As Pearl Harbor Day approached, the Herald-Dispatch had the opportunity to speak to a local man who’s life was greatly affected by the bombing.

As Pearl Harbor Day approached, the Herald-Dispatch had the opportunity to speak to a local man who’s life was greatly affected by the bombing.

Dr. Willard Romberg, was already an established dentist, with a private practice, the day the bombs fell in Hawaii. During his early college days Romberg had to register for potential military service due to his medical studies, however a knee complication kept him from enlistment or commision.

Romberg finished his education and returned to to his hometown, Sleepy Eye, to start his dentistry practice. On Dec, 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked the U.S., he was in his clinic working on a patient.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, many medical personel were conscripted into service due to the swell of volunteers at recruiting stations around the country. Romberg went to the recruiting station in Mankato, and as he says it, “I saw my name at the top of a stack of folders.”

Romberg was given a waiver for his bad knee and a commission for his college degree. He served out his commission in Ft. Hood, Tex. for three and a half years. “They picked the unmarried men with no children first in case they had to go overseas with a unit,” said Romberg. “But I liked the gal I was seeing, so I married her and that was that.” Ella Romberg went with Willard to his duty station when he got the call to activate.

At the rank of captain Romberg retired from the Army. Without a practice to go back to he wasn’t sure what his next move should be. “Luckily they needed dentists for all the service men and women still in the service and getting out,” he said. He then worked with veterans and active duty soldiers for the government at service installations.

Romberg, who recently celebrated his 105th birthday, lives at the Sleepy Eye Care Center so he can be close to family. His sister Alma also lives at the Care Center, and his brother and sister-in-law, Walter and Emily live on the family farm.