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Charles T. Sehe - World War II

Charles Sehe, originally from Geneva, Illinois, graduated from high school at seventeen, and soon joined the U.S. Navy in late 1940. By December, 1941 he was assigned to the USS Nevada, one of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor on December 7th when the Japanese launched their devastating surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet. The Nevada suffered heavy damage that day, but survived the attack. Sehe spent the rest of WW II on the USS Nevada, and saw action in the Aleutian Islands, at Utah Beach on D-Day, in southern France, at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His amazing first-hand accounts will bring these bloody battles to life.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

Raising the Nevada

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, basic training, assignment to USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

USS Nevada crewman remembers the Pearl Harbor attack

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Repairing USS Nevada, action in the Aleutians, convoy support and D-Day

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Southern France, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, release from service and post-war life

Transcript

Videos


Photos

Caption
Geneva, Illinois high school student Charles Sehe as he appeared in his formal portrait. There were few employment opportunities for Sehe when he graduated, and he soon joined the Navy.

Where:
Geneva, Illinois

When:
1939

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
A picture depicting the sequence of Japanese air attacks and the route the USS Nevada took during its vain 58 minute attempt to reach the open sea on December 7, 1941. Sehe frequently used this photo when telling groups about his experiences.

Where:
Unknown

When:
December 7, 1941

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
The USS Nevada in Pearl Harbor after it suffered both a torpedo and bomb hits on December 7, 1941. The ship was eventually beached rather than have it sunk in the channel leading out of the harbor. The searchlights, Sehe’s battle station, are circled.

Where:
Hawaii

When:
December 7, 1941

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
Charles Sehe in his formal uniform, circa 1942. Most of that year the USS Nevada was in dry dock at Bremerton, Washington, undergoing repairs and being up-gunned after it was heavily damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Where:
Bremerton, Washington

When:
Circa 1942

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
Charles Sehe in August, 1944 when the USS Nevada was in the Mediterranean Sea supporting Allied landings in southern France.

Where:
Mediterranean Sea

When:
August, 1944

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
“Five thirsty shipmates” was how Charles captioned this photo. He’s at left, with pipe, celebrating with other crewmembers of the USS Nevada in a New York City nightclub in September, 1944. They were fresh off successes at Utah Beach and southern France.

Where:
New York City

When:
September, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
The USS Nevada stopped in New York City on its way back from Europe in September, 1944 before heading to Norfolk for repairs. Sehe’s caption reads “Five battle-weary Nevada shipmates sitting on the dock looking forward to Liberty in New York City.”

Where:
New York City

When:
September, 1944

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
USS Nevada crewmen clear debris after being hit by Japanese shore batteries in April, 1945, while the ship supported the Okinawa landings. The photo appeared in an article that Sehe wrote for the Winter, 2015 edition of ‘WW II Quarterly.’

Where:
Okinawa

When:
April, 1945

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator. ‘WW II Quarterly’, Winter, 2015, p. 57.

Caption
This is the USS Nevada (BB36) at anchor in Buckner Bay, Okinawa on August 15, 1945. “Battle weary, battle damaged, blistered paint coat, flaked, dirty ole gal, but we loved every section of her” wrote Sehe of his ship many decades later.

Where:
Buckner Bay, Okinawa

When:
August 15, 1945

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
Professor Sehe is lecturing to an embryology class at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota in May, 1990. The MSU Reporter did a feature story on him, highlighting his 37 years of teaching and his WW II experiences.

Where:
Mankato, Minnesota

When:
May, 1990

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption
Professor Sehe as he appeared when the Mankato State University Reporter did a feature story on him, highlighting his 37 years of teaching and his WW II and Pearl Harbor experiences.

Where:
Mankato, Minnesota

When:
May, 1990

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption
Charles holds a photo of Adam Taschror, a German soldier who was a crew member on an 88 mm gun on Utah beach that fired on the USS Nevada. The two met during a D-Day reunion ceremony Circa 2000’s at Utah beach.

Where:
Utah beach

When:
Circa 2000’s

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Charles Sehe in the early 2010s is proudly wearing a Pearl Harbor Survivor Association cap and jacket.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Early 2010s

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Charles Sehe in the early 2010s is proudly wearing a Pearl Harbor Survivor Association cap and jacket, with USS Nevada prominently displayed.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Early 2010s

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
A recent portrait of Professor (emeritus) Charles Sehe, taken in Mankato, Minnesota.

Where:
Mankato, Minnesota

When:
Circa 2015

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption
Sehe created this poster to promote one of the many presentations he made about his WW II experiences, and especially about the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor. He regretted that the USS Nevada’s story was typically overshadowed by the ill-fated USS Arizona.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption
Charles Sehe lectures at a middle school in Mankato, Minnesota on Pearl Harbor Day, 2014. He has been a frequent speaker at schools and civic events over the years.

Where:
Mankato, Minnesota

When:
Pearl Harbor Day, 2014

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption
Charles joins Nevada governor Brian Sandoval (behind the wreath) and Carson City mayor Bob Crowell (left) on March 11, 2016 in Carson City, Nevada for an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the USS Nevada’s commissioning. 

Where:
Carson City, Nevada

When:
March 11, 2016

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption
Charles joins Carson City mayor Bob Crowell and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval on March 11, 2016 in Carson City, NV for an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the USS Nevada’s commissioning. Charles was the only Pearl Harbor survivor present.

Where:
Carson City, NV

When:
March 11, 2016

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.



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