondswa.com to download an application. For more information on “An Edmonds Kind of 4th” or other Chamber events, visit the online events calendar at www.edmondswa.com. Other summer events presented by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce include A Taste of Edmonds (August 9 to 11), David Stern Memorial Golf Classic (August 26) and Edmonds Classic Car Show (September 8).

 

About the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce

Our mission is to promote the economic vitality of the greater Edmonds business community through advocacy, leadership and education. The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce was chartered in 1907 and is a voluntary organization serving over 450 business and professional leaders in several neighborhoods including the Downtown, Waterfront, Perrinville, Firdale, Westgate and Highway 99 districts. The organization also serves to encourage unified public support and initiate action for the sustainability of a rich quality of life in the community, country and state. To learn more about the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, as well as its events and programs, visit www.edmondswa.com.

 

About Ervin Schmidt

Ervin Schmidt was a 25 year old barber from Marshfield, Wisconsin when he enlisted in the United State Navy in August of 1940. After completing basic training, Erv was assigned to the battleship USS California and participated in numerous training cruises in the Pacific Ocean. In December of 1941, the USS California was docked in what has become known as “battleship row” at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.


When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred at a few minutes before 8:00 AM on December 7, 1941, Erv was asleep in his bunk several levels below the main deck when the first of two torpedoes struck the California. One of Erv’s bunk mates was killed instantly by the blast. Dazed by the attack, Erv and several of his bunk mates tried to make their way to their battle stations. They were overcome by smoke and fumes on the second deck, and survived only because shipmates carried them to the main deck where the fresh air revived them. After a second torpedo struck, the ship began to list and the Captain issued the order to abandon ship.

 

Erv was on the main deck and chose to remain on the ship with three of his shipmates, who could not swim. They were the only remaining personnel on the ship, and they manned a 50 cal. anti-aircraft gun to fire at the attacking Japanese planes. Late in the afternoon, Erv and his three friends were evacuated and shortlythereafter, the USS California sunk. Of the 1500 men assigned to the USS California, over 200 of them were killed in the attack.


Three days after the attack, Erv was reassigned to a heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago and the ship immediately left Pearl Harbor to serve as reinforcement to the Australian and New Zealand forces in the vicinity of the Coral Sea. In the confusion that resulted in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Erv was listed as Killed in Action, and his family was so notified. Six weeks after his family held a funeral service for him, they learned that Erv had, indeed, survived the attack. Three months after the USS California was sunk, the battleship was raised and returned to Bremerton, Washington for repairs and refitting.

 

On May 7 & 8, 1942, the USS Chicago participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, which proved to be a turning point in the War in the Pacific. The Japanese advance on New Zealand and Australia was stopped. After several months of patrolling off the Australian coast, the Chicago was assigned to transport portions of the 1st Marine Division to Guadalcanal. These Marines participated in the landing on the beach on August 7-8, 1942. During the battle, the Chicago was struck by two enemy torpedoes. Fortunately for Erv, the torpedo that struck his ship directly below his bunk, did not explode, but the second torpedo caused significant damage to the ship. The ship returned to San Francisco for repairs, and Erv was able to be reunited with his family after a nearly two year separation.

 

When repairs were completed, the USS Chicago returned to the Coral Sea, and in late January 1943, the convoy engaged the Japanese at Rennell Island, which is located in the South Solomon Islands. On January 29, 1943, the Chicago sustained severe battle damage and once again, Erv hear the command to abandon ship. This was the second ship on which Erv served that was sunk. Following his second sinking, Erv returned to San Diego where he volunteered for duty on a submarine. He was assigned to the USS Saury as a radio and sonar operator. During his five patrols on the Saury, a total of 9 Japanese ships were sunk, and Erv and his crewmates survived numerous depth charge attacks and a ramming by a Japanese light cruiser. In a scene right out of a Hollywood movie, the Saury was forced to lie on the bottom of the ocean at a depth of 200’. After the enemy had left the area, the submarine was able to surface the next morning and return to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

 

After some well deserved shore duty in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Erv returned, once again, to the South Pacific. He was now assigned to another submarine, the USS Torsk, which conducted patrols against enemy shipping, first in Tokyo Bay and then the Sea of Japan. On August 11 and then on August 13, 1945, the Torsk sank two Japanese Naval ships, which were the last two ships sunk by the US Navy in World War II. On August 14, 1945, hostilities in the South Pacific ended.

 

Erv’s submarine returned to New London, Connecticut in October, 1945 where he was reunited with his wife and members of his family. He served in the Navy for one more year before he was discharged in December, 1946. Erv served three years in combat in the South Pacific and has the distinction of serving in combat at the outset of WW II and during the last naval action of WW II. He is a highly decorated Naval veteran, and has been a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for 65 years. He lives in Edmonds and Erv is a member of VFW Post # 8870 in Edmonds. The members of Post # 8870 are proud to honor and recognize Ervin’s service to our grateful nation.

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