A Dec. 7 Story With A Sports Twist

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - December 07, 2011
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Dolly and Elmer Manley. Photos courtesy Michael Kreindler

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks on Oahu and an aftermath story I learned about that ended up having a local sports tie-in.

The story starts with Dr. Michael Kreindler, an allergist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was born in the Army hospital at Schofield Barracks just four days before Dec. 7. His mother Katherine and his father Louis, a medical officer in the Army’s 27th Infantry Division, lived in a small bungalow in Wahiawa.

On that fateful Sunday morning, Japanese attack planes strafed the hospital grounds, and Katherine’s husband rushed to the hospital to get her and the new baby out, as they feared another attack.

“He placed them in an Army truck, as authorities evacuated all the women and children, and the father spent the day in an ambulance picking up the dead and wounded,” according to news articles.

The young mother and her 4-day-old baby returned home to the rural area along Dole Road in Wahiawa Heights. Elmer Manley, then 11 years old, remembers. “I could see the planes bombing Wheeler Field, and wondered why the Army was having maneuvers on a Sunday. A shell (later identified as a misfired U.S. shell) hit the farm across the street,” he recalls. “Those were trying times.”

Elmer, now 82 and living in the heights above Kaimuki, remembers the Kreindlers and their new baby.

Baby Michael and his mom

“They lived in a little cottage in the back,” he says. “We rented to several military people, mostly doctors. They were very friendly people.”

More than six decades later, Kreindler came back to Oahu, and on a whim, decided to drop by the Dole Road address that was on his birth certificate. He found that the Manley family still owned the property and Elmer’s older brother, Buck, still lived there.

“He didn’t recall me, but his younger brother Elmer did,” Kreindler says. “We met with him and his sister Dolly, who was 15 at the time. Elmer still remembered the names of the bones in the wrist that my father had taught him. Dolly said she often took care of me.”

Several weeks after the attacks, many Mainland families were sent back home, and Mrs. Kreindler and her new baby were shipped back to Ohio. Her husband, who reportedly never spoke about the horrible days spent in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 7 bombing, earned a medal for his service during the war, and later practiced medicine in Cincinnati.

As for the Manleys, Buck and Elmer went on to play football in the old ILH. “Buck joined the Army from Kamehameha,” Elmer says. In the late 1940s, Elmer played right halfback for the Warriors.

Six-and-half decades later, when the Kreindlers visited Oahu to find that the Manleys still lived on the old Dole Road property, they probably didn’t realize that Buck’s grandson, and Elmer’s grandnephew, would be starting to make a name for himself in local OIA high school football.

Andrew Manley became the star quarterback at nearby Leilehua High School, leading the Mules (named for the Army Mules) to the state football title, and eventually being named State Player of the Year. He now plays collegiately for New Mexico State.

That’s the story of the Kreindlers and the Manleys a Dec. 7 tale with a sports twist.

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