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Eye Witness Accounts of the Bombing of Hickam AFB

The stories of a number of survivors of the December 7, 1941 bombing of Hickam Air Force Base.

“It was interesting. For ten days just before the attack, the base was on full alert. It seemed as though they were expecting something to happen. No one was allowed to leave the base during this alert. The Saturday before the bombing attack, the alert was lifted. Saturday night a wealthy Japanese banker held a big party for the officers at the officer’s club. As I look back on it, it seems as if it were all planned in advance.”

Jessie Reed Seyle
Wife of Lt. Stanley Jennings Reed

 

“We had been on Alert for two weeks but that was called off on December 6, 1941. That night being a Saturday we went up to Wheeler Field to visit some friends of ours in the 19th Fighter Squadron, who had also been on Alert. We had long talked about the reason for the Alert and were agreed that if we went to war it would be with the Russians.

We returned home late that night and at about five to eight AM we heard a loud explosion coming from Pearl Harbor way. I got up and looked out the shades and saw that one of the large oil storage tanks at Pearl was puffing out a lot of black smoke. I told my wife it looked like it might have leaked and exploded. Just then a plane came over shooting its guns and so low I could see it was a Zero with the Rising Sun on it. I said to my wife. “get up we are at war”. I could then hear a number of bullets bouncing off our tile roof. By then we could hear and see the havoc taking place at Pearl which was only about 5,600 yards away. During this time our friend at Wheeler Field called to say they were being attacked and that she had been shot at while going to a friends to use the phone”.

Wallace S. Martin Jr.
Pilot with the 19th Transport Squadron
Living at the corner of 5th and Beard at Hickam Field

 

 

“Once out of the hall, I became aware of the booming noise coming from the direction of Pearl Harbor. I attached no special significance to the noise, since there was frequent gunnery and bombing practice in the area. I paused momentarily to watch aircraft that were circling over Pearl Harbor. As I watched, one aircraft banked sharply to the right revealing a red disk on the underside of the wing. At that moment the awful truth dawned on me; Pearl Harbor was being attacked by Japanese aircraft! It soon became evident that Pearl Harbor was not to be the only target.”

Carlos F. McCuiston
19th Transport Squadron

 

 

“ It was early in the morning, when three of us, who had breakfast, were sitting around on one of the fellows bed, talking about things in general. We heard an airplane fly over very low making a loud engine noise. One of the fellows said “ It looks like the Navy is practicing dive bombing again”. In less than a minute later, we heard the same airplane sound then an explosion. Since the explosion was unusual, we all walked outside to see what was going on. We passed through the doors of Wing E and were standing on the stair landing, looking toward Wing F. A bomb hit Hangar #7, and exploded. The concussion of the blast blew the three of us off the landing and into a prickly cactus plant. As we got up, one of the fellows said “ What the Hell is going on?” Immediately we heard the squadron First Sergeant yelling,

“ Everybody out, the Dam Japs are bombing us.”

We ran onto the street and short distant away was the Parade Grounds where everyone thought they would not bomb us there. As I was half way across the Parade Grounds, a Japanese plane flew over very low with the pilot and rear gunner quite visible. The Rising Sun Insignia was very plainly visible on the side of the airplane.

The Parade Ground began to fill up with men coming out of the barracks, some of them only had their underwear on. Immediately a Japanese plane came down and started to strafe the Parade Grounds. Men were falling and running in all directions with me heading for the new wooden barracks across the way. I stayed there for a short time watching some men shooting at the Japanese planes with 45 caliber pistols. I left the area to return to the large barracks as I worked in the Supply Room.

On my way back, I walked toward the Hangar Line wanting to see the airplanes that were burning. I stopped and turned back to my original destination. At the same time, a flight of high level bombers came over and bombed us again. I ran toward the large barracks thinking they may be safer. I was later told that I had just left. Some men were killed because of the splinters that flew around when the bombs exploded. From then on, it was known as Splinter City.

