His younger brother Jack Graham Shriver was on duty at Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked December 7, 1941. He was on duty when the enemy fleet was turned back at Midway. He was sent to Guadalcanal, a campaign of three months duration. He was in 16 battles including Midway, Wake Island, the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal. He had more than 750 hours of combat service. On one flight his place was forced down in the jungle infested with the enemy. Several crew members were killed before they were rescued. He was ordered back to the United States to help train other pilots; give advice to pilots going into battle and to help him recover in a cooler climate from malaria which he had contracted in the tropics.
Jack was killed Sept. 23, 1943 in a plane crash at Pratt, Kansas. Rod Dyerly was in a 7th grade English class, located on the third floor in Liberty Junior High in Pratt that day. Sixty years later, in 2003, Rod Dyerly wrote the following, “Suddenly there was a deafening roar, causing the windows to rattle and the whole room to vibrate. It reminded me of a freight train rumbling through. Because it happened so fast and everyone was so startled, there was a moment of silence before anyone said anything.”
Today we know that Jack Shriver was the pilot and that he had thought for some time that the B-29 was not safe. We know that he desperately fought to keep the B-29 flying until it reached the southwest edge of Pratt. The students in Liberty Jr. High wouldn’t know until much later that he had saved them from probable death or serious injury.
It was the opinion of other pilots that Lieut. Shriver had exercised unusual flying skill in being able to keep the heavy bomber flying with one engine as long as he did. The plane was flying too low for the three men on board to use parachutes but by expert piloting, they saved the town of Pratt and saved many lives.
In 2003 Dyerly came to Greensburg to make sure that others knew the story. Jack’s widow Holly also came to help tell the story of Jack and what he did on that day in September 1943. Their son, Jack Jr. was born after his father’s death.
It would be great if every student at GCHS could know about the Shriver brothers and what they did for all of us.