Showing posts with label Pearl Harbor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pearl Harbor. Show all posts

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Sailor committed suicide after shooting civilian employees at Pearl Harbor

update Navy Commander: Motive Unknown for Pearl Harbor Shooting

Authorities say 22-year-old Gabriel Romero killed Roldan Agustin, 49, and Vincent Kapoi Jr., 30, and wounded Roger Nakamine, 36, who survived the Dec. 4 shooting. Romero's job was to stand watch and provide security for the fast attack submarine USS Columbia.

Suspect identified in shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard

ABC News
Luis Martinez
Justin Doom
Mark Osborne
December 5, 2019

The shipyard commander, Capt. Greg Burton, said in a statement, "No words will convey the full measure of sorrow from today’s tragedy. This loss will be felt throughout our shipyard ‘Ohana, greater shipyard and NAVSEA family, submarine force, and the Navy as a whole."

A 22-year-old active-duty sailor opened fire on three civilian employees, killing two, before he fatally shot himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard near Honolulu on Wednesday, officials said.
The suspected shooter was identified as 22-year-old G. Romero. He opened fire on shipyard personnel with his M4 service rifle and then used his M9 service pistol to shoot himself, officials said.
read it here

Sunday, October 14, 2018

MOH Benjamin Wilson

No rifle, no problem — soldier single-handedly killed dozens of enemies, including 4 using his E-tool

Military Times
J.D Simkins
October 13, 2018
His mad scramble provided the time necessary for his unit to arrange an orderly withdrawal, during which time Wilson was wounded once again. Despite his mounting injuries, he continued to provide cover fire as his men moved down the hill. Wilson would go on to receive the Medal of Honor for his herculean feats that day, but his story doesn’t end there.
Benjamin Wilson was in Hawaii when the Japanese unleashed their infamous attack on Pearl Harbor during the morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941.
Benjamin Wilson received both the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross for actions that took place within a week of each other. (Army)
The Washington state native had enlisted in the Army as an infantryman only a year before the attack and found himself stationed at Oahu’s Schofield Barracks, watching as Japanese planes devastated the unsuspecting naval base.

Despite the timing of his enlistment, however, Wilson would miss combat entirely during World War II, attending Officer Candidate School in 1942 and getting subsequently assigned to stateside training roles despite multiple requests by the young officer to lead men into combat. At the war’s conclusion, Wilson would go back to Washington to work in a lumber mill, but the life didn’t agree with him, and the desire to serve called Wilson back to the Army.

Because the service was drawing down its officer ranks, Wilson signed back up as a private, but quickly rose through the ranks due to his previous experience.

It didn’t take long before he found himself as a first sergeant on the front lines of the Korean War, where he would become a legend among his men.
read more here

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Death of Chief Petty Officer Under Investigation

Navy identifies man killed in shooting at Ewa Beach home
Associated Press
April 18, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — The Navy has identified a man who was killed in a shooting Sunday at an Ewa Beach home.

The Navy said 41-year-old Chief Petty Officer John Ellsworth Hasselbrink, a submariner who served 22 years at Pearl Harbor, was killed in the shooting.

Hasselbrink was shot while trying to open the door of a 33-year-old Ewa Beach resident’s house in the middle of the night, according to police reports.

The resident was arrested but released Monday night without charges, pending further investigation.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force, citing police reports, said Hasselbrink had been attempting “to enter a residence other than his own by mistake.”

He died at the scene.
read more here

Monday, December 25, 2017

Pearl Harbor 97 Year Old WWII Veteran Being Evicted

Pearl Harbor veteran, 97, faces eviction from Brooklyn home

Magee Hickey
December 24, 2017

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — A 97-year-old veteran has already lived through many battles and now he's facing one more: eviction.

James Blakely, a Navy veteran who survived the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will be in Housing Court in less than two weeks. A group called Black Veterans for Social Justice intends to evict the World War Two vet from his studio apartment, where the walls are covered with certificates of recognition and appreciation.

