Dakota Datebook

Pearl Harbor—Sim and Rup

Sunday, December 7, 2003

On this date in 1941, many North Dakotans witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, including Carl “Sim” Simensen. After graduating from Grandin High School, he went to UND and earned a degree in commerce. He joined the Marine Corps, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and in June, 1941, was assigned to the battleship U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

Edwin Rupp, who had played football with Simensen at UND, reached Pearl Harbor a few months later aboard the U.S.S. Tennessee. When the Tennessee reported to the Arizona, Simensen was the Officer of the Deck, and the two friends had a surprise reunion.

When the Japanese attacked two months later, Rupp was one of the survivors. But Simensen wasn’t so lucky; of the 2,390 lives lost during the attack, half of them were on his battleship. At least 13 North Dakotans died aboard the Arizona when it sunk, but young Simensen had the sad distinction of becoming the first UND graduate killed in action in World War II.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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