Title: Interview with Glen Nordquist
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072030/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Glen Nordquist
Physical Description: Book
Publication Date: No date
Subject: Second World War, 1939-1945
World War II, 1939-1945
Temporal Coverage: World War II ( 1939 - 1945 )
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072030
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'World War II' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: WWII 22

Table of Contents
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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -1-

N: I went to the University, and they had this center spread on the lawn of the
university that said "Pearl Harbor Football Team" and they give a little
story here about it.

C: Yes, sir.

N: It's information about the team being inducted into the Willamette
University Hall of Fame on September 30th of 1997. It was the fiftieth
reunion of the Willamette Pearl Harbor football team in 1951 and there
were numerous people's stories written in the newspapers all up and down
the coast. The memorial service occurred in Portland, Oregon. The story
of the Pearl Harbor football team was shown on the weekly ESPN show
called "NFL [obscured by background noise].

C: Wow.

N: So here's a picture of the football team and there I am, number thirty-two
[gestures to the photograph].

C: What position did you play?

N: Running half-back, number thirty-two, I was a freshman. I wish I could give
you a copy of that [referring to the photograph], but that's the only one I've
got, so I can't let you have that.

C: Right, I understand. Well, I have this [holding up a photocopy of an article
with the above mentioned photograph in it], so I at least have a copy of the

N: Alright, ok, well, I'm number thirty-two.

C: Just a nineteen year-old freshman?

N: That's right.

C: So were you attending school in Hawaii?

N: No, no, I attended the University of Salem, Oregon and we had over two
hundred points, less than ten points of our opponents' total during the
season. We won the district championship and we had this game
scheduled for Hawaii and, um....

C: Yes, sir.

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -2-

N: You can have this too, alright? It's not complete. I had it printed on both
sides but it does give a little personal testimony of my wife and I, and
being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and so here you go.

C: Oh thank you. So you were in Hawaii for football?
N: Yes, yes, we were in Hawaii for football. That was an unforgettable
morning after the 1941 team game of football. So I was there.

C: Oh, right.

N: And we reunited there on the fiftieth anniversary of the December 6th
game against the University of Hawaii in December of 1991. But a lot of
them were missing because some of them died. And here's the picture
taken with my newspapers that I had bought for five cents apiece.

C: Five cents!?!

N: Yes, the day of Pearl Harbor, the day of the attacks, December 7th, 1941,
they sold these papers for five cents apiece and I bought one of each on
Sunday. And when we were over there in '91, they were selling the front
pages of these papers for a thousand dollars in little cheap, plastic frames.
When we were over there in '91 at the Fiftieth Anniversary [obscured by
traffic noise], and I got a hold of Senator Mark Hattfield, who had been
governor of Oregon earlier, and he had made the trip [for the 50th
anniversary].He was in law school and he made the trip so he naturally
jumped to the test so he would be there as a senator. He went to the chief
naval officer and got these certificates and handed them out to us at the

C: That's very impressive. How long had you been in Hawaii before
December 7th ? Had you just arrived?

N: Yes, we got there on the fourth. We left earlier than that and traveled by
ship. Here's my pass with my name on it.

C: Where did you sail out of?

N: Out of San Diego, San Francisco maybe. Yes, San Francisco. See, there
were no passenger airplanes going to or from Hawaii that we could take.
And so then we played our football game on the December 6th. And we
got beat twenty to six. Then on Sunday morning we were up early to go on
a tour around the island. And so we had an early breakfast at the hotel
and we were out at the beach waiting for the bus to take us on a tour
around the island when the attack came.

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -3-

The attack was about three hundred planes that descended over.
When the planes started coming over the folks on the boats thought it was
some kind of maneuver and they didn't realize it was an attack. Then
when they started hitting some of the ships we got together at the hotel
that afternoon as a team and all wanted to sign up [for the military]
because of the shortage of help, but our coach wouldn't let us because he
was in charge of guiding us, you know. And so he said we could all
volunteer. And so we volunteered to the Army to go on guard duty until
they got replacements. So they gave us one hour of instruction to take a
rifle apart and load it, aim and how to say "Halt" three times and then
shoot to kill. So we were on guard duty for ten days for the army engineers
at the [unidentified] School, which was inland. And because of its location
inland they held the ammunition and supplies and we guarded that. And
so anyways, after ten days of guard duty, the coach heard about a ship
that had just docked in Hawaii. It was a hospital ship in the South Pacific,
taking the injured from Waco Island and Guam which had taken a real
beating, a real beating. They were taking a lot of injured fellas and they
would let us sign on to help with the sick people.

