Remember Pear Harbor — “Keep America Alert” is the slogan adopted by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc. and appears at the bottom of its national stationary. My family was living in the state of Texas when the Pearl Harbor attack took place on Dec. 7, 1941, and even though I was only 9 years old at the time, I vividly remember the turmoil of that day.
Several years ago, while having coffee at the City Bakery Coffee Shop in Carson City, I noticed an elderly gentleman wearing a “Pearl Harbor survivor” ball cap. I introduced myself, and asked him to wait there a few minutes as I had something to give him.
After a quick trip home and back, I returned with an item that had been given to me many years before. It was a 5 1/2-inch aircraft piston. Engraved on the outside head was, “William R. Baker — A.M.M. 3/c — NAS Pearl Harbor — T.H. — Dec. 7, 1941 — 0755 a.m. — Made in Japan finished at the battle of Pearl Harbor.”
I told the gentleman at the coffee shop that I had tried in vain to locate William R. Baker over the years, and perhaps his survivors group might like to have the piston. He was very appreciative of the donation and introduced me to several other members of his group who were from California PHSA Chapter No. 31.
Several months later, I received correspondence from the Office of the National Storekeeper of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc. stating the piston had been authenticated as being from a Japanese aircraft. The letter also stated the piston would be on display at all the National Conventions of PHSA, and would eventually be a permanent display item at the USS Arizona Memorial Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Today, I hope we can all take a moment to remember the survivors and those brave men and women who perished at the battle of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. May God bless them, and “Keep America Alert.”
RMC Emory L. Crews, United States Coast Guard (Ret.), is a Carson City resident.