Clark County veteran highlight: Linden Garner

Linden Garner enlisted Feb. 7, 1950 and served as a Navy Air Technical second class Petty Officer.

After completion of boot camp at the U.S. Navy Training Center in San Diego, Garner was transferred to the Navy station in Memphis for introduction into occupational requirements and selecting which part of Naval Flight Training I wanted to pursue. He selected electronics and was transferred to the NATTC School at Memphis, TN. instead of pilot training at the flight school in Jacksonville, FL.

After graduating from electronics school in Memphis, Garner was transferred to the Naval Training Center in San Diego for more hands on and operational training, after which he was transferred to the Naval Air Station in Los Alamitos, Calif. and the VS-931 anti-submarine squadron. It was there that Garner was awarded his combat aircrew wings.

While at Los Alamitos, he did repairs of electronic equipment and flew using some of that equipment. During the next several months, Garner was also transferred on and off of several aircraft carriers until 1952 when the squadron was transferred to the USS Sicily Aircraft Carrier and deployed to the Far East and NAS Atsugi, Japan.

From NAA Atsugi, he would transfer onto a carrier and fly anti-submarine patrol for other ships. Three of the carriers were the USS Rendova, the USS Badoeng Strait and the USS Sicily. Then he would return to NAS Atsugi.

About July, they flew onto the USS Sicily to escort the 77th Fleet to Korea to “Invade” Korea at Wonsan Harbor. It was called “Operation Feint”. Approximately 100,000 Chinese troops had dug trenches and Fortification to protect the North Koreans.

Prior to their planned “Invasion”, a few cruisers and aircraft carriers began bombarding the harbor fortifications. Then at night, the rest of the task force 77 anchored out of sight just off shore – except the carriers, who continued patrolling. Just before dawn, his squadron deployed two teams and each team had two aircrafts — a hunter and a killer. Garner flew in one of the Killer planes an AS 25 Grumman Guardian with a full load of ordinance.

The bombardment started in earnest, (talk about the 4th of July) way more destroyers, cruisers, aircraft, and the USS Iowa battleship, plus planes from a couple of attack carriers, made multiple runs. The landing crafts were circling their Mother Ship. At the pre-set time, the landing craft left their Mother Ship and began going toward the beach. Just before the first cluster of landing crafts reached shore, they turned back and went back to their Mother Ship and suddenly the ‘real’ bombardment began.

He had not heard how many Chinese were killed that day, but it continued until after nightfall.

Garner returned home just after Thanksgiving 1952 and met his 2-month-old son.

From his point of view, Garner had the liberty of watching like a video game instead of facing the fear of “kill or be killed.” He never signed up to “kill or be killed.” As an airman, Garner said didn’t see the destruction close up, see the blood, hear the screams, or see my comrades lose their lives. That’s how he says he survived the Navy unscathed physically and emotionally.

Linden is one of three members of the original 12 graduates of the first Clark County High School graduating class from Dubois, Idaho in May of 1949 that is still living. The other two include George Rasmussen and Bonnie Stoddard.

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