There were two of us to one passenger. And we had to sign a
pledge that in case we were attacked on the way back that we would get
our passenger off the ship before we left the ship.

C: Right.

N: The ship zig-zagged across the shipping lanes. We didn't know if we
would land in Seattle or San Francisco. However, we landed in San

C: And that was part of a convoy?

N: Yes, that was the convoy that took us back. Well, they bombed the place.
They bombed the airports. They bombed the all the ships and the
airplanes and everything.

C: So your team was able to stay together through all of that?

N: Yes, yes that's right.

C: Did everyone on the team volunteer?

N: Yes, yes all of us volunteered.

C: Were you all applying together as a group?

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -4-

N: Yes, yes we did. Well [I was] made Corporal of the Guard the third day

C: Oh, really?

N: Yes, and I was assigned to guard a side entrance. We had very strict
instructions by the Colonel who was supposed to orient us that we were
not to allow anyone to come in who did have a pass, nobody. So the third
day out, I saw a big limousine pull up with officers in it, in the backseat,
and officers in the front seat, lieutenants and so on. And so they pull up
and the sergeants and lieutenants all have passes but the Colonel in the
back and the majors didn't have their passes. They got kind of aggravated
with me because I wouldn't let them through. I told them they'd have to go
up to the main gate and talk to them and they'd be allowed to come it, but
you can't come in here because that's my instructions and I'm going to
follow them.

I stood with folded arms and I wouldn't let them come through and
they kind of backed off kind of mad and went up there. Then the next day,
the next morning when we were lined up for guard duty there was this
colonel up there in the front with the major in charge of our post. We were
all lined up in number, there were thirty-two of us. And the colonel pointed
to the Captain, Captain Reynolds who was number one and told him to
step forward. And then he pointed to me and called my number out,
sixteen or eighteen or something like that and told me to step forward. And
I was in good company with the captain of the team.

Then he said that he was shocked that you fellows who were just
volunteers could follow directions so well. And he found a Hawaiian team
with two squads and he would take our squad out every four hours. So two
hours on duty and four hours off. And so that was quite a thing.

He issued a side arms and we stayed at the office up there and one
time I got a call from the guard "post eight, post eight, post eight". So I
grabbed a flashlight and ran to post eight. I went out there and the officer
there with sword down and shaking like a leaf and he said, I hollered at
him and warned him to stop or I'd shoot. And he didn't stop so I shot him
and he's lying over there. I had to shoot him to stop him. So we went over
there and it was, see this was a school, an academy and they had bow-
and-arrow targets on tripods and he had knocked down one of those
targets on tripods.[laughing] Well anyways that [is] why it didn't respond
when he cried out.

C: Is that the paper [gesturing]?

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -5-

N: Yes, these are the papers I bought for five cents. I need to have these
better protected because of the humidity. [obscured due to traffic
noise].This is the Honolulu Star Bulletin, this was a mistake. Our
saboteurs did not land here so this paper is actually more valuable
because of the mistake.

C: Because of the mistake?

N: Yes, and this is a reprint of the fiftieth anniversary. And this tells the story
of us, of being on guard duty and so on. And some of us had other people
with us, like I mentioned the former governor of Oregon's wife and some
other women, the wives of some of the players came along and they were
all assigned to work in the hospital, as nurses in the hospital.

This was in the paper, the fiftieth anniversary, "The Pearl Harbor
Team: Fifty Years Later" and so on. And this is to put around your necks
to take with you from Pearl Harbor to Calvary the two stars of the enemy
whose hate was reconciled to Jesus Christ. The first bombardier who left
to attack Tokyo after Pearl Harbor said he was sad he had to leave the
aircraft carrier four hundred miles out because of a fishing boat out there
that they thought might have radioed in. So they ordered them off and they
said they wouldn't have enough fuel to make it back to the carrier. Well,
they ran out of gas and had to bail out before Free China and they spent
forty months in a prison camp. Mostly isolation and starvation and
beatings and everything and they kept asking the guards for a Bible and
no one had a Bible until the thirty-second month when a guard brought
him a Bible that some missionary or someone had brought for the inmates
and said he could have it for two weeks and then he'd have to pass it
around to the rest. Well, in that two weeks time, he read through the bible,
read the New Testament several times and memorized various parts of it,
committed it to memory. And ended up on his knees in that hellhole of a
prison camp committing his life to Jesus Christ and said if he ever got out
alive he wanted to come back as a missionary to Japan.