I returned to the large barracks and reported to the supply room. The supply sergeant told me to get busy and start passing out rifles and ammunition to the men from our squadron. While in the supply room, another wave of bombers came over and a bomb exploded between Wing E and F, shaking the building. Within a minute, a person came running in saying “ I need some help, the Lieutenant has been hit”. I went with him to the Mess Hall and we picked up Lt. Malcolm J. Brummwell ( Lt. Crittenden), our Squadron Adjutant.

We carried him to the supply room and laid him on the counter. He was bleeding across the chest and moaned from the pain. At this time, there were about five people in the supply room and one called the hospital for an ambulance. In a short time it came to the front of the building and we were told to bring the Lieutenant out. We slid him off the counter and he fell toward me. Another fellow and I carried the injured Lieutenant to the ambulance and laid him on a stretcher. The driver and another fellow slid him in and they turned toward me. The driver, thinking I was wounded also because of all the blood on my shirt, said “Take it easy now and get into the ambulance”. I said there is nothing wrong with me. He replied, “ I know, I know” and began to force me inside where the Lieutenant was lying. I went into the vehicle, crawled over the driver’s seat and went out through the door. As I walked away from the ambulance, the driver, thinking I was in shock, began chasing me yelling for me to come back. He soon gave up, returning to the ambulance and drove the injured man to the hospital. We later learned that he died from the injuries he received in the chest.

As I returned to the supply room, an injured soldier was sitting with his back against the wall near the stairs. He said, “Please help me”. His abdomen was bleeding badly and his trousers were soaked with blood. I looked at him and said “I’ll get you some water”. As I ran into the building, toward the water fountain, I noticed I had nothing to put the water in. Running into the supply room, I asked for a mess cup or anything to get the injured man some water.

Picking up a cup, I filled it with water and ran out only to see the man being taken away on a stretcher.

 The roof of the barracks was burning, there was smoke everywhere and the smell of burnt power in the air. The airplanes on the hangar line were burning, there was debris and dirt from the bombs scattered everywhere. I turned and saw a man from our squadron named Bernard Mulcahy. He looked at me and said, “Bernie, I can’t believe what is happening”. He replied, It’s happening, you know Bill, we lived more in the past two hours than we did in our last nineteen years.

We both walked back into the building which was getting thick with smoke from the building roof. I had a 45 caliber pistol in the supply room and picked it up along with a belt and three clips of ammunition. There was talk around about another raid and an invasion. We walked into the mess hall and it was a shambles. Someone mentioned that we would have to move into the mountains and fight off the Japanese.

Invasion talk was everywhere, our Squadron was scattered all around. It was obvious we could not use the barracks because of the smoke and burning odor. As we walked away from the mess hall, I noticed someone brought out a five gallon pail of Maraschino Cherries in syrup, and several five pound packages of American Cheese. Thinking we would have to go to the mountains to fight, we both took a piece of the cheese and I placed two handfuls of the syrupy cherries in my pocket. I picked up my steel helmet and began walking away from the barracks.

Everyone was walking around trying to find people from their outfit. In the entire afternoon, I do not recall meeting anyone from our squadron. As it began to get dark, I ran into a cook standing outside a wooden building. He said I should stay around until the next day. There was a cot in the building and I would have something to eat. I did, and while lying on the cot, I had the 45 pistol near my head ready for any Japanese that came by.

The following day I found a few of our men and they told me we were regrouping in the school house near the water tower. As I went there, I met more people from our squadron, picked up a rifle and was assigned to guard duty at the Post Exchange where all the windows were blown out by the bombs. We remained in the schoolhouse building for several days until a new roof was being placed on the large barracks. After a short time, we were allowed to return to our original quarters in Wing E but could only use the first and second floors. The third floor remained unoccupied.”

William Melnyk
U.S. Army Air Corp
Headquarters Squadron,
17th Air Base Group
Hickam Field, Hawaii

 

 

“The first planes I saw were skimming at rooftop level over our barracks. We could clearly see the rising sun on their wings. The pilots and gunners could be seen looking around. I couldn’t believe that we were being assaulted so far from Japan! An Air Force, middle-aged Sergeant came running toward us shouting for us to take cover and hollering out that he was in World War I and knew what he was talking about. He cried out, “We’re at War! We’re at War!”

