World War II vet, 90, running to support Navy ship - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

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.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • 'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    Friday, April 28 2017 5:45 PM EDT2017-04-28 21:45:21 GMT
    (Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)(Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

    More >>

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber all because her son's haircut was taking too long.

    More >>
  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly