Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Yesterday, December 7.............
Lots to talk about today, but the Iraq report will have to wait. Being in Hawaii, supporting an exercise about a future Asian war while observing an anniversary of a past one is just too much. I wish I did not have to work tomorrow, I would like to go see the commemorations. I'm told its impossible to get a secret, but I was talking to an Air Force guy today whose dad is a Pearl Harbor veteran. He said his father went in 2001 to one of the reunions/commerorations. As he pointed out:
"It was always great to be with these guys. Just give them five minutes and they were sure to tell you their story, especially if they had been drinking".
The last moments of peace in 1941
His own father's story is pretty interesting. Turns out his dad was 19 when he got to Pearl. He was in port waiting for the Enterprise to return to port. As a result he was assigned to take a boat around Ford Island to make sure there was nothing amiss with the moorings of the ships moored to the posts on Battleship Row and elsewhere.
As my work acquaintance tells it, his old man had finished, and gone over to Ford Island....tied up the boat. He and his running mate were sitting at a table just relaxing when all hell broke loose. He could not get to a weapon, really could not go too far and basically just had to hunker down and keep from getting hit. As a result he was in close proximity to the Arizona on Ford Island when it exploded:
According to my source, he was knocked flat by the force of the explosion, even though he was removed on Ford Island. He said that his father said that even though he went through all of World War II, the worst days of his life were after December 7th. Because he was assigned to the boat crew, they went around on December 8th, 9th and subsequent pulling dead bodies out of the harbor. Since I have always been fascinated by the attack and the events leading up to it, I was riveted to his every word.
As an aside, I never realized how narrow the Pearl Harbor channel was until I went over to the Wright Brothers Grill at Hickam for breakfast one day last week. There, you can eat out side in a very pretty spot next to the water. I was shocked to look up from my corned beef hash and eggs to see an Ohio Class submarine coming up the channel. It was so close I could see the Sailors moving around on the missile deck and even the Captain up on his perch on the sail. I wish I had my camera-that really surprised me. I just figured the water was an inlet or something. I'll bet Sea and Anchor detail here must be really challenging.
Another reason I'm glad I was in aviation.
I strongly recommend John Toland's The Rising Sun for more insight..........a great book.