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Ohio Valley Military Society
Show of Shows
Edgar Harrell
USMC, WWII, USS Indianapolis survivor. On July 16, 1945, the USS Indianapolis departed
from San Francisco for the American B-2 base on Tinian island with a top-secret cargo that would ulti-
mately put an end to World War II—components for the first operational atomic bombs. After a record run,
covering 5,300 miles in only ten days, the Indianapolis successfully delivered her cargo on July 26, 1945,
and was ordered to set a course from Guam to the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion
of Japan. Traveling unescorted, at fourteen minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, she was hit by two Jap-
anese torpedoes midway between Guam and Leyte, sending her to a watery grave in twelve minutes. Of
the 1,196 men aboard, about 900 sailors and Marines entered the water. Due to a series of Navy debacles,
no one knew of their plight. Five horrifying days later, 31 men who had survived the terror of shark attacks,
hypothermia, severe dehydration and salt-water hallucinations, were accidentally spotted and rescued.
Edgar Harrell owned and operated the Pella Window Company, Inc., Rock Island, IL for thirty-five years
until his retirement in 1 5. During the years 1 0 to 1 5, he served on the board of trustees of the Moody
Bible Institute, in Chicago, IL, and has been a popular Bible teacher and lay minister throughout his adult
life. He has enjoyed many years of fishing and big game hunting in the Rocky Mountains from Alaska to
New Mexico, and currently resides in Clarksville, TN with his wife Ola, together enjoying their two children,
eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. As a survivor of the USS Indianapolis, Mr. Harrell speaks
extensively around the United States about his experience at sea.
A fee may be charged for some veteran autographs.
Don Jakeway
entered the United States Army on November 28, 1942. He took his initial basic training at
Camp Toccoa, Georgia with additional extended training in demolitions at Camp Blanding, Florida. The total
was thirteen weeks.
Don Jakeway’s unit went through jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia. This training included five quali-
fying jumps….enough to earn the coveted paratrooper wings. More training was done at Camp Mackall,
North Carolina prior to transferring to Camp Shanks, New York in preparation for shipment overseas.
The eleven-day crossing of the Atlantic began on December 23, 1943. The ship arrived in Belfast, Northern
Ireland where the unit would stay until it was shipped to Knottingham, England in March 1 44. Once in
Knottingham final training preparations for the D-Day jump began.
Don Jakeway jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944 landing near Chef–du-Pont outside of St. Mere Eg-
lise. On July 4th, “H” Company lost several men in an attack across an open field in the Carentan Penin-
sula. The 508th PIR fought in the Normandy campaign until July 13th it was pulled back to England.
While in England, more training ensued until September 1 , 1 44 when the 2nd Airborne Division jumped
into Holland in the leading elements of “Operation Market Garden.” Five days into the Holland operation
Don Jakeway was severely wounded (near the town of Beek) by artillery shrapnel. He received wounds in
the face, head and back requiring his evacuation. He was hospitalized for an extended period, recovering
barely in time to be returned to duty as the “Battle of the Bulge” began in mid December 1944.
The 82nd Airborne was sent to the town of Werbomont where it was to shield against a German attack. On
January 31, 1945 during the closing days of the Ardennes Offensive Don Jakeway was shot through the
lung by a German sniper. He was carried to an aid station, by two German prisoners and loaded into an am-
bulance for the trip to the division hospital at Leige. During the trip, the driver lost control and the ambulance
rolled over and over down the side of a mountain landing upside down in a river. Everyone was killed except
Don Jakeway. He was rescued when American soldiers spotted the wreckage in the river. Don recovered
and was released on August 25, 1945, from Memphis General Hospital. This ended Don Jakeway’s active
participation in the war.
After the war, Don Jakeway married, had four children and had a career in international sales. Don has
always taken an active interest in local community affairs around Johnstown, Ohio.