SPECIAL PULLOUT SECTION
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
Associated Press photos
American ships burn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in these photos taken on Dec. 7, 1941.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE:
Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland talks about his experience in the war at his home in Coeur d’Alene on Aug. 23.
RAY GARLAND IS LAST OF LOCAL PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS’ GROUP By Cindy Hval Correspondent
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THE ATTACK EXPLAINED
Learn how Japan pulled off the devastating raid on the U.S. fleet the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. PAGE 4
Historians from Gonzaga University and Washington State University reflect on the legacy of Pearl Harbor. PAGE 6
Just before 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, a weary Ray Garland joined a small group of sailors and Marines on the quarterdeck of the USS Tennessee. He’d been on watch since 4 a.m. but got off early to help raise the colors. “I heard a noise,” he recalled. “A corporal said, ‘Turn around,’ so I did. I saw a Japanese dive bomber flying alongside us. He was so close, I could see his goggles.” The flag wasn’t raised that day. Garland, 94, a Coeur d’Alene resident,
GONE, NOT FORGOTTEN The Lilac City Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association once had 125 members. PAGE 7
is the last living military veteran on the membership roster of the Lilac City Chapter of Pearl Harbor Survivors. At one time the chapter had 125 active members from all over the Inland Empire. “It’s kind of a lonely feeling,” he said when he attended chapter member Charles Boyer’s funeral in April. A native of Butte, Montana, Garland lied about his age so he could join the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938. “I was 16. You were supposed to be 17,” he said. He fought forest fires and planted trees
A RESPONSE OF FEAR The first internment camp where people of Japanese ancestry were put to work in WWII was in North Idaho. PAGE 12
See GARLAND, T2
NAMES ON A WALL After interviewing area survivors over the years, Cindy Hval visits the somber memorial over the sunken USS Arizona. PAGE 15
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
PHOTOS BY KATHY PLONKA firstname.lastname@example.org
Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland’s medals are on display July 8 in the basement of his home in Coeur d’Alene.
GARLAND Continued from T1
for a couple years, and then eyed the military. “I got to looking at a Life magazine,” Garland said. “I’d never seen a Marine before, but I liked their dress blue uniforms, so I signed up. They were gonna get me anyway, so I thought I might as well join.” He was soon shipped to Pearl Harbor and assigned to the Tennessee – the youngest man in the Marine detachment aboard the battleship. He turned 19 on Nov. 27, 10 days before Japan’s surprise raid on the fleet. “I was a powder monkey,” he said, describing his duties in helping man the ship’s 5-inch batteries and 50-caliber machine guns. Garland, never garrulous, is matterof-fact about his experience during the attack and its aftermath. With short, clipped sentences, he narrates the hell he found himself in on Dec. 7, 1941. As the dive bomber flew past him, Garland looked out and saw a swarm of planes bombing Ford Island. He was scrambling to his duty station when he saw the USS Arizona, moored just 75 feet away, take several hits. A huge explosion followed as a bomb penetrated ammunition magazines. The noise was horrific. “My ears still ring,” Garland said. Burning oil and debris from the Arizona quickly ignited fires on the Tennessee. From his vantage point he saw the USS Oklahoma listing badly. He shrugged. “I watched it turn over,” he said. Time seemed to stand still as he doggedly cleared the deck of corpses and body parts. As flames sparked and ignited across the ship, Garland was pressed into firefighting duty. By that time the second wave of the attack had begun. He and a sailor opened the hatch to get to the officers’ quarters and saw flames along the bulkhead. He pointed a hose at the fire and saw a bright flash. That was the last thing he saw for quite a while. Later he learned the insulation had been burned off the main power lines. As he sprayed water, an electrical charge shot up through the hose, scorching his face and eyes. “You can light a city with the charge that goes through those lines,” Garland said. “The current traveled through the water and got me. The last thing I remembered was turning the hose on.” He awoke in sick bay. “I couldn’t see too well, at least not enough to shoot at anything, but I didn’t want to leave the ship.” After three days in sick bay, he resumed his duties. “There were a lot of people in worse shape than me,” he said. Over the next two years, Garland stayed aboard the Tennessee and participated in the Aleutian, Marshall and Gilbert Islands campaigns. Discharged in late 1945, he returned to Butte to work in the copper mines like his father and grandfather before him. But after being aboard ship for several years, life below ground didn’t suit him. He married, moved to Spokane in 1948 and fathered two boys. “I signed up for the Marine Reserves because I’d bought a house for $7,000 and the pay would cover my $45 per month house payment,” Garland said. In 1950, he was recalled to active duty when the Korean War broke out. He spent 10 months in Korea with the 1st Marine Division. While he was one of the youngest at Pearl Harbor, when he See GARLAND, T3
Ray Garland posed for this picture, on display July 8 in his Coeur d’Alene home, with his sister, Betty Garland, in San Francisco in 1942.
“I’d never seen a Marine before, but I liked their dress blue uniforms, so I signed up. They were gonna get me anyway, so I thought I might as well join.” Ray Garland Pearl Harbor survivor
Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland talks July 8 about his war experiences at his home in Coeur d’Alene.
Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland's medals are on display in the basement of his home.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
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Ray Garland, wearing his old uniform, pauses before placing a floral lei at the base of a memorial stone on Dec. 7, 2014, at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
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Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland poses Aug. 23.
PHOTOS BY KATHY PLONKA email@example.com
Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Garland’s lapel pins, pictured July 8, tell his story of service including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Continued from T2 landed at Incheon, he was one of the oldest. “They called me Dad,” he said. He was 27 and about to enter a new kind of hell. “It was tough,” Garland said. “Pearl Harbor was bad, but coming into the Chosin Reservoir ... ” He shook his head. “Korea was a forgotten war. We didn’t know if we would make it. I had frostbite on both hands and my feet.” To this day, his hands ache from the nerve damage he suffered there. Under constant barrage of artillery View a video of fire, his unit Garland at slogged on. vimeo.com/ During one spokesmanreview. firefight, a bullet ricocheted and struck Garland in the leg. “I jumped in a hole, but there was a dead soldier in it,” he recalled. “I was out of that hole so fast!” That bullet stayed lodged in his leg for 40 years. He often says, “The Japanese singed me on Dec. 7 and the Chinese shot me on Dec. 5.” Garland was just thankful to return to Spokane, his family and the carpet business he’d started before he left. He fathered a daughter, and when his first marriage failed, he moved to Coeur d’Alene and wed Beverly Plumb in 1976, becoming a father to her two sons. A shadow box in his home tells the story that slowly, over time, he has filled in with words. Like many World War II veterans, it took him decades to talk about his experiences. Among other military decorations, the box contains two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He shrugged. “I never told my kids or talked about it.” Garland has attended two Pearl Harbor reunions and considered going again this year, but he’s recovering from a shoulder injury, and an eightday visit to Hawaii seemed like too much. When asked to reflect on his time of service, he sighed and looked down at his hands. “I got scorched a little. I got nicked a little. But so many people were hurt far worse than me.” Then he lifted his head and straightened his back, his military posture still erect, still tall. “I think I was a good Marine,” he said.
Ray Garland’s mother, Genevieve, kept this souvenir of a U.S. Marines flag hanging from the front window of her home in Butte, Montana, until he was discharged in 1946.
U.S. Marine Ray Garland’s 1940s lapel pin, photographed July 8 in Coeur d’Alene, still shines from the collar of his coat.
A young Ray Garland, lower left, sits for a picture with others in his bomb disposal school class in 1945.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
At 7:53 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese dive bombers, ﬁghter bombers and torpedo planes attacked the U.S.naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu. Approximately 350 Japanese planes took part in the attack, which lasted less than two hours.
THE BOMBS Type 98 land bomb
sets sail on Nov. 25 staying north to avoid detection. Planes launch from six carriers 230 miles north of Hawaii. On the return trip, the ships swing south to attack Wake Island.
KAUAI KAUAI NIIHAU NIIHAU
KAHOOLAWE KAHOOLAWE HAWAII HAWAII
1,000 1,000 miles miles
Wake Wake Is. Is.
Launch Launch point point
Type 91 Model 2 torpedo Modiﬁed with wooden ﬁns to keep from diving into the shallow mud of eigh ei ghed ed Pearl Harbor, each torpedo w weighed poun unds ds.. about 1,847 pounds.
weighed 551 pounds. Was designated for attacking the airstrips and airbases around or.. Pearl Harbor Harbor.
Modiﬁed Modi Mo diﬁe ﬁed d Type Type 99 99 bo bomb omb mb
49 level bombers 51 dive bombers 40 torpedo bombers 43 ﬁghters
54 level bombers 78 dive bombers 35 ﬁghters
THE PLANES DIVE BOMBER Aichi D3A “Val”
Attacked Atta At tack ta cked ck ed battleships batttl tles eshi es hips ps ffrom rom ro high hi gh altitude. alt ltit tittud de. e. The The he armorarm rmor orpiercing bombs pier pi erci er cing ng gb om mbs bs ccould ould ou ould d penetrate multiple p pe pene ene etrra attte e mu ult ltip ltip ple e decks d de eck ckss o on n sships hips hip hi ps 0
TORPEDO, DIVE BOMBER* Nakajima B5N “Kate” Dive bombers Level bombers
FIGHTER Mitsubishi A6M “Zero”
OAH U Wheeler Field
*Also used as level bomber to drop armorpiercing bombs
Pea rl Harbor
Operating from 10,000 feet, drop armor-percing bombs
Blue or green dragon
Honolulu Staff Sta ta aff a and nd n d Tri ribun bun bu ne N ew e ews ws Tribune News Service Servic Ser vicce vice graphic wire wir eg raphic rap phic hic
Timeline of attack
Under the command of Admiral Nagumo, the attack force consisted of six carriers and hundreds of planes. The goal was to eliminate the threat of the Navy's battleship force to Japan’s expansion. U.S. forces on Oahu were nearly defenseless against the devastating air raid, despite warning signs that were ignored, misread or received too late. Many officers and crewmen were ashore on that leisurely Sunday morning as the bombs began to drop.
Dec. 6, 1941
Dec. 7, 6:10 a.m.
President Franklin Roosevelt makes a ﬁnal appeal for peace to Japan’s Emperor but receives no reply. Intercepts of coded Japanese messages lead American leaders to believe a Japanese attack in Southeast Asia is imminent. Early the next morning, the War Department sends an alert to naval headquarters on Oahu via commercial telegraph. Unfortunately, the message arrives four hours after the attack begins.
Japanese aircraft carriers 230 miles north of Oahu launch the ﬁrst wave of 183 ﬁghters, bombers and torpedo planes.
Two Army operators at a north shore radar station detect the approaching planes. A junior officer disregards the report.
The second wave of planes attacks, targeting other ships and shipyard facilities with ﬁghters, dive bombers and highaltitude bombers.
The second attack wave of 167 planes takes off from the Japanese carriers and heads for Pearl Harbor, which is not on a state of high alert. Aircraft are parked wingtip to wingtip on airﬁelds, anti-aircraft guns are unmanned, and many ammunition boxes are locked.
The ﬁrst assault wave strikes airﬁelds and battleships with dive bombers, torpedo bombers, high-level bombers and Zero ﬁghters. Flight commander Mitsuo Fuchida sounds the battle cry: “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).
The raid ﬁnally ends. More than 2,400 Americans are dead and 1,178 are wounded. Eight battleships are damaged and ﬁve are sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost. More than 300 aircraft are damaged or destroyed. The three Paciﬁc Fleet aircraft carriers – Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga – were not in the port. Stopping short of a planned third wave, Japan loses 29 planes and ﬁve midget submarines.
Japanese planes also bomb American bases and Manila in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya. The U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan. Roosevelt says Dec. 7 is “a date which will live in infamy...”
The ﬁrst shot is ﬁred by the U.S. destroyer Ward, which spots and sinks a Japanese two-man midget submarine as it tries to enter Pearl Harbor.
8:10 a.m. A large bomb pierces the forward deck of the Battleship Arizona, setting off more than 1 million pounds of gunpowder and killing 1,177 men. The ship sinks in nine minutes, entombing 1,102 of those aboard.
9:30 a.m. A bomb blows off the bow of the destroyer Shaw; pieces of the ship rain down half a mile away. A photo of the spectacular explosion becomes one of the best known images of December 7, 1941.
Dec. 11 Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S. The world is at war. Timeline by Scott Maben
U.S. Paciﬁc ﬂeet sustains catastrophic damage in Pearl Harbor No damage 0
Sunk or beached
The immediate toll
Ships sunk or severely damaged Including: Battleships Light cruisers Destroyers
18 8 3 3
SOURCE: National Park Service
The Japanese lost 29 planes and 55 airmen during the attack. The Japanese carrier task force sailed away undetected and unscathed.
Utah Utah Nevada Nevada Arizona Tennessee
Ford Island Maryland Naval Air Station
Vestal Vestal West Virginia Oklahoma Oklahoma
California Helena Oglala
WAIPIO Shaw Staff and Washington Post wire graphic
Submarine e base Honolulu
SOURCES: U.S. Navy, World War II Database; americaslibrary.gov; Naval History and Heritage Command; Paciﬁc Aviation Museum; reference.com; erence.com; pearlharbor.org
MOLLY QUINN firstname.lastname@example.org
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR Spokesman-Review front pages published between Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, 1941.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
FINDING NEW MEANING AS ATTACK SLIPS FROM MEMORY
he approaching anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor will be greeted by an American public that is quickly losing its collective memory of that fateful event. As those with living experience of the day that would “live in infamy” pass steadily away – according to the Veterans Administration, fewer than 900,000 of the 16 million World War II veterans remain, and are dying at a rate of roughly 500 a day – our collective sense of immediate contact with the war will soon disappear. To put it in time-perspective, in another 75 years, Dec. 7, 1941, will be as distant from the awareness of Americans as Dec. 7, 1866, is to us today. For those of us who came of age in the latter half of the 20th century – even aging-Gen Xers like myself – World War II has always provided the deep contours of our historical and political formation as Americans. It is clear, in 2016, that this shared experience is giving way to a new American reality. Some other term than “postwar” will soon have to stand in as the generally accepted marker of an era that colors the experience of successive generations of Americans. Perhaps that term is “global,” although the forces opposing globalism have already taken their stand and they have demonstrated uncompromising power. World War II stands, both chronologically and conceptually, as the central event of the 20th century. As it unfolded, by stages in Europe and China, and with the shocking suddenness of Pearl Harbor in the Pacific, it appeared that what was taking place was something of a closing act of the First World War, which itself was supposed to be the closing act of the 19th century. When I studied World War II in college and graduate school, it was generally argued that the world that had suffered “the war to end all wars” apparently still had some unfinished business to attend to regarding imperialism, international trade, and ethnic self-determination. From this standpoint, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a highly fitting event in a war that had such an odd mix of rational and emotional causes. A Japanese nation burdened with second-class racial status in President Woodrow Wilson’s new world order, and threatened by the maritime expansion of the not-so-free-and-equal trading practices of the victorious empires of the Great War, adopted a posture akin to religious fundamentalism in the worship of its emperor, and set out to carve out its own economic and cultural empire. When a severe shortage of oil got in the way of these aspirations, Japan’s elites hit upon a plan to knock the British, Americans and Dutch out of the war in one campaign, and seize the “Southern Resource Area” of the Indonesian oil fields for its own uses. Only in the 20th century could a military comprised of fatalistic, emperorworshiping, neo-samurai plunge headlong into the romance of a self-destructive war over something as mundane as petroleum. When looking at World War II from the perspective of seven decades, I have to wonder if the interpretation of this war as the delayed finale of World War I is the best one available. It seems to me that World War II might be better understood as the opening act of what we have come to call today a “Global War on Terror.” Japan’s attack on the West, carried out in the West’s colonies of Asia and the Pacific, was at least as much a religious resistance to modernity as it was an attempt to achieve material dominance in the modern world. Again, a fatalistic, seemingly suicidal army driven to self-annihilation by dreams of pleasing its gods – yet using modern weapons to do
Join the fight: The attack on Pearl Harbor spurred patriotic posters to recruit men for the war effort.
so –resonates as closely with the aims of jihadism as it does with aims of simple nationalist post-colonialism. The attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor may indeed resemble the attacks by al-Qaida on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2011, but it falls to us – for the sake of our future – to understand this connection in a much deeper sense than was presented to us in the outrage of the aftermath of 9/11. Rather than view either or both acts merely as vindictive crimes perpetrated by vicious fundamentalists who were jealous of our freedom, we would do well to consider the larger historical contexts in which we find ourselves, although this is always as much a matter of speculation as it is of reading the record of the past. If I may speculate a little, I would guess that given current trends, we may be reading in 75 years textbooks that tell us that the real victor of World War II was China, and that Japan’s brave and altogether justified attack on the imperial outposts of the western imperialists opened the way for China’s eventual dominance of the Pacific hemisphere. Euro-centric historians, having long been eclipsed by the historiography of the new western caliphate, will have few counter-assertions to make. I do not believe this would be a good reality, but it is not an implausible one, again, given current trends. As Pearl Harbor Day approaches this year, I think it is safe to say that it will be greeted by a nation that has never been more dubious about the validity of the American dream, or divided in its assumptions about what that dream actually means. As a patriotic American (and to be sure as a historian who hopes my own grandchildren will have a history to study) I sincerely hope that we, as a nation, will continue to dwell on, or perhaps recapture, the spirit of what this day means to our historical experience on the most human of levels. We do not have enough information to know what empires are actually on the ascent, or on the wane, or whether either of the factions of a perpetually self-enlarging class of world rulers or their perpetually furious rebel-opponents have our best interests at heart. We know what courage is and we know what self-sacrifice is. We know that we ought to respond to tragedy and ghastly surprises with good humor and grace, and we know that deferring our own satisfaction for the sake of our neighbors is a categorically good thing. In a world now drowning in self-empowerment, self-idolatry, and self-victimization, perhaps we can learn something of use from the examples of those millions of brave Americans who responded to the catastrophe of Pearl Harbor by putting their “selves” on hold for the duration of the war, and left us with a world in which to flourish. May their memory be everlasting.
Eric Cunningham is a Gonzaga University history professor. A specialist in modern Japanese intellectual history, he received a master’s degree in modern Japanese literature from the University of Oregon in 1999, and a doctorate in history from the UO in 2004. He is the author of “Hallucinating the End of History: Nishida, Zen, and the Psychedelic Eschaton,” and “Zen Past and Present.” Cunningham lectures and writes on Japanese history, film, spirituality, anthroposophy, and society.
ANNIVERSARY AN OPPORTUNITY TO RE-EXAMINE LEGACY
he living memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor is almost extinguished. It’s time to rethink how we want to remember Dec. 7, 1941, 75 years later – and beyond. With the death of former USS Arizona sailor Raymond Haerry on Sept. 27, the number of Arizona survivors dwindled to five. The sunken remains of the battleship, where 1,177 sailors and Marines died, anchor the Pearl Harbor memorial complex. The passing of Arizona’s crew symbolizes the disappearance of Pearl Harbor survivors as a whole: A 2014 Washington Post report cited an estimate of 2,000 to 2,500. Two years later, that figure has drastically diminished. Soon, there will be no more survivors. The passage of the World War II generation is certainly cause for reflection – sorrow mixed with appreciation for its remarkable accomplishments. At the same time, the loss of our living connection to the attack on Pearl Harbor provides an opportunity to revisit the lessons and legacies we draw from this defining event in United States, and indeed world, history. By doing so, we might become more aware of the selective remembrance and forgetfulness that have characterized our common memory of Pearl Harbor, and fashion a more complex, but also more honest and helpful, historical legacy to root and guide us in facing our challenging 21st Century world. Pearl Harbor’s transformation into a sacred site of American memory began immediately, captured in President Franklin Roosevelt’s description of Dec. 7, 1941, as “a date which will live in infamy.” Throughout the war Americans were bombarded with exhortations to “Remember Pearl Harbor,” and images of military disaster were transformed into symbols of American resolve. Pearl Harbor was proof that this was indeed a morally unambiguous “Good War,” ending in redemptive triumph in the Japanese surrender on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on
Sept. 2, 1945. Defeat thus became the prelude to victory, and the more than 2,400 American dead became martyrs whose sacrifice would be invoked as an inspiration for national strength and unity in times of crisis. Underscoring this heroic narrative, the Arizona Memorial is included in a larger network of historic sites that is collectively titled the “World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.” Presidential addresses have perpetuated this familiar and affirming narrative. In 2011, President Barack Obama marked the 70th anniversary by saluting the “veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who inspire us still. Despite overwhelming odds, they fought back heroically, inspiring our nation and putting us on the path to victory.” Even more pointedly, in 2001 President George W. Bush made Pearl Harbor the symbol of American determination in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Speaking on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Bush invoked the spirit of 1941: “On December the 8th, as the details became known, the nation’s grief turned to resolution. During four years of war, no one doubted the rightness of our cause, no one wavered in the quest of victory. As a result of the efforts and sacrifice of the (Pearl Harbor) veterans who are with us today and millions like them, the world was saved from tyranny.” Bush then equated the Pacific War and the 2001 war against al-Qaida, stating: “We’ve seen their kind before. The terrorists are the heirs to fascism. They have the same wield of power, the same disdain for the individual, the same mad global ambitions. And they will be dealt with in the same way. … Just as we were 60 years ago in a time of war, this great nation will be patient, will be determined and we will be relentless in the pursuit of freedom.”
Remembered in this way, Pearl Harbor represents an essential element in the national memory of World War II as “the Good War,” one that unified the country in a selfless struggle to defeat powers of darkness in the cause of freedom and democracy. Given the deeply divisive nature of subsequent conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, World War II serves in many ways as a defining, semi-mythological moment in American history, a paradigm for what we once were and can be again in times of trial. As such, World War II, especially the Pacific Theater, have long stood above close popular scrutiny, and attempts to bring a more complex, even critical perspective are fiercely attacked to this day. Think of the conservative reaction to President Obama’s August visit to Hiroshima, derided as part of an ongoing “apology tour,” or the political blowback that killed a planned exhibit about the use of the first atomic bombs at the National Air and Space Museum in 1995 due to its incorporation of historical scholarship that questioned the necessity of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and made graphically visible the human costs. However, to “Remember Pearl Harbor” meaningfully 75 years after the event, we must muster the honesty and courage to confront what has long been neglected in our collective memory. The dominant, heroic memory of Pearl Harbor has no place for the ambiguous or dark attitudes and actions that resulted from the wartime fervor. Anniversary rhetoric forgets how, in an atmosphere of fear and overwhelming, inexplicable defeat, it was impossible to separate the call to remember from vicious, dehumanizing racial stereotypes that compared “Japs” to apes, rats and vermin. Such racialist imagery contributed to American policies that led to the incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese – including many with U.S. citizenship – in camps scattered throughout desolate regions of the American West. It helped fuel racial hatreds that led to exterminationist com-
bat across the Pacific islands and enabled the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945, which choked and incinerated 100,000 inhabitants, mostly civilians, in a single night. And conventional memory still struggles to accommodate informed debate over the reasons for using the atomic bombs and their horrific consequences. I believe that we can, and must, do better. To acknowledge the many negative effects that the memory of Pearl Harbor had on how Americans fought the Pacific War is not only intellectually and historically honest, but provides the moral integrity required to build a national memory that can guide us wisely in the present when facing severe challenges about race, religion, refugees, immigration and national security. This is neither to deny the honor due to the dead of Pearl Harbor, nor to displace the site from its central place in American memory. What I am saying is that 75 years later, we have a great opportunity to craft a more mature, complex understanding of the multiple legacies of Pearl Harbor. It means to recognize that history is ambiguous, and that the past is more than a simple morality play. It means to see that the memory of Pearl Harbor was used to inspire Americans to be at once liberators and perpetrators, freedom fighters and party to attacks on the civil liberties and lives of entire populations deemed an existential threat, not only politically but racially. And it means recognizing that ultimately, we are responsible for making our own memories, for good or ill. This is a hard proposition. But it is also eminently doable – the Germans’ ongoing wrestling with their Nazi past stands as an excellent example. Seventy-five years later, are we grown up enough to embrace the same challenge? Raymond Sun is an associate professor of history at Washington State University in Pullman. He is researching female rescuers in the Holocaust.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
PHOTOS BY DAN PELLE email@example.com
A WWII ration book once belonging to Evelyn Dawson of Harvey, Illinois, was photographed Nov. 12.
LILAC CITY CHAPTER ONCE HAD 125 MEMBERS PHOTOS BY DAN PELLE firstname.lastname@example.org
A prayer, photographed Nov. 18, opened all the local chapter meetings of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, and a benediction closed all the gatherings
ROSTER OF LOCAL SURVIVORS PEAKED IN MID-1990S By Carol Edgemon Hipperson Correspondent
Of the 16 million Americans who were in uniform at some point during World War II, no more than about 80,000 could give an eyewitness account from ground zero to VJ Day. They were the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who survived the attack that triggered America’s entry into the world’s first truly global war. On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, after two hours of bombing and strafing by planes from six Japanese aircraft carriers, six U.S. military bases on the island of Oahu were in smoking ruins. But the majority of the dead and wounded were on the seven battleships at anchor inside the Navy’s base at Pearl Harbor. For that reason, all other military personnel on the island at the time of the attack were called Pearl Harbor survivors. No one knows how many of those survivors were killed in action during the battles that followed in the Pacific and European theaters from 1941 to 1945. Nor do we know how many of them fought and died in the Korean War, 1950-53. What we do know is that at least 29,000 were still living when the national Pearl Harbor Survivors Association was founded in 1958. That’s how many eventually applied and qualified for membership in the dozens of chapters that were forming in towns and cities all across the country. The Lilac City Chapter, based in Spokane, drew its membership from the Pearl Harbor survivors residing in their nationally designated district: Eastern Washington, North Idaho and western Montana. Starting with 28 charter members in 1963, their roster peaked at 125 duespaying members in 1995. About half of those were still living in 2002. When they invited me into their fellowship in June of that year, barely 20 of them were still “active” – able to attend their monthly meetings. When I told them I needed their advice and counsel for my second book on military history, they told me to hurry. Their average age was 85. “Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific” came from my series of 25 interviews with the president of the Lilac City Chapter. To verify the accuracy of his memories, I read the rough draft of every chapter to however many were in attendance each month over the course of about two years. They were the ultimate fact checkers. I didn’t even show the manuscript to my agent until they said I had it right. As “Radioman” was going to press in the spring of 2008, the national president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association reported less than 5,000 were still living in the U.S. – 4,923 to be exact. By that time, the Lilac City Chapter had buried most of its members, too. They were down to less than 20 on their roster, and only 12 were active. But it never occurred to them to stop meeting for lunch once a month. It never occurred to me, either. This unique group of World War II veterans had turned into something more than a primary source for my research in military history. They had become, quite literally, my oldest friends. Three weeks prior to the 70th anniversary ceremonies in Hawaii in 2011, the national Pearl Harbor Survivors Association took its last census from the chapters around the country. Most of them had “gone dark.” Total living membership had dropped to 2,708. At the end of that year, the national organ-
Pearl Harbor survivor Russell Telecky, USS Nevada, wrote his memories of the day of the attack, pictured Nov. 18.
Pearl Harbor survivor George Coniff, USS Nevada, wrote his memories of the day of the attack.
Pearl Harbor survivor Lewis Johnson, USS Pennsylvania, wrote his memories of the day of the attack.
ization called it quits, turned out the lights and shut the doors. From then on, the local chapters were on their own. The Lilac City Chapter was one of a handful that remained on duty. With only 10 active members, they continued to appear together in school and college auditoriums, churches and bookstores, special events in the community and the annual Lilac City Armed Forces Day Parade. They were on a mission to personify their national motto: “Remember Pearl Harbor – Keep America Alert – Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.” On Dec. 7, 2014, the last five living veterans in the Lilac City Chapter – two sailors, two soldiers and one marine – dedicated the monument that stands outside the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Their national motto is now etched in stone. Only two were still on this side of heaven on that rainy Pearl Harbor Day in 2015, but they did their job. They went to that stone, dropped their leis in front of it and saluted the fallen. It was their fondest hope that younger Americans would do the same for generations to come.
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the day that changed the course of history – for America and the world – the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 696,000 of our nation’s World War II veterans are still living. How many of them are Pearl Harbor Survivors is impossible to say. Now that the local chapters are no longer reporting their membership to any national organization, we’re back to guessing. Based on my research in the field, I doubt if there are more than 100. The only one I know for sure is Ray Garland of Coeur d’Alene. At 94, he is the only living veteran left on the Lilac City Chapter’s roster. He is also one very tough marine. Carol Edgemon Hipperson is a Spokane writer and author of “Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor & World War II in the Pacific” (ThomasDunneBooks/ St.MartinsPress, 2008); and “The Belly Gunner: An Eyewitness Account of Stalag 17 & World War II in Europe” (Twenty-FirstCenturyBooks/ MillbrookPress, 2001). Her website is www.carolhipperson.com.
