ELLINWOOD — Local historian Linda McCaffery spoke at the Heritage Club in Ellinwood recently about local veteran Leroy Zahn as well as sharing historical information of general interest.
She has been a history teacher at Barton Community College for 30 years.
“What happened isn’t nearly as important as why,” McCaffery told the group. She said the roots of 9-11 went back decades.
“There is always a root,” cause, she said, mentioning the guerilla organization, “The Black Hand,” who were saboteurs and instrumental in starting World War I.
She will be speaking again at the Heritage Club potluck at noon on June 23 in Ellinwood.
She encouraged people to write down their own personal history. There was a full transcript of Zahn’s WWII experience available at the meeting.
LeRoy Zahn was born five miles south of Burdett on a farm in 1920 where he lived until the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years came along. The family moved to Jetmore where Zahn graduated from high school.
Zahn received his draft notice after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was in the Navy where he was a yeoman on a fleet tug in the south Pacific. He had never seen the ocean, but knew he wanted to be in the Navy.
The fleet tug Zahn served on was the U.S.S. Pawnee, which towed ships that were damaged in war. He traveled to such places as Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Australia, in addition to his sea travels.
It was his job to send the history of the day at sea to the Bureau of Nay Personnel in Washington D.C.
Zahn served in many missions on the south Pacific before returning to Ellinwood. Zahn married his wife Catherine at Ellinwood and worked at the grocery store and in insurance after his service.
Zahn was involved in the book, “We will stand by you: Serving in the Pawnee 1942-1945” by Theodore Mason.