LONOKE, Ark. (KTHV) - He was a decorated navy-man, father, and Lonoke, Arkansas native. He lived to be 106 years old and survived the sinking of the U.S.S Wasp during World War II.
Temple Herron's century old story closed its final chapter on Monday. Herron was laid to rest at Pinecrest Memorial Park beside his parents, brothers, and sisters on the same land his family once owned in the 1800s.
According to his family, in September of 1942, a Japanese torpedo attack caused a gas explosion on the WASP and Herron jumped into the Guadalcanal waters south of Papa New Guinea, and clung on for life.
For years Herron bottled up the pain of the loss. "He didn't want to tell stories about the military because he would cry so he kept a lot of that in towards the end of his life," said Letty Stobie, Herron's oldest daughter. She said the chief officer rarely spoke about World War II, but when he did, he always recalled the U.S.S Wasp. "The ship was torpedoed and he lost eight or nine of the guys that worked for him.
He received the order to abandon ship," said Stobie. The Wasp sank into the Pacific and nearly 200 men died from the attack.
He told stories of life and military to his grandson Jim, and the two formed a strong relationship. "At 103 years old he was my best man in our wedding," said Jim.
"It was unimaginable what he had seen in one hundred and six years. He served not only out of patriotism for his country but also love for his family", said Jim.
The War Hero was a family man, and in fact he joined the Navy to send money back home. After stops in Texas and California, the Arkansas son finally came home.