“I am so angry,” Blakely told PIX11. “And we will fight this legally.”

Six years ago Blakely, who is also an ordained minister, was living in a trailer with no running water in a junkyard on Buffalo Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant columnist Denis Hamill wrote an article in the Daily News about his living conditions.

That’s when, according to Hamill, a representative from the Black Veterans for Social Justice offered the studio apartment on Bergen Street to this World War Two vet rent free for the rest of his life.

Now the group says Blakely owes years in unpaid rent.
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Laid to Rest 76 Years After That Day

Pearl Harbor veteran laid to rest on day he survived attack 76 years ago
WPFT 5 News
Alanna Quillen
Dec 7, 2017
Eddie was one of the over 2,000 survivors of Pearl Harbor that are still left in the country.

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Seventy-six years ago on Thursday, Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,400 Americans.

But thousands more survived, including one South Florida man who was actually laid to rest on the very day he almost died all those years ago.

WPTV was there at the South Florida National Cemetery as family and friends said goodbye to "Pearl Harbor Eddie" as he was known, a fitting service for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Edward Hammond died in September at 93-years-old. He was the last known Pearl Harbor survivor in the South Florida area.

He was just 17 when he served in the U.S. Navy as a chief machinist mate, stationed at the United States Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
read more here

Thursday, December 8, 2016

WWII Veteran Played National Anthem on Pearl Harbor Anniversary

WW2 veteran wows crowd as he delivers national anthem on harmonica
97-Year-Old Veteran Plays Amazing Version Of The National Anthem [VIDEO]
CBS News
December 8, 2016
Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, which marked the beginning of World War II. A heavy military presence was on hand for both days of the event, which was held at Bloch Arena on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“It’s great because being here is a pleasure,” Delgado said. “Not everybody can be here, playing in front of people that will die for you. That’s really something. It’s really special to have this opportunity.”

Peter Dupre, a 97-year old World War II veteran who served a medic treating the wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, performed the national anthem on harmonica.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Veteran Says Soldiers Across Generations Can Unite

75 years after Pearl Harbor, a veteran says soldiers across generations can unite
Miami Herald
Jessica Campisi
December 6, 2016
“We slap our yellow ribbon magnets on our cars and say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ but society doesn’t actually understand what it means, and as a result doesn’t fully appreciate.” Craig Bryan
WASHINGTON For Lou Conter, the psychology of war is simple: It’s kill or be killed.
Lou Conter, of Alta Sierra, Calif., a survivor of the USS Arizona, salutes at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii, during the 72nd anniversary commemoration of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 2013. Courtesy of Lou Conter
The 95-year-old Pearl Harbor veteran remembers escaping the USS Arizona at age 20, after a Japanese bomb burned the ship to pieces. He remembers his patrol bomber being shot down, then hiding in the jungle with no choice but to survive. And he remembers the three weeks it took to get home to San Diego, and reflecting on everything he had seen.

Seventy-five years after Pearl Harbor, Conter, who now lives in Alta Sierra, California, credits those three weeks with preventing post-traumatic stress disorder and the intense military training he endured with helping to keep him alive.

“There was no turning around, no getting off (of duty) in six months or anything else unless you were in a coffin,” Conter said. “There are men today, calling their wives . . . then get(ting) off the phone to go cut someone’s throat. . . . I can’t imagine.”

Today, soldiers can more easily talk to their families while overseas or be back home within hours of stepping off the battleground, Conter said. After six months of deployment, soldiers are eligible for leave, according to the U.S. Army website. But at the end of the day, “war is war,” he said, and all conflicts boil down to the same thing: a fight for survival.

Even beyond the battlefield, service members from all time periods share a common notion of “the warrior identity” and their experiences before and after they served, added Craig Bryan, a clinical psychologist who’s the executive director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.
read more here

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WWII Veteran Gets Birthday Bash on USS Iowa

Pearl Harbor veteran gets a 99th birthday party thrown for him on-board the Battleship Iowa
25 October 2016
Ernest Thompson lives in Gardena, California, just a few miles from the Battleship Iowa Museum
The WWII veteran can no longer visit though due to health reasons
On October 26 he will turn 99, so on Sunday there was a birthday party
USS Iowa honored him by throwing a large gathering and barbecue
Special moment: World War II veteran Ernest Thompson celebrated his 99th birthday on Sunday with a party thrown for him the Battleship Iowa Museum
A Second World War veteran who was aboard the USS Missouri during Pearl Harbor has received a very special birthday party on-board a battleship.

Ernest Thompson lives just a few miles from the Battleship Iowa Museum in Gardena, California.

The veteran can no longer visit however due to health reasons and some problems with walking.

But he made a special journey to the ship on Sunday so that staff could a throw him a large party with his closest family, friends and chief selects for his 99th birthday.
read more here

Monday, December 7, 2015

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Department of Defense 74th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Pearl Harbor Day ceremonies to mark attack
By Katia Hetter, Marnie Hunter and Brad Lendon
December 7, 2015
As of two years ago some 2,000 to 2,500 Pearl Harbor survivors were believed to be still alive, according to Eileen Martinez, chief of interpretation for the USS Arizona Memorial.
(CNN)On the day the nation pays tribute to those who perished in the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona memorial will honor the man who was the ship's oldest surviving officer.

As part of the 74th anniversary of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Monday, the ashes of retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Langdell, who died at age 100 in February, will be interred in the ship with full military burial honors.

The USS Arizona battleship was bombed and sunk during Japan's surprise morning attack on Pearl Harbor that pulled the United States into World War II.

The remains of many of the 1,177 U.S. military personnel who died aboard the Arizona are still inside the submerged wreck. It was the greatest loss of life ever in an attack on a U.S. warship, the National Park Service says.

The memorial was dedicated in 1962.
read more here

102-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor returns to Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)
By Victoria Cuba
Posted: Dec 06, 2015

Even at 102 years old, Jim Downing still remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor as if it were just last week.

Now back in Hawaii for the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, he feels all the memories come rushing back.

“When I think about what happened here on December 7... That's a sad memory,” said Downing, the second oldest Pearl Harbor survivor.

On that very day, fire hose in hand, he remembered seeing the Japanese fighter planes flying straight overhead, his fellow comrades falling around him.

The overwhelming feelings of surprise, fear and pride at the sight of them can still be felt until this very day.

“I kind of ran the whole gamut of emotions,” he said.
read more here

Oldest U.S. vet, 110, helps mark Pearl Harbor Day
Gregg Zoroya
December 7, 2015

America's oldest living veteran is helping the nation mark Monday's 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in the nation's capital.

Former Army private Frank Levingston, who turned 110 last month, served in Italy during World War II. He enlisted in 1942, shortly after the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack in Hawaii that killed 2,400 servicemembers and brought the United the States into the war.
read more here

Sunday, May 31, 2015

US Navy Ship Struck USS Arizona Memorial

Witness: US Navy Ship Struck USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii
by Brendan McGarry, Amy Bushatz and Michael Hoffman
May 27, 2015
The USS Arizona Memorial is the final resting place of most of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who were killed during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, according to the National Park Service. The 184-foot-long memorial structure spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship, according to the service.
A U.S. Navy ship struck part of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor on Wednesday morning, according to a woman whose husband witnessed the accident.

Photos submitted by the woman, who declined to be identified because her spouse serves in the Navy, show the naval hospital ship USNS Mercy sailing dangerously close to the USS Arizona Memorial. Her husband took the photographs from nearby Ford Island.

"It went right over the dock," she told "You could hear the metal crunching. My husband said you could see mud and water being kicked up. It backed up to within feet of hitting the white memorial building."

Tug boats were guiding the hospital ship from its port at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at around 7 a.m. local time.

A Navy official who asked not to be identified said of the incident, "It looks like one of the tugs that was pushing her as she left the harbor might have hit the visitor landing to the Arizona."

It's unclear how much, if any, damage was done to the USS Arizona wreckage.
read more here

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Gets Dying Wish To Go Back to Pearl Harbor

Vietnam War Veteran Gets Dying Wish to Visit Pearl Harbor
Associated Press
Mar 25, 2015

When a Vietnam veteran briefly stopped in Hawaii on his way home from war, he vowed to return one day to honor the people who perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With just less than two months to live, Joseph Hooker realized his longtime dream on Wednesday.

The Marine Corps veteran, who has heart disease and cancer, traveled from his home in Essex, Maryland, to Honolulu to visit the site of the Japanese attack that pushed the United States into World War II. The Dream Foundation, which grants wishes for those who have life expectancies of a year or less, arranged for the journey.

Hooker's brother and sister-in-law, who are his caregivers, took turns pushing him in a wheelchair as they went on a private tour of the battleship USS Missouri.

The Hawaii dream stems from a 20-minute stop in the islands in 1971 as Hooker headed home from Vietnam, Hooker said from his Waikiki hotel room Tuesday. He was let off the ship just long enough to make a phone call to his family and eat some ice cream. He promised to come back someday "to honor the men and women that gave their life at Pearl Harbor."

More than four decades later, Hooker visited the spot where Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri and got a rare peek inside the captain's cabin. "I've never seen a battleship like this before," he said.

The Dream Foundation's new program, Dreams for Veterans, made Hooker's wish possible. In applying, Hooker wrote a letter saying that he longed to visit Pearl Harbor to "learn, touch and understand what happened there."
read more here

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Iwo Jima Veteran Remembers Enlisting At Age of 15

Iwo Jima veteran to share his story on 70th anniversary 
Bloody conflict proved turning point for U.S. forces, Houston Marine
Houston Chronicle
By St. John Barned-Smith
February 18, 2015
Just weeks after the Hawaiian attack, Sherrill, then 15, wandered into a Marine recruiting office in Houston and enlisted.

Bill Sherrill watched from the deck of an attack transport off the coast of Iwo Jima as artillery shells thudded into the small, porkchop-shaped island.

For hours, explosions tore across the landscape as salvo after salvo smashed into its beaches and forests in an initial effort to clear out 20,000 Japanese defenders. The island, with its beaches of gritty volcanic ash, a few sulfur pits, and three airfields, lay 600 miles south of the Japanese mainland and was close enough to put American forces at Japan's doorstep.

Seventy years after the ferocious battle, the impressions of the conflict remain with Sherrill - from the Purple Heart and photos he keeps at his house to the gold USMC pin he wears in his lapel.

It was hard to believe anything was still alive after the bombardment, he remembers thinking. But when thousands of Marines waded ashore, Japanese forces hidden in bunkers counterattacked. "Very quickly it became obvious that it was going to be a tough campaign," said Sherrill, now 88.

He will be sharing some of those memories at a commemoration of the battle's 70th anniversary Thursday evening in the East End, one of dozens of ceremonies around the country honoring the veterans who served in that battle. read more here

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DEC. 7, 1941 Day of Infamy

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 7, 2014

Here is part of the speech FDR gave to congress and the American people on December 8, 1941
"As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God."

Can we actually win the battle our veterans fight back home? Are we determined? Are we committed? This enemy has claimed more lives after combat for decades.
DEC. 7, 1941 Witness to a Day of Infamy
Hampton woman recalls watching attack on Pearl Harbor
Seacoast Online
By Suzanne Laurent
The wreckage of the USS Arizona burns after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
U.S. Navy photo

HAMPTON – Ramona Otis vividly recalls the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when she was awakened by a loud pounding on the door of her living quarters in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, around 7 a.m.

“A young boy was yelling, ‘The Japanese are bombing Hawaii!’” Otis, 97, recalls. “I couldn’t figure out why they would do that as the Island of Hawaii didn't have any significance.”

Her husband, Donald, was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines 6th Defense Battalion, then stationed on Midway Island in the North Pacific Ocean in an advance detail to set up defenses.

Otis was living with another Marine couple, Zelma and Gene Boles, because military housing was scarce at the time. Just 24 years old at the time, Otis had her first child with her, 7-month-old Nancy, when she arrived from San Diego, Calif.

“I woke up the Boles after the boy came to the door, and Gene told me to go back to bed, that the boy was ‘hopped up',” Otis said. “After a while, there seemed to be a lot of commotion outside, so I turned on the radio.”

Otis said the governor of Hawaii was urging everyone to stay calm and stay indoors. Otis recalled the governor’s voice was shaky.

“I looked out my kitchen window toward Pearl Harbor and saw all the little planes with the orange suns on the side flying over and the bombs dropping and plumes of smoke,” Otis said. “I just sat there with Nancy on my lap.”

“After the first wave, there was a pause, and then the second wave came over to finish off any ship that had survived,” she said. “After that, we all sat around and waited to be invaded. Why we weren’t, I’ll never know. I’m sure the large Japanese population in Honolulu would have welcomed them.”

The barrage on the naval base at Pearl Harbor lasted just two hours, but the Japanese managed to destroy 21 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and 188 aircraft, according the Navy History and Heritage website.

More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including 68 civilians, and another 1,178 were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
read more here

George William Davis entered the Army three days after Pearl Harbor and served for nearly four years in battles against the Axis powers in North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium and Germany.

He received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in battle, as well as Campaign Stars for Algeria-French Morocco (North Africa), Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe (Germany).

He was granted an honorable discharge and received the Good Conduct Medal, a special Belgian award (the Belgian Fouraguri) and he also received a Silver Star for gallantry, seven Bronze Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead.

Davis kept his actions from his family until his son-in-law wanted to find out about what history had to say.
A Camp Pendleton Marine who joined the Corps in 1942, retired earlier this month (Feb. 2014)from his civilian job at Camp Pendleton.

Sgt. Maj. Walter Valentine, 89, served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam over three decades with the Marines and then spent another three decades helping comrades make a smooth transition into civilian life when they retire.

After Valentine finished boot camp at Camp Lejeune, NC in 1942, he joined the 3rd Marine Division and headed for combat in the Pacific as a scout sniper.

He was in the assault landing of Bougainville, now Papua New Guinea, in November 1943, then headed to Guadalcanal for more combat training. Later he participated in the assault landing that recaptured the island of Guam and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, where he earned a Purple Heart.
“I will never forget the flag rising at Iwo Jima,” Valentine said.

Donald Lesch, a veteran of three wars, said his wife knew to wake him carefully, and only by shaking his left foot.

“It was the method we had in World War II to wake each other safely when changing sentry guard duty,” Lesch said.

Lesch, 91, was awarded the U.S. Army Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, a number of battle stars, and decorations from the Vietnamese and Korean governments for his service in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“I have post-traumatic stress disorder mainly from WWII, but actually from all the wars, and I was exposed to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. I have a 100 percent service-connected disability,” Lesch said.

He said he may have survived three wars, but he still keeps the curtains drawn at his northeast Ocala home because of a deep-seated fear of sniper fire.

It is hard to believe all that is going on right now actually could have been worse. What we now call PTSD has been studied for 100 years.
Doctor Thomas Salmon, a civilian psychiatrist who voluntarily went to the front during WWI to study, diagnose and treat mentally broken soldiers. He's the first U.S. Army psychiatrist and the first to recognize PTSD."

By the time soldiers were being evacuated for psychological problems during WWII, there were 300% more of them from WWI. Seems the military learned little from WWI.

It isn't that they were not suffering from the same thing Afghanistan and Iraq veterans face. It was just called something else. "Shell shock" is the term used back then. With WWI it was "war neuroses" but as the term changed with generations, the fact remained that war came home with them.