The men began to disperse. I made a run for the supply room about 10 yards behind the barracks. Sgt. Owen, the Supply Sergeant, slept inside and he was ready to issue equipment, dressed in his underwear. I was first in line to check-out one of the dozen or so Springfield rifles. Owen passed me a rifle, steel helmet, and a bandolier of 30 caliber ammunition. John Strickland and Sanford Garrett were also waiting for a weapon. Both of these men had previous infantry service in Panama. As I started to rush out into the melee, Owen called me back and ordered that I read off the serial number of the rifle before getting out. I felt insecure inside the wooden building, not being able to see the planes coming to take evasive action. We had been training to obey orders so we had no choice but to give serial numbers while expecting to be blown to bits any minute.

Strickland and Garrett were right along the side of me as we ran outside, where I made an alarming discovery – I did not know how to load the rifle!

As an electrician, I had been trained to use a 45 pistol. I had the bolt back trying to load without success. I shouted to Garrett and Strickland to help me. By now machine gun bullets were slamming into the area; jagged bomb shrapnel was falling all around us. As I put my helmet on, Strickland held my rifle while Garrett showed me how to force the clip of bullets into the magazine. Two years in the Army and I couldn’t load a Springfield! Although I was reared with rifles and shotguns and fancied myself a crack shot, I simply didn’t know how to get the rounds in the magazine. I’m sure my lesson on the Springfield was the quickest in military history. Targets were everywhere by now. I leveled at a banking “Jap” plane, leading him like I had done quail many times in the field at home. The rifle jumped as the high-powered shell exploded and went after the “Jap” plane. I quickly got off the first clip of five rounds. By now Strickland and Garrett had loaded and three of us kept up steady firing on the planes. How much good we did will never be known, but we had the satisfaction of “fighting back”.

“I saw the planes strafing and bombing the base. I saw them strafing people who were on the roads. The planes would swoop down so low we could see the pilot’s goggles.”

William F. Rudder Sr.

“ I observed several people set up a machine gun at one end of the Parade Ground. Within a matter of minutes they were knocked out of action. Another group attempted to get the gun in action and again they were knocked out. The effort of a few brave men to defend the base was doomed from the beginning as Japanese aircraft were circling overhead at such altitude as would enable the pilots to observe anything going on, on base. This, of course, was why the people were unable to get the gun in action.”

Carlos F. McCuiston
19th Transport Squadron
1st Sgt.

 

“Since the planes seemed to be approaching the end of the hanger line, I decided to cross the runway toward the trees bordering the field. I had just crossed the runway and started across a taxi strip which had B-18’s lined up wing tip to wing tip, when a Japanese fighter plane started strafing the planes. I stood and watched as B-18 after B-18 caught fire from being hit. I saw someone in a B-18 moving the nose turret and firing at the fighter plane. As the fighter approached, a burst from it’s guns hit the B-18 turret and it exploded. The fighter kept firing and swung slightly toward me with the bullets hitting the ramp and coming straight toward where I was lying under the wing of a B-18. Just before they got to me the plane stopped firing, pulled up, made 180 degree turn, dove down and started strafing the B-18’s lined up on an intersection taxi strip. I crossed the taxi strip and into the trees off the edge of the field and stayed there until the raid had ended.

I suddenly realized that I had not had any breakfast and was hungry, so I proceeded to the Officers Club where someone was passing out sandwiches.”

Lee E. Metcalfe

 

“Leaning on my right elbow, I continued to watch a formation of planes high overhead; then I heard the second explosion. Their flight path would take them over the Big Barracks and over the 19th area. I buried my face in the dirt as the third explosion sounded. I wasn’t counting after that. I was just aware that each successive explosion was nearer to me than the preceding one. Then a deafening blast seemed to lift me off the ground. That was the last one ! Later I would step off seventeen paces from where that last bomb hit, in the middle of the street, to where I was lying.”

Carlos F. McCuiston
19th Transport Squadron
1st Sgt.

