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A timeline of Louis Zamperini’s journey

Filed under: Other Cool Stuff — by at 3:40 pm on Saturday, January 8, 2011

I just finished reading “Unbroken“, at the urging of my wife, and it was a great book!  It inspired me to create a Google Earth file that shows all of his adventures, but I was unable to find a simple timeline of his events.

By working back through the book, and using various other online resources, I came up with the following.  If you see anything that is missing or inaccurate, please leave a comment and let me know.

Update: April 26, 2011 — Thanks to David Hale, the list is now much more accurate, including dates for most of the major events.  For a full timeline, you can check out this Google Spreadsheet (or download the Excel file, if you prefer).  Thanks David!

Early Years

  • Jan 26, 1917 – Born in Olean, NY — 327 Coleman Street (thanks Alec!)
  • 1920 – Moved to Torrance, CA — 2028 Gramercy Avenue
  • Aug 26, 1929 – Louie saw the Graf Zeppelin over Torrance, CA
  • Jan, 1933 – Louie began tenth grade at Torrance High School
  • Feb, 1933 – Louis began competitive running
  • Dec, 1935 – Louie graduated from High School
  • May 22, 1936 – Track meet in USC Coliseum.  Louie finished second in the 5000.
  • July 3, 1936 – Louie left Torrance for the Olympic trials in New York.
  • Aug 7, 1936 – Ran in the Berlin Olympics
  • 1938 – Attended USC
  • Sept 29, 1941 – Louie joined the Army.

Bombardier school

  • Nov, 1941 – Houston, TX – Ellington Field
  • Aug, 1942 – Midland, TX – Midland Army Flying School

Training

  • Aug 19, 1942 – Ephrata, WA
  • Oct, 1942 – Sioux City, IA
  • Oct, 1942 – Hamilton Field, CA (stopover to Hawaii)
  • Nov 2, 1942 – Hawaii — Hickam Field

Missions

  • Dec 23, 1942 – Wake Atoll (via Midway Island)
  • Feb, 1943 – Canton (to prep for Makin and Tarawa)
  • Feb, 1943 – Makin (in the Gilbert Islands)
  • Feb, 1943 – Tarawa (in the Gilbert Islands)
  • April 17, 1943 – Nauru, then landed in Funafuti
  • April 18, 1943 – From Funafuti, via Canton, to Palmyra Atoll
  • May 24, 1943 – Stationed at Kualoa Field, Oahu

The Crash

  • May 27, 1943 – The plane that they were searching for crashed on the way to Canton from Kualoa
  • May 27, 1943 – Heading from Kualoa to Palmyra and crashed, roughly 225 miles north of Palmyra

POW

  • July 13, 1943 – Landed at Wotje in the Marshall Islands
  • July 16, 1943 – Kwajalein
  • Truk Atoll (stopover on the way to Yokohama)
  • Sept 15, 1943 – Yokohama, Japan (on the eastern coast of Honshu) to Ofuna
  • Sept 31, 1944 – Omori (on an artificial island in Toyko Bay)
  • March 2, 1945 – Naoetsu

Going home

  • Sept 5, 1945 – From Naoetsu to Yokohama
  • Sept 17, 1945 – Okinawa
  • Sept 18, 1945 – Laoag, Philippines
  • Sept, 1945 – Manila
  • Sept, 1945 – Stopover at Kwajalein
  • Sept, 1945 – Hawaii
  • Oct, 1945 – Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco (Pete came to visit)
  • Oct, 1945 – Long Beach airport (reunited with family)

Post-war

  • May 25, 1946 – Cynthia and Louie were married.
  • Sept, 1949 – Billy Graham came to Los Angeles
  • June, 1954 – San Gabriel Mountains, CA – Louie opened the Victory Boys Camp
  • 1984 – Louie carried the Olympic torch in Los Angeles
  • Jan 22, 1998 – Louie carried the Olympic torch past the Naoetsu POW camp.
  • April, 2003 – Wantanabe died
  • July 2, 2014 – Louie died