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tv   Oral Histories  CSPAN  December 4, 2016 6:45pm-7:46pm EST

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while bombs were still bursting and flames still pouring from our shattered naval craft, there validly moved to avenge pearl harbor. >> on december 7, 1941, japanese planes attacked the u.s. pacific fleet at pearl harbor, hawaii. 2400 americans were killed, and almost 1200 wounded. the next day, president franklin d roosevelt appeared before a joint session of congress to request a declaration of war against japan.
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this year marks the 75th anniversary of the pearl harbor attack, and the u.s. entry into world war ii. hear from survivors who were stationed at honolulu in 1941. the national park service conducted the oral history. this is about one hour. >> we were in the hurricane for nine days coming over from san diego. you have a rather green crew. we got into honolulu, and senator scott liberty -- and some of us got liberty. , and i walkedxi across the street. i ordered a soda. the lady said you are from the uss ward. she said how do you know? ship,s ward was the guard part of destroyer division 80.
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it consisted of four old destroyers. we rotated duty guarding the entrance channel to pearl harbor. the regulations were that on all the charts of the world with an indication that no submarine must approach pearl harbor within 100 miles without coming to the surface and requesting a destroyer effort -- escort on the surface to approaching closer to honolulu or pearl harbor. we had oftentimes been called to general quarters when the sonar man believed that he heard. the captain backed up the sonar mail the time. the sonar man heard screws, we went to general quarters. it was her responsibility and we knew it to sink any sub that was attempting to reach pearl harbor submerged. the supply ship was coming into pearl harbor at 6:45, or low
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before that. it was towing a barge. this little two-man sub was trying to sneak into the harbor. it looked like a 50 gallon oil drum on top of maybe three or four of them that would lay down below it, with a broomstick sticking up. of course, that broomstick was the periscope. i'm sure the man of the bridge could tell there was something like your prison -- prism. it was too far away for us to know that it was anything like that. we thought it might have been a toy. we had never heard of or seen anything like a two-man submarine before. wasfolks on the ship rolling and pitching. werehells that the crewmen ready to load into the gun
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weight over 75 pounds. here you are stay all of that rolling, pitching deck with live with grazed pieces on the nose. kind of afraid of that kind of ammunition. we fired. you could watched on the of the barrel, and you can see that the projectile just barely missed the sub. if they had another coat of paint on the sun, it may have activated the fuse. i think that is how close we came. gun number three hitter at the base of the conning tower. i'm sure till the japanese commander of that sub. >> the captain said standby to ram. he was getting at that submarine one way or another. it was not going to get through. we found that later that it not only had two torpedoes, but also had a 500 pound detonation charge in the stern.
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the skipper of that sub was supposed to come alongside another ship and blow himself up along with the other ship. we were surprised to find a summary that close on the surface -- a submarine that close on the surface. we knew it was not supposed to be there. my impression was that perhaps this summary might have been one single reconnaissance effort. i had no concept of all what it was going to be followed up with. until i saw the planes coming, which was an hour and 20 minutes later. >> i was a crew member of the squadron to -- two on luke field. that particular sunday, i had the duty at the hangar with the attack began.
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crashed.t a plane had we ran out of our anger -- hangar and looking across the runway we see the smoke. we still did not know what was happening. time, here comes a plane diving out of the sun. you can see the symbol of the rising sun under its wing. then we knew we were being attacked by the japanese. i started looking for a place to hide. we did not have bomb shelters or anything. here come the japanese planes up on theth to north west side of ford island. couldere flying so low i see the goggles on the rear gunner's helmet. and here allre that splattered concrete.
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i jumped behind this tractor that was parked there, and they gave me the protection i needed. i noticed a couple of my shipmates had picked up the 45 calendar pistol -- caliber pistol. they had just taken off and laid it on the table to exchange with the incoming section. they start shooting at the japanese planes with these pistols. that there is an emotion that is more strong than fear. shame. i felt so ashamed of myself. i am trained to be a gunner, and i am hiding. lord gave me enough guts to leave my hiding place and go into an armory where the machine guns were stored. we took those machine guns and put them in the mouth of our planes parked on the ground. the last gun that i put in was
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in the hatch of a catalina bomber. i got behind that gun and mandate for the rest of the attack. i think and what has a lot of cowered in them, but was you get under that -- has a little coward in them, but once you get over that, this is where i praise the navy. you train and do it over and over. when the time came, we just did what we were trained to do. we did not have to think. you just did what you were trained to do. i was angry. my feelings went from fear to shame to anger. if i could have shot one of them down. still next in there, that fear was in the background. planes are just everywhere like bees around a hive. i don't know how the cap from running into each other.
