(1939-1945) WWII
Rockford IL USA
Posts: 2
Joined: 2020
Through Veterans' Eyes - Pearl Harbor's Day of Infamy
12/5/2020 12:57:22 PM
As we mark the 79th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the US into World War II, I've put together a video presentation of Pearl Harbor survivors whose stories are featured in my book, Always Remember - World War II Through Veterans' Eyes.

Here's a link to the video - [Read More] The video features the harrowing stories of three Pearl Harbor survivors - sailors aboard the USS Honolulu, USS California, and one who made a rescue attempt aboard the doomed USS Arizona. Also featured is the story of Hattie Brantley, a nurse in the Philippines, which was attacked the day after Pearl Harbor. She escaped to Corregidor before being taken POW by the Japanese for the remainder of the war. If you watch the video, please like it, share it, and comment on it.

Here's a remembrance from William J. Agen of Wrightstown, Wisconsin from my book -

Agen, an enlisted 3rd class petty officer, had just completed 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. signal watch on the bridge of the USS Honolulu, when "the boatswain’s mate of the watch came on the intercom. He said, “General quarters, general quarters, general quarters! Men this is no shit, general quarters!” At the same time, we heard gunfire, and I mean gunfire; it sounded like our main 6-inch battery going off. This was unheard of in Pearl Harbor!"

As Agen raced down the main deck towards his general quarters station at the after-signal bridge, Lieutenant Taylor, the flag lieutenant of Rear Admiral Harold Leary, Commander of the Cruisers of the Battle Force, passed him and told Agen to get the admiral’s personal flag down.

The blue square flag, with its two white stars in the center, signified that the USS Honolulu was carrying a rear admiral. If the flag wasn’t taken down immediately from the mainmast yardarm, the cruiser would become an even bigger target for the attacking Japanese. Contemplating climbing the steel deck 50 feet above him, Agen wondered to himself, “Why me?” Still, being a good sailor, Agen did as he was commanded:

Changing my direction, I headed for the mainmast on the ship. I could see, as I was running towards the stern of the ship, two Japanese torpedo planes passing the stern...One of them had just released its torpedo which was dropping down in the water.

I finally reached the mainmast and the ladder going up to this small steel platform around the mast. This is where the halyard which was attached to the admiral’s flag flying on the yardarm of the mainmast was tied. I looked up the ladder and up at the small platform about 20 feet above, with no protection around it and then glanced in back of me.

More torpedo planes were coming in. By now I could see the machine gun tracer fire. It looked like it was headed right in my direction. The rest of the men around were diving under or getting behind some kind of obstruction. I looked up at the two-star blue flag again and said, “God! Damn!” This could be considered praying and cursing at the same time.

I closed my eyes and climbed up the ladder like a shot, and was standing on the little steel deck, and groping for the halyard to the flag before I realized my eyes were still closed. I opened them, and the first thing I saw or thought I saw, was bullets ricocheting off the deck below. Again, I glanced over my shoulder and saw more Jap planes passing astern with their machine guns blazing. I quickly unraveled the halyard and hauled down the flag.

The sensation I had in the next few moments I have never forgotten. I think I actually experienced standing before a firing squad and being shot. I thought I actually felt bullets going through my body. I kept looking around for the blood and waiting for the pain.

Although it felt like an eternity, Agen got the flag down in a matter of minutes, and hurried off to the signal bridge.

Dr. John Ulferts, Author of Always Remember - World War II Through Veterans' Eyes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6651
Joined: 2006
Through Veterans' Eyes - Pearl Harbor's Day of Infamy
12/7/2020 8:01:37 PM
Even though this may be a author's plug, for his book, still you should check out the "read more" for some fascinating 1st hand accounts of 12-7-1941 at Pearl, from the sailors who were there!

It is December 7th after all!?
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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