 

We rushed out toward the Post Exchange restaurant in time to see it blasted. Concrete and fragments were flying all around us. A bomb fragment about 12 inches long landed at my feet. It was still smoking from the heat of the exploding bomb. To our right, the post theater (a big wooden structure) went up in a cloud of splinters and flames, we had to back up to escape the terrific heat the trade winds pushed in our faces. I could see cars rushing off the field carrying the dependents of military personnel. It was comforting to see women and children being evacuated.

William F. Rudder, Sr.

 

“By now, perhaps 30 to 45 minutes into the attack, Hickam Field seemed to be ablaze. Most of the smoke and flames appeared to be coming from the flight line. Pearl Harbor was a mass of smoke and flames”.

Carlos F. McCuiston
19th Transport Squadron
1st Sgt.

 

 

“ After the last explosion, I jumped up and turned to run, hoping to find better shelter before the next bombs fell. As it turned out, that was the last of the bombing. As I turned. I saw two airmen lying face down just a few feet from me. One had both legs severed at the buttocks. His blood had soaked the ground where he lay. The second had a massive head wound. Some object had passed through his head from the left temple area to just above the right ear. His brains were lying on the ground. Both were dead.”

Carlos F. McCuiston
1st Sgt.
19th Transport Squadron

 

 

"The men, watching from the doorway, applauded us shouting, You got him, you got him!” I hoped we did. However, others fired on him as he unloaded over the big barracks and the parade ground. The planE crashed on Fort Kam. About noon I went over to see it. I climbed up on the wing, blood was smeared down the wing where the pilot was pulled out. I noticed his radio had “Philco” tubes!

William F. Rudder, Sr.

 

 

"I went on duty at 7:00, maybe a little later, with Irene Boyd. We had six nurses at Hickam; Ann fox was our Chief Nurse, Sally Entrikin, Winnie Mallett, Kathleen Coberly, and Monica. That’s it. Anyway two were off duty and two were on, and we were working A.M. and P.M. during those days. We had just opened our hospital on November 15th. So, we didn’t have mattresses on all of the beds and were just getting equipped. We had a few patients with cellulitis, and one with pneumonia.

"I reported on with Irene and then, in a little while, we heard this plane. It was losing altitude, and Sgt. Patton was at the desk, the nurse’s desk, asking me for an aspirin or something. We both just stopped suddenly and stared at each other, and we said we thought a plane crashed. Then bang!

"We ran out on the porch overlooking the matte, as we called it. It was the parade ground, and the flag was here near the runway. About that time, all hell broke loose. I ran to Irene, and I said, “Oh! Irene,” and she said, What are you all excited about.” About that time, I saw the rising sun on these planes that were flying low, and I said, “My God, Irene. It’s the Japs.” She said. “Oh, Monica, we’re having maneuvers. You know the fleet is in, and you saw them last night.” But, in the meantime, the realization did set in, and I ran down to see Major Lane who was our C.O at the time. He was on the telephone, and I said, “ Oh, Major Lane. Is it the real McCoy?” He just nodded his head in the affirmative and then I started to get the patients down.

"Oh, these were the patients who were coming in with limbs off, practically dead from having hemorrhaged. There were just all kinds of wounds and blood and dust from the building that exploded on them. Some had machine gun and bomb fragment wounds. They were just butchered. We were trying to relieve their pain and their shock. We just went around giving that morphine in those 10 c.c. syringes, filling them up from the flask, just going from one to the other. We did try to tag them. Then they would just load them in trucks and ambulances and off they would go. They were in terrible condition and may have died. Some were brought in dead, and we put them out at the rear of the hospital and covered them up.

“ We heard this plane. It was losing altitude, and …we both just stopped suddenly and stared at each other    there was a bang! I saw the rising sun on the planes. The bombs were getting closer and closer .. one 500lb bomb fell on the hospital lawn, …. The whole hospital shook! In a split second someone yelled. “ Down everybody!” and we fell wherever we were, crouching, waiting for the next minute – the next bomb to kill us all!”

