Pensacola, FL – Internment services for SCRM Jacob Gallawa, USN (ret.) a Pearl Harbor Survivor, will be held 11 AM Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Barrancas National Cemetery, Pavillion A (adjacent to the administrative office). He died June 13, 2016 in Pensacola, FL at age 96. He is survived by two brothers, Walt and Robert, and two sisters, Martha and Ester, one son, Scott and grandsons and great grandsons. Faith Chapel in Cantonment is handling the arrangements.
Born in Melbeta, Nebraska on July 29, 1920, his family moved to Scottsbluff, NE, when he as a toddler. He was the sixth of 12 children. His parents, Johan and Mary Gallawa, Volga German immigrants from Russia, were sugar beet farmers. He spoke German and Russian as a child. He joined the Navy in Oct. 1938 to see the world and “get out of those sugar beets because that was such hard work,” he said.
He was assigned as a radioman to the USS Pelias in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack. While delivering a message to the ship’s captain on the bridge, he said, “I witnessed the bomb striking the Arizona, resulting in the massive explosion which sank her.”
Later during WWII, he was in London during the Blitz, he was a part of TORCH, a high-speed communications network in the north Atlantic. His team set up communication networks between New York and Russia. He was also stationed in Paris during the war and at the Yalta Conference in Crimea, USSR. He loved New York City between convoys because he could go to a movie, that would be followed by a big band performance on the same stage and he saw all the greats. He also loved to play golf.
He married Gerrie Burrell in 1943 and had two sons, 2 grandsons and 2 great grandsons with another on the way. During World War II Gerrie was in the Coast Guard in communications, too. Son Scott recalled, “Since they both knew Morse Code sometimes they would communicate with one another in Code in front of us kids.”
His life represented the very best of American ideals … honesty, integrity, hard working and with a fierce devotion to God and Family.