It's amazing the power of the Gospel and Jesus Christ and this is
him meeting with Mitsuo Fushida, the man who led the attacks on Pearl
Harbor, and here's the story. I wish I could read this through with you.
Jake DeShazer flew the plane that took off from the American aircraft
carrier four hundred miles from Tokyo, bombed Tokyo and had to bail out
in China. See here [reads caption]. So he was a prisoner and the
American forces when the war was winding down and they were trying to
find out where these guys were held as prisoner. They found out were
they were located and sent in a special squadron to parachute in and take
over the camp and be in charge of the camp and clean it and all hundred
and ninety-seven were flown back to a hospital in California.

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -6-

When Jake got out of the hospital he went straight up to Seattle
Pacific University which is a Christian university and that's were he met his
wife and they were married and they were commissioned by United
Methodist as missionaries to Tokyo, to Japan. And that's how they spent
thirty months, thirty months as missionaries to Japan winning people to
Christ and starting churches, and that sort of thing and this is the story of
that. And there's this verse, "Whosoever lives and believes in Me shall
never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:26. One day when he came, Jake
DeShazer had a million copies of 'From Pearl Harbor to Calvary' and it
tells the story of his conversion. Well anyway, a Japanese man picked up
a copy and read it and wanted to know more about it and so he bought
himself a Bible and started reading it and ended up on his knees in his
hotel room and accepted the Lord as his savior and he asked, Now what
should I do now? I'm a Christian but I've wasted most of my life. See he
was retired and financially well off. Jake said you should do what I did:
come back to America and go to a Bible school and prepare yourself to
come back as a missionary to the Japanese people. And that's what he
did and I met him.

After I came back to Willamette University. Oh I forgot to tell you on
the fourth day out we all gathered at the base of the island and it was a full
moon at night and I was walking on the beach and I had the habit of
talking with the Lord. See at the age of seventeen I had gone forward and
given my life to what it means to be a missionary or a minister at my home
church. I told the Lord that I felt like I had compromised by playing football
instead of studying for ministry and that if I got out of this alive I would give
up football even though I had made quite a name for myself as just a
freshman and got into the papers and things like that. I told Him that I
would go back to school and study for the ministry. And so after the
invasion, I went home to Willamette University and the very next day I told
my supervisor that I wouldn't be playing football the next year. He said that
he wasn't surprised because he thought my heart was in ministry. So I
went back to Willamette University and I finished out that year and I
transferred to Bob Jones University [Greenville S.C.] and that's where I
met my wife .She was checking out books at the library when i met her.
We were married right after I graduated in 1945 and this August 24th it'll be
sixty years we've been married, sixty years.

Yes, sixty years. Ok, this tells a little about our ministry: I was the
Organizing Pastor for 3 Baptist Churches, 2 Boy's Ranches, founded a
winter retreat youth center, served as a Prison Chaplain and provided a
home for over seventy-five foster children over a 16 year period. Together,
they continue to provide a ministry of pulpit supply, counseling, church
organist, music and song, prison ministries, and the distribution of Bibles
and Christian literature.

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -7-

This was a thing that was printed that was a testimony of Jake
DeShazer.[comments obscured by traffic noise ].

C: Now you said that you have met Commander Fuchida?

N: Yes, yes. I got a call after I graduated and we were married, we went out
to Portland, Oregon to organize a church with the Baptist conference. I
was pastor of the little church that I started and I got a call asking me to
participate in a memorial service for the deceased at Pearl Harbor. And I
went there. They didn't tell me that Jake DeShazer would be there. He
was giving a speech, I was not, I was saying a prayer. And then they
introduced me to Jake DeShazer and I sat down with him and we were
sitting down there on the platform exchanging words and questions and
everything. And I asked him a question, Why did you invade? and he said,
Well, we were not scheduled or equipped for an amphibious invasion but
as we went back to the aircraft carriers post-mortem of the attack with the
Admiral, he and another officer both said they were in favor of an invasion
because we they had enough guys to drop by parachute but they didn't
have enough planes because they had all been destroyed. So they
recommended that the Admiral no longer fight but the American aircraft
carriers were headed back to Pearl because he wanted to survive to fight
another day. In 1951, the tenth anniversary [muted sounds]. So he came
back to America for an education and to prepare to become a missionary
of the Gospel to Japan and the Pacific ring that's not only Tokyo, but
China and Indonesia, you know?

C: Yes, sir.

N: He became a missionary of the Gospel and led many, many men,
especially service men, to the Lord. So that's the power of the Gospel.

This is an article, when this came out I was in Hawaii with my wife...
in Hawaii for the Athletic Hall of Fame award. And this is the papers I have
out on my desk at home.