2Lt. Monica Conter, Army Nurse Corps

“Talked to Lt. Monica Conter (nurse here at Hickam). She, nor any of them, had had any rest for over 30 hours. They laid victims on the porch floor for first aid. Many died, even while she was extracting the hypo needle! The blood actually ran on the floor. She showed me where it came up over the soles on her shoes. Marie (nurse at Tripler) said many came in holding his arm or leg! – completely severed, but hating to leave it! Others came with an arm or leg off; both legs and an arm; and some with all limbs gone! All these fellows were still conscious, and cussing the Japs!!”

Lt. Philip C. Sprawls

 

 

“Inside the hospital, doctors, staff, and volunteers were overwhelmed by the ferocity of the attack and the number of wounded flooding the facility.

"There were only six of us nurses, and we couldn’t possibly begin to take care of all the wounded and dying men. The decision was made to treat patients with first-aid-type care and send them to Tripler General Hospital in ambulances. Soon there weren’t enough ambulances so the local people drove patients in their cars”.

 2Lt. Sara Entrikin, Army Nurse Corps

 

 

“We ducked under the operating tables as the bombs fell, dropping our scalpels. There was no time to change hypodermic needles. This was a case of giving relief from pain as fast as possible.”

1Lt. Robert T. Garrett, MD AAF Medical Corps

 

 

“We were now in the driveway of the hospital. The scene could have been lifted from the Atlanta hospital scene in “Gone with the Wind”. The hospital was already filled and the overflow was lying all over the hallways and lawn. The horseshoe driveway was filled bumper to bumper with trucks and ambulances, all filled with the dead and wounded. The small new hospital had just opened and had neither equipment, doctors, or nurses to handle this flood. Little, if anything, could be done for the scores of wounded who sat or laid quietly around. Many were airman who walked in from the field after their planes were destroyed.

"We left the airman we brought in on the grass. I could not bear to look at him as I felt he was going to die.

" A young doctor and nurse came out of the hospital door and shouted.

“Don’t unload any more, we are full.” He was clearly frantic from the impossible task facing him and the small staff on duty. The planes were still pounding the hangar and barracks area. Their machine guns never seemed to run out of bullets. Fortunately, by now, most of the men had found some form of protection. To the everlasting credit of the Japanese pilots, they did not bomb the hospital, which was clearly marked with a huge red cross on the roof. If they had, it would have been a terrible slaughter, since all the wounded and many rescuers were congregated in and around it.

"From somewhere, the young Captain (Doctor) produced a pint of whiskey and with shaky hands wrung off the cap. He took a gulping drink then handed it to the young Army Nurse. My thought was, “How can he drink that stuff straight out of the bottle and before breakfast?!”

"The nurse followed suit. While I felt this was not womanly, I felt no less respect for her at the time.

"A medical sergeant came running out of the hospital door shouting “Take them to Tripler, Take them to Tripler.” Tripler General Hospital was in Honolulu and was the largest military hospital in the islands. The lead trucks and ambulances in the driveway started pulling out. About four vehicles back, the line stopped. An ambulance was not moving. The doctor and I ran up to urge him to go on and get the line moving. The doctor stuck his head in the door. The red-headed young driver had his head in his arms resting on the steering wheel. The doctor grabbed him by the hair and pulled his hair up. No wonder he didn’t pull out. His face looked like raw hamburger. Blood covered his khaki shirt to his waist. One look and the doctor ordered two nearby men to pull the driver in with the wounded he had brought in the ambulance. He did not say a word or make any expression. I believe he was in shock. The driver lay limp on top of the others in his own ambulance without the benefit of a stretcher”.

William F. Rudder, Sr.

 

“I was put on a detail which was to pick up bodies and load them on a truck and deliver them to the Base Hospital grounds. The sight of those bodies on the green grass, against the backdrop of the new white hospital building, presented an awesome sight. The realization that these were recently live human beings made me wonder what this tragic result was going to do to the parents and love ones at home”.