The Lilac City Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association had over 125 members at its height around the 50th anniversary of the 1941 attack. Names came and went as veterans joined, moved to and from the Inland Northwest, and died. The following is a snapshot of the certified members of the chapter who lived in the Spokane-North Idaho region at the end of 1994, including where they were stationed on Dec. 7, 1941. James P. Agidius, USS Honolulu Charles F. Asher, Mobile Unit #2 Ray Aznavoorian, USS Ontario Stanley D. Bennett, USS Rigel Leo L. Billings, Navy Yard Mardet Richard C. Blome, N.A.S. Ford Island Lewis A. Botzon, Navy Yard Mardet George W. Brown, Hickam Field James W. Brown, USS Medusa Harry F. Bulmer, USS Castor Clyde Buteau, Hickam Field Frank A. Cannon, USS Wasmuth Hugh S. Chambers, USS Conyngham Hoyt N. Colburn, USS Rigel L. Earl Colyar, USS Dale George E. Conniff, USS Nevada Robert J. Couture, USS Tennessee James R. Critchett, Ft. Ruger Raymond C. Daves, Sub Base Carl Dennis, Schofield Barracks John R. Dick, USS Pennsylvania Louie M. Dukich, USS Phoenix Burt H. Earnest, N.A.S. Kaneohe Bay Robert G. Ferris, USS Trever Raymond G. Foland, USS Tennessee Harry Fries, USS Medusa Raymond W. Garland, USS Tennessee Walter J. Gese, Hickam Field Harvey C. Fattig, N.A.S. Ford Island Roy Gilbert, USS Medusa Donald W. Goodbrake, Ft. Armstrong John H. Goode, USS Medusa Charles W. Guerin Jr., USS Arizona Raymond D. Harshman, USS Utah Roy M. Hayter, USS Honolulu Herbert S. Heinzman, USS West Virginia Louis T. Hughes, Hickam Field Raymond M. Irvin, Ft. Shafter Lewis B. Johnson, USS Pennsylvania Harold A. Kern, USS Nevada Art Koch, VP-14 N.A.S. Kaneohe Bay Ken C. Kohler, 27th Infantry Schofield Barracks Stanley J. Kozlowski, USS Oklahoma
Fredric Kucklick, USS Dale Harold R. Lindstrom, Receiving Station E. Irvin Lissy, USS West Virginia Donald G. Lorentz, USS California Del E. Lutz, Navy Yard Mardet Dale E. Magnus, USS Cummings Lawrence P. McGovern, USS California Alex E. McKenzie, Schofield Barracks Kenneth C. McMillan, Ft. Kamehameha Denis A. Mikkelsen, USS West Virginia Sidney (Scotty) A. Miller, 25th Infantry Schofield Barracks Lester S. Morgan, Ft. Shafter Donald H. Murray, 13th F/A Schofield Barracks Allen W. Nauck, USS Wasmuth Max A. Nielsen, Schofield Barracks Homer H. Oaksford, 24th Infantry Schofield Barracks Thomas N. O’Donnell, USS Oklahoma Robert A. Ohnemus, USS Grebe William J. Paulukonis, 3rd Eng. BN Schofield Barracks Albert C. Peters, Schofield Paulukonis Barracks Frank W. Petersen, USS Argonne Willie B. Potwin, USS San Francisco Ward E. Powell, USS Maryland James E. Prichard, Hickam Field William B. Ransom, USS San Francisco Randolph M. Rhodes, USS Tennessee F.F. (Rich) Richardson, USS Nevada John A. Sandell, Hickam Field Warren Schott, N.A.S. Ford Island William I. Short, USS St. Louis Eldon D. Simonson, Sub Base James E. Sinnott, N.A.S. Ford Island Robert J. Smith, USS Sinnott Helena Donzal M. Smith, 3rd Eng. Bn Schofield Barracks Jessie Smith, USS Solace Elmer R. Suddrett, Schofield Barracks William Sutherland, USS Widgeon Russell Telecky, USS Nevada Howard J. Thompson, 2nd Mardiv Thomas L. Turbak, USS Argonne Thomas S. Van Fossen, USS California Partain Wagner, Hickam Field Kenneth F. Walters, USS Honolulu Roy H. Weipert, 27th Infantry Schofield Barracks William R. West, USS New Orleans Oliver C. Wilson, USS Maryland Al Wylder, Schofield Barracks
Written memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor by George Conniff from aboard the USS Nevada, left, Lewis Johnson, USS Pennsylvania, center, Ray Foland, USS Tennessee, top right, and Russell Telecky, USS Nevada, right.
THE SPOKESM THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HAR
L John (Sid) Kennedy: He was in sick bay recovering from minor surgery. “I heard machine gun fire and looked out the window.” He saw a Japanese plane soaring across the bay. Six people stood outside the door, watching the action. “So, I went out and got them. I could hear the rounds hitting the doorway.” The morning passed in a blur as he helped move the wounded to the operating room. “One of the worst injuries I saw was a pilot who’d had his leg blown off,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately, I had to move bodies to the morgue, too.”
Ray Daves: “I thought, ‘The world’s gone crazy! What have we done to provoke these people into this carnage?’ ” He described himself as a “scared little boy” that day, but added, “I sure grew up in a hurry.” He was on his way to breakfast when he saw the first bomb drop on Ford Island. “I prayed, ‘God, don’t let it get my friend, Jim (Sinnot).’ I knew he was on Ford Island. ... We all lost friends at Pearl Harbor.”
L Bob Ohnemus: “I was stringing up a clothesline when I heard a boom. I thought some dummy was out shooting off ammunition.”
Above: In this Dec. 7, 1941, file photo released by the U.S. Navy, the destroyer USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At right: This Dec. 7, 1941, file photo shows the USS Arizona going down in flames and smoke during the bombing on Pearl Harbor.
Warren Schott: He looked out the house he shared with his wife, Betty, close to Battleship Row on Ford Island, and spotted a plane flying low, directly toward them. Then it torpedoed the USS Utah. “I said, ‘Betty, we’re at war!’ ”
Betty Schott: “Slamming a door for days after the attack would make you jump.”
Bob Snider: That morning, the 8-year-old boy ran to the pier when he heard the noise of the attack. His father, a civilian aircraft mechanic working at the military bases, called him into the house. “We watched the Japanese bombers coming – it seemed like they’d never stop.” And the noise intensified as shrapnel pelted the house. “It sounded like a terrible hailstorm.”
Russell Telecky: The crew member from the battleship Nevada said the damaged ship managed to get enough extra steam to make coffee an hour later. It so impressed a reporter from Time that the next issue of the magazine noted, “Come hell or high water, the Nevada has coffee.” All of his classmates from training school died on the USS Arizona. “If you think about the dirty stuff, you have to cry.”
Above: Burning fuel oil from shattered tanks on ships hit in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor makes a lurid sea of flame in the harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Smoke billows black and heavy into the sky. Hardly visible through the murk is a U.S. battleship, and the hulk of capsized USS Oklahoma barely breaks the surface to the right of it. At right: Firemen and civilians rush to the scene with fire hoses to save homes and stores in the Japanese and Chinese sections of Honolulu, Hawaii, in this Dec. 7, 1941, file photo.
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DECEMBER 4, 2016
Over the years, The Spokesman-Review has interviewed many Inland Northwesterners who had survived the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Most of them are gone now, but their words live on.
Above: One of the U.S. Navy planes wrecked in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this observation scout seaplane’s engine was ripped from its housing.
L Denis Mikkelsen: The 19-year-old sailor was asleep aboard the USS West Virginia when the ship was attacked. “I was told to close the hatches, but before I could get them closed the water was pouring in – we were sinking that fast.” When the order came to abandon ship, he went into the harbor wearing only shorts and a T-shirt and swam to Ford Island.
Charlie Boyer: “I said, ‘Look at the show the Army’s putting on.’ Then I saw the big ol’ red meatballs on the wings of the plane. I said, ‘Army, hell!’ ” Boyer was a 21-year-old seaman stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe. “Time seemed like forever. I’d say a few of us were pretty scared.” He told of a fellow soldier on guard duty who shot at a fence post. “He swore it moved.”
Above: A crude wooden platform erected as a temporary observation post in 1950 was the only surface memorial to those who perished aboard the battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor until the Pacific War Memorial Commission created a permanent memorial. Outlines of the deteriorating Arizona are barely visible beneath the placid harbor waters.
L Bud Garvin: The 26-year-old Army lieutenant lived adjacent to Wheeler Army Air Field. “I saw a guy running down the street. He was yelling at the top of his lungs, ‘Take cover! Take cover! We’re under attack.’ ” Garvin then saw the first wave of planes heading toward hangars across the street from his house. “Our airplanes were sitting wingtip to wingtip on Wheeler Field. (They) strafed them with machine guns, setting them all on fire.”
Above: Three U.S. sailors watch the USS Nevada leave Pearl Harbor, made seaworthy by temporary repairs after being severely damaged and beached in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Nevada was heading for permanent repairs at a U.S. port.
Glen Hills: Aboard the USS Medusa, the 18-year-old “was in the shower, getting ready to play in a tennis tournament,” when he heard the terrible roar of explosions tearing at the hulls of American ships. “My first thought was, ‘How did the Germans get here?’ Then I saw the Rising Sun. And I knew.” The assault lasted almost two and a half hours. “It seemed like a couple of weeks.”
Bud Colburn: “I’d figured on going to church that morning. But I didn’t quite make it,” said Colburn, had just gotten off duty. He spent the day driving the wounded to the hospital. “I took the guys they were bringing out of the water.”
Susette Pitts: She helped nurse men back to health at the hospital at Pearl Harbor. “It’s something that’s very hard to describe, but you feel it in your bones when you talk about it. ... It was scary when those planes came in. They didn’t care who they hit. I knew girls who tried to hide under the couch.”
FILE PHOTOS Associated Press
Above: With the USS Arizona Memorial in the background, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Commander Seishi Goto reads a historical placard in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 2011, the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base that pulled the U.S. into war with Japan.
Harold Kern: “It was a turning point in many of our lives. We didn’t go to war. The war came to us.” Compiled by Scott Maben
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
OVER 70 YEARS, SAILOR NEVER FORGOT THE SMELL OF DEATH By Cindy Hval
Ray Daves, age 19, at the Naval Training Station in San Diego in July 1939.
Originally published Dec. 6, 2007. Ray Daves died June 3, 2011, at age 91. The smell. That’s the one thing Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Daves can never forget. The one thing movies aren’t able to capture. The smell of burning oil and the stench of charred human flesh. Sixty-six years ago, Daves was a 21-year-old sailor, stationed at Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor. The Deer Park resident and president of the Lilac City Chapter of Pearl Harbor Survivors recently shared his memories. Black-and-white photos show a handsome young man, enjoying his deployment in Hawaii. The pictures capture carefree memories of a time that quickly and unexpectedly turned tragic. “I still have bad dreams and nightmares about the things I saw and heard that day,” he said. Daves was on his way to breakfast on Dec. 7, 1941, thinking about the pancakes that awaited him, when the distinct drone of aircraft flying low caught his attention. He looked up to see Japanese bombers. To his horror he heard the first bomb hit and explode on Ford Island. Thoughts of breakfast vanished as he ran toward his general quarters station. “Go up to the roof and see if you can help,” he recalled being told. “There were two sailors I didn’t know up there with a .30 caliber machine gun. I asked them what I could do and they said, ‘Get us more ammo.’ ” Daves carried ammo while the once-clear Hawaiian sky grew black and battleships burned. From his vantage point he could see the battleships Oklahoma and Arizona exploding, bursts of scarlet flame and thick plumes of smoke shooting into the sky. A cacophony of machine gun fire, blasting torpedoes, and the seemingly endless drone of aircraft shattered the once quiet morning.
Ray Daves, 19, on liberty from the destroyer Flusser at Pearl Harbor, enjoys the beach on Oahu, Hawaii, in December 1939.
