Vet of the Month to honor Pearl Harbor survivor Burnell Reed

Oct. 29—The Free Press

NORTH MANKATO — American Legion Post 518 will fly a flag throughout November in honor of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Burnell Reed.

A public ceremony is slated 10 a.m. Saturday at Wheeler Park.

Reed was born Dec. 1, 1920, in Mankato. He attended Mankato schools.

He joined the U.S. Navy Jan. 1, 1941, and received his basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. He later was assigned to the oil tanker USS Argonne.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, he was part of a group that was waiting dockside for the USS Antaries at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when they heard planes coming in dropping bombs and torpedoes. One of the torpedo bombers came within a few feet of the dock where they were standing and they were so close that they could see the face of the pilot wearing a white scarf and goggles.

They jumped in a boat to get back to their ship, where Reed assumed his general quarters station on an anti-aircraft gun. He was credited for shooting down one plane.

He volunteered to go out on the USS Mugford to search for Japanese destroyers and later volunteered to do underwater searches for unexploded bombs. He lost hearing in one ear when a bomb exploded nearby.

Reed achieved the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class. He was honorably discharged Nov. 27, 1946.

He and Audrey Sorenson married in 1948 in Gaylord. A masonry contractor, he operated BH Reed Masonry.

Reed was a member of Mankato American Legion Post 11, Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and Immanuel Lutheran Church. He served as secretary of the Bricklayers Union.

He made several trips to Hawaii for Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremonies.

Reed died Sept. 27, 2001, in Mankato. He is buried in Vernon Center Cemetery.