Russell J. Tener

 

 “ I saw a B-17 coming in to land with gear down and a Japanese fighter on his tail shooting at him. The B-17 was trying to out run the fighter and was going too fast to land so he pulled up and went around for another approach with the fighter staying on his tail firing a burst whenever in position to do so. The B-17 landed hot and as it was braked to a stop a bust from the fighter set it afire just ahead of the vertical stabilizer. The crew ran from the plane as it burned in two and sagged in the middle. Shortly thereafter the Japanese planes completed the first part of the raid and left Hickam was left with burning aircraft and smoking buildings.”

Lee E. Metcalfe

 

 

“ A flight of B-17’s was landing during the raid, as one of them rolled down the runway. The Japs strafed it and the rear of the plane caught fire. It came to a stop almost in front of the control tower, with its complete tail section missing, aft the waist in the nose high attitude.”

Joseph M. Leukuma
Mechanic
19th Transport Squadron

 

 

“…a young medical officer who had arrived with the B-17 bombers from the States during the raid. When I first noticed him he was sitting on the stairs to the second story of the hospital. I suppose the reason that my attention was called to him was that he was dressed in a winter uniform which we never wore in the Islands, and had the insignia of a medical officer on his lapels. He had a wound in the face and when I went to take care of him he said he was all right and pointed to the casualties on the litters on the floor and said, “ take care of them”. I told him I would get him on the next ambulance going to Tripler General Hospital, which I did. The next day I heard that he had died after arriving at Tripler.”

"The five hundred pound bomb which landed on the hospital lawn appeared to be one of a chain dropped from altitude and apparently meant for a ball diamond a short distance away. I have heard that the reason that the ball diamond was bombed was that the original plans for Hickam Field called for the underground gasoline storage being located under it and the Japanese had this plan.

Major Frank H. Lane, Commander Hickam Field Hospital
7 December 1941

 

 

“ Down everybody, ….somebody said “ there went headquarters, we could hear the bombs falling off in the distance. The bomb that fell just prior to the one hitting headquarters made a huge crater. A few weeks later they planted a tree. A little sprig in the crater, but the hole was there.

I went back 25 years later, and it would take 6 people to put their arms around that tree. It was a huge banyan tree, and that tree is there to this day.”

2Lt. Monica Conter, Army Nurse Corps

 

 

“ I then got into my car, a new 1941 Plymouth and drove down to the hangers to see what I could do. Our hanger was #17 and was next to the Hawaiian Air Depot, it had been hit by bombs and was a mess. A plane that was parked in front of our hanger had taken a direct hit and was on fire”.

Wallace S. Martin Jr.
 Pilot with the 19th Transport Squadron
Living at the corner of 5th and Beard at Hickam Field

 

“I ran toward a burning Ford sedan near the “snake ranch” another name for the “War College”. I had noticed it from the back of our truck on the way to the hospital. The upholstery had burned out and the paint was peeling from the drivers’ side door. The burning smell of flesh should have told me I could not help the men inside. The passenger was bent over forward. His clothes were burned off and his skin in a condition I shall not attempt to describe here. The driver will leave a picture in my mine forever. The car had been strafed and set afire. The driver was sitting behind the steering wheel still clutching a Thompson machine gun. His face was burned horribly and burned black skin outlined his facial bones. At my feet was a section of his skull and black hair. The wood stock of his gun was burned almost off and was still burning. If a report had to be made it would simply be :“Two soldiers in a black Ford Sedan, one had black hair, both burned beyond recognition”.

William F. Rudder, Sr.

 

 

“Due to the condition of the barracks and because of the still persistent rumors of “invading Jap troops”, many of us were told to billet elsewhere. A group of us were quartered that night in the elementary school on the back of Hickam Field overlooking the Pearl Harbor channel. At this point my mind becomes hazy as to why we were sent there. Being a private, I was not privy to what the top enlisted ranks had been instructed to do. Perhaps it was to act as observers for enemy activity which would have come in that direction because it faced the direction of Barbers Point, the rumored landing area.