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i'm sure it was all planned out and they had rehearsed it and rehearsed it. could close your eyes and shoot in the air and you were bound to hit something because there were aircraft everywhere. had particular plane dropped a bomb or a torpedo on probably the california. he was pulling out of his dive and coming across the runway heading up -- over our hangar. all of our gunners were shooting at him. we could see our tracer bullets penetrating his fusillade. he burst into flames. it looks the key was going to crash in the channel. yet the middle of the channel, and all of a sudden does little dive in purposely crashes on the uss curtis. that became known as the first,
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causey of world war ii -- first kamikaze of world war ii. it was uncanny what they could pull off. going on a picnic at the naval ammunition dump that the marines were doing guard duty at. previous week, the starboard side had a picnic there. this week, we were going. we were looking forward to it. i had been their couple months earlier. we had a nice time. i was looking for to drinking beer, playing baseball, pitching horseshoes. we assumed they were doing target practice because out at sea we would put a target maybe 100 yards or so and the planes would dive bomb. we watched them. those? hey, what are
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we can understand why they're doing this on sunday. seconds. bay, we seen a shift of fire, smoking. had thecer of the day bugler sound fire and rescue. we're going to go after casemate and get ready for whatever we had to do. there is a call to belay that call. if you seconds after that, we heard the familiar quarters. those were japanese planes. quarters,y general there was such talk about what was going on between japanese and our country. many things flashed through my
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mind. one of them was what is my mother going to say if i was killed? that was my biggest concern. up in school climb that you didn't jim. that day, this was oily, select find that up even with the oil. that's trying to hold onto a greased paying. -- greased pig. you can see what you can do when there is anxiety or fright or anger or whatever you call it. time heals everything. how long can you hold your anger? are you going to die with it? i don't want to die with it? we did the opposite. did they forgive us about hiroshima? i think we should forgive them. -- it saved lives on both sides. >> i took my bugle and ran up to
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the bridge. that was where my battle station was. it could've been a few minutes before 8:00. i didn't even sound colors, so i'm not sure. this is just a couple minutes after 8:00. he says my god we are at war. the next thing i remember there was a tremendous explosion on the tennessee near the number two gun turret. there was shrapnel all over the place. , the captain had most of his -- he was a most torn in half. we made him as comfortable as we could. about eight or nine minutes after 8:00, i saw the arizona explode. i tell you, i was never so scared in my whole life. you could feel the tremendous
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heat, and the concussion blow us back into the pilot house. came back out, and the captain was laying there. went down and got our executive officer. he came up and the captain was still alive. he looked down and said captain what my orders? and the only thing the captain says the ship is yours. i'm not going to make it. that is all. we stayed up on the bridge. commander said what the hell are we doing here? and we stayed aboard and fought fires. we rescued some people from down below. i was with a group of three of us. we busted one of the doors open because everything was sprung shut. we got two officers out.
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water was about to our navels, so he climbed up on the quarter deck. we did everything we could. 87, their clothes were burning. we threw them down on the deck and rolled on top and tried to pat the fire out. finally the tennessee fired the to push thees, and fire from the water, push it away from the ship, that helped a lot. then a tug boat came up and started to squirt us with water. and then commander helencotter said, says abandon ship. ,so we passed the abandon ship order, and that was around 9:30. then we fought our way back because there was not as much fire forward as there was aft by the arizona. she was just one big ball of fire.
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one guy in particular -- [laughter] richard: -- orville said, gosh, i left my money and my wallet. my wallet is in my locker. he fights his way back through all the fire. now in the case makes we had these five inch shells sitting along the bulkhead to use. if those got hot, they were going to blow up. so he fought his way back through the case mates, gets his locker, opens it up, gets his wallet out puts it in his , pocket, fights his way back out where the boats are. that takes about four minutes. three,he was making knots. he took off all his clothes and folded them nice and neatly because he didn't want to get them wet, then he laid them down on a boat, and he dove off with his skivvies and swam to ford island and all his money stayed right there. i'll never forget that.
