Thursday is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
In honor of all of those who have served our country past and present, Channel 3 sat down with one of our local heroes.
Dec. 7, 1941 was the attack on Pearl Harbor.
As President Roosevelt said, “a date which will live in infamy,” it was also the date 17-year-old Jack Rodin of Bloomfield decided he wanted to serve his country.
“If I didn’t go, someone else would have had to go in my place,” Rodin said. “I said dad, I’m 17. Next year at this time I’m going to be in the service.”
And he was.
Rodin joined the Air Force and was a navigator in the 330th bomb group, flying B-29 bombers from Guam.
In all, he flew 23 bombing missions over Japan during World War II.
“My responsibility as a navigator is to tell the pilots where to go, and how to get there. They drive the bus,” Rodin said.
His last mission was “a show of force.”
Hundreds of Air Force and Navy planes flying over the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese delegation signed the surrender documents on Sept. 2, 1945.
While Rodin looks back fondly on his time in the military, he says he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“What’s heroic? Nothing. We were trained to do this. We did it repeatedly. We were successful in doing what we did and had great confidence in each other’s ability,” Rodin said.
After his time in the service, Rodin went back to college and got his engineering degree before spending 40 years at Pratt and Whitney working on plane engines with a top secret clearance.
Now at 93 years young, Channel 3 wanted to find out his key to longevity.
“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore,” he said with a laugh.
Rodin came from a very patriotic family.
In fact, his father served in the Army.
Rodin was also married for 60 years. His wife passed away eight years ago. They share two sons who live in California.
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