“My friend George Maybee was on the Arizona,” Daves said, his voice thick with emotion. “We’d gone through radio school together. Sat beside each other every day.” As horrible as that was, worse sights and sounds soon followed. “All of the sudden we saw a Jap plane on fire, headed right for us,” said Daves. “He was flying so low his wing almost hit the side of the building. As he approached we could see the pilot was dead.” Daves was hit by exploding ammunition from the disabled aircraft. It crashed into the water beneath them. He didn’t notice his wounds as he hustled to get more ammo for the sailors on the roof. Making his way to the storage shed, he saw another enemy plane coming in low. This one began to strafe the boats that were carrying sailors back to their ships. “The sailors had been on
liberty. They were wearing their dress whites,” Daves paused and took a deep breath. “They didn’t stay white very long.” Burning oil filled the water. “The sailors would fall into the burning oil,” he said. “Some would jump – some didn’t get a chance.” Daves stayed on the roof until there were no more planes to shoot at. Then he made his way down toward the shore and began pulling injured men from the water. “You never, never forget the smell of burned human flesh,” he said. Finally Daves noticed the blood pouring from his left hand. He went to sick bay and got it bandaged. From there he was assigned to fire watch in the dry dock area. The worst of the fires were out, but more sailors were needed to extinguish the sparks that shot up as res-
cuers brought bodies out from the lower decks of a destroyed battleship. Late that night he finally got a meal – a thick bologna sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate. “I wasn’t hungry,” he said, “but I knew I needed to eat.” Daves and several other sailors bedded down for the night on the floor of the radio shack. “One little guy – he was an ensign – he cried and shook all night long,” Daves recalled. Two weeks after the attack he was given a postcard to send to his family back home. They had no idea if he was alive or dead. “When the postmaster got my card he closed the post office and drove out to my parents’ farm,” Daves said. “He held the card out the window of his car and yelled, ‘He’s alive!’ ” Daves, like most Pearl Harbor survivors, is reluctant to
Ray Daves was a 21-year-old sailor stationed at Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.
tell his story. “I’ve had people say to me, ‘Pearl Harbor was 65 years ago – get over it!’ ” He paused and shook his head. “What can you say when people are so indifferent?” Each time Ray Daves shares his memories of Dec. 7, 1941, it costs him. It forces him to revisit a time and a place that has scarred both his body and his soul. He talks about his experience for only one reason. That reason is found in the motto of the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Association: “Remember Pearl Harbor. Keep America alert. Eternal Vigilance is the price of liberty.” As he recalled his friend George and others who lost their lives that day, Daves said, “Those are the true heroes.” He shuffled through his stack of black and white photos, and looked up – his eyes filled with tears. “I’m not a hero,” he said.
CHARLES BOYER, PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR FROM SPOKANE VALLEY, REMEMBERED AS CHEERFUL, GENTLE By Cindy Hval Correspondent
Originally published April 24. The Patriot Guard Riders stood silently, their flags held aloft as a light rain fell at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spokane Valley. They’d come to honor Charles Boyer, 95, who died April 15. As a 21-year-old sailor stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Boyer had earned membership into an exclusive club: the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Though he was an aviation machinist’s mate, Boyer was assigned to service and drive the Navy’s trucks at Kaneohe. The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, he’d just dropped off some sailors at church and was on his way back, when he saw several khaki-colored planes approaching fast and low. In newspaper interviews, Boyer shared his memories of the horrific attack. “I said, ‘Look at the show the Army’s putting on! Then I saw the big ol’ red meatballs on the wings of the plane and I said, ‘Army, hell!’ ” he recalled. “The planes were coming over us, shooting at us and dropping bombs.” With the truck still moving, Boyer dove out and took shelter under another truck parked a few yards away. He stayed under that truck until the enemy planes passed, then he ran to a large tin shed that served as a garage for the trucks at Kaneohe. “Time seemed like forever,” he said. “I was pretty scared.” He wasn’t the only one frightened. He told of a fellow sailor on guard duty who shot at a fence post. “He swore it moved,” he recalled, grinning. But he didn’t smile when he talked about the results of the attack. Twenty Americans died on the base at Kaneohe that day, and as for the aircraft – “they did a hell of job,” Boyer said. “They got every warplane on Kaneohe.” Four years and one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he married Irene Britton. They celebrated their 70th anniversary in December. After 20 years, Boyer retired as a chief petty officer, but he couldn’t quite leave Navy life behind. He spent the next 22 years working in civil service for the Navy. Upon moving to Spokane Valley in 1998, he joined the Lilac City Chapter of the national Pearl Harbor Survivors As-
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Pearl Harbor survivor Charlie Boyer, in 2014, salutes the fallen during a ceremony at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the attack that began America’s involvement in World War II.
“I said, ‘Look at the show the Army’s putting on! Then I saw the big ol’ red meatballs on the wings of the plane and I said, ‘Army, hell!’ The planes were coming over us, shooting at us and dropping bombs.” Charles Boyer Pearl Harbor survivor who passed away April 15
sociation. He was especially close to fellow survivor John (Sid) Kennedy, whom he’d met in 1941 at aviation machinist school in San Diego. Later they were both sent to Kaneohe. Kennedy died July 7, 2015, and at his funeral Boyer told a friend, “I guess he went on ahead without me.” At one time there were 125 active members of the Lilac City Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Only
one, Ray Garland, 93, remains. Garland attended Boyer’s funeral. “It’s kind of a lonely feeling,” he said. Carol Edgemon Hipperson, author of the Ray Daves biography, “Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific,” also feels Boyer’s loss keenly. “Charlie was much like Ray Daves to me,” she said. “Of all the Pearl Harbor survivors those two were the ones most
like my own father: kind, gentle, softspoken, humble, voracious readers, towering intellects.” She admired his cheerful spirit and compassion. “Most people get cranky when they don’t feel well or things don’t go right. Charlie never did. It was just his nature to smile and speak softly to everyone around him.” Boyer’s son, Steve, agreed. Three weeks ago as his father signed papers for hospice care, Steve Boyer choked up. His dad noticed his distress and said, “Don’t feel bad. I’ve had a great life – and a very, very long life.” While many knew Charlie Boyer as a Pearl Harbor survivor, to his son, he was just Dad. “I didn’t even know he was a Pearl Harbor survivor until he moved to Spokane Valley,” he said. “He never talked about it. He was just my dad and always will be. I’m going to miss him.”
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
RADIOMAN DENIS MIKKELSEN SWAM AWAY FROM TORPEDOED BATTLESHIP By Jim Camden firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 664-2598
Originally published Dec. 7, 2007. Denis Mikkelsen died March 30, 2013, at age 90. There was a moment on Dec. 7, 1941 – surrounded by smoke on the burning deck of the USS West Virginia, while explosions rocked the ship from below – when Denis Mikkelsen thought to himself: “This is the end.” It was probably a common thought among the sailors around him at Pearl Harbor, as well as the Mikkelsen soldiers and civilians on the nearby islands who went to sleep at peace and woke up to war. Mikkelsen is a retiree on Spokane’s West Plains and a member of the small and dwindling Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. But on the day the Japansese attacked, he was a 19-yearold radioman on the battleship West Virginia. He stood watch from midnight until breakfast, had something to eat, then slung his hammock in the quietest place he could find that Sunday morning – the transmitter room on a lower deck. He’d been in the Navy just over a year, a native of Wilbur, Washington, who’d tried to join up after graduating from high school in the summer of 1940. Mikkelsen was rejected as too young at 17, then accepted when he turned 18 later that year. For the previous five months, he’d been on the battleship. With its crew of 1,000, it was much bigger than his hometown. While Hawaii was pretty exotic for a young man from Eastern Washington, it wasn’t exactly paradise, he recalls. “It was hot and humid.” He didn’t pay much attention to world politics. “I was a green kid. I didn’t know we were that close to war.” On Dec. 7, he awoke to a call for sailors to man their fire and rescue stations. The orders quickly changed to general quarters, which meant he was to go below decks to be part of a repair party. He never got topside to see the other ships burning, but while sealing portholes he felt the explosions as the West Virginia was hit by a series of torpedoes dropped by Japanese warplanes. “We stood there and watched the water coming in, getting deeper and deeper,” he recalled.
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Denis Mikkelsen, who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, photographed December 2007 at his Airway Heights home.
The ship was leaning to the port, or left, and water was rising faster there, so the head of their repair detail sent them to the starboard, or right. “He sent us up one deck. Then they sent us topside.” Smoke was everywhere, and the order came quickly to abandon ship. “A lot of ’em jumped. Not me. I was more afraid of the heights. I climbed down the ladder,” he said. Once in the water, they swam past the USS Tennessee, moored next to the West Virginia, and onto Ford Island. Once there, sailors were ordered to a nearby building. Those like Mikkelsen, who were wearing nothing but a T-shirt and shorts because they’d jumped out of their bunks, were given some clothes, although there wasn’t much available. For shoes they got cardboard hospital slippers. Eventually, they were ordered back to try to save the West Virginia by fighting the fires still raging on the battleship. “There was smoke everywhere. We didn’t have the proper gear. They gave gas masks instead of breathing apparatus,” Mikkelsen said. Somebody took him to an upper deck near a gun
turret, handed him a hose and pointed to a box full of ammunition, about 10 feet away. His instructions were simple: “Keep it cool so it don’t blow.” Mikkelsen said that if his Navy training up to that point had taught him anything, it was to follow orders. He’s not sure now how long he was on the deck, hosing down the ammunition box. At some point, someone relieved him, and he went down to the main deck where the smoke was so thick he could hardly see. Something blew up below him. “I thought, this is the end.” But it wasn’t. Someone led him out of the smoke and to the boat that took him off the West Virginia. He spent the night on Ford Island, then was assigned to the USS Salt Lake City, a heavy cruiser that arrived in port the next day and went back out to sea quickly. “Supposedly, we went out looking for the Japanese, but luckily we didn’t find them,” Mikkelsen said. One small consolation – he was issued new clothes aboard his new ship. Sailors had to buy their clothes in those days, and Mikkelsen, who was making $30 a month, hadn’t been able to af-
ford new ones since his training days. He’d lost so much weight, they didn’t really fit him anymore – his pants had huge tucks on each side to keep them from falling down. Because his old clothes went down with the West Virginia, the Navy would reimburse him for new ones that actually fit, and the Salt Lake City gave him credit until the reimbursement arrived. Mikkelsen served the rest of the war in the Navy. He was on the Salt Lake City for a night battle off the Philippines, which he recalls as even worse than Pearl Harbor. He was sent back to the United States, assigned to a destroyer tender that was being refitted in New Orleans, and eventually stationed in the Atlantic. Although he hadn’t planned on it at 18, he made a career out of the Navy as a radioman, retiring in 1964. At one point, he, his wife, Vina, and their three children were stationed at a naval base in Japan. He said he never had any ill will toward the Japanese people, although one day a local worker came to his house to install an air conditioner and told him, “I was at Nagasaki. You bombed me.”
“I told him, ‘I was at Pearl Harbor, where you bombed me.’ I never heard anything after that.” Mikkelsen is a member of Spokane’s Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. The number of members has shrunk to less than 10 in recent years, and some are struggling with declining health. As the second-youngest member of the local chapter, Mikkelsen is in relatively good shape. He joked that he recently watched a documentary from the 65th anniversary ceremonies at Pearl Harbor and thought to himself, “Man, those guys are old.” Vina reminded him that he is, too. The nation’s attention to the anniversary of what President Franklin Roosevelt called a day of infamy waxes and wanes over the years, he said. After Sept. 11, people would see his Pearl Harbor license plate and honk or wave. Now, that doesn’t happen much. But Mikkelsen says there is a lesson from the attack that America needs to remember above all else: “Be ready. Don’t let us get in such a spot where they can do it again.”
CIVILIAN SURVIVOR HAD FRONT-ROW SEAT TO ATTACK By Cindy Hval WITNESS TO HISTORY
Longtime Spokane resident Betty Schott was among the last civilians to evacuate Ford Island after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. She and her husband, Warren, who had been stationed at Ford Island, were charter members of the National Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Lilac City Chapter. In September 2011, they joined other World War II veterans on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Their experiences provided many Spokane schoolchildren with eyewitness accounts of the beginning of the war.
Originally published July 9, 2015, shortly after Betty Schott’s death at age 98. As Pearl Harbor survivors, Warren and Betty Schott saw more than their share of death. Warren had been sent to the Naval Air Station at Pearl Harbor shortly after their marriage in 1938. Betty, a 1935 graduate of North Central High School, was determined to join him and worked until she earned her passage. She arrived on Ford Island in 1939 and they settled into a tiny apartment near Battleship Row. Their bedroom overlooked the island’s runway, so they were accustomed to noise, but the sounds that woke them on Dec. 7, 1941, were unlike any they’d heard before. Betty pulled on her robe and looked out the bathroom window. “Warren!” she called, “There’s smoke and fire at the end of the runway.” Warren went to another window and spotted a plane flying low overhead. “I saw the red balls on the wings of the plane,” he said. “I watched that plane torpedo the USS Utah. I said, ‘Betty, we’re at war!’ ” While Betty filled fire extinguishers with other civilians in a supply warehouse, Warren had the grim job of pulling the dead and injured from the harbor. The men he pulled out of the water were covered in oil. Afterward, Betty discovered, “They got rid of every towel in my house trying to help clean them up. Finally they took down my
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Warren Schott, 94, and Betty Schott, 95, at a luncheon for Pearl Harbor survivors on Dec. 7, 2012, at Harvard Park in Spokane. The pair survived the attack on Pearl Harbor early in their marriage. He died in 2014 and she died in 2015.
kitchen curtains and used them.” Over the years, they talked about everything, but on one topic Warren remained silent. “He never talked about the people he pulled out of the oily water that morning,” Betty said. “Never.” It was often painful for them to share their memories. “Slamming a door for days after the attack would make you jump,”
Betty said, recalling the terrible noise and confusion they experienced. But the Schotts felt it was their duty to tell their story and to honor those who died that day. Though they didn’t think their 76-year marriage was anything remarkable, they were tickled that their story was included in “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.”
When I visited with Betty in December while working on a story about the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I returned some photos she’d let me use for the book. She reached up and patted my cheek with her soft, timeworn hand. “I’m so proud of you, honey,” she said. And it felt like I’d received a blessing from my grandmother.
Warren Schott’s Pearl Harbor identification card.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
IN IDAHO MOUNTAINS, RESEARCHERS DIG INTO A PAINFUL PAST Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press
Originally published July 27, 2013. Deep in the mountains outside Lewiston, Idaho, miles from the nearest town, exists evidence of a little-known portion of a shameful chapter of American history. There are no buildings, signs or markers to indicate what happened at the site 73 years ago, but researchers sifting through the dirt have found broken porcelain, old medicine bottles and lost artwork identifying the location of the first internment camp where the U.S. government used people of Japanese ancestry as a workforce during World War II. A team of researchers from the University of Idaho wants to make sure the Kooskia Internment Camp isn’t forgotten. “We want people to know what happened, and make sure we don’t repeat the past,” said anthropology professor Stacey Camp, who is leading the research. It’s an important mission, said Charlene Mano-Shen of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle. Mano-Shen said her grandfather was forced into a camp near Missoula during the war, and some of the nation’s responses to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 evoked memories of the Japanese internments. Muslims, she said, “have been put on FBI lists and detained in the same way my grandfather was.” After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the nation into the second world war, about 120,000 people of Japanese heritage who lived on the West Coast were sent to internment camps. Nearly two-thirds were American citizens, and many were children. In many cases, people lost everything they had worked for in the U.S. and were sent to prison camps in remote locations with harsh climates. Research such as the archaeological work underway at Kooskia is vital to remembering what happened, said Janis Wong, director of communications for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. People need to be able “to physically see and visit the actual camp locations,” Wong said. Giant sites where thousands of
Broken bits of pottery used in the World War II Japanese internment camp at Kooskia, Idaho, found in an archaeological dig in July 2010.
Detained in Idaho The Kooskia Internment Camp operated from 1943 until the end of World War II. It held more than 250 detainees, people of Japanese ancestry, and was about 150 miles southeast of Spokane. Priscilla Wegars of Moscow wrote “Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp” (Asian American Comparative Collection, University of Idaho, 2010). A brief trailer for the documentary film “Toraichi Kono: Living in Silence,” about Kooskia internee Toraichi Kono, a former employee of movie comedian Charlie Chaplin, is at http://bit.ly/2fJE9c5.
people were held – such as Manzanar in California, Heart Mountain in Wyoming and Minidoka in Idaho – are well-known. But Camp said even many local residents knew little about the tiny Kooskia camp, which operated from 1943 to the end of the war and held more than 250 detainees about 30 miles east of its namesake small town, and about 150 miles southeast of Spokane.
The camp was the first place where the government used detainees as a labor crew, putting them into service doing road work on U.S. Highway 12 through the area’s rugged mountains. “They built that highway,” Camp said of the road that links Lewiston and Missoula. Men from other camps volunteered to come to Kooskia be-
cause they wanted to stay busy and make a little money by working on the highway, Camp said. As a result, the population was all male, mostly recent immigrants from Japan who were not U.S. citizens, she said. Workers could earn about $50 to $60 a month for their labor, said Priscilla Wegars, of Moscow, who has written books about the Kooskia camp. Kooskia was one of several camps operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that also received people of Japanese ancestry rounded up from Latin American countries, mostly Peru, Camp said. But it was so small and so remote that it never achieved the notoriety of the massive camps that held about 10,000 people each. After the war the camp was dismantled and largely forgotten. Using money from a series of grants, Camp in 2010 started the first archaeological work at the
site. Some artifacts, such as broken china and buttons, were scattered on top of the ground, she said. “To find stuff on the surface that has not been looted is rare,” she said. Camp figures her work at the site could last another decade. Her team wants to create an accurate picture of the life of a detainee. She also wants to put up signs to show people where the internment camp was located. Artifacts found so far include Japanese porcelain trinkets, dental tools and gambling pieces, she said. They have also found works of art created by internees. “While it was a horrible experience, the people who lived in these camps resisted in interesting ways,” she said. “People in the camps figured out creative ways to get through this period of time. “They tried to make this place home.”
RED RISING SUN BURNS IN MEMORY OF HARLOCKER, WHO WAS 10 YEARS OLD WHEN JAPAN BOMBED OAHU “It was kind of bewildering. Life changed. Childhood changed. We sort of flowed into a new life.”
By Cindy Hval Correspondent
Originally published Dec. 7, 2015. Like most Americans, Nancy Harlocker’s world changed on Dec. 7, 1941. A 10-year-old living an idyllic island childhood on Oahu, Harlocker woke to the sound of her father yelling, “We’re at war!” She and her 14-year-old brother looked up to see a Japanese Zero flying overhead. “The thing I remember most from that morning is seeing the red rising sun on that plane,” Harlocker, 84, recalled recently. “It was so scary.” The Dalton Gardens resident was born in Hawaii, where her father had a thriving dental practice. On that morning in 1941, she and her brother went up onto the roof to watch the planes. “We couldn’t see Pearl Harbor from home, but we saw the explosion when they dropped a bomb on the gas station 2 miles from our house,” she said. When her father noticed where they were, he hollered at them to get inside. “The next thing we knew he was out in the front yard shooting at the planes,” Harlocker said. Her father was an avid sportsman and had cases of ammunition in the basement. In the chaotic hours after the attack, she and her family packed their bags in case they needed to go to the mountains to hide, she said. Expecting the initial attack would be followed by a full-scale invasion, the family filled their bathtub with fresh water because they were told the water supply would be poisoned. After hastily issuing instructions, her father hustled out – his medical skills were needed. “We didn’t see him for three days,” Harlocker said. “The Army took over
Nancy Harlocker Pearl Harbor witness
KATHY PLONKA firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Harlocker, of Dalton Gardens, describes the day she watched the bombing of Pearl Harbor from her rooftop. Her father, a dentist, left the family for a few weeks because all medical personnel were needed to tend to the injured. She later became a newswoman with the Honolulu Advertiser. She was photographed at her home Nov. 24, 2015.
our school campus and set up a hospital to treat the wounded.” A woman and her three children took shelter with them for five days. The woman’s husband was stationed at Hickam Field and she didn’t know if he’d survived the attack. “It was kind of bewildering,” Harlocker said. “Life changed. Childhood changed. We sort of flowed into a new life.” Blackouts became part of that new life. “We had to eat before sundown,” she recalled. They congregated in her parents’ room, which was fitted with blackout curtains. Gone were the carefree days on the beach. “The island was surrounded by barbed wire, and we had curfew for quite a while.”
Since their school had been taken over by the military, the University of Hawaii made room for the children to continue their studies on the college campus. While no sirens sounded on the day of the attack, air raid drills became part of their classroom activities. When the siren sounded, the children hustled out of the school and jumped into trenches that had been dug around the perimeter. “Everybody carried gas masks – they strapped on like a purse,” Harlocker said. “During the drills, we’d have to put our gas masks on.” She grimaced. “I can still remember the smell of the rubber.” The war shrank her class size as well. After the attack, she said, many families relocated to the mainland. Her father chose to keep his family
with him, though he was busier than ever. He joined the newly formed Businessmen’s Military Training Corps, which guarded the island’s infrastructure. A photo shows the group training in Harlocker’s front yard. Harlocker’s mother kept busy, too. She volunteered with the Red Cross and every week served cookies and coffee to the men returning for R & R at Hickam Field. She took her daughter with her and they’d fold bandages together. Harlocker also went door to door selling war bonds, and in seventh grade she worked at a pineapple plantation. She shrugged. “All the men had gone to war.” While the attack on Pearl Harbor changed her childhood dramatically, she’s thankful her father kept the family together. “He needed us,” she said. She stayed on the island until moving to North Idaho in 1993. For 17 years she wrote for the Honolulu Advertiser’s society page. “I had a great time,” Harlocker said. She grew serious, recalling the attack and the years that followed – years in which children grew up quickly and shouldered responsibilities on capable, if young, shoulders. “We learned to be generous and caring. I’m grateful my mom let me be so involved,” she said. “Living without gives you an appreciation for what you have.”
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
Actor Ben Affleck, second left, runs as a bomb explodes in a scene from the World War II spectacle “Pearl Harbor.”
PEARL HARBOR ON BIG SCREEN By Scott Maben email@example.com, (509) 459-5528
Seven films about the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath: “December 7th” is a 1943 propaganda film about the day of infamy, directed by John Ford and Gregg Toland and produced by the U.S. Navy. Scenes include the recovery of damaged ships and shoring up Oahu’s defenses. “From Here to Eternity,” 1953, a drama set on Oahu in the months before the attack and depicting the troubles of three Army soldiers played by Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster. The cast also includes Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Warden. “In Harm’s Way,” a 1965 epic by Otto Preminger, explores the lives of naval officers and their significant others through the Pearl Harbor attack and the following year of war. It stars John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Patricia Neal and Burgess Meredith. “Tora! Tora! Tora!” from 1970 sought to depict the Pearl Harbor attack from both the U.S. and Japanese points of view. It stars Joseph Cotten, So Yamamura, E.G. Marshall and Jason Robards. “1941” is a 1979 comedy directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi and John Candy. It portrays panic in and around Los Angeles after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. “The Final Countdown,” 1980, is a science fiction flick in which the modern-day aircraft carrier USS Nimitz transports through time to the day before the Pearl Harbor attack. Stars Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen and Charles Durning. “Pearl Harbor,” 2001, is director Michael Bay’s action-romance epic, with graphic special effects of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle Raid on Japan in 1942. It stars Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
World War II, for us, began at Pearl Harbor, and 1,177 men still lie entombed in the battleship Arizona. America suffered, but America grew stronger. It was not inevitable. The times tried our souls, and through the trial, we overcame. Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson, played by Kate Beckinsale In the 2001 film “Pearl Harbor”
Frank Sinatra, right, stands with fellow actors Montgomery Cliff, left, and Burt Lancaster in this scene from the film “From Here to Eternity.” Sinatra’s performance won him an Oscar as best supporting actor in 1953.
PHOTOS BY J.B. FORBES firstname.lastname@example.org
Pearl Harbor survivor B.C. Wilborn, 95, visits the horse barn of his son, Kevin Wilborn, on Nov. 6 in Collinsville, Illinois. The elder Wilborn likes to be around the horses.
SAILOR RETURNING FOR FIRST TIME TO ATTEND 75TH ANNIVERSARY By Tim O’Neil St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sailor B.C. Wilborn manned an anti-aircraft gun during the attack on Pearl Harbor and served at sea through World War II. Back home, he had a long career as a postal worker and, at age 95, still owns a racehorse. Wilborn, of Collinsville, Illinois, never went back to Hawaii after the war. He did not join the St. Louis-area Pearl Harbor veterans organization that dropped memorial wreaths into the Mississippi River for many years every Dec. 7. “I had enough of the ocean, I guess,” Wilborn said. “In the early years, I didn’t have the money to see it again. Then I got busy and got away from it.” He finally plans to return this week for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Japanese sneak attack on Dec. 7, 1941, that shocked America into entering the war. Credit for his change of heart goes to the persistence of his children. “They want me to do this,” he said. A grin shows he’s glad to accommodate. Organizers in Hawaii have planned 11 days of events that are billed as the last big chance to assemble the dwindling band of veterans who were stationed that day at Pearl Harbor. Wilborn was 20 when the attack took place. Organizers say about 50 survivors, including Wilborn, have arranged to attend. Approximately 60,000 sailors, soldiers, Marines and aviators were stationed on the island of Oahu when the Japanese attacked. Pearl Harbor was the home base of the Pacific Fleet. Nearby was Hickam Field, an Army Air Corps base. Seven battleships were moored along Ford Island in the harbor. Among them was the Maryland, on which Wilborn was a boatswain’s mate. The historian for the national park at Pearl Harbor, which includes the memorial over the sunken battleship Arizona, says there is no accurate count of how many veterans of the attack are still living. But of the 335 sailors and marines who survived the destruction of the Arizona, only five are known to be alive. A Japanese bomb exploded the battleship’s forward ammunition magazines, killing 1,177. That morning, the Maryland was moored on the dock side of Battleship Row, next to the Oklahoma. The Arizona was two berths behind the Maryland’s stern. Wilborn said he went to his battle station deep in the powder room for a main gun turret. After commanders confirmed the attack was by air, Wilborn was sent topside to help with a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun. By then, he said, the Oklahoma already had been hit by torpedoes and overturned. “I was in line passing ammunition to the gunners, and a chaplain was helping,” Wilborn said. “He actually led us in the song, ‘Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition …’ I remember that well. But so much of what was going on didn’t soak in.”
Kevin Wilborn, left, talks with his father, B.C. Wilborn, 95, on Nov. 6, at Fairmount Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois. Kevin still has horses stalled at the track even though the racing season is over.
B.C. Wilborn, 95, displays the Purple Heart medal he earned when he was injured during WWII. Wilborn said he also got two Gold Stars to go with his Purple Heart.
All told, the attack killed 2,335 on Oahu, including 68 civilians, and sank or damaged 19 American ships and destroyed 164 American aircraft. As with many who experience combat, Wilborn remembers slivers of the confusing battle. He said his most powerful memories of the war are from his subsequent service on the light cruiser Columbia. It saw frequent action in the South Pacific, including Guadalcanal, and was struck three times by Japanese kamikaze planes off the Philippines in January 1945. In one attack, while Wilborn was on station above the bridge on a gunnery range-finding platform, his uniform was splashed with burning gasoline from the crash. “I was going to jump into the ocean when a fire-control crew hit me with a hose,” he said. “I can still hear the voices of guys who died. A simple word can bring it back.” The kamikaze attack killed 13 crew members and wounded 44. Wilborn earned a Purple Heart, one of two he received for service on the Columbia. Wilma Pidgeon, Wilborn’s housemate and caretaker, said those memories still occasionally disturbed his sleep. “You know that talk about PTSD? It never goes away,” she said.
B.C. Wilborn, 95, gets back into his pickup truck on Nov. 6 in Collinsville, Illinois, after visiting his son Kevin’s farm. Wilborn said he has been stopped by the police a couple of times lately for not wearing his seat belt. He said he can’t get used to wearing it.
grew up in Grayville, in southeastern Illinois near the Wabash River. He enlisted in the Navy in 1939 in hopes of seeing China and was assigned to the Maryland. A few months after Pearl Harbor, he was transferred to the Columbia and served on it until war’s end. He never saw China. After returning home, he became Grayville’s postmaster. The Postal Service, then known as the Post Office, later transferred him to Kansas City and St. Louis, where he was a letter carrier for 14 years before retiring in 1972. He attended reunions of the cruiser Columbia but not of the battleship Maryland or the Pearl Harbor attack. He was married twice and had four children. He has eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Wilborn saw his first horse race as a sailor in Seattle. Shortly before retiring, he bought two horses and ran them at Fairmount Park in Collinsville and other tracks. He still owns Mamonium Moon, a horse at Fairmount. His son, Kevin Wilborn, Wanted to see China Beverly Clyde “B.C.” Wilborn trains and keeps the horse on a was born in Tennessee and farm near Collinsville.
B.C. Wilborn drives his red Ford F-150 pickup to the track and farm, or to get coffee with his buddies at a McDonald’s in Collinsville. Pidgeon, 80, said Wilborn’s continued interest in horses “is his inspiration. I believe people with a passion for something live longer.”
How does it look now? Wilborn made plans to travel to Hawaii with Pidgeon and his two daughters, Edith Stanton of Champaign, Ill., and Sandy Richmond of Arizona, and visit there for nearly a week. Commemorative events began Thursday and include band concerts, ship reunions and solemn tributes. The organizing committee is paying the travel and lodging for each veteran and a companion. Seventy-five veterans of World War II also are attending, a spokesman said. Wilborn said he wanted to visit Ford Island, but didn’t expect anything there to resemble the Battleship Row of 1941. Frankly, he said, he has no idea what to expect or how he will react. He knows this much: “I have had a good life. I am lucky and blessed.”