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it is strange. csle, iber the fo , remember diving into the water, and i remember climbing on ford island. but that 50 or 60 yards, it's gone. i don't know. and i can't tell you. i don't know. that night about 7:00, we heard these airplanes coming in, and we thought they were japanese, and they were off of the enterprise -- and i wasn't the first one to open up because they were firing before i started to shoot. as they were coming in, boy, it looked like the 4th of july. and we shot down the six, we killed three of the pilots. and one of the guys that was landing, ias he was got my machine gun and i filled his airplane full of holes. i didn't realize that it was one of ours. the guys name is, i don't know if you have ever met him or not jim daniels. , he's a good friend of mine. [laughter]
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richard he said if he could have : caught me that night, he would have killed me. i believe he would have, too. i think it was around wednesday or thursday that i finally got some sleep. you just couldn't sleep. you were on watch all the time. then, if you weren't on watch, you were eating sandwiches and going back out. you're supposed to -- the eight hours you're off, you're supposed to sleep. but you can't do it. your nerves are just right on the edge. i think it was about, i think wednesday or thursday i fell asleep. of course it was a while before i could hear from all of those torpedos. we took nine torpedos, and the arizona blowing up, then the tennessee was completely firing their five-inch guns. god i said, oh boy i'm going to , be deaf. of course, i wear hearing aids today. but it was about a week before i could really hear.
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you know, and then if somebody come up behind you and clapped, you'd jump 15 feet you know. we had 106 dead, about 300, a little over 300 wounded. and of course, our captain received the congressional meddle of honor. captain banyan. i played "taps" for him the next night. it was in the warehouse where we stayed, you know, for the staff. and it was the most beautiful "taps" i ever played in my whole life. >> pennsylvania was flagship of the pacific fleet, and we were also, i believe at that time, flagship of the navy. it was admirable kimball's ship. he just didn't happen to be on it that day. when we were go out on patrol, quartersd have general , the saying used to be, you know, the japanese are attacking, the the japs are
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attacking, we would run to our battle station. most of us knew that eventually we were going to have to fight the japanese. where that trickled down from, i have no idea. i suppose from the politicians, the officers, the officers to us. but we expected to fight them eventually. we just didn't know when. there was no need for radio communication. it was obvious to all the ships in the harbor that we were under attack. so they had us carrying ammunition with the three age 50 on the handrail. i had just been handed a three-inch shell, and i was getting ready to run it out to the gun again, and next thing i knew, i was flat on my face. something went through my right thigh and out my rear end. i had a six by eight piece blown out of the left thigh. i had five pieces of shrapnel in the left leg. my right hand was shot open. i lost part of the left elbow,
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i lost part of the muscle out of the bicep. they finally put me into a bunk, and i was there, lying there. and i saw one of the third class radio men go by and i said hey osmond, he and he looked at me ,, and he says, who are you? then i realized that either something is wrong with me or something is wrong with him. is and all he did was go oh, oh, and walk away from me. i found out that the navy had these listed as superficial wounds. it seems that their big problem was trying to keep me alive because of the burns. when the bomb went off, the bomb, the blast just took all the skin off our legs, arms, face, because we had shorts and t-shirts on. that was our combat uniform. my brother was a sergeant with the marine detachment on "the
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indianapolis", and they were out on patrol. he saw me about a year later. he said when he came in, i guess it was wednesday after the attack, he came over the pennsylvania looking for me, and they had me on the missing list. so at that time we had this large naval hospital in the navy yard. he went over there looking for me. and he said he finally found a group of us all lined up. and they had tagged my toe already. that's how he identified me. he said even he didn't know me. he said we looked like roast turkeys lined up. the pearl harbor story is important to me because people should be made aware of these things, that they really did happen, and hopefully they won't happen again. but of course, that's dreaming because it happens in the world , every day somewhere.
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>> we came in port on friday afternoon, on december the fifth. and we waited in mid-channel for the lexington, which at the time was the world's largest aircraft carrier. as soon as the lexington got under way, we took her place. monday, the ship was scheduled to come back to the states. and then i would have gotten out, and i saved like $400, and i was going to go to medical school. the day before is noneventful except that i didn't go anywhere. i didn't go ashore because -- honolulu in those days was not -- or waikiki was not a favorite port because there were no women. there were 2,000 men for every woman. so we liked it stateside better. somebody said, what are all those planes in the air? what are all those planes doing out on a sunday morning? and i could hear vaguely a droning which was not unusual because ford island was a naval air station.