During the Korean War they tried something different and clinicians were sent with the troops so that as soon as they started to have problems, they were pulled out of combat zones, given therapy and sent back to duty. Only 3% of the evacuations were for psychological reasons.

With Vietnam it was the one year deployment and then back home. Very little time to understand PTSD setting in and even less time to do something for them.

With WWII, everyone was involved. If they were "able bodied" they went. Either they joined or they were drafted. If not, then they were working jobs devoted to backing up the soldiers. Everyone had something to do for the "cause" and they paid attention to everything going on so far away from here.

With Korean and Vietnam, things were a lot different. Few paid the price along side of the men and women sent aside from their own families.

The Gulf War was over so fast no one was really asked to do much other than stick up a yellow ribbon sign on their business window. With Afghanistan, it was another attack on this country that started it but while it seemed everyone was flying their flags on their homes, sticking magnets on their cars and singing about being proud to be an American, they lost interest.

FDR said December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy. I doubt he knew how right he actually was. We have learned so much those days but most of it was forgotten.
The Presidential Address to Congress on December 8, 1941. Known as the Infamy Speech, it was delivered at 12:30 p.m. that day to a Joint Session of Congress by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one day after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii. Roosevelt famously describes the previous day as "a date which will live in infamy." Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. The address is regarded as one of the most famous American political speeches of the 20th century.
We can defeat PTSD but only if we are committed to doing it. If not, then more generations will pay the price for what we refuse to do now.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Purple Heart used to mean something different

The next time you hear someone say that PTSD and TBI do not qualify for the Purple Heart, remember this.
Women Who Served
First Lt. Annie G. Fox, Army Nurse Corps, was on duty at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack.

For her outstanding performance, she was recommended for and awarded the Purple Heart.

Originally established by Gen. George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart was reinstituted in 1932 for the bicentennial of Washington's birth. Although generally awarded to service members wounded in action, it was also awarded for any "singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service."

Later in the war, the requirements for award of the Purple Heart were limited to wounds received as a result of enemy action. At that time, individuals were given other awards to replace the Purple Heart.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

WWII Marine Raiders meet for first time

Two Marine Raiders from W.Va. meet for first time in Welch
May 20, 2012
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — Three score and 10 years ago, two men from southern West Virginia landed on the beach at Guadalcanal and fought in one of the most terrible, yet important battles in U.S. military history. Last Wednesday, the two men met for the first time.

“This is an important picture that your taking,” Ed “Shep” Shepard of Welch said as he pointed at a photographer. “You may never see two Marine Raiders together like this ever again.”

Shepard, 88, of Welch, was mustered out of the U.S. Marine Corps’ 1st Raider Battalion — Edson’s Raiders” — in 1946 and never saw another Marine Raider until last week. He joined the Marines one month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Rhel “Cookie” Cook, 91, of Frankford, had joined the Marines in 1938, and was in training with the 1st Raider Battalion at Quantico, Va., when the attack on Pearl Harbor catapulted the U.S. into World War II. By February, Cook, soon to be a gunnery sergeant, was taken from Edson’s group of highly-trained Marines along with 209 other Marines, to form the nucleus of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion — known as Carlson’s Raiders.
read more here

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Across the years, an unbroken connection

This picture is of photos hanging in my kitchen. They are my husband's father (top middle) and uncles. All of them served in WWII. The Marine in the bottom of the photo is uncle John, killed in Saipan. My husband served in Phu Bai Vietnam entering into military service because of his family and the fact that he figured as soon as he was done with high school, he'd end up there anyway. Both of us are second generation Americans. My Dad served in Korea but my uncles served during WWII.

The following is something sent to me and is very moving, especially today. My Dad, uncles and my husband's family are all gone now but we are reminded of them everyday.

