Author Topic: Pearl Harbor  (Read 1973 times)

Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2005, 04:04 PM »
Sweet pics!  Thanks for sharing them.
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Offline Matt

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #16 on: December 7, 2007, 01:47 PM »
66 years ago today. . .

Along with today's anniversary, they're also dedicating a new memorial:

Pearl Harbor memorial gets survivors' big OK

By Steve Liewer

December 7, 2007

The clanging bells calling all sailors to general quarters alerted Seaman 1st Class Jim Bounds to the tumult that would shortly turn his life upside down.

Bounds was in a room near the stern of the battleship Oklahoma. It was 7:49 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941.

Jim Bounds, 85, of Santee was among the last sailors to be pulled from the Oklahoma. He and other survivors are in Hawaii for today's dedication of a monument to their 429 fallen shipmates.

He heard an officer spreading the word.

“Jap planes are attacking Ford Island!” Ensign Herbert Rommel shouted. “This is a real air raid!”

Before Bounds could react, an explosion rocked the ship. The Oklahoma rose out of the water and fell back. Then it started to roll to its port side.

“We got hit by three torpedoes – boom, boom, boom,” Bounds recalled.

In all, 429 of the ship's sailors and officers died in the aerial assault, which brought the United States into World War II. Most of them drowned or suffocated inside the vessel.

Bounds was rescued a day and a half after the attack; he was among the last sailors to be pulled out of the steel tomb.

Sixty-six years later, Bounds, now 85, is living in Santee. He and two other former Oklahoma sailors from San Diego County will join at least 11 fellow survivors at today's dedication of a monument to their fallen shipmates.

The ceremony is a major event among activities in Hawaii commemorating Pearl Harbor Day. Although more men lost their lives aboard the Oklahoma than any other ship at Pearl Harbor except the Arizona, it was the only battleship not officially memorialized in Hawaii until today.

“Finally, they got enough gold to build us a monument,” said Ray Richmond, 89, of Serra Mesa, who was severely injured during the assault. He flew to Honolulu with Bounds on Wednesday for the dedication. “We fought 65 years for the monument.”

Richmond and Bounds had turned shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial Dec. 7, 2006, near the battleship Missouri, which is moored as a permanent museum at the spot where the Oklahoma capsized. The ship, sold for scrap after the war, sank about 500 miles off Hawaii en route to a salvage yard in 1947.

The monument to its sailors features slabs of black marble arranged in a V and bearing the ship's name and image. Behind it are 429 white-marble pillars, each 7 feet tall and engraved with the name of a victim.

Kevin King, an artist from Oklahoma, spearheaded the drive for the monument after visiting Pearl Harbor with his son in 2000. He was stunned to find no mention of the ship at Ford Island or at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, the graveyard in the Punchbowl crater – part of an inactive volcano – where the Oklahoma victims' remains were interred in mass graves after the battleship was raised in 1943.

“It just got my blood up – especially being from Oklahoma – that these 429 people are just forgotten,” King said.

He worked with the USS Oklahoma Association and crisscrossed the country at his own expense to interview the ship's survivors. The association raised $1 million to build the monument.

“We wanted a memorial all the time, but we never had the backing or the know-how until Kevin came along,” said Paul Goodyear, 89, of Casa Grande, Ariz., who leapt 55 feet from the Oklahoma's superstructure into the bay to escape the sinking ship.

Jim Bounds and his bunkmates were trapped in their quarters in waist-deep water after the attack. "We were in the dark, upside down, with no lights. You didn't know where the hell you were," said Bounds, who was rescued a day and a half later.

Goodyear and Bounds beat long odds in attending today's ceremony. On average, three Pearl Harbor survivors die each day.

Bounds also had survived another ship attack in the Pacific and two years of dangerous convoy duty in the North Atlantic, all during World War II.

The night before the Pearl Harbor attack, Bounds had played cards with his bunkmates in their quarters before lights out at 10 p.m. No one had a clue that 200 miles away, hundreds of Japanese pilots were preparing to launch waves of attacks from their aircraft carriers against Pearl Harbor's Battleship Row.