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and so about the time i looked up skyward, i saw this group, i was almost positive there were six of them, coming in a v formation. i stood there and saw the bombs drop, and then i saw this huge red flame and black smoke, and i thought, oh, my god, somebody really goofed because those are real bombs. see we were used to being bombed , with duds. and i thought, my god, somebody really made a mistake. those are real bombs. and just about that time, i felt the ship lurch. so we were being hit by torpedos on the opposite side which of course i couldn't see that side. when the torpedo hit, i actually felt the ship lurch. see even when we were hit by did -- dud bombs the ship was , somewhere around 22,000 tons. when we'd go below the armored decks of course during bombing runs. we weren't walking around. when the bomb would hit, you could feel the ship, but it was
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a downward feeling, but this was you know kind of an outward feeling. i am sure there was a torpedo. there is some question about whether the bombers got there first or the torpedos. i'm sure that lurch was a torpedo. it was a matter of seconds before the buggaler sounded general quarters. you know that's where you go to , your battle station. so i grabbed my first aid kit. i was a pharmacist mate. my battle station was in mid ship. as i was running down the passageway, the ship lurched again. now this time, i don't know whether it was a bomb or a torpedo, but it knocked me through a log room door where they kept the records. so i went this way, and my first aid kit went that way, and i got up a little dazed, you know. you don't have time to think. but anyway, i dived down the ladder below. see our battle stations were , below the armored deck. but we no sooner got down there
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we could tell the ship was , already listing. this was a matter of one, two, three minutes. and everybody is looking around, what in the world is going on? what is going on? what's happening? we were there i'm sure not over a minute or two, and then the bugler sounded abandon ship, and the boats went -- boatswain was chanting abandon ship, abandon ship. we had taken on ammunition in san francisco for the fleet, and the naval ammunition depot was loaded. so we were going all over the ocean with all this ammunition. and i could think, oh, my word, when this ship sinks, it's going to blow up. and i wanted to get away from there fast. so you know these things occur , to you in a matter of seconds. by then the ship is like this, so i was kind of running, going dive way out, and about then the ship really jerked. well, i thought at the time and for some time after that it was another bomber torpedo.
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but actually what it was was the mooring lines. see there's 22,000 tons, these , great, big lines holding the wei, tied to the way -- gh. so as the ship was sinking, those lines snapped. when they snapped, that threw me off balance, and i landed on my fanny and landed on the bar nickels. when i got in the water when i , bobbed up and tried to get my bearings which way is up, i saw this boater line, and there was a coxswain in the bow. you know what the bow is? a boat hook, and he was guys out pulling these guys out of the water. i started swimming towards that boater line. and about then a skrafr came by and could see the bullets hitting the water ahead of me, but in line with that motor launch. so it didn't, you know you make , decisions in seconds.
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i figured now that's going to be a target. but they're not going to pick for, little -- poor, little old me by myself. instead of going that way i headed straight for ford island. if anyone tells you he was first on the beach, you tell him he's a liar. because i was the first on the beach. [laughter] -- leo when the ship was : sunk i was transferred to the hospital. we would get these japanese aviators for days, weeks even, and they would be brought to the morgue. when they were stripped, we found these maps. where "the utah" was, in big letters, there was a lot of japanese writing in the margins, but the names of all the ships every ship was in english. ,and in larger and bolder print was lexington, and that is where we were. it was such an unbelievable thing that you could not stand there and analyze it. i could not believe it. even when you -- when i saw the arizona burning, you couldn't believe the scene, and even what
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happened to me, you know what , happened to our ship. it was just too incredible for words. >> ever since i was in about the fourth or fifth grade, i had the idea about going to sea and see the world. about two weeks after graduation from high school, i enlisted in the coast guard and went to port townsend, washington for the basic training and then decided that aloha land would just be wonderful with hula girls and all that kind of thing. on december 6th of 1941, we -- there were about 13 of us that were still together who had enlisted in omaha and had come to port townsend and came here. now we are talking 17, 18-year-old kids. we decided we were going to the bar, and we were going to celebrate. it was at the black cat. the black cat had a huge menu above the car.
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-- bar. b is forsomething, something, c is for something, g is for jin, w is for which ski -- whiskey. we're really going to make a night of this. we started with the as, i'll have ruined of as, whatever a was. then we had a b and a c and a d. i don't know how far we got. we're talking 17, 18-year-old kids. they didn't care if you had the money to buy it. that's the way it was. december the 7th of 1941 at 7:55 a.m. i was in sick bay. and i was talking to a friend who was a pharmacist mate, and i -- what do you have that is going to take care of this? then the bombs started coming. i really didn't know whether this was something that i was imagining, the thumping, pounding, and all the rest of these things are going on in my mind.
