U.S. Department of Defense Header Image (click to return to U.S. Department of Defense homepage)
Search DefenseLink.mil
Dec. 18, 2014  War on Terror   Transformation   News Products   Press Resources   Images   Websites   Contact Us 
Title:  Remembering Pearl Harbor
President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his "Day of Infamy" speech to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941.
Click here to listen to President Roosevelt's Infamous speech
 
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii – Airmen of the base honor guard here prepare to place memorial wreaths during the ceremony commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the attack on Hickam Field on Dec. 7, 1941. The Airmen (from left) are Senior Airmen Jodi Asprer, April Bonaparte and Leslie Ocasio-Gonzalez, and Airman 1st Class Jennifer Kincaid. U.S. Air Force photo by Mysti Bicoy
Musician 1st Class Guy Gregg, assigned to the Pacific Fleet Band, practices as the primary bugler before the 63rd commemoration of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 2004. More than 200 distinguished visitors and Pearl Harbor survivors attended the ceremony, which included the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) rendering honors, more than 40 wreath presentations, a 21-gun salute, and a missing man flyover. U.S. Navy photo by journalist 3rd ClassRyan C. McGinley.
7 More Photos
Vet Recalls Attack

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 7, 1941, the world changed. American service members based in Hawaii saw that seminal moment in history, and those that were there vividly remember that Sunday morning 63 years ago.

George Phraner was a petty officer first class aboard the battleship USS Arizona. His battle station was a forward five- inch gun. He had just gone topside to get some air after finishing breakfast when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor started.

"Just as we left the mess area we heard this noise," he said in an oral history on the Pearl Harbor Survivors' Association Web site. "We could hear and see there were airplanes. I looked across the bow of the ship and could see large plumes of smoke coming up from Ford Island."

He said he didn't comprehend at first that what he was seeing was an attack. "It didn't mean anything to us until a large group of planes came near the ship and we could see for the first time the Rising Sun emblem on the plane wings," he said.

"The bombing was becoming heavier all around us and we knew this was really it." He headed for his gun when general quarters sounded.

"It was standard practice to keep only a limited amount of ammunition at the guns," Phraner said. "There we were, the Japanese dropping bombs over us and we had no ammo. All the training and practicing ... and when the real thing came we had no ammunition where we needed it."

But this fact saved his life. His gun captain pointed to him and told him to go aft and bring up ammunition from the magazines.   More



USS Arizona burning at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941

Related Links
USS Arizona Memorial  
Earth Observing 1Satellite - Aerial View  
Naval Historical Center - Pearl Harbor Raid
Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration
National Archives and Records Admin
The Coast Guard During Attack
Hickam Air Force Base
Library of Congress: "Man-on-the-Street"
Americans Remember Pearl Harbor
U.S. Navy in Hawaii
A Grateful Nation Remembers
 Site Map   Privacy & Security Notice   About DoD   External Link Disclaimer   Web Policy   About DefenseLINK   FirstGov.gov