Omar Christian Keller oral history interview, September 26, 1988
Date: Sep. 26 1988 |
Omar Keller was born in 1917 in Arlington, Nebraska. He graduated from high school in 1934 and joined the Navy with the intent of entering the Naval Academy. He was assigned to the USS OKLAHOMA (BB 37) in 1935 and assisted in the rescue of American civilians and German Jews caught in the Spanish Revolution. After attending prep school in Norfolk, Virginia, he entered the Academy in 1937, but left before graduating. He reenlisted in the Navy in 1941, hoping to avoid being drafted by the Army. He started as second class boilermaker on board the USS WHARTON (AP 7), which cruised in the Pacific following the outbreak of World War II. He subsequently served on board the USS KENDRICK (DD 612), the USS CALIFORNIA (BB 44) in Bremerton, Washington, the USS THOMPSON (DD 627) on convoys in the Atlantic, the USS CONE (DD 866) at Staten Island, New York, and the aircraft carrier USS TARAWA (CVS 40) off Cuba and the West Coast. In 1946 he was transferred to shore duty in San Ysidro, CALIFORNIA. In 1949 he joined the light seaplane tender USS DUXBURY BAY (AVP 38) on a round-the-world cruise, and then moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where his family joined him. In 1952 he was transferred to the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia, and in 1955 he was assigned to the USS ESSEX (CV 9). After his last assignment to the Naval Air Station in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, he retired in 1956 and returned to Nebraska where he worked for the Army Reserve for sixteen years. At the time of the interview Keller was working as a Coast Guard Auxiliarist in Arkansas. Interviewer: Donald R. Lennon. more...