Thursday, December 07, 2006

Humbug!

On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor my thoughts go out to a sailor who, as a favor to a buddy who wanted a sea billet, switched billets with the guy to the naval base at San Diego from the battleship Tennessee just a month before the Japanese attack. His buddy survived but called him afterwards to jokingly accuse him of "knowing something."

He got over to Pearl anyway later in the month. He was an Electrician's Mate so they sent him into the capsized battleships first to wade through the garbage, oil and bodies of his fellow sailors and string lights so that salvage could begin. This was certainly his most vivid memory of the war and something that choked him up on the retelling even sixty odd years after the attack.

He may not of won the Medal of Honor but gramps was still a hero.



(If you're trying to figure out how the Christmas Carol quote works with the attack on Pearl Harbor - it doesn't. It's just something the sailor I'm talking about used to like to say this time of year.)

6 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

Thanks for posting this.

Dean Wormer said...

Didn't know if I should because it's a bit personal but went with my gut anyway.

Don Snabulus said...

A Day of Infamy, Two Years of Hard Work
By ROBERT TRUMBULL

Here, 64 years late, are edited excerpts from a dispatch sent to The New York Times by Robert Trumbull, the paper’s correspondent at Pearl Harbor. It details a triumphant but mostly forgotten story of World War II: the salvage effort that rebuilt the Pacific Fleet after the Japanese attack.

Dean Wormer said...

Thank you for that. As I mentioned Gramps wasn't really specific when relating what he saw, only drawing general outlines of his involvement in the salvage. This article gives me a better idea of what he went through.

The pain at the memories was obviously real and very vivid.

Aaron said...

Thanks for sharing this story about your Grandpa. I'm not sure I ever heard it before. Yes it's personal but personal stories like this about friends and family are what make history real. This was as much a part of the story of WWII as, say, the Yalta Conference and it should be remembered.

Dean Wormer said...

Thanks Aaron.

It's almost a cliche that the Greatest Generation wait to share their stories until the end but that's what Grampa did.

I hadn't heard about it until then either but I think he just wanted to make sure somebody remembered.

Which is why it was ultimately good I wrote that. Mostly friends and family that read this anyways.