Pearl Harbor speech.

| December 7, 2012

This was suppose to be the speech that I was going to give at the Unit Ball tomorrow. My original plan was to have it videoed so everyone of you can hear how awful I sound in person. But long story short, is that I will have a speaking role and my speech was voted of the island for a altered version. But I wanted to offer something now since there is a very good chance that I will not have time to post tomorrow. Also that this is the only way that my speech will see the light of day outside a few people in my unit. Oh and I take full credit for any and all grammatical mistakes found.


That was the message that was received on this the seventy first anniversary of the day of infamy. On this day the Naval base of Pearl Harbor and other military facilities on the territory of Hawaii were attacked by an aviation strike force of Imperial Navy of Japan. In less than six hours the Island of Hawaii was hit by a coordinated attack of over three hundred Dive bombers, Torpedo bombers and escorting fighters. The attack crippled or sank the majority of the warships moored at Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma sustained the heaviest losses of the twenty four hundred that perished in the attack. Many of you may have seen these images. The photo of the explosion of the main powder magazine of the USS Arizona. The image of the USS Oklahoma capsized among the flaming wreckage that used to be battleship row. The attack gave us bitter suffering and loss. It also gave us heroes to light this dark hour. Heroes such as such as Doris Miller, John William Finn and many others whose actions saved many more lives that day. Perhaps the bravest of that day were the group of three survivors who were trapped in a water tight compartment of the USS West Virginia during the attack. The Sailors survived by living off of emergency rations, flash lights, and any freshwater that could be found in the compartment. After sixteen days trapped in the sealed compartment, the three Sailors died from suffocation due to the depletion of the remaining oxygen. Their bodies were recovered by salvage crews months later. The room was littered with spent batteries and ration cans. There was also a calendar with red Xs marking of the days with the last one being December 23rd 1941. Their names were Clifford Olds age twenty, Ronald Endicott age eighteen, and Louis “Buddy” Costin age twenty one. On that infamous day, importantly not all was lost. The vital fuel and dry docks remained largely undamaged. These facilities allowed the Pacific fleet to restore damