It was of no surprise when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Most of us had been expecting this, but did not have the actual date.
Like every Sunday morning, I would get up early to play tennis. At 7:00, I finished playing and decided to wash up and have breakfast. Donart and I arrived at the mess hall, Hickam Field, at about 7:31 and were refused entry because we were one minute late. Donart, known for his silence and courtesy, told the warrant officer in charge, I hope this place blows up.
Donart would never say things like that. But at about five minutes to eight that morning, the officer got the surprise of his life. I am still wondering if he thought [about] what Donart had said.
At that moment, I went of over to Lt. Shea's bachelor quarters and started to make myself breakfast. Throwing out the egg shell, I noted three odd aircraft flying about. Then I noticed the red ball, and I knew right that minute that it was the day. Only wearing tennis shorts and sneakers, I ran about the buildings screaming, "They are here!" and then all hell started to break loose.
I made it back to the barracks just in time, to get some better wear... and just as I exited the barracks, they were hit.
From that moment on, running about trying to escape from being hit, I and two others started picking bodies to take to the hospital which just opened the day before. I was later hit, and knocked out for a while ... I was bleeding from a hanging finger and also leg wounds. But did not turn myself in. I managed to put my index finger back together with masking tape and it healed after six weeks. The other wounds, I also took care of myself. Fearing that if I did turn myself in, I would be placed in a bed or whatever, and probably get hit again, because the Japanese did not honor the new hospital. Nevertheless, I did the best I could in trying to save those more unfortunate.
Later our group fought in the Midway Battle, and then to the South Pacific, till we were in the Guadalcanal Island.