On December 7, 1941 my father was in the Army Signal Corp, Stationed in Hawaii. What follows is what he rembered of that day, years after the war.
RECOLLECTIONS OF A PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR 30 YEARS LATER.
On December 7, 1945 1 was quartered in a two-story wooden barracks, one of a half dozen, situated between G Street and the Parade Ground, on Hickam Army Airbase, Honolulu, T.H. It is separated from Pearl Harobr Naval Base by a chain linkfence. That Sunday morning I got up about o'clock and went to breakfast at the consolidated mess in the Main Barracks, just south of the Parade ground. I had the usual Army Sunday morning meal of eggs and bacon and the last pint of milk I was to have for four years. After eating I strolled back to the barracks, and had just finished making up my bed when it happened. The sound was loud- -loud enough to wake up several men--a big BOOM. From the windows and the doorway at the west end of the building we could see a huge column of smoke rising over Pearl Harbor. We stared and wondered aloud about what was going on. Someone joked about practice bombing on the old battleship "Oklahoma". (we had known for sometime the Navy was intending to tow the "Oklahoma" out to sea and practice bombing it) At that moment an aircraft flew down the street at an altitude of about feet. We all clearly saw the "meatball" on the underside of the wing. That split the group of spectators each running to wake the sleepers. Then there was a mad scramble to get out of the barracks as other planes and explosions could be heard. The Main Barracks had taken a direct hit and was burning. We assembled at the Orderly Room in a very loose formation. Confusion was rampant, but only one man was panicky (he was transferred back to the mainland later). Everyone was told to wear class A uniform. Some of us were in fatigues and had to go back to the barracks to change. About this time the second wave of Jap planes attacked. The Recreation building on the other side of G Street was hit and the blast rocked our barracks. There were very few weapons on the field. Ground Defense had one Light .30 MG, but did not have an AA mount. Our company was armed with Colt .45 pistols and the Supply Room had a couple of cases of Springfield 30-06 rifles. Firemen got the fire out in the big barracks. Many wooden buildings were holed by MG fire and bomb frags, but none burned. Wires were down in many places and crews are ordered out to splice and replace them. We are told to prepare to abandon the airfield. We will move into the hills, where we already have remote transmitter sites, in caves. I am sent to the Motor Pool to get a truck and drums of gasoline. About this time the third wave of high-level bombers attack. Soon it is noon but there is no lunch because there is no mess hall or kitchen. We packed field packs and were issued rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition. Instructions were given on guerilla warfare. At 1600 hours went on duty, as teletype operator, in the Message Center. Place is like a mad-house, half a dozen radio operators are copying japanese radio transmissions without understanding a word of it. As fast as one filled a page, a messenger would carry it to the G-2 office where they were trying to decipher the messages. Off duty at midnight to find the barracks have been abandon and the company is now quartered in a concrete QM warehouse. Not much safer than the barracks as it has a tin roof. Had to sleep on a cement floor, very uncomfortable, but am too tired to care. Got only 4 hours sleep then Company is ordered to pull out. We go into the hills north of Hickam, by truck, singley, by various routes. Spent the morning putting up camouflage nets and servicing generators. Had first hot meal since Sunday breakfast. Sleep in the open that night. Tuesday orders came to return to Hickam. Wednesday life is back to normal except for black-out and wearing sidearms and carrying gas masks.
Updated on 02/01/99
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