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the signal is clang, clang, clang, clang. now this is a way the landing the landing party, this is general quarters, this is everything, and nobody knows what it is. bang, bang, bang. and we've got 300 guys running around and say what are we , doing? well, this is fire and rescue. ok. i'll go to that station. i get to there. i say where are you going? ,well this is general porters. , well, i'll go there. somebody else say, well this was something else. we were all running around wondering what the devil to do, each one of us. we were so confused we had no more idea of what was going on than anything. all we ever worked with was a dummy, wooden ammunition, loading and going through all this was all faux pas. down below about five, six stories, way down in the
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magazine -- is where the magazine is, and it's locked. and it is a summary court-martial to open that, a summary court-martial to open that unless you have an officer. and we were up on top saying, my god, they're here, they're flying around, they're coming. send up live ammunition. the guys down there you're all , drunk up there, i'm not going to open this thing. i am not going to get any summary court-martial. some officers are ashore. there's nobody going to open this thing up. by the time we're screaming back and forth and back and forth, then the live ammunition starts coming up, and we start firing. at that time, there were not world tensions. you didn't expect to get into any problems. you didn't think about really having a war. for instance, when the japanese attacked, we probably said it would take two weeks and maybe we'd blow them out of the water and we'd all go home.
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and some said they wouldn't shave until we won the war. and others said they would let their hair grow until we won the war. that kind of -- it is a different a whole different kind , of thing, whole different idea, concept, feeling. one of our men was taking, was there for some official reason or another and came back and told us of the sinking of the battleships. and of course, we thought he was out of his gourd, out of his mind. it couldn't be. arguments of probably no, they couldn't do that. as i said, we never expected it, never thought it would happen, and the pushover japanese, you know, the paper tiger kind of thing. we'll get them. a weekend pass. -- >> >> i had a chance to go home for a weekend pass. it was on a sunday morning.
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we heard all this explosion going on and wondered what was happening. i looked up in the sky, and it was the direction of pearl harbor. there were all the black puffs. it was a bright morning. it was a nice morning. and i could see all those bright puffs. we heard over the radio that all and thenwe heard over the radio that all, military -- calling all military personnel to report to the stations immediately, that the japanese have attacked pearl harbor, and this is war. and naturally everybody was shocked. and at that time, we had our bus station at the army and navy ymca which is located right in honolulu. and from there as we were traveling over to scoffield barracks where i was stationed at that time, i passed on aiea
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heights and looked down into pearl harbor. i saw -- i had a panoramic view of the destruction. the arizona was blazing in flames. all the other ships were on fire. and what stood up in my mind was the oklahoma had capsized. it was on its side. and i saw sailors above the hull of the ship just scrambling on it. and that was for them to keep out of the fire because all the water was on fire. i was shocked, needless to say. we were expecting the japanese navy to come down and invade us. sea, but it turns out they did invade us, and that was by air, and it was a total surprise. i just couldn't get over it. in the 298 infantry, we had a big group of japanese boys as well as filipinos chinese.
