World War II vet, 90, running to support Navy ship - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Anchors aweigh: World War II vet, 90, running to support Navy ship

Ernie Andrus, now and then. (Source: warhistoryonline.com) Ernie Andrus, now and then. (Source: warhistoryonline.com)
Ernie Andrus visits with CBS 5 News on Sunday. (Source: CBS 5 News) Ernie Andrus visits with CBS 5 News on Sunday. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Andrus is on a coast-to-coast run that will take him about three more years. (Source: Facebook) Andrus is on a coast-to-coast run that will take him about three more years. (Source: Facebook)
He began his mission on Oct. 7 near San Diego. (Source: Facebook) He began his mission on Oct. 7 near San Diego. (Source: Facebook)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A 90-year-old World War II veteran sets off Monday on the Phoenix leg of his coast-to-coast run to raise funds for a landmark ship memorial.

Ernie Andrus started embarking on his mission on Oct. 7 near San Diego. He said he plans to reach the Atlantic in another three years or so.

"I run my first half marathon when I was 87. I run my second one when I was 89," said Andrus.

He didn't start running for recreation until after he retired at 64 years old.

Monday's 7 1/2-mile trek that starts at 6:30 a.m. will take him from R.H. Johnson Boulevard and Grand Avenue in Sun City to Del Web Boulevard and Grand.

On his cross-country trip, Andrus runs three days a week, about 7 1/2 miles a day.

"Found out the oldest guy who's ever done it was in his 70's. I thought, well, I'll be the first 90 year old man to do it," Andrus said.

He's doing it to raise money for the LST 325 Ship Memorial, Inc. He was one of the crew that brought the tank landing ship back from the Isle of Crete, Greece, to the U.S. in 2000-2001.

The organization wants to return the Navy vessel to Normandy in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Andrus said 1,051 LSTs were built during World War II. It participated in the invasion of Sicily, Salerno and Normandy. During the Normandy invasion, it made 40 roundtrips between England and France carrying troops, supplies and wounded.

The LST 325 is the only one left that has been restored and is still operational.

He said he welcomes any runners who would like to join him on any leg of his ambitious journey.

On running days he leaves his motor home early without eating breakfast, powered only by a cup of coffee.

Getting back to his home on wheels each day isn't ever a problem.

"I know I can stick out my thumb and the first person to come by will give me a ride. They won't pass up this old man out there, you know," said Andrus.

People wishing to sponsor him can send contributions payable to "Coast to Coast Runs" at 304 Brooklawn Dr., Banning, CA 92220.

Andrus turns 91 in August and hopes to touch the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick, Georgia before he turns 94.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • MHP urging public to "Drive to Survive" this holiday weekend

    MHP urging public to "Drive to Survive" this holiday weekend

    Saturday, May 27 2017 2:41 PM EDT2017-05-27 18:41:36 GMT
    Mississippi Highway Patrol. Source: WDAMMississippi Highway Patrol. Source: WDAM

    Mississippi Highway Patrol is urging the public to pay attention behind the wheel during one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year. AAA estimates over this Memorial Day holiday weekend will be the busiest since 2015, with over 34.6 million Americans expected to drive.  For MHP, this means more traffic and patrols needed along the state's highways. Mississippi Highway Patrol is enforcing a "Drive to Survive" safety initiative.  Master Sergeant Brent...

    More >>

    Mississippi Highway Patrol is urging the public to pay attention behind the wheel during one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year.

    More >>
  • WCHS Band to represent Mississippi in National Memorial Day Parade

    WCHS Band to represent Mississippi in National Memorial Day Parade

    Saturday, May 27 2017 12:17 PM EDT2017-05-27 16:17:00 GMT
    Source: Wayne County School DistrictSource: Wayne County School District

    The Wayne County High School Band is representing the state of Mississippi in the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. Monday. 

    More >>

    The Wayne County High School Band is representing the state of Mississippi in the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. Monday. 

    More >>
  • Southern Miss stays alive in C-USA tournament play

    Southern Miss stays alive in C-USA tournament play

    Saturday, May 27 2017 4:07 AM EDT2017-05-27 08:07:24 GMT
    Courtesy: WDAMCourtesy: WDAM

    Taylor Braley threw eight shutout innings and the University of Southern Mississippi stayed alive in the 2017 Conference USA Baseball Tournament with a 7-1 victory over University of Texas-San Antonio Friday night at MGM Park. Top-seeded USM (46-13) will face fourth-seeded University of Charlotte (34-22) in a 12:30 p.m. Saturday semifinal. The Golden Eagles will have to defeat the 49ers twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game and defend their 2016...

    More >>

    Taylor Braley threw eight shutout innings and the University of Southern Mississippi stayed alive in the 2017 Conference USA Baseball Tournament with a 7-1 victory over University of Texas-San Antonio Friday night at MGM Park. Top-seeded USM (46-13) will face fourth-seeded University of Charlotte (34-22) in a 12:30 p.m. Saturday semifinal. The Golden Eagles will have to defeat the 49ers twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game and defend their 2016...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly