Young Marine saw destruction at Pearl Harbor SLIDESHOW

Shortly after th guess factory e Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, a teenage Don Luther packed his bags to head guess factory south from Birmingham, Mich., to Florida to try to find work building war planes.

Watch a historical video of the Pearl Harbor attack.

It had a picture of a serviceman and read something like: “Be the first to see the action. Marines.” An arrow pointed toward ins guess factory ide the building.

His friends, feeling daring, thought they should all try to enlist.

Luther was a slight kid about 140 pounds, sopping wet, he said. He figured he had a slim chance of being chosen and went along with the plan.

Turns out, he was the only one of the four to qualify.

“I swore if I ever saw those fellers again, I’d kill them, but I never did see them again,” Luther said.

He was immediately attached to the 4th Marine Division and shipped to boot camp in North Carolina.

It was 1942. He was just 18 years old.

Luther, now 88, took time at his Fort Walton Beach condominium Thursday to reflect on the Pearl Harbor attack 72 years ago Friday and how it changed the course of his young adulthood.

The day after the attacks, the United States declared war on Japan. About two years later after completing intensive training, Luther’s division shipped off to Hawaii to fight the Japanese in the Pacific.

In just over a year, the 4th Marine Division fought at least three major battles Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima and lost 17,000 men.

Luther, who became a la guess factory nce corporal, remembers passing through Pearl Harbor often during that time and seeing the remnants of ships still sunk from the attack.

“No matter where we went, we went through Pearl Harbor,” he said. “We might have been late (into the war), but we saw what the Japanese had left behind.”

Luther, who was one of the youngest in his division, said conditions were bleak. They had no main barracks and lived in tents, even when at their home base on Hawaii.

Their uniforms were coveralls and the only metal protection they had was their helmets. They used them for everything, from cooking food to going to the bathroom, he said.

They stormed the islands in small boats and used machine guns and rifles to root out and kill Japanese soldiers.

The division suffered an extreme number of casualties.

“You were afraid to become friendly with anybody because they might not be there tomorrow,” Luther said.

He said it wasn’t until the division began holding annual reunions long after the war that he actually became close with some of the men he’d served with. He said during combat the men were quiet with each other because so many were getting killed each day; it would have been too hard to lose a friend.

“You went in, but you went in alone,” he said.

One day during his time in the Pacific, Luther and another Marine stood on the shore of one of the Marshall Islands, minding their own business, he said.

Across the water on a nearby island, they saw and heard a massive explosion.

Some Marines had entered a large concrete building that belonged to the Japanese, not realizing it was loaded with explosives. It blew up spectacularly.

Young Lovers Murdered in Sleeping Bags

Photo: Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen were murdered in their sleeping bag.


Joseph Henry Burgess, 62, who died in a July 16 shootout with New Mexico sheriff’s deputies, had been wanted in Canada as a suspect in the 1972 murders of two university students on a Vancouver Island beach.

On June 21, 1972, Ann Durrant, 20, and Lief Karlsson, 21, were shot multiple times in the head at point blank range as they lay in their sleeping bag on Vancouver Island. Burgess was among hundreds of hippies on the island that summer, setting up their tents on the beach, according to retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Dan Creally.

Similarities between the Vancouver Island case and the kil guess factory lings of Jason Allen, 26, and his fiancee Lindsay Cutshall, 22, on a Sonoma County, Calif. Matt McCaffrey of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

Sonoma County sheriff’s officials were in New Mexico last week and have returned with Burgess’ DNA and other evidence.

(AP Photo/New Mexico State Police)

Joseph Henry Burgess, 62, in undated surveillance photo provided by New Mexico State Police.

Allen, of Zeeland, Mich., and Cutshall, of Fresno, Ohio, were working at a Christian camp in El Dorado County when their bodies were found in the sleeping bags on a beach in Jenner, Calif. on Aug. 18, 2004.

The similarities between the two couple’s murders 32 years apart are stark.

Both couples were shot in the head.

Both couples were camping on isolated beaches.

Both couples were unwed, which apparently offended Burgess’ beliefs.

Until the deadly shootout two weeks ago, Burgess’ nomadic lifestyle had kept his whereabouts a mystery.

He is believed to have spent the past decade burglarizing cabins in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains, where he was nicknamed the “Cookie Bandit” for allegedly stealing food, boots and other goo guess factory ds. Deputies conducting a stakeout in hopes of catching the Cookie Bandit were confronted by Burgess, leading to a gun battle that left him and Sgt. Joe Harris dead.

Investigators in Canada and California now are looking to New Mexico for information, such as a diary or people with whom Burgess had contact, that could tie him to their cold cases, and possibly others.

“It would appear from the end result of the incident down in New Mexico, he carried on with the same sort of lifestyle,” said Creally, the retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who helped investigate the 1972 Vancouver Island case. “There is good reason to suspect that there could have very well have been other (killings) between ’72 and 2009 that he became involved in.”

Police Lt. Ramon Casaus says investigators also have received calls from law enforcement agencies as far away as Wisconsin and Seattle to see whether Burgess may have been connected to crimes there.

New Mexico state police say they’re trying to determine how Burgess got the weapon he used during the shootout, a .357 revolver registered to David Eley, a New Mexico resident who was reported missing in 2007 from the same area where Burgess was suspected of breaking into cabins. He first arrived in the Toronto area, where he bought a .22 caliber rifle, the type of weapo guess factory n used in the Vancouver Island slayings.

Burgess eventually made it out to the west coast of Canada, where he lived in a religious commune run by the Children of God and called himself Job, in reference to the biblical figure, Cr guess factory eally said. He reportedly was kicked out of the commune’s boarding house after his rifle made other residents uncomfortable. It was not clear what kind of contact, if any, Burgess had with the couple before the killings.

He was gone by the time investigators arrived at the murder scene, but a police dog discovered his belongings, including an identification card and passages from the Bible he had written out, ripped up and discarded nearby, Creally said. His fingerprint was also at the scene.