Francis “Pat” Augustin, was a young boy when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Francis “Pat” Augustin, was a young boy when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

He was a student at St. Mary’s High School the day the Japanese attacked. While many were pressed into service, he was still too young. However, when his older brother Donald’s number was called, Pat did something truely selfless. He went to the recruiting station in Mankato, and at the age of 17, convinced the recruiter to allow him to take his brother’s place.

Augustin entered the Navy as a ship’s cook. He said, “They wanted to send Donald, but he was my brother and I wanted to keep him safe.” Pat traveled all around the Atlantic, and later the Pacific, one of the few servicemen to serve in both theaters during WWII.

Augustin recalls three very important events during his naval career. The first being the Invasion of Japan, and then the dropping of Little Boy and Fat Man, the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the bombs were dropped, Augustin spent some time in the Philipines as the Navy waited for Japan’s response. During the aftermath the boat he served on was one of the first four ships to land in Japan carrying troops to hold key positions in the island chain.

The final memory Augustin shared was about transporting German POW’s to England by sea.

After his service, Augustin returned to his family farm near Sleepy Eye with his wife Mildred “Milly” Augustin. They farmed and raised five children Alan, Dale, Mark, Beth and Cory. Pat and Milly now live at the Countryside Retirement Community.