Stories

Sailors watch from Ford Island as the USS Shaw explodes.
 
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of
America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
Servicemembers

Everest Capra - "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."

Cecil W. Camp - "On the morning of December 7, 1941, I had relieved the watch in the port engine room [of the USS Utah]. I had been on watch about 20 minutes when the first torpedo hit the ship on the port side."

Gino Gasparelli - "On December 7, 1941, my duty station was at Wheeler Field on the Island of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands. Wheeler Field was the largest fighter air base on the island. The base had been on an alert status all week long until Saturday morning, December 6, 1941."

Sterling Cale - On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Sterling Cale had just finished up a long night of work. He was a pharmacist's mate in the Navy, a self-proclaimed "farm boy from Illinois." He worked at the dispensary, where Sailors got their medicine. Just after signing out, he noticed planes flying over Battleship Row.

Joe Morgan - Joe was on Ford Island when the bombs started falling December 7, 1941. He ran into a hangar and found a huge I-beam to shelter himself from the fury of the bullets, bombs and explosions.

Richard Fiske - Richard was a Marine bugler serving on the battleship USS West Virginia at the time of the attack. The West Virginia suffered a crippling hit in the first few minutes and sank quickly.

Warren Verhoff - "I remember being mad all through the day. But then, in the evening we started to get scared because we didn't know what would happen next. For months I dreamed about planes."

Richard Husted - "She was my first ship and it's difficult to talk about. The count on the Oklahoma was the second largest loss of life. The fact that I was not aboard disturbed me for many a year."

Bill Speer - Bill Speer had just stepped out of his morning shower on the light cruiser USS Honolulu when the attack began. "I saw a torpedo drop and our guns were firing before they'd even sounded general quarters. I ran to my battle station and went through the rest of that day without getting fully dressed."

Everett Hyland - Everett was standing on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania when she took a direct hit from a 500-lb. bomb. "We'd gotten through the first wave of the attack okay. Unfortunately, we weren't so lucky with the second."

Robert Kinzler - Robert was not at Pearl Harbor when the bombs began to fall. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks. His vantage point was a few miles from the inferno in the harbor, but the experience was nonetheless gripping.
 
Civilians

Pat Thompson - On Saturday night, December 6, 1941, 10-year-old Pat Thompson was in attendance at Bloch Arena. That night there was a jitterbug contest. The emcee took notice of Pat and asked the crowd if someone would like to be this young girl's partner. A 17-year-old sailor named Jack Evans volunteered.

Jimmy Lee - James "Jimmy" Lee was 11 years old on December 7, 1941. He and his family lived on a farm on the shores of Pearl Harbor, less than a mile from Battleship Row and Ford Island. When he woke up that morning, it was just like any other Sunday. He and his brothers went outside to feed the pigs, and then the attack began.
 

Oral History Interviews

Oral histories - Here you'll find PDF texts of oral history interviews with Pearl Harbor Survivors.

 

Publications and other documents

US Navy Salvage War Diaries - Most of the Pacific Fleet salvage that was conducted upon ships impacted by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred between March 1, 1942 and November 15, 1943. The Diaries use an abbreviated series of acronyms. Their deciphering is work in progress.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Grams - These 189 historic newsletters document the history and activities of one of America's most unique veteran's organizations, The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. It began in October 1964 and closed its membership in February 2012. As you read through these papers, you will gain new insights and perspectives into the men and women that experienced Pearl Harbor and the attack on Oahu on December 7th, 1941.

Pearl Harbor Messenger - The Pearl Harbor Messenger was published by the Naval Supply Depot of Pearl Harbor. These two copies were generously donated by servicemembers who served at Pearl Harbor during that special time in history.

At 'Em Arizona Newsletter - Here you'll find archived editions of the USS Arizona Newsletter, "At 'Em Arizona." The years range from 1921 through 1941.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Park Service
WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176

Honolulu, HI 96818

Phone:

(808) 422-3399

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