LA GRANDE — Seventy-five years ago, Hugh McNaughton woke up in a Hawaii hospital in pain, a little confused but most importantly — and perhaps miraculously — a survivor.

McNaughton, a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy who grew up in La Grande, had been rushed to the hospital three days earlier after the plane he was flying in crashed on Christmas Eve 1943 near Honolulu after returning from a patrol flight.

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Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer. Contact him at 541-624-6016 or

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