WHY WAS THE PEARL HARBOR THREAD REMOVED
A bit more on my Dad's ship the USS Helena. When it was sunk in Kula Gulf by Japanese torpedo's of course all sailors had to abandon ship. Hundreds of sailors went over the side of the burning ship into the sea. Some had life jackets on but very few had a life raft available. Sharks in the area claimed some. They waited for rescue from other US ships for hours but the Japanese ships were still in the area and that kept the rescue ships away. Finally one ship the destroyer USS Radford moved in to pull out as many as possible. While doing the rescue the Radford was told the Japanese were coming back and to abandon the rescue attempt. Even though several hundred sailors were rescued by the Radford (my Dad being one of them), many were still in the water when the Radford had to flee that area. This was the part where my dad ALWAYS choked up and would not say any more other then he watched his shipmates being pulled into the Radford's propellers. Many, many died that horrible death. My dad never was a man who was prejudiced toward anyone except the Japanese. He truly hated them and I guess I understand why. He had a scrapbook which held his wallets contents that had some money and other papers which he had on him that day. All were soaked in oil and some were partially burned. They still smelled of that oil all those years later.
My father was not at Pearl. He joined the Navy in early 1942 at the age of 22. He became a Pharmacist mate 1 class. Spent his time in harms way in the Pacific. Some of the few stories he would talk about were mostly sad. After Okinawan. He claimed he would rather be shot. Than stabbed. As in the operating room. Many that were shot he and the Doctors could do something for. Those that had been stabbed, bayoneted, or run threw with swords. He felt really bad for. As most the nurses and the rest of the medical staff would hold their hands and try to comfort them. While they screamed to go home or for their Mothers. Only to pass away. He said if you were to get some binoculars and look at Okinawan from the ship. You could see guys skinny dipping at one end of the island. While on the other end the fighting was hand to hand and very fierce. He mostly ended up very sad while telling his few stories he would share. And almost always ended them by saying as was posted earlier. Damn Japs!
This is a powerful story I wish to share with everyone, about ten years ago I was in Arizona on the Vaudy Canyon train ride enjoys the sights, as we were making the return trip, I was walking through one of the open cars. I spotted an old gentleman seated with his head down, I noticed his hat it said World War II USS West Virginia, that stopped me in my tracks. As he looked up, I said excuse me sir, wasn't the West Virginia sunk at Pearl Harbor, he said dam right sonny and I was on it !! Needless to say I was speechless, his next words were "them dam Japs shoot my ship right out from under neath me". Here I am talking to a true American hero from Dec. 7, 1941, he opened up to me for some reason. Said the only reason he alive today was he was on watch and the first blast blew him overboard. I was getting a first hand account of American history. After the Navy decided the West Virginia was salvageable the surviving crew were giving 3 choices (A) go home the war was over for them (B) be transferred to another ship (C) stay with the West Virginia at Pearl and help with repairs. Everyone stayed with the ship and about two years later it was back at sea. He said it was completely refitted with 16" guns making it an Iowa class battleship. Only problem is they didn't darn fire all nine guns broadside at once or they would capsize the ship. He said they went out for the next two years and shot the sh-t out of the f---ing Japs. I got the felling he didn't like them much. Never got his name, but I think about him every December 7th. Here's a great trivia question, name the only Navy battleship that was at both the beginning and end of World War II .............. USS West Virginia
Thanks for sharing nihsif and French Brit. Amazing stories of courage. There have been a lot of good WW2 movies on. Watched Midway, which is corny but great and 30 seconds over Tokyo. When I was in the classroom WW2 was my favorite topic to teach. I would have to force myself to move on to the next topic. Hearing and reading the stories makes me realize how fortunate we are today because of others sacrifices.
Thank you for posting that link. It actually talks about a sailor who made a sketch about the attack. He was serving on the USS Helena which was one of the ships at Pearl Harbor that was hit during the attack. My dad was on that ship and in Pearl Harbor the day of the attack. He was burned but survived. Later sunk on the Helena at Kula gulf and survived that also.