C: Now on December 7th, the day of the attack, you saw the planes coming in
you said, and they looked, initially, you didn't obviously know it was an

N: No, it looked [like] it was some kind of a maneuver, well you see even the
US military thought it was the arrival of some bombers that were
scheduled to come from California, San Diego about the same time, and
can you believe the Japanese planned the attack knowing those bombers
were going to be coming? So when they got it on the radar, which was all
new at the time, it was an outpost of the service, they saw the Japanese
planes coming in on the radar and called and reported it they thought it
was those planes coming in from the Coast, from San Diego and didn't do

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -8-

anything about it but they could have had an adequate warning. An
adequate warning to get on the posts of the ships and sail on, you know,
and we might not have lost three thousand men.

C: When did you first realize that it was indeed an attack; did you hear

N: Yes, we saw billows of black smoke rising out of Pearl Harbor and then, of
course, the radio was broadcasting. And one of the bombers who was
returning to the aircraft carriers still had one bomb left and he dropped it
beside the hotel. We were lined up in the lobby.

C: What was it like on the island on that day, immediately after?

N: It was all military and you know everything was completely military, there
was no allowing of lights on at night, even smoking a cigarette at night,
because it could be seen from a plane. On Monday morning we were out
on guard duty. The Colonel gave us about an hour to stretch and then we
had to learn to take a rifle apart. We were subject to court martial just like
anybody else who signed up. We were out and on duty, and had to follow
our orders and holler "Halt!" three times then shoot to kill.

C: Now I know in 1941, there were a lot of Japanese or Japanese Americans
living in Hawaii, did that make people nervous after the attacks?

N: Well, they found out that there were Japanese who had what we call dual
citizenship. Japanese and American citizenship. And they had gone up
into the hills overlooking Pearl Harbor with radios giving signals to the
airplanes and also they had cut arrows in the sugar cane fields, cut arrows
pointing to Pearl Harbor and also the bars on the Main Street going down
to Pearl Harbor were lined with bars and most of these were Japanese
owned and operated, and they gave free drinks to all servicemen on
Saturday night. And in Hawaii, the hotel, the only other hotel on the beach
they had a big party for the servicemen late into the Saturday night with
the drinks and so on. So many of them were not up early on Sunday
morning at all.

C: Once you went back to Oregon after you left Hawaii, being on the west
coast like that were people generally apprehensive about the threat of an

N: Yes, yes, because you see the Japanese had what they called air bombs
floating over by the air waves with balloons and then they dropped them to
the coast. And besides they had submarines that would come and launch
missiles onto the Pacific beach and so this was done and didn't make any
great hits or damages or lives lost but it was bothering our shores so that
was something that was done.

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -9-

C: You said that you finished out the year in Oregon and then you moved to
Tennessee. Was it very different to be in Tennessee than Oregon or was
the national feeling the same?

N: Well, I signed up for the navy chapel you see and my hometown doctor
gave me 20/20 vision and the navy doctor flunked me out because of my
eyes and I couldn't get it so that's the reason I wanted to be the Prison
Chaplain sixteen years later here in Florida.

C: During the war, obviously you had a ration card and that sort of thing?

N: Yes, yes, yes, I was a religious classification so I had an exemption and
we had a special card. So I was in the ministry of Bob Jones during the
war and then I graduated in 1945 and got married.

C: Did a lot of the people you played football with go off to fight in the

N: Oh, yes, back then everyone else on the football team went in the service.
I was the only one who didn't go in the service. I tried to get in as a
chaplain but I couldn't make it. So a number of our fellas were killed in the
Pacific and most of them survived and some of them came back to finish
school in Salem.

C: At Bob Jones University, all the people who were going to school were
pursuing ministry or religious studies?

N: No not all of them, probably only fifty or sixty of us were in ministerial
training and we had to be involved and I was involved in ministry while I
was in school at Bob Jones University.

C: Was your wife also at the university at the same time?

N: Yes, she was at Bob Jones University and so that's where we got
acquainted. She worked in the library and I had to do a lot of library work
and that's how we got acquainted and we were married in 1945 in my
hometown in Pennsylvania and then we ended up in Portland, Oregon
with our first ministry and organized a church, a little church, and ran it for
seven years. Then went back to Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota for some
seminary work.

C: You were obviously fairly unique being in ministry and being very religious
at the time, do you think that has given you a unique viewpoint? Would
you say that you're better able to look back at the circumstances with less
ill-feelings or anger than other people because of that background?

VWVII 22: Glen Nordquist, Page -10-

N: Well, being in the ministry made a difference in my attitude. And I got a
chance to meet with Commander Mitsuo Fuchida and get acquainted with
him and that was a neat experience. And I continued in pastoral work
while in school and that's one of the things that we faced was feelings of
resentment and we had to get involved in ministry.

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