Photo from MLive.com
Team USA will host a 100-year-old World War II veteran at this weekend's Heroes Appreciation Weekend at USA Hockey Arena.
Herb Elfring, of Jackson, Michigan, was in the United States Army and assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the California National Guard. The unit's job was to protect airfields, but they weren't expecting an attack on the morning of the Pearl Harbor bombing.
Herb Elfring (Photo from MLive.com)
Elfring was standing at the edge of his barracks at Camp Malakole a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor, reading a bulletin board when Japanese Zero planes flew over.
“I could hear it coming but didn’t pay attention to it until the strafing bullets were hitting the pavement about 15 feet away from me,” he recalled while returning to the site of the attack in 2019.
Elfring, who still lives in Jackson, has returned to Hawaii 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and National Park Service.
The bombing killed more than 2,300 U.S. troops. More than half were Marines and sailors serving on the USS Arizona, a battleship moored in the harbor.
Herb says if he is still around and healthy enough, he'll be back for next year's ceremony when he'll be 100 years old.
Elfring will be at USA Hockey Arena and drop the ceremonial first puck at Saturday (March 19) night's game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
Fans can purchase tickets and attend any of the three games over the weekend by stopping by the USA Hockey Arena box office in person, calling 734-453-6400 x396 or by visiting USAHockeyNTDP.com/tix.