When torpedoes slammed into the Oklahoma the next morning, Bounds and the seven other men in his room tried to dodge falling debris as the ship rolled. The shifting stopped only after the battleship's smokestacks struck the muddy bottom of the bay.

“We were in the dark, upside down, with no lights. You didn't know where the hell you were,” Bounds said. “But you could hear everything. You could hear the bombs going, the bullets ricocheting.”

The sailors also heard the gurgle of water seeping into the space. They scrambled to find clothes and rags to plug vent holes. The water crept up their legs and eventually reached just above Bounds' waist.

The sailors found a flashlight, which they used to check the rising water level until the batteries gave out. They also discovered two wrenches and took turns beating them against the ship's bulkhead to draw attention.

The senior sailor suggested they talk as little as possible to conserve oxygen. The stench of oil made them sleepy.

Through it all, Bounds said, he never feared dying.

The Oklahoma (far right) was capsized during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Missouri is now moored at that spot as a permanent museum.

“That never crossed my mind,” he said. “I just figured someone was going to get us out.”

Lacking a watch, he and the other sailors lost track of time. Only later did Bounds learn that nearly 36 hours had elapsed before rescuers lifted them out of the ship and into the sunlight.

“When I looked around, all I could see was a mess,” Bounds said. “Everywhere I looked, it was ships still smoking, ships upside down.”

A boat took the sailors to the hospital ship Solace, which was moored in the harbor. Of the eight men in his group, only Bounds was injured. He had broken his thumb.

The nurses gave each man a shot of brandy. The sailors spent the night there, scrubbing off the oil that coated them from head to toe. Bounds said it took a year before the oily taste left his mouth.

He got no rest after his ordeal. The next day, he was reassigned to the destroyer Helena.

Bounds was on the bridge of the Helena near Guadalcanal on July 8, 1943, when three Japanese torpedoes struck the ship and sank it in minutes. The attack killed 168 sailors. Bounds floated in the water for four hours before another destroyer rescued him.

Despite having lost two ships and more than 500 shipmates, Bounds stayed in the Navy, became an officer and retired in 1967.

Only years later did he meet Richmond, who had been showering at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Richmond remembered running for his battle station, buck naked. He jumped into the bay as the ship rolled and then swam about 30 yards to the battleship Maryland. He had to swim underwater because a fuel slick burned on the surface.

Coated with oil, Richmond climbed aboard the Maryland and manned an anti-aircraft gun until the waves of Japanese aircraft subsided. Then he collapsed on the deck.

Doctors discovered that Richmond had broken his hip and back when he leapt from the Oklahoma. He spent a year in the hospital, part of it in what he still calls “the nut ward” because he would wake up screaming in the night. Over time, the nightmares have faded, he said..

Richmond spent the rest of the war as a Navy recruiter in New York. His post-military jobs included a long career building aircraft models for Convair in San Diego. He retired in 1988.

Today, Bounds, Richmond and Don Lester of La Mesa will stand and salute in memory of the sailors with whom they served.

“This will be my last trip (to Pearl Harbor),” Richmond said. “I'll be thinking of the 429 men who didn't make it.”
"The good news is that all that blood is actually ketchup. The bad news, however, is that all that ketchup is actually blood."

Offline Scott

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #17 on: December 7, 2007, 02:09 PM »
This probably belongs in the Sarlaac Pit as it is WAR related

Offline Darth Kenobi

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #18 on: December 7, 2007, 02:24 PM »
Its sad that on average 3 survivors die per day, hopefully I could go while some are still alive to hear any of the stories they have.  Sad that the Oklahoma hasn't had a memorial until today since it was one of the only Battleships and ships to be completely destroyed from the attack.   

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #19 on: December 7, 2007, 03:54 PM »
Great story Matt, thanks for posting.

I always take a little time out on 12/7 to remember the moment we joined World War II.  Likewise I try to do the same thing for other important days from the war, just in my mind of course, especially to remember friends I've known over the years that I don't have any longer.
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Offline Joe

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Re: Pearl Harbor
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2007, 08:41 PM »
Happy to see this thread re-living.

A great story/pics I must admit , and , I must admit , I have no clue how I missed this.


 - Joe