Readers share Pearl Harbor stories |

Readers share Pearl Harbor stories

James Winford Berry
Courtesy |

Ultimate sacrifice paid at Pearl Harbor

My wife’s Uncle, James Winford Berry, was aboard the USS Arizona on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. James is one of 1,177 Sailors and Marines forever entombed within the USS Arizona.

James enlisted into the Navy Oct. 7, 1940, and reported to the USS Arizona Dec. 9, 1940, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

On Dec. 7, 1941, James Berry was 26 years old. His battle station was in the engineering spaces, and there he remains on duty within the haul of the USS Arizona (BB-39).

Visiting the memorial for the first time was a vivid reminder of the sacrifices for which my wife’s uncle and many others made on this day in history.

Gary and Pam Ludwig


Heroes who served truly were Greatest Generation

News of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached my hometown of Eureka, Nev., in the late morning. I was 10 years old.

Feb. 16, 1920 — George Bostic was born in Bend, Ore. He grew to manhood there graduating high school in 1938.

The Great Depression was to determine the direction of George’s life. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy July 23, 1940.

His first assigned ship was the heavy cruiser, USS New Orleans. He was received on board Oct. 22, 1940. The cruiser was part of the Hawaiian detachment unit which had been operating in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor since 1939.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the vessel was in dry dock undergoing repairs. With the crew was Chaplain H.M. Forgy, who is credited with the phrase: “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” as they used the ship’s available resources to counter the attack. The New Orleans survived with no structural damage or casualties.

The NO-BOAT, as it was known to its crew, continued participation in World War II in the engagements of the Coral Sea and Midway, the Solomons and Guadalcanal. It was at Guadalcanal that a Japanese torpedo severed the ship’s bow resulting in a “miracle” voyage to Sydney, Australia, for repair.

When George left the NO-BOAT in 1943, he reflected on the horrors of war and how lucky he had been to survive unscathed — so many had given so much.

He was honorably discharged in 1948. He had served on five ships, he was awarded seven medals, and he was granted the rank of Chief Quartermaster, and his navigational experience led to a career in the field of meteorology.

P.S. I met George Bostic in 1981 and was privileged to share a few short years with him as his wife before his death in 1986. I was to learn he possessed the attributes of those who serve. Oh, yes! Just one of that great generation!

Claire Bostic

Carson City

A tale of two families

The Whites

Dr. Bruce E., Grace and Bruce H. White had lived in Honolulu since 1935. Grandfather was a professor at the University of Hawaii. Grandmother was a homemaker, very active in University social functions, and my father was a student at Roosevelt High School.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, they heard the news on the radio at their Manoa Valley home. All three went immediately to the Red Cross to give blood and Grandmother became active doing volunteer work.

My father has told stories of living as a civilian under Martial Law. There were blackouts, curfews and everybody had to carry ID cards. In 1942, he enlisted in the Merchant Marine Cadet Corps.

The Simpsons

Howard (Papa,) Jimada (Honey) and Paula had lived in Hawaii since 1926. Papa was a biology teacher and football coach at Lahainaluna High School on Maui. My mother was born in Lahaina. In 1930, the family moved to Honolulu. Papa became a Juvenile Court Probation Officer. He was also a reservist in the Army.

In September 1941, Papa was called to active duty and they moved to Hickam Field. Honey recalled there being no dawn patrol on the morning of Dec. 7. She also recalled that the Japanese planes were flying so low she could see the faces of the pilots. Papa threw on his Captain’s uniform and left for headquarters. Honey and Paula fled to Honolulu and in February 1942, sailed in a military convoy to the mainland.

When the war ended, Honey and Paula returned to Honolulu to be reunited with Papa. Paula graduated from University of Hawaii where she met my father.

Linda Whitesides

Carson City

Attack thrusts nation into shock

House-shaking explosions woke me early that life-changing morning.

I was 14, still adjusting to my family’s recent move from our longtime home in Honolulu to Hickam Field and my new status as a military dependent.

My dad, a reserve Army officer since his graduation from college in 1926, had been called to active duty in September and promoted to Captain in the Army Air Corps. Most mornings since then I had awakened at 6:00 to a bugle playing Reveille. But not today.

I jumped out of bed, fully awake, and ran to my parents’ bedroom. Through their window we could see the planes with the Japanese Rising Sun painted on their sides. We were being attacked! This was the real thing!

My dad was hurriedly pulling on his uniform. My mother had just run up the stairs to be sure we were all right. About that time we looked out the window in time to see bombs hit a destroyer speeding through the nearby Pearl Harbor Channel, trying to get to the open ocean.

My dad jumped in the car and sped off to report to headquarters. He told us later of the many airmen killed, attempting to run to their planes, and of the destroyed barracks and other buildings. Fortunately, our housing area was not bombed, but it was strafed. We found bullet holes later.

After the attack someone drove my mother and me to a friend’s home in Honolulu. We knew my father was safe because he managed to call us sporadically, but we were overjoyed when he appeared 10 days later and returned with us to Hickam.

Much of that experience is a dazzling series of flashback shots. And I realize now that I was in shock — like the rest of the nation.

Paula Brown

Carson City

Dayton man stationed in Hawaii during attack

I enlisted in the Army Air Corps Dec. 11, 1939, assigned to the 22nd Material Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii, as a machinist.

There were 28 killed on Dec. 7, 1941 in the 22nd Material Squadron. The Material Squadron had the most casualties at Hickam Field.

Five months after the raid, I returned to the mainland and attended flight school to become a pilot in the Army Air Corps.

I flew P-38s at Peterson Field, Colo. I transferred to B-25s at Greenville, S.C.

I flew 22 low-level attack missions over the Aegean Sea and 40 medium-altitude bombing missions from Corsica, with a total of 62 combat missions. I served in both Pacific and European theaters.

I retired from the U.S. Air Force in July 1960 after 21 years of service with many assignments worldwide.

Robert Lloyd