Remembering his memories
By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
July 29, 2001
Lloyd and Dolores Gregg had made one memorable trip to Mississippi before moving to Lauderdale County earlier this year.
The longtime Michigan residents attended a Pearl Harbor survivors reunion Biloxi.
Mr. Gregg was on the USS Farragut the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His ship, a destroyer, was anchored west of Ford Island. On the other side of the island was battleship row, the main target for the Japanese.
Like most Americans living at the time, it was a day he would never forget.
Dolores Gregg is adjusting, both to her new home, and to life without her husband.
The Greggs moved to Lauderdale County May 7. Her son, David Heisey, encouraged them to move into a home across from his house in the Dalewood Lake area.
Mr. Gregg's health was not good. He was 82, on oxygen and had other health issues. He had spent more than two weeks in the Veteran's Administration hospital in Jackson before coming home July 6. He died the next day.
And as she thought about her husband, she described him as this: "He was the epitome of The Greatest Generation.'"
Letters from the past
Dolores has many letters that Lloyd wrote to his family while serving in the Navy. He entered the service in 1939 and was assigned to the USS Farragut at Pearl Harbor. He was a fire controlman 3rd class, and was assigned to work on the ship's big guns.
From the following letter written in October 1940, you get the impression that people knew that war with Japan was coming.
I suppose that by now you have seen the papers and know what it means. I haven't written anything about it before but war with Japan in inevitable. We have our cards on the table now, and it's up to the Japanese to make the next move.
Everyone predicts they will declare war on us with in the next few weeks. It's very likely it will be the USA, England, China and Russia against the rest of the world. I think that combination can beat anything (I hope).
I suppose you will feel badly because I'm in the Navy and will have to fight. Don't, because I will be fighting for something I love, even more than life itself. I may not come back, if not, don't feel sorrowful because I will have done at least one thing in my life that is worthwhile.
If I die in the service of my country, I will die happy. Perhaps I should not be writing this as I might not be scratched. But if anything happens, I want you to know how I feel about it.
We have something we must keep forever, freedom. No country must take that away. I don't think anyone can as long as there is a single man, woman or child left living in this country.
The next letter home from Lloyd was written Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the sneak attack.
I don't know whether this will reach you but I'll try anyway.
Got through the first battle without a scratch. Things aren't as bad as they sound. I send my love to you all.
Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, Lloyd Gregg was assigned to the USS Fanning. His ship became part of the ships involved in the Doolittle raid on Tokyo.
Afterwards, Lloyd was sent to Washington DC where he was trained to train other to work on the guns. He became an instructor and that's how he finished out the war.
Post war life
After the war, Gregg became a plastics engineer. He and Dolores married in 1964, the second marriage for both. He transferred to their home in Michigan and retired in 1975.
For the next 15 years, he enjoyed his boat. He liked to fish and brought home some big ones, Dolores reports. Then the stroke made that activity no longer possible.
They attended the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack and had planned to attend the 60th, but Lloyd's poor health prevented that. Dolores still remembers standing at the USS Arizona Memorial.
Dolores is still getting used to her new home.
She still has some unpacking to do from her move, and as she does, there are plenty of memories.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at email@example.com.