Across the years, an unbroken connection: The Navy of Pearl Harbor was a proud, professional force
Published: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Guest Columnist

By Eric Schuck

Seventy years on, she still bleeds. In sun and in rain, in wind and in calm, she slowly weeps away a drop of black oil for each of the souls lost on that now distant Sunday. The drops rise slowly, countless small spheres ascending through crystalline waters only to break in an iridescent sheen on the harbor, mirroring the colors of the rainbows that glow so often in the Hawaiian sky. But there can be no mistaking this for a place of beauty: Each drop reeks of sulfur. Each drop carries the unmistakable smell of death.

Here lies the USS Arizona, late of the U.S. Navy. Her grave rests in shallow water on the eastern side of Ford Island, her shattered, burned and broken hull forever holding more than 1,100 sailors and Marines for whom the world ended shortly after 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. I have seen her a dozen times, and each time I mourn the same as the first.

Despite the remoteness of seven decades, Pearl Harbor is, for me, an intimately personal place. On the day of the attack, my grandfather had been in the Navy for nearly nine years. He was part of the "old Navy," the $21-a-month professionals who stood watch through the Depression and who still formed the bulk of the Navy on Dec. 7. His ship was not in port that day, instead desperately attempting to deliver a deckload of Marine scout planes to Midway. It was only through the fickle but most providential favor of Neptune and Mars that his ship was at sea.

His time would come. Six months and a day later, he would find himself on the bright, burning deck of a dying carrier in the Coral Sea. Battered and beleaguered, he would survive, earn an officer's commission and retire from the Navy 14 years later, going on to a magnificent second act as a gentleman farmer and grandfather. But he never forgot the tragedy of that December day. For while to most of us the dead of Pearl Harbor are nothing more than marble-carved names or sepia-tinged photos, for him they were living, breathing men, eternally young in his memories. They were always with him.

That sense of loss cannot be understated. The Navy was much smaller then, a much more intimate fraternity than it would be in 1945. As historian S.E. Morison notes, through most of the 1930s the Navy typically numbered around 10,000 officers and 100,000 men. The losses at Pearl Harbor fell disproportionately among these long-service brethren, and it was these men who bore the brunt of those first bitter months of the war.
read more here

Also from CNN

Nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:27 PM EST, Wed December 7, 2011

The commemoration at the Pearl Harbor visitor center included a rifle salute and wreath presentations.
NEW: "We stop and stand fast in memory of our heroes," Navy regional commander says
This year's commemoration marks 70 years since the attacks on Oahu
The attack pulled the United States into World War II
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is disbanding this month
(CNN) -- Survivors of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gathered Wednesday to remember the 2,400 people who lost their lives exactly 70 years ago.
"Just as every day and unlike any other day, we stop and stand fast in memory of our heroes of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War," Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander for Navy region Hawaii, told the gathering.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus took note of the devastating legacy of the two-hour attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago.
"The history of December 7, 1941, is indelibly imprinted on the memory of every American who was alive that day. But it bears repeating on every anniversary, so that every subsequent generation will know what happened here today and never forget," Mabus said.
read more here

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pearl Harbor Vet held picture of his ship while caregiver was arrested

Crime & Courts
Family of 93-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Veteran Shocked by Caregiver Abuse Charges
Published February 02, 2011

Relatives of a Pearl Harbor veteran say they are shocked at the alleged abuse suffered by their 93-year-old father, who was found disheveled and dehydrated and living in a rat-infested home at the hands of his trusted caregiver.
Deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said they found Arnold Bauer living in squalor last week at his home near El Cajon, Calif., and charged his caregiver, 63-year-old Milagros Angeles, with elder abuse.
Authorities said they found Bauer -- who has prostate cancer and dementia -- sitting next to rotting garbage and rat feces while clutching a framed photo of the ship he was serving on the day of Pearl Harbor, reports.
Angeles has been charged with four felony counts of elder abuse, forgery, theft and false imprisonment. Prosecutors allege that Angeles wrote checks to herself from Bauer's account and sent the money to her native Philippines.

