Second-deadliest attack on U.S. soil
The surprise Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was catastrophic, surpassed only by Sept. 11, 2001 casualties. The following losses resulted:
• 2,340 military killed
• 1,143 military wounded
• 48 civilians killed
• 35 civilians wounded
• Nine submariners killed
• One submariner captured
• Four battleships sunk
• Four battleships damaged including one run aground
• Two destroyers sunk, one damaged
• One other ship sunk, three damaged
• Three cruisers damaged
• 164 aircraft destroyed
• 159 aircraft damaged
Source: www.nps.gov and en.wikipedia.org
December is not just a month for joyous holiday celebration, it also is a time to observe Pearl Harbor’s somber anniversary. The Disabled American Veterans will commemorate the tragic attack on Pearl Harbor at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Fred L. Ginter American Legion Post #168 on West Highway 84 in Hinesville. Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is officially observed Dec. 7.
Several Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to attend the ceremony, said DAV member Walter Helmick. He said Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Kevin Milton will speak at the observance and Bradwell Institute’s ROTC Honor Guard will post the colors.
“A member of the 3rd Infantry Division band will play taps and sing our national anthem,” DAV commander Garlon Penland said. “We’ll have the original newscast played and the original newspaper (story) displayed.”
A reception will follow the observance, Penland added.
Sadly, World War II veterans are passing away in greater numbers, and that includes those who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, like the late Jack White. White, a Ludowici resident, passed away earlier this year, Penland said. White spoke to the Courier in November 2009 about his experiences.
“It was unbelievable. We didn’t think it was possible to be attacked,” White had said. “It was 7:55 a.m. when the first wave came. I had on a brand new uniform I’d never worn. By the time we got through that day the uniform was nothing but trash.”
Penland, a Vietnam veteran, lost two first cousins in the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was “less than a year old” at the time, he said.
“One served on the USS Arizona and one on the California,” Penland recalled. “So we have a lot of photographs taken of Pearl Harbor (during) that event.”
Penland’s five oldest brothers served in World War II and one brother served in Korea. He had 10 brothers and two sisters. The family’s home was the Cherokee Indian reservation in Cherokee, N.C., he said.
Until 9/11, Pearl Harbor bore the grim distinction of being the attack on U.S. soil with the most casualties, Penland said.
“More than 2,000 American citizens were killed and more than 1,000 were injured,” according to www.timeanddate.com. “The Americans also lost a large proportion of their battle ships and nearly 200 aircraft that were stationed in the Pacific region.”
In comparison, 2,740 Americans died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to answers.google.com.