Former county exec pens book on local Pearl Harbor survivor

Metro Wire Staff

Navy veteran Will Lehner’s story is now immortalized in the pages of a book.

Lehner was 20 years old on Dec. 7. 1941, when his crew unknowingly fired the first shots of World War II, sinking a small Japanese surveillance submarine about 90 minutes before the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Lehner was serving on the USS Ward.

For more than 60 years, Lehner said no one believed his story about sinking the submarine, and several searches for it came up empty. In 2002, the University of Hawaii finally located it and informed Lehner of a hole in the conning tower exactly where he said it would be.

Lehner, 99 of Whiting, gave his story to Patty Dreier, former Portage County Executive, and a longtime friend through the Bill Cook Chapter of the Izaak Walton League. Drier tells of Lehner’s life in the book, “Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor: Will Lehner Remembers.”

Lehner will be at the Plover VFW on Saturday, Dec. 7, to sign copies of the book from 3-6 p.m. The book costs $10, with proceeds to benefit the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.

The VFW is located at 2970 Hickory Dr. in Plover.