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
RECENTLY IDENTIFIED REMAINS, ONCE ‘UNKNOWNS’ OF USS OKLAHOMA CASUALTIES, RETURN HOME Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. — Nearly 75 years after sailor Edwin Hopkins died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, his remains were returned home to New Hampshire. Navy Fireman 3rd Class Hopkins was one of 429 men who died when the ship they were on, the USS Oklahoma, sank after being hit by torpedoes Dec. 7, 1941. Thirty-two men were rescued, but 14 Marines and 415 sailors were killed. Many of them, including Hopkins, were buried as “unknowns” in a Hawaii cemetery. The 19-year-old from Swanzey, New Hampshire, was tentatively identified through dental records a few years later. But it took until 2015 before a DNA match with a distant cousin provided a positive ID. Another Oklahoma crewmember, Navy Seaman 2nd Class James N. Phipps, of Rainier, Oregon, was identified and buried with full military honors recently in Portland, Oregon. The Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island,
was hit by seven to nine torpedoes. The battleship rolled over in the harbor, trapping hundreds of men inside. No single vessel at Pearl Harbor, with the exception of the USS Arizona, suffered as many fatalities. Hopkins’ remains arrived on a commercial plane Oct. 20 and were buried two days later at Woodland Cemetery in Keene next to his parents, Frank Hopkins Sr. and Alice Hopkins. Faye Boore, a niece of Hopkins from Delaware, said the family was glad he finally made it home after trying for years to get the government to exhume and identify the body. “My own goal through the whole thing was to bury him next to his parents,”
Boore said. “I just felt he wasn’t resting in peace in an unmarked grave with several other people. I thought that he needed to be recognized. This is where he was from and who he was.” Hopkin’s casket passed through the center of Keene on the way to the cemetery and under an arch created by the city’s fire trucks. From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased Oklahoma crew, which were subsequently buried in the Halawa and Nuuanu cemeteries and later moved to the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu. For Hopkins’ remains, the journey home started in 2008 when relatives were contacted by Ray Emory, a former sailor who had seen her uncle’s name on a World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. Emory, who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, had started researching those who were lost on the Oklahoma and found that 22 of them, including Hopkins, had been buried as unknowns. The effort intensified last year when
the Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began digging up their remains because advances in forensic science and technology had made identification more feasible. The agency was able to identify Hopkins after getting a DNA sample from a distance cousin. Of the 388 remains of Oklahoma crewmembers disinterred in 2015, about 30 have been identified, according to the agency. For Boore and her relatives, the return of Hopkins is a chance to celebrate a life that ended far too early. Like so many teenagers of his generation, Hopkins quit high school in Keene to join the armed services. He had hoped to learn a trade and serve with his brother, Frank Jr., who ended up on the USS Hornet and USS Princeton — both of which were sunk by the Japanese. Boore also said his repatriation honors a final wish of his parents, who “always thought he would come home.” “This makes me so happy for my grandparents,” she said. “It’s almost like the circle is complete now.”
ONE OF LAST SURVIVORS FROM USS ARIZONA LIVED TO AGE 94
Associated Press photos
A turret from the USS Arizona as seen from the ship’s memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. The USS Arizona Memorial is just offshore above the sunken vessel, where more than 1,000 of the victims remain entombed. Gun turrets and other wreckage from the destroyed ship are visible through the water 75 years after the Japanese bombing that sunk the ship, and oil still leaks from below.
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. Washington Post
Raymond Haerry, one of the last living crew members on the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died 10 weeks before the 75th anniversary observance this Wednesday. He was 94. After the first explosions rocked the Arizona, Haerry sprinted to one of the ship’s anti-aircraft guns, hoping to somehow repel the aerial bombardment. But the weapon wouldn’t fire. The gun’s ammunition was in storage. Haerry raced toward the ammunition depot. An explosion reached it first, igniting gunpowder and fuel, according to a U.S. Navy interview featuring Haerry and his son. The explosion cracked the ship in two and lifted the bow into the air. Haerry went with it, falling into oily Pearl Harbor waters that had been lit on fire. He somehow made it to shore, sweeping his arms in front of him as he swam to push the flames away. Haerry’s son called him one of the first heroes of World War II. After swimming to shore, he found a gun and opened fire on the attacking Japanese warplanes. He spent the next few days recovering the bodies of his shipmates. Nearly four of every five men
Raymond Haerry is photographed last April at West View Nursing & Rehabilitation in West Warwick, R.I. He was one of the last living crew members on the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He died in Rhode Island on Sept. 27 at the age of 94.
on the USS Arizona were lost – some 1,177. Almost half of the 2,400 U.S. servicemen who died that day were on the Arizona. Another 429 sailors and Marines were killed when the USS Oklahoma was torpedoed and capsized. Some were never recovered
and remain entombed in the wreckage. Afterward, Haerry served for 25 years in the Navy, retiring as a master chief petty officer. He lived with his wife of 70 years, Evelyn, at a nursing home in West Warwick, R.I. Haerry died Sept. 27 in Rhode
Island. Haerry’s passing means there are only five surviving members of the Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic. The dwindling numbers were noted in a 2014 story by the Post’s Peter Holley. With Pearl Harbor survivors
well into their 90s and some passing the century mark, their numbers are shrinking all over the country. How many of the 60,000 or so survivors are left? Nobody seems to know, exactly. Last year, 2,000 to 2,500 survivors were thought to be still alive, according to Eileen Martinez, chief of interpretation for the USS Arizona Memorial. “They are in their twilight years, so now is the time to honor them and thank them for their service,” she told the Reuters news agency last year. Two years ago, four of the nine remaining members of the USS Arizona Reunion Association gathered with dozens of other World War II veterans at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack, according to Reuters. Since 1981, the Arizona veterans have met every year in Tuscon and every five years in Hawaii, according to the association’s website. In all those years, Haerry never returned to Pearl Harbor, his son said. But his plan was always to go back. “As he was getting closer to the end, I think he felt that if there’s any place that he’d like to be at rest, it would be with his crewmates, the people who suffered and died on that day,” Raymond Haerry Jr. told the Associated Press.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
PHOTOS BY CINDY HVAL Special to The Spokesman-Review
More than 1,100 names of the men who died on the USS Arizona appear on the memorial wall at Pearl Harbor.
KEEPING MY PROMISE
A PERSONAL PEARL HARBOR REFLECTION choked him up was recalling the bombing of the USS Arizona. “My friend George Maybee was on the Arizona,” Ray said. “We’d gone through radio tretching out, I pressed my cheek into the school together. Sat beside each other every day hot sand, its gritty heat almost too much to and were bunkmates at night.” bear. Closing my eyes, I imagined the shriek He watched as the Arizona burst into a huge of airplane engines and the spitting sound of fireball. He knew his friend was gone. machine gun fire hitting the beach, while the air Over the years, Ray and I grew close. He around me burned. reminded me so much of my dad. They were both I covered my head with my arms, and could from Arkansas and had joined the military almost hear the whistling sound of bullets seeking a way out of the poverty of the rural whizzing past my ear. south. Both had tender hearts and shared a A shadow loomed. “Are you okay?” my husband wickedly funny sense of humor. asked. The last time I spoke to Ray before his June Slowly, I sat up and scooted back onto my 2011 death, I told him I longed to visit Pearl brightly colored beach towel. Harbor. “Just thinking about Nick,” I said, while I “George is there,” he said, his eyes filling. slipped on my sunglasses. “I’ll look for his name,” I said. “I’ll say a The beauty of being married 30 years is I didn’t prayer.” have to explain what I meant. Ray took my hand. “You do that, sweetheart.” Derek and I visited Oahu in March to celebrate entrance of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, I Five years later, I boarded the boat that took us wanted nothing more than to talk to Betty, to tell our anniversary, but the trip was part pilgrimage to the USS Arizona. As we stepped from the boat her I was here. But Betty passed away in July for me. After nine years of interviewing Pearl onto the memorial, the throng of tourists quieted. 2015. Harbor survivors, I was at last visiting the place At the center, we watched a short film featuring The only sound was the snapping of the flag in the I’d written about so often. Here on Waikiki, I was just 12 miles away from actual footage of the attack. A scene of sailors and wind and the clicking of cameras. We were somber with the knowledge that we soldiers pulling the wounded and dead from the Hickham Field, where Nick Gaynos almost lost were standing on the final resting place of 1,102 of harbor made me gasp. That’s what Warren had his life on Dec. 7, 1941. the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on the Arizona. done in the aftermath – it was the one thing he During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Nick had A rainbow of undulating color in the water didn’t want to discuss with me over the course of been running toward his duty station when a many interviews. It was the only thing he refused below caught my eye. Some 500,000 gallons of oil Japanese pilot targeted him. He’d told me of are still slowly seeping out of the ship’s to speak of with his wife of 76 years. Now, looking up as he ran and seeing the grin on the submerged wreckage, and it continues to spill up watching the footage through tear-filled eyes, I pilot’s face as he fired at him. finally understood why he was loath to speak of it. to 9 quarts into the harbor each day. Nick hit the beach and covered his head with Slowly, I entered the shrine. A marble wall That horror was also all too real for my friend his arms as the bullets flew. When he got up he bearing the names of those entombed beneath us Ray Daves. During the attack, he hustled to a discovered a large piece of shrapnel next to him. stretched out behind a velvet rope. “I grabbed it,” he said. “It was still hot from the rooftop and handed ammo to two sailors who So. Many. Names. were manning a .30-caliber machine gun. He had explosion.” Overwhelmed, I looked at Derek. “I’ll never When my book “War Bonds: Love Stories From his own brush with death when a Japanese plane find him,” I whispered. exploded 20 feet from that rooftop before the Greatest Generation” was released, Nick The day had been overcast, but suddenly a shaft crashing into the sea below. His left hand was attended a reading at the Coeur d’Alene Public of sunlight illuminated the marble. lacerated by shrapnel. Library in March 2015. He brought that piece of “There,” Derek said. “There he is – G.F. Like Warren Schott, Ray spent time pulling shrapnel with him. It was jagged and more than 2 Maybee.” wounded men from the harbor, his blood feet long. He died a few weeks later. Bowing my head, I wept for the sailor I’d never Now, on the island that had been so devastated mingling with the red splashes in the water met and for my friend who knew and loved him. by the horrific attack, I carried his memories with around him. In his biography, “Radioman,” he I hope that somehow Ray knows I kept my described the bodies and body parts floating in me as well as those of Warren and Betty Schott. promise. the harbor. “We had to push them aside to get to The Schotts had quarters on Ford Island and George Maybee hasn’t been forgotten. Neither the wounded,” he said. were eyewitnesses to the attack. Despite those gruesome memories, what really has Ray Daves. When Derek and I walked through the By Cindy Hval Correspondent
Nick Gaynos holding the piece of shrapnel that landed near him while under fire during the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. Gaynos died 20 days after this March 11, 2015, photograph.
Between 2 and 9 quarts of oil bubble up each day from the submerged wreckage of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The ship held about 1.5 million gallons of “Bunker-C” oil and burned for 2 1⁄2 days after being hit by an air bomb on Dec. 7, 1941. An estimated 500,000 gallons of fuel remain within the hull of the Arizona.
Cindy Hval visited Pearl Harbor last March. Hval is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at SpokaneTalks Online.com. Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ staff/cindy-hval.
The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
George Frederick Maybee was a radioman, second class, aboard the USS Arizona when the battleship was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Habor. Maybee, whose name is etched in a marble wall at the Arizona memorial, had been a friend of Ray Daves, a Pearl Harbor survivor from Deer Park who died in 2011.
DECEMBER 4, 2016
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