- December 7, 2016 at 3:14 am #31888HarterParticipant
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Some of you may have read this before but here it is anyway .
Why Pearl Harbor is important to me.
Before I start. God bless the souls,survivors,those that bore witness and all those that stand since and still for this land.
My 2nd Great grandmother’s name was Nancy Allison , her aunt shared her name. The elder Nancy married William Mckinley in 1829 her son born in 1843 William Mckinley would become the 25th President of the US. He served in the Union Army for the duration of the Civil War w/the 23rd Ohio Infantry at 1 point w/Major Ruthaford Hays . Elected in 1896 was the CIC for the Spainish American war ”winning” Guam,the Phillipenes and Puerto Rico. In 1898 he signed annexation papers for those and the Republic of Hawaii.
James Reed served as a CSA scout 1863-64. He married Orvillia Hoover and had 12 children together. James registered as a Cherokee Native American in 1873 . Leora James Reed the 8th or 9th child born April 28 1912 w/her twin sister Elnora. Their survival is wonder enough w/both parents being at least half bloods an a full blood mid-wife. Lee was my Grandmother . She lived a colorful life. She married an Army vet Joseph Hart in Chicago in 1927. They divorced in 39′ after my Dads birth. She married again in 40 in Hawthorne Nv. Going to Oakland Ca not long after. She went to work as a welder, after getting a welders certification , in the Port Chicago shipyard until about June or July of 1941.
By know you’re thinking AAAANNNNDDD??
Well, Virginia and William Wright were Nancy’s great grandchildren and my grandfather and great aunt.
Leora was at least in the shipyard w/ships that were at Pearl 72yr ago.
William was in the USN 1937-39 then signed on w/Civil Service . He married Nora Louise ”Toppy” Huges in the fall of 1940.
Virginia had gone to school and highered on to Pan Am in 1939 . In those days a flight attendant had to be at least an accredited nurse. She was based in 1940 Honolulu and flew the entire Pacific from LA to Seattle and west to Hong Kong.
William was given a list of assignment choices 1 of which was Public Works for Wheeler and Hickum Fields and the Naval Yard at Pearl Harbor. He left Nashville about the 10th of June 41′ Toppy joined him in Pearl City in November.
William was out for the morning walk down to the beach ,about 12 blocks from their apt, he was an avid fisherman and was thinking a day on the beach for them and a few casts w/cut bait might produce some sunfish. He’d paused under a palm to put his shoes on and heard the familiar engine drone thinking ”the Air corps is out early especially on a Sunday”……… It was 5 days before he would know if his sister or wife had survived. During the next 3 days he would ride boats as a survivor recovery man…… mostly he just recovered the dead . On the 10th he was released to his shop to continue pulling new power lines in to pad up the spliced band-aided lines for the Navy Yard and the airfield .
Toppy awake to the 1st explosions and breaking glass. She pulled the bed up against the inside wall closet door. And padded the walls w/pillows and waited …………..11hr later the 1st patrol for survivors hammered the door and gave her directions….more directives to go to the highschool gym. She would spend 10 days there seeing William just twice. ”I was terrified,not knowing who or what was happening . All I could do was to go to an inside corner and pad myself all around as best as I could.”
Virginia would arrive some 22 hours later w/65 fully equipped USAA troops braced for having to possibly pontoon raft from Molokai to Pearl. When they arrived in the sea port ”airfield” their sea plane was pressed into service and stripped from a luxury trans-Pacific aircraft to cargo/Medevac airplane . She was drafted into Hospital service for 21 days of 18hr days. Imagine the shift ,airsick and altitude sickness to meatball amputation assistant. I would be 16 days before she would stumble onto William and learn that he and Toppy had come out untouched by the attack.
Not 1 of them ever received formal recognition nor have they been eligible for any Pearl Harbor Survivor privileges.
It is also interesting to note the ”unintended” consequences of 1 man signing a single document , and the potential for those to effect 1’s own family for over a century.
William has been gone nearly 20 yrs 12/25/17-12/17/94
Virginia passed in 2008
Toppy lives in assisted living recently taking a 5 generation picture w/1 daughter,her only grandson,3 greats and GG grands.
Leora passed 12/14/2007 out living 3 husbands and 12 siblings including her twin sister by nearly 10yr and her ”baby” brother by almost 5 yr.
Toppy passed away in November 2014 .
That’s my story about today 12/7 has effected my life and who I am.
- December 7, 2016 at 5:55 am #31893ScharfschuetzeParticipant
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While on various TDY (temporary duty) assignments in Hawaii, I visited the Arizona Memorial a couple of times. Once while I was there, a Japanese Navy squadron of three frigates sailed by. All the JDF sailors were in dress whites standing at the rails. It was a bit eerie.
- December 7, 2016 at 7:29 pm #31902Larry GibsonParticipant
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My Dad served in the Navy in the Pacific. He was on the DE USS Carlson which was hit by 3 Kamakazi during the battle of Okinawa while he was on her. I never knew that until well after he was gone…….
On a lighter note I was in the Dr’s office waiting room this morning when a lady commented on how cold it was (48 degrees). I said “yes, a little after 8 this morning there was a nip in the air”…….took about 30 seconds and 3 older gentlemen just about fell out of their chairs laughing so hard. The lady seemed incensed that they were laughing and asked what was so funny. One guy stopped laughing and said if she didn’t get it by now she wouldn’t understand……..I got a thumbs up from all 3 of the gentlemen………
Anyways, I got home and put my flag at half mast……….Lest we forget
- December 7, 2016 at 8:56 pm #31905HarterParticipant
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Scharfschuetze;n12174 wrote: While on various TDY (temporary duty) assignments in Hawaii, I visited the Arizona Memorial a couple of times. Once while I was there, a Japanese Navy squadron of three frigates sailed by. All the JDF sailors were in dress whites standing at the rails. It was a bit eerie.
I suspect that the “old man” on the frigates had had a discussion about paying respects . I would think that the first timers had a sense of awe. What other navy took such a blow to make such a come back .
My Dad’s older brother was on the USS Mustin 42-44 . It big claim was scuttling a disabled battle ship which Japan claimed as having sunken as it was still afloat when they got there .
- December 7, 2016 at 8:56 pm #31906GoodsteelKeymaster
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King of the snappy comebacks there Larry. LOL!
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