WWII veterans visit NM for USS Curtiss reunion

USS Curtiss
WWII veterans visit NM for USS Curtiss reunion.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico hosted a reunion of veterans from around the country Thursday with a special tie to our state’s history. They were crew members of a ship at the center of World War II and the making of the Los Alamos National Lab.

Exhibits at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos tell the story of World War II and the first atomic bomb. A story these men lived through. Seven veterans from around the country along with about a dozen relatives visited the museum for a reunion.

“I’ve been going to every reunion the ship’s had,” said Henry Reis.

The men all served aboard the USS Curtiss, a seaplane tender that was hit in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and hit again in a kamikaze attack in 1945.

“Two kamikazes came at us and a third plane was flying real high and circling us, an observation plane to make sure we got hit, that was a terrible day,” said Harvey Ray.

The ship was also involved in nuclear testing operations in the pacific in the 40s and 50s.

“I want to see that fat boy, the big bomb and the little boy,” Joe Connolly said.

Not only did they look at the exhibits, one woman even contributed to them, donating the goggles her husband wore during the first hydrogen bomb drop in 1956.

“It’s just an experience that I’ll live with forever and I had my 88th birthday yesterday so I’m feeling pretty good. Yup,” Connolly said.

They say it’s likely their last.

“Sorry about being emotional but anyway but anyway, a lot of good guys on the ship and I’ll always remember it,” said John Greenwood.

John greenwood served on the USS Curtiss in the 50s, during the hydrogen bomb testing.

“A lot of folks have passed away because of the radiation that got to them with one form of cancer or another, but it’s hard to believe about some of the guys,” Greenwood said.

Like Greenwood, the men reflected on old memories while making new ones on this unforgettable trip.

The veterans will continue their week-long trip through New Mexico Friday with a visit to the Veteran’s Museum in Albuquerque.

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