A Rockford Boy’s Story of WWII

If you visited the museum this summer, you may have seen our lobby display featuring “Cap” Sarver, a Rockford native who served in the Spanish-American War.  Our collection of Sarver family history spans five generations, but the following story is about Cap’s grandson, Everett Charles Sarver, a farm boy and trucker who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII.

Son as a boy and a young sailor

Everett Charles, called “Son” by his family, was born to Everett Alexander and Lauretta Sarver on April 24, 1916.  Starting in 1934, Son and his father ran a livestock trucking business that evolved from work E.A. had done hauling garbage from Camp Grant during World War I.  By 1941, Son took over the business and renamed it E.C. Sarver Livestock Trucking.

One of Son’s livestock trucks

U.S.S. Minotaur

In the spring of 1944, Son was drafted into the war, leaving behind his pregnant wife Ruth and two year old daughter Suzanne.  He served on the U.S.S. Minotaur and participated in the Asiatic-Pacific campaigns.  The Minotaur was one of 39 Achelous-class landing craft repair ships that contributed to the Okinawa Gunto operation, which resulted in the occupation of the island.

Son was the Captain’s Talker.  Stationed on the bridge, he would repeat the captain’s orders to the engine room and other parts of the ship.   He lost part of his hearing later in life, and he attributed it to the thunderous noise on the bridge when the ship was under Japanese attack.

Everett Charles "Son" Sarver

Son’s other job on the ship was that of mailman.  Working in the mailroom obviously had its perks.  Son would travel in a small boat from ship to shore to pick up and send the mail.  He was able to purchase souvenirs to send to his wife, among “other illicit things,” according to his daughter.  It is believed that this is how he acquired this Japanese rifle with bayonet.  He was able to send home the rifle piece by piece because of his connections as the ship’s mailman.

Type 30 Japanese Bayonet Sword. The long indentation on the blade is called the 'blood groove.' The blade has a marking of one cannonball stacked on three near its hilt. This marking indicates that it was manufactured by Kokura Rikugen Zoheisho before 1945.

Japanese Gauge 31 Rifle

In early 1945, the Allies planned an offense maneuver to invade Japan.  The plan began with all branches of the military attacking the group of islands off Japan’s coast in a coordinated assault.  These islands were Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Ryukyus Islands.  They would provide air bases and supply depots needed for the massive attack on Japan’s mainland.  The islands were captured in the spring of 1945, but when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that August, Japan’s surrender made invasion no longer necessary.  The Allies continued to occupy the islands for months.

Son was able to travel to the different islands and pick up souvenirs, which he sent home to Ruth.  Among these were silk handkerchiefs seen below.  He sent these trinkets in wooden boxes he fashioned from driftwood that he picked up on Okinawa.  The box’s return address is San Francisco, CA because the actual location of the ship was secret.

Handkerchiefs from Ryukyus Islands and Okinawa

 Son was discharged on February 17, 1946 and returned home to his family where he ran his livestock trucking business until 1969.

Upcoming Event!!!

World War II Days

Saturday, September 24  11 am – 5 pm

Sunday, September 25  11 am – 4 pm

World War II Days includes elaborate and realistic battles complete with tanks, artillery, armored vehicles, and exciting pyrotechnic displays.  It is the largest World War II era re-enactment in the United States with over 900 uniformed re-enactors from 40 states representing soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Italy and Germany along with 70 to 80 vintage tanks, half tracks and other 1940s era military vehicles!

Saturday the battle shows are featured at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.  Sunday the battle time is 2:30 pm.  Maps of the event site will be available when visitors arrive showcasing the battlefield and the various encampments and attractions.

A 1940s USO-style dance is set for 7 pm Saturday in the museum’s main building.   The dance is free!

Tickets are $10.00 Adults, $5.00 Children

Adult Two-Day Pass: $18.00

Child Two-Day Pass: $8.00

For more information, visit our event page: http://www.midwayvillage.com/event_calendar.cfm?id=1009

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Rockford Boy’s Story of WWII

  1. Daniel Kosharek

    Would it be possible to get a high resolution copy of One of Son’s Livestock Trucks pictured on your website for use in an exhibiton here at the New Mexico History Museum?

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