The monthlong project culminated Thursday with a luncheon where the students chatted with the veterans over sandwiches and presented them with a copies of their finished reports and DVD interviews.
Outside of teaching students about history, the project also benefits the veterans who participate, Denise Weiland said, Corona del Mar community service specialist, who helps to organize the yearly service project.
“History comes alive for the students through this project,” Weiland said. “For the veterans, they get appreciation for their service and they realize that people want to hear their story.”
Iantorno was a 21-year-old artillery soldier stationed in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
He shot down two airplanes during the attack.
Iantorno and the other men from his unit also helped to drag the bodies of 30 men off the beach who had died in the Japanese bombing campaign.
“We tried to take these men to the hospital, but there wasn’t room,” Iantorno said. “They laid there for the next 2 1/2 days while their families were notified.”
Camille Delbrook, 16, interviewed Iantorno.
“I really didn’t think I would get a lot out of doing it, but I really learned a lot,” Camille said.
“I didn’t realize Pearl Harbor was so complex.”
Delbrook and a few of her classmates visited Iantorno at his home in Long Beach, listening to his stories and poring over his old photographs.
“He looked right into the eyes of a Japanese soldier before he shot him,” Delbrook said.
“His story is amazing.”
Jensen Rinehart, 16, who also interviewed Iantorno, said he liked the hands-on aspect of the project.
“I liked that I got to make my own questions and talk one on one with him and see all of his photographs.”
Reporter BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.