Pacific Theater veteran and Wisner native Warren Albers will be memorialized in the lobby of the renovated Ford Island Control Tower at Pearl Harbor
U-Haul® was born as World War II was coming to a close, with its first one-way trailers made available to the moving public on or about July 4, 1945.
Just as U-Haul is celebrating 75 years of service this year, America will soon celebrate the 75th anniversary of V-J Day. This signifies Victory over Japan and is observed Sept. 2 when the signing of surrender occurred, effectively ending WWII.
Veterans such as Wisner native Warren D. Albers returned home to start a new life after the war, and in doing so planted the seeds of prosperity for U-Haul, a product of the peace for which they fought.
WWII-era Navy veteran L.S. “Sam” Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, conceived U-Haul in June 1945 when they recognized a basic need while moving up the West Coast, having left behind most of their belongings since one-way trailer rentals did not yet exist. From that idea, an industry was created and a new level of mobility became attainable for every American family.
New Display at Pearl Harbor
Today, U-Haul is committed to honoring veterans and supporting veteran causes. This is accomplished through recruiting veterans and giving them hiring preference; direct assistance to veteran groups; participation and sponsorship of Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades; and supporting Pearl Harbor tributes.
The Company’s 75th anniversary tributes will peak triumphantly with the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s dedication of the renovated Ford Island Control Tower on Aug. 29. U-Haul Pacific Theater veterans’ bios and photos will be displayed in the tower lobby. Albers will be among those memorialized on the lobby wall.
The tower will showcase a new elevator, gifted by U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen, providing public access to the observation deck where America’s lone WWII aviation battlefield can be revered and our heroes remembered.
A Man of Many Trades
Albers was born in May 1924 to George and Esther Albers. He grew up on a farm in Wisner, northwest of Omaha, and attended Wisner High School. He played football and baseball. During the summers, Albers worked on farms to help pay for school expenses.
After graduating from high school in 1941, Albers moved to Portland, Ore., and worked as a machinist apprentice at the Portland shipyard. He attended Portland Trade School, where he received training in welding, auto and diesel mechanics.
In June 1943, Albers joined the Marine Corps as a radio and radar operator stationed in the Pacific, as well as in China. He was part of a Marine air group sent to Peking, China, at the end of the war to oversee the Japanese surrender. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After the war, Albers studied engineering at Oregon State in Corvallis. From 1950-51, he served a second tour with the Marines in the Korean Conflict, assigned to a 155mm gun unit. After Korea, he attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, graduating in 1953 with a degree in business administration.
Albers began his U-Haul career in May 1954 as a management trainee. For more than 25 years, he held a number of leadership positions, including area field manager, shop manager, rental company president and area district vice president. He helped establish U-Haul operations in Canada and was instrumental in the development of the Company’s repair program.
Albers passed away in 2008. He is survived by his sons Brett and Scott (Gayle), daughters Wendy (Randy Radford) and Tina (John Crowley), eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Veteran Ties and Appreciation
The Shoens started U-Haul upon Sam’s discharge with $4,000 of accumulated Navy pay and the courage formed by the cauldron of WWII. With the help of other veterans, the young couple forged their new enterprise from the freedom that victory produced.
Today, U-Haul serves all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, helping millions of families move every year. Albers is one of the many veterans who laid the foundation for the present prosperity U-Haul enjoys.
U-Haul is one of a myriad of companies built by these incredible veterans, who are to be saluted and remembered during this 75th anniversary celebration. Thank you, Warren.
Find more veteran tributes in the History and Culture section of myuhaulstory.com.