"A few hours after darkness had set in and, of course, blackout conditions prevailed, one could easily see the tracers from random machine gun fire which was occurring by trigger-happy gunners. Then, suddenly, the landing lights of aircraft flying in from sea lit up the dark sky. Immediately there was a barrage of firing making tracers clearly evident as they sped toward the planes. Somehow I knew that the planes were friendly; why I did so, I can’t explain, except that I felt all along that someone had been able to take off from one of our airfields after the sneak attack ended. The direction of the intended landing was toward Pearl Harbor and this made me realize that they must be Navy planes. There was much excitable shouting from all around by those of us who somehow knew that these were friendly aircraft, but there was no hope of stopping the emotionally charged trigger-happy gunners who could have been firing from all points of the island. Suddenly, there was one terrific explosion after another, until all three aircraft fell in balls of flames which lit up the dark night. I assumed that the planes were Navy PBY’s but I never got the opportunity to verify this; however, we did learn that they were, in fact, U.S. Navy planes.

"The aforementioned rumored enemy troop landing never did take place, I’m happy to say, thus proving it was just that – rumor!

Russell J. Tener

 

 

“When the firing subsided, we surfaced and spent the rest of the night outside the building listening to intermittent gun fire; everyone seemed to be trigger-happy. Reports were coming over the teletype and radios that the Japanese were landing all over Oahu and that  paratroopers were dropped at Hickam. The idea of paratroopers coming kept us all in a state of anxiety for the rest of the night. We later found out that the planes were Navy planes from the Enterprise and that some were shot down.

"As I look back to the events of that day. I know that I didn’t perform any heroics; however, every one of the 324th Signal Company performed the duties for which they were trained without question, and I am proud to have been a part of that organization. As a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, I am often asked what ship I was on. When I reply that I wasn’t on a ship but was stationed at Hickam Field, I am usually asked, where is Hickam Field?”

"The Japanese certainly knew”.

Thomas J. Pillion
Private
324th Signal Company
Hickam Field

 

 

“After the attack, we went to the Squadron Headquarters where we were told to dig trenches near our quarters, black out our quarters with blankets, give a password and told to shoot if necessary. Shooting seemed to go on all night.

"I was called to Headquarters during the night, perhaps because I had at one time held a commission in the Infantry Reserve. Rumors were flying. They had reports of paratroops being dropped, for which I was queried? I advised “impossible” a plane carrying paratroops could not take off from a carrier”.

Wallace S. Martin Jr.
Pilot with the 19th Transport Squadron
Living at the corner of 5th and Beard at Hickam Field

 

 

“The base was really a lot of confusion. Japanese planes were swarming everywhere. There was so much noise. The noise was terrible. I wouldn’t want to ever experience that again.

"When we got into the mountains we saw lots of other families from the base up there.  In the home where we stayed there were 25 people.

"There in the mountains we could hear the bombing very clearly. At night we could see the fires from buildings, planes and ships on fire.

"We weren’t too far, about 10 miles from the base. There was a radio up there and we kept the radio on to hear news about the base and instructions as to what to do. All of us had a big pot of stew for supper, they made room for everybody.

"The very next day after getting into the mountains, some had gone back to their homes on base to get diapers and clothing for their children. I wanted to do the same. So we returned. When we got to the front gate of the base, I told them that I wanted to get some things from the house for the children. We lived two miles from the gate.  We were told that we could have only 15 minutes before we had to be back off the base. When I got back to our house, my husband was in the bathroom shaving. He had gotten better, so had returned to the base. He helped me gather some things for the children, clothes, toys etc. and I picked up some mementos and returned to the mountains.”

Jessie Reed Seyle
Wife of Lt. Stanley Jennings Reed

 

 

“ Some days later Lt. Turner and I visited the morgue to try and identify the squadron dead. The dead were in plain wooden boxes, naked; many with no obvious wounds. This would support the belief that some were killed by concussion. I kept thinking that most appeared much younger than thirty-two years. As I walked among the dead, the thought occurred to me, that perhaps in view of the expected invasion, they were better off than those of us who survived the initial attack.”

Carlos F. McCuiston
19th Transport Squadron
1st Sgt.


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