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Family of 93-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Veteran

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oldest Medal of Honor recipient, 100, downplays 'hero' talk

Oldest Medal of Honor recipient, 100, downplays 'hero' talk
Story Highlights
In Pearl Harbor attack, John Finn was wounded in head and limbs but fought on

Finn's medal citation states he continued to "return the enemy's fire vigorously"

Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention is in Chicago this week
By Larry Shaughnessy

PINE VALLEY, California (CNN) -- Dozens of America's greatest military heroes are gathered in Chicago, Illinois, possibly the last large gathering of living Medal of Honor recipients.

Among the men with light blue ribbons holding a star around their necks signifying uncommon bravery, will be John Finn.

Finn, who received the nation's highest medal for valor for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, turned 100 this summer, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient.

Finn was a lieutenant stationed at Kanoehe Bay Naval Air Station, where the Japanese struck five minutes before attacking Pearl Harbor, across southeast Oahu Island from Kanoehe Bay.
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

PTSD: Will these be days that live in infamy as well?

We try to count the lives lost to suicide because of PTSD. 10,000 a year make a serious attempt at it but over 6,000 more succeed at it and that's every year. We will never know for sure about the veterans that die in car crashes slamming their cars into trees or driving them off cliffs, any more than we will know how many ended up with dangerous driving because of PTSD and a flashback that got out of control. It seems this may have been one more of the cases when a combat veteran comes back and snaps.

I wonder if these days of inaction by some and not enough actions by many will have these days remembered in infamy because this attack against our troops, against our veterans, was something we were not prepared for and it took too long to get it right?

Casualties of war
San Diego Union Tribune - San Diego,CA,USA
By Steve Liewer

December 7, 2008

SAN DIEGO – Stu Hedley knows something about loss.

The Navy veteran lived through 13 sea battles in World War II, experiencing the deaths of dozens of his friends, and saw combat in the Korean War.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor 67 years ago today, Hedley was one of two men who survived the direct hit of a Japanese bomb on Turret No. 3 of the battleship West Virginia. Fourteen other sailors died in the turret, among 106 killed aboard the ship as it burned and sank at its mooring.

No loss has struck harder, though, than the violent death last year of Hedley's grandson, Ryan Ricketts of Boulevard. Ricketts, a 21-year-old Marine corporal from Camp Pendleton, died in a high-speed motorcycle accident several months after returning from a combat tour in Iraq.

“Ryan was very dear to me because he had the moxie to go out and do things,” said Hedley, 87, of Clairemont. “When we lost him, it hurt. It was like a bubble that burst.”

Ricketts had argued with his girlfriend before the Aug. 18, 2007, crash on Interstate 805 at State Route 52. He was speeding at more than 100 mph when he slammed into the back of a car and died instantly.

Family members said Ricketts had been unusually reserved since he returned from Iraq, though he told them he badly wanted to deploy again. They said he was even more prone to taking risks than he was as a youth, when he tried rock climbing and bungee jumping. They believe he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Even though he died on a motorcycle and not on the battlefield, I do feel he was a casualty of war,” said his mother, Nancy Ricketts, 47, a former San Diegan who now lives in Riverside.
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Surprise assault by the Japanese against the United States because of U.S. support for China, which the Japanese had first attacked in 1931.

Six Japanese aircraft carriers crossed the Pacific to within 300 miles of Hawaii. They launched 350 fighters, bombers and torpedo planes, as well as five mini-submarines.

The bombardment on several military installations across Oahu started at 7:55 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, and lasted two hours.

Of the 90 U.S. ships at Pearl Harbor, 21 were damaged. Five battleships – the Arizona, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and California – were sunk. The Japanese destroyed 185 aircraft and damaged 159.

The U.S. toll was 2,403 dead and 1,178 wounded.

Japanese forces lost 29 aircraft and 55 crew members.

SOURCE: Naval Historical Center