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, they were worried they would take the japanese. anyone with a japanese name or if they were japanese, you didn't have to be japanese. if you had a japanese name, if you were adopted by someone with a japanese name, you were automatically taken. when i got wind that they were going to do that, take the japanese boys out, i figured that's a big mistake, because i felt that the 298th infantry was one of the best fighting units. we were prepared, we were trained well for defense. but as soon as we got word that that happened, our morale went down. i figured that in my particular case, i might as well get out of there, and i was able to being an electrician before. i went to the signal core area and asked the man in charge if
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they needed an electrician, and for them to put a request from there over to the infantry, in which they did. we were trained in the military, and we got to be animals. we weren't human beings. i look at it from this point of view because we talked like animals. we -- that was nothing at all to us. we look at another person -- as long as it was an enemy death. saw an american death, and we -- we saw an american death, and we felt awful because we didn't picture ourselves as being there in that person's boat. >> i had never been on a destroyer, never seen the inside of one. but i knew that's where i wanted to go. i asked for destroyer duty when i was in school in new york. i got orders to go to the uss cason, dd 372. the early morning of december 7th starting at midnight, i was the old o.d. on the quarter deck of the cason, so i had to watch
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from midnight to 4:00. after that i turned in. ,and i slept, i was asleep. when i heard the general alarm on the downs next door, and just then my roommate came in who was , just coming off watch. his name was wesley p. craig, and he had just been relieved. the watch is ordinarily relieved about a quarter before the hour. so craig was in shuffling around the room, and i heard the alarm go off. i said, what goes, craig. he said some dunderhead on the sounded theave general alarm. the general alarm was used to call the crew to quarters or to muster at 8:00 in the morning every day except sunday. however, it was not at all unusual to hear an alarm sounding someplace across the harbor because somebody would
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forget it was sunday and turn on the general alarm. so it was not a surprise. so i rolled over and thought nothing about it. within two or three minutes , craig was back in and speaking in a pretty severe voice, said wake up, wake up, get up, child, we're being bombed. the japs are bombing us. i put on my helmet, my pistol and got up in a hurry. the skipper i ran into the , skipper on the main deck just out side the ward room. he was in a hurry to get the magazines open so we could get some five-inch ammunition up, but soon we realized our guns were out of commission due to some work in the yard. so there was not really not much for me to do, so i went up on top of the bridge in the director platform. -- on the director platform. the thing i remember most i think is the high level bombers in a v shaped formation. i believe five planes for each
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going from left to right as i observed them. in other words, more or less in line with where the battleships would be. we could very clearly see the bombs falling. the sun reflected from the bombs as they fell, and we could see them as they came down. especially when they first left the airplanes. it got very, very noisy where we were. we were being strafed and bombed. and i remember seeing a pretty good fire start back on the port side of our ship. i remember seeing men on their hands and knees trying to scramble away from the flame. i thought certainly we've lost some people here. the fires were really raging on the cason and the downs. our skipper, daniel francis joseph shea, lieutenant commander at the time, said, abandon ship. that's what we all did in a
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hurry. there was no place to hurry to really. so we just trotted away from the ship. i remember there was no hurry to get anyplace because you may be running into more problems than you're running away from. someone from the cason. i don't recall his name. i would not -- i would recognize him if he walked in here today. we were 30, 40 yards from the ship when there was an explosion behind us. there was a sit on the side of the dry dock between the ship and where we were. as a matter of fact, i have a picture of that in this bomb damage report that shows yard workmen standing in the crater. anyhow, some of that debris i remember it me on the helmet. -- hit me on the helmet. somebody came along and wanted to know in a hurry where our how they could get to the fuel docks or to the fuel the controls that , allowed the fuel to be pumped into a ship.
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for some reason, i knew something about them. i don't know who this guy was or where he was going. but anyhow, i took him. i took him. we flagged a car down, and we went toward the submarine base, and i got this guy to where i thought he wanted to go. then i went on to the submarine base. there were several torpedo boats roaring their engines alongside the submarine base pier, and i stepped aboard one of them and asked, could i go along? the skipper of that ship was lieutenant jg harry parker. and parker looked at me, and he said, what can you do? i said i'm the torpedo officer for the cassin. he said my torpedo man is not here, come with us. as we were abreast of the shaw, her forward magazine, which had had a fire in it for some number of minutes, blew, detonated.
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and some of the shaw came down on pt 22 and went through the engine room of pt 22 -- through the main deck and into the engine room. i remember it must have been toward 10:00 that a japanese plane came down fairly low on the harbor, and we took a shot at it. that was the last plane i saw. there was a commander on the beach there. and he looked at me, and he could tell i was not a pt boater because i was still wearing whites. he said, what ship are you from? and i said cassin, sir. , he said, the cassin is no more. he said, you go into that submarine base, the closest building there, you go into the first office on the left and turn that pistol in. and i said, aye, aye, sir and saluted him. i went up the sidewalk to the office, right
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where he told me to go in up the , stairway, back a long hallway to the other end of the building, down the stairway and out, and we turned to the wreck -- and returned to the wreck of the cassin with my pistol. i think that roosevelt was so hungry for us to get in a good war and have us all united. and this was undoubtedly the best way to do it. so that was the goal, he got it accomplished. dale asked for service duty on : the vestal because my brother was on the vestal. he told me all about how good a ship that was and how you could learn something there. well, he was right. i learned a lot. everything that you would ever need to do to repair another ship or anything else, electrical, anything, we did it. and i i wanted to put in my
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, years there to learn something. i didn't plan on pearl harbor though. [laughter] dale we got a call from : somebody, they ordered some work done on the arizona. work on theas to evaporators. they probably had another few things that we would do. we had been alongside about four, five, six days, something like that. i had the 4:00 to 8:00 watch in the morning on sunday morning. had i was relieved of my i was relieved of my watch, went , down to one of the guys that was to relieve me. he was almost still asleep. but anyway, i gave him my pistol, went up back on deck,
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and i heard planes, and i heard noises, booming noises. my brother, being in the battery locker on the vestal, the battery repair, i ran back there. i was going to get a cup of coffee. well, i didn't get my coffee. i told him that something was happening, and i heard the quarter master say that, hey, those are japanese planes. well, i told my brother and the coffee drinkers in the battery locker about that. now they i don't know whether , they believed me or not, but they rang a fire drill. i saw fighters coming by, they were strafing everything in sight. of course, what got us was the high-level bombers, the same thing that hit the arizona.
