Archive for the ‘commemoration’ Category

Witnesses recall attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2008

Sixty-seven years after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Edward K. Walker Jr. of Alexandria still “vividly” remembers watching the bombs fall, with little understanding then of the infamous role the event would play in history.

“I just climbed up on the roof to see what was happening, much to my mother’s consternation,” said Mr. Walker, who was 9 at the time. “I didn’t really know what was happening. I just thought it was interesting to watch.”

Mr. Walker, the son of a naval officer stationed at Pearl Harbor, later spent 38 years in the Navy, retiring in 1988 as a rear admiral.

He is one of a dwindling number of people who witnessed the forces of Imperial Japan nearly deliver their intended knockout blow to the U.S. Pacific Fleet at its Hawaiian base on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. Some of them will be present for the annual wreath-laying at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in remembrance of those who died.  

By Timothy Warren
The Washington Times
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In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona ...
In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.(AP Photo)


Cmdr. John Budzik, U.S. Navy retired, was about 28 when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place. He was stationed at Honolulu Harbor, about 10 miles away from Pearl Harbor, and he saw and heard the explosions. “We didn’t know what was happening, even then,” he says. Later he and his men had to collect debris from the explosions. This image was made Friday, Dec. 5, 2008. (Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times)

While Mr. Walker was just a boy, former Commander John Budzik was 25 then, and he can remember feeling the fear sparked by the shocking attack that pushed the United States into World War II.

Mr. Budzik, 92, was awakened early that morning by the first wave of attacks, mostly from torpedo bombers, and immediately rushed to his post at Honolulu Harbor, about 10 miles away from Pearl Harbor, where he was in charge of opening and closing the gates for entering submarines.

“It was just frightening,” said Mr. Budzik. “We didn’t know if there would be any more attacks or where they would come from. It was a very scary experience.”

After the attack, Mr. Budzik was made commanding officer of the USS Ash, where he was in charge of placing and maintaining anti-submarine and anti-torpedo nets in harbors around the Hawaiian, Midway and New Caledonia islands. Mr. Budzik eventually would command another ship, the USS Abele, to Iwo Jima, where he would witness the famous flag-raising.

Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremonies, such as  today’s….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/dec/07/pearl-harbor-remembered/

Pearl Harbor, 67 Years Ago Sunday: Heroes Remembered

December 6, 2008

Thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor tomorrow.

The theme of the event, “Pacific War Memories: The Heroic Response to Pearl Harbor,” is something of a departure from the past.

In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, American ships burn during ... 
I this Dec. 7, 1941 photo, American ships burn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.(AP Photo)

The commemoration usually focuses on the attack on the USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor and several other installations on Oahu.

But this year, the focus will center more on the months following the raid.

In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona ... 
In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.(AP Photo)

One of the speakers will be Thomas Griffin, who answered the Pearl Harbor attack four months later with an aircraft carrier-launched bomber raid on Tokyo.

The B-25 mission inflicted little damage to Japan but boosted morale in America.

It led the embarrassed Japanese government to launch what turned out to be an ill-fated attack on Midway Island.


USS Hornet launched the B-25 attack on Japan in 1942

From the Associated Press

Japanese zero.jpg

One of the American heroes of December 7, 1941 was Doris “Dorie” Miller.  He was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic action that day.  He fought the Japanese along side his Commanding Officer, Captain Mervyn Bennion of the USS West Virginia:

“For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.”

   
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In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, a  small boat rescues a USS ... 
In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.

Captain Bennion of USS West Virginia was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously).

Mervyn Sharp Bennion

Captain Bennion’s citation:

For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the USS West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.”


USS Bennion was named for Captain Bennion in 1943.


USS Miller was named for Dorie Miller in 1973