OLYMPIA - During the days of World War II, a home front attack was a real threat after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The late Gordon Ebbert, of Moses Lake, was among 200,000 Civil Air Patrol members who helped guard the American coast from German U-boat attacks. More than 70 years later, on Feb. 24, Ebbert and three other Washington state men will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their service.
Other medal recipients are James H. Campbell, of Kirkland, Warren B. Davis, of Seattle, and Richard Hagmann, of Spokane.
Ebbert died in October at the age of 101, but his memory lives on in Moses Lake. He was the town's former mayor and a business owner, and also remained a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol, according to an Oct. 23, 2014 Columbia Basin Herald. Ebbert reached the rank of colonel in 2007. At age 100, he was honored in 2013 for serving in the patrol for 70 years.
Ebbert's efforts didn't stop with his wartime service. He used his time and talents to help the aviation industry locally. Over the years, he was a founder of the Moses Lake airport and helped form the flight program at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.
During the war, Ebbert was assigned to patrol for submarines along the coast between Alaska and San Francisco. Ebbert served with antisubmarine crews that sought enemy submarines aiming to attack ships or coastal installations.
Civil Air Patrol members had worked other jobs in many professions before enlisting, which illustrates how far-reaching the war effort was. Ebbert was trained to be a teacher and a pilot.
On the other end of the spectrum were famous Hollywood stars. Some well-known Civil Air Patrol members on the big screen were actors Robert Cummings and Mary Astor; Meinhardt Raabe, one of the Munchkin actors in "The Wizard of Oz;" Hollywood actor Henry King Jr., who was also a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and renowned pianist and harpsichordist Jose Iturbi.
For more information about the Civil Air Patrol, visit www.capgoldmedal.com or search online for #CAPgoldmedal.