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the magazine in the arizona, it was the high-level bombers. these were 16-inch naval projectile's with, they had modified them with pins. vestal,urse, the old she wasn't important, but we were in the wrong place. aft.e got hit it went all the way through the ship and began to flood the aft part of the ship. along about that time, i'm not sure it was before or after, was when the same bomb, i'm sure it was, came through into the arizona magazine, and that was quite a bit of noise there. we sure heard it. i mean it rocked the ship pretty , bad. and of course, that's when it
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blew blew quite a few , people from the ship over the side. of course, there were a lot of flash burns from the fire. but our captain, captain young, he went up -- he went back to see why the darn gun wouldn't work. he shouldn't have been there either, got blown over the side. and then somebody comes -- one of the officers -- i'm not sure which one it was, and it doesn't make any difference now -- ordered abandon ship. we had casualties. they had taken most guns to the radio room. and everybody was either going over the side or i was -- i was headed for the stern, hoping to get into a motor launch. and then i noticed these injuried in the radio room. and so i got another guy, and i
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, and we carried a guy that i knew who had been hurt in the back, shrapnel in the back, and we carried him -- we carried him down, back to the quarter deck and put him in the boat. by that time our captain had come back aboard, and he counter mended -- countermanded the order to abandon ship. so we went back to our battle stations. normally when you're in this condition you don't have enough , steam up to maneuver. you've got enough to run a generator or alternator for the power and lights, but you don't have steam up to maneuver. all of that time had gone when they hit. when we wanted to get out of there, we couldn't do it. we would have been right down
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there along with the arizona except for a tug that came by, and i forgot which one it was. threw a line to us and began to pull us away. the fires on the arizona, of course they were -- they had no power. they couldn't operate the anti-aircraft guns, not normally. so they tried to do it manually, and i know -- i know this because i saw them. they were firing their five-inch guns at least once in a while. the fire would spread so that it they, the fire would spread so that it was just about all around them. and i'm not sure whether it was my imagination, and i don't think it was, but i saw those gunners fire all around them,
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trying to train those guns around, and they were dying there. i mean really. now i have tried to suppress that idea as much as i can because it bothered me quite a bit. and i don't even like -- 55 years later, i don't like to even think of it. to me, it happened. now, those on the aft part of the arizona were fortunate because they didn't get they , didn't get killed by concussion or lack of oxygen or whatever. they may have gotten a lot of oil going over to ford island or getting over to our ship, but they were fortunate. that is about the only ones that survived, of course.
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the japanese missed a lot of chances. really they did. they missed that cairo, which was loaded with a lot of 16 and 14-inch ammunition and, of course, everything else smaller, they miss it by about ten feet with a bomb. it went through the dock where they were tied up. that was one thing. another was the oil storage tanks. operated we operated , on oil. if we didn't have oil, we didn't operate, and they didn't get those, and they and if they'd , have got those, they would have flooded the harbor with burning oil, and they also missed the gasoline on ford island. they didn't get that. a lot of us that were at burrell -- pearl harbor, we blame
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roosevelt for a lot of this. the government wanted to get us in the war so we could go against germany, and that has been has -- that has been a lot of us -- our opinion s it was either known about or almost planned to allow the japanese to do this. i guess history will not support that too well. but it sure -- to me, it sure makes a little bit of sense that we could have been notified, alerted so that we wouldn't have had all those people killed.
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and it, it bothers us. we knew sooner or later we would have an altercation because tojo would have -- >> we knew sooner or later we would have an altercation with them because tojo had signed a pact with hitler. we were sending convoys to europe. we had been helping the chinese over in china trying to keep the chinese from getting butchered over there which they were doing a good job of. we had lost a gun boat there a few times earlier. we knew sooner or later we'd have a problem. we didn't think it would be at pearl harbor. it was too far away. on december 7, 1941 i was curving on a tug boats. that was the kiosanqua.. that is an indian tribe.
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all tugs are named after indian tribes. we were up working already working that morning when the attacks started. we had to meet a ship coming into port and take a barge away from it. as we were clearing the channel, we saw the ward a destroyer that , was on patrol duty, we saw him dropping depth charges. again, there was nothing exciting about this because these patrol things out there used to drop depth charges. they'd pick something out on the sonar and drop depth charges. and in this instant, when he picked up was a submarine. and he dropped depth charges, the submarine surfaced, and the ward sank it with gunfire. this was about an hour before the attack on pearl. but a submarine attack a mile out, don't tell us we're going to have an air attack at pearl. there's no correlation. hardly anybody was scared until until -- until after that until , after everything stopped. we didn't know what was going to happen next. were they going to come back and try to invade or what? we didn't know.
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while the attack and everything was on, everybody is just mad, believe me. all you want to do was get at the japanese, that is all you wanted to do. all the time the attack was going on, these bombers were dropping these bombs. you could hear them coming down. i know we'd stop, just completely freeze and it would detonate somewhere, and people would say, there it is then we'd , run back and do whatever we were doing. >> we had a party scheduled for that sunday. an automobile an officer was , allowed a quart of booze a week. somebody had a little black book of the girls' names, and we were headed to the party on the beach over there. never happened. we were sound asleep. i had a bunk mate named barney malcolm that came to live up washington way. we were asleep. the building started rattling. we didn't think too much about it. but when we heard a big boom, we
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thought we better get up and see and we got up, and i guess we , looked out, went downstairs and looked out and saw that it was more than what we thought and could see a jet plane go up. so, we went back, got dressed, and came down to the water's edge which, as i remember, was roughly 100 yards, watched the arizona sink in nine minutes. you were spellbound, couldn't think what to do. and then, after the ship blew up then the sailors started coming , ashore with their skin peeling off their back and their arms and they were all full of oil, , and we helped them out of the water. and then i remember distinctly taking one man named flanagan, happened to be an ensign, i didn't know it at the time, took him down to the hospital, and when you get to the hospital, you there was a doctor. , and the first doctor would look the man over, and if he thought he could save him, he says go here. and if he thought that he couldn't save him right off, within a reasonable length of
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time, he went down to the second line, and that was the fellas that they didn't think was going to make it. the rule right now was that if you were physically aboard the ship on december 7th, your remains could be interred with the ship. we're working on a program so that anybody on the ship's crew on december 7th could have that privilege. that's number one. and the second thing is that way back in about 1981, or before that, my son was an ensign on a ship here in 1976. and i thought that it's just too bad that nothing has ever been done so that fellas that were on the ship december 7th couldn't go back here and have a memorial service or something like that. so, i worked on that and succeeded. in 1981, we probably had about 75 or 100 people who were either survivors of the arizona or
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former ship's crew going way back to 1916 or their relatives. and we did got that thing , started, and we repeated it in 1986 and in 1991 we had 300 , people out there. -- this is the way it is, gentlemen. yesterday we went back to the ship, to the reunion which i always do on the first day we get here, go right out there and get that over with. then we had our beautiful memorial service up at punch bowl. and in 20 years, i learned how to get the government or the army or the navy to do things for you that i didn't know before. so we had the marine band up there and international color guard and the firing squad. beautiful ceremony. and because we were the uss arizona, they closed the
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memorial up there. they had all the flags were flying just like on an important day. beautiful. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer 1: almost 2200 americans were killed on the morning of december 7. next saturday, "american history tv will mark the anniversary beginning at 8:00 eastern. film,l show archival first-person accounts, and the 75th anniversary ceremonies at pearl harbor and at the world war ii memorial in washington. historians will take your call. that is saturday, december 10 beginning at 8:00 a.m. eastern huron "american history tv" only on c-span3. >> i decided to spend much more time on the young grant. i spent a week at west point trying to understand how this man


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