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Pearl Harbor survivor: ‘I never forget about it;’ 99-year-old veteran receives Quilt of Valor

Secret to a long life? 'Never hold a grudge'

99-year-old Maurice Vincent of Grangeville was honored with a Quilt of Valor by the Camas Prairie Quilters Dec. 7, 2017, at Meadowlark Homes in Grangeville.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
99-year-old Maurice Vincent of Grangeville was honored with a Quilt of Valor by the Camas Prairie Quilters Dec. 7, 2017, at Meadowlark Homes in Grangeville.



— “Everyone – God Bless America,” sang 99-year-old Maurice “Vince” Vincent, encouraging a crowd of about 30 people to sing along with him at Meadowlark Home Thursday, Dec. 7.

The spontaneous song was joined in by many visitors, there to honor the WW II veteran with a Quilt of Valor on the anniversary of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.

Camas Prairie Quilts of Valor representatives and veteran Lucky Gallegos of the Idaho County Veterans and Community Outreach Center presented Vincent with a homemade quilt and cake.

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Maurice Vincent awarded Quilt of Valor

99-year-old Maurice Vincent of Grangeville was honored with a Quilt of Valor by the Camas Prairie Quilters Dec. 7, 2017, at Meadowlark Homes in Grangeville.

99-year-old Maurice Vincent of Grangeville was honored with a Quilt of Valor by the Camas Prairie Quilters Dec. 7, 2017, at Meadowlark Homes in Grangeville.

Vince had learned to bugle from his cousin and wanted to be a bugler in the Navy. He trained in San Diego and was the head of his bugler class of 28 students. He was soon aboard the Arizona where he learned more than 35 different bugle calls to communicate aboard the ship. Still, he had dreams of training to be a master bugler. In the summer of 1941 he put in a request for more training. Five months later, he got his orders.

Hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Vincent got his orders to attend master bugler school in San Diego. He was ordered to board an oil tanker headed for California. He was only 17 miles out when the Pearl Harbor attacked occurred, but he did not know about it until he hit California. Vincent suffered “survivor’s guilt” as he said he felt he “should have been there” with his 1,117 shipmates who perished that day.

“I never forget about it,” he said. “When I am not thinking about it, I am dreaming about it.”

Vincent went on to serve the remainder of his time in the Navy, 12 years in all with six in the regular Navy and six in reserves, and was later stationed on the USS California. It was when that ship docked in Bremerton, Wash., that he and a shipmate decided to go to a nice restaurant in Seattle while their ship was in for repairs. That was destiny.

Vincent told the group there were four “very specific” instances where he saw the hand of God had protected his life, including when he was just ordered off the USS Arizona prior to the Pearl Harbor bombing, two car accidents and a brush with cancer more than 60 years ago.

In an interview last year, Vincent answered the question, “What’s the secret to a long life?”

“Never hold a grudge,” he said.

“Eat right, exercise, pray and smile. You know what a smile does for you?” his eyes twinkled. “It improves your face value.”



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