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Orville Sutherland enlisted in the Navy in August 1942. He was trained as a sonar operator and sent to Key West, Florida, for four months. He was sent to Norfolk, Virginia and assigned to the U.S.S. Mayrant DD-402 destroyer (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. was the executive officer). He described its activities conducting antisubmarine patrols and protecting troop and material convoys to Casablanca, Morocco and Oran, Algeria in support of the North African campaigns. In July 1943, the U.S.S. Mayrant was damaged near Palermo, Sicily when the force of an exploding bomb three feet from the port bow caved in the side of the engine room and either killed or wounded nearly two dozen crew members. Sutherland was working at his battle station below decks handing up ammunition for the ship's gun crews. In November 1943, the ship returned to South Carolina for extensive repairs. Sutherland was reassigned as a sonar operator on board a seaplane tender in Key West, Florida. The tender rescued crews from downed aircraft or damaged ships. Sutherland went to Colgate University for three months and given a commission before his discharge from the Navy in 1945. He returned to Kansas where he bought the Everest Enterprise newspaper in Everest, Kansas, in Brown County. He operated the Everest Enterprise for about thirteen years. He then bought the Highland Vidette newspaper and moved back to Highland, Kansas. Sutherland stayed in the Naval Reserves for the next 15-17 years after WWII, traveling to St. Joseph, Missouri, for drills. He retired from the Reserves with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Jan 1, 2007. He was born in Kellerton, Iowa, on April 22, 1920. His family moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, and then to Highland, Kansas, when he was 18 years old. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Creator: Sutherland, Orville
Date: 1 January 2007

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Item Number: 212223
Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 212223

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