MO man recalls seeing Hiroshima bombing 70 years ago - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

MO man recalls seeing Hiroshima bombing 70 years ago

"I'm proud to be an American, and enjoyed being in the service," said Woodfin. "As a young boy you weren't afraid of nothing." "I'm proud to be an American, and enjoyed being in the service," said Woodfin. "As a young boy you weren't afraid of nothing."
In 1942, Ivan Woodfin joined the Navy. In 1942, Ivan Woodfin joined the Navy.
"I was close enough, we saw the mushroom," said Woodfin. "Didn't know what to think, didn't know anything about it, but it didn't take long to get around what had happened." (Source: AP) "I was close enough, we saw the mushroom," said Woodfin. "Didn't know what to think, didn't know anything about it, but it didn't take long to get around what had happened." (Source: AP)
ADVANCE, MO (KFVS) -

Sounds certainly trigger memories, some are good and some not so good.

The sound of a bouncing basketball takes 91-year-old Ivan Woodfin back to 1939. It's the year he played on the state champion team for Zalma.

"I was a freshman and got to go along and got the glory of being there," said Ivan Woodfin. 

Other sounds bring back memories of war.

"I think about it all the time," said Woodfin.

 In 1942, Ivan Woodfin joined the Navy.

"I'm proud to be an American, and enjoyed being in the service," said Woodfin. "As a young boy you weren't afraid of nothing."

 Woodfin was aboard a minesweeper, a naval warship designed to clear waterways of dangers below.

"We'd go up and down the coast and sweep mines," said Woodfin. "We blew up 32 mines in 32 minutes one time."

It was a dangerous job. He witnessed fellow Americans die.

"It's hard to stand on a ship and look out and see guys floating by," Woodfin said. "Their ship blew up next to you and nothing you can do. It's hard to take."

On June 6, 1944, Woodfin was there on D-Day off the beaches of Normandy.

"We went in mine sweeping as we had to sweep for the troops to come in," he said.

He was there for that pinnacle moment.

"When the war was over in France we came through the Panama Canal and then went to Japan," said Woodfin.

On August 6, 1945 Ivan Woodfin was standing on his ship along the coast of Japan when he looked up at the sky.

"I was close enough, we saw the mushroom," said Woodfin. "Didn't know what to think, didn't know anything about it, but it didn't take long to get around what had happened."

 The United States unleashed an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima.

"I can still see it," Woodfin said.

 It killed 140,000 people.

"I know it was an awful thing to do," he said. "A lot of people lost their lives, but it saved a lot of Americans."

Three days later, there was another bombing of Nagasaki.

Japan then surrendered. That was another moment in World War II history witnessed by Ivan Woodfin.

"The Missouri battleship, we were very close to it as they signed the peace treaty," said Woodfin. "I think about it all the time. Hardly a day goes by that I don't think about where I was years ago and how lucky I was to come back without a scratch. I put my trust in God, I know when I was overseas my mother prayed for me everyday."

When Woodfin returned home to southeast Missouri he knew he would have to move on with his life.

He met a young lady named Gavada. They have been married for 68 years.

"I don't know where I could have done better," said Woodfin.

The father-of-three retired from his truck driving job at the age of 62. He has enjoyed a lot of golf, and his golden years.

"I've had a good life," said Woodfin.

He said he'll never forget where he was 70 years ago.

"I just sit here now and think of things." 

He says he would do it all over again if he could.

"Wouldn't hesitate a minute," said Woodfin. "I'm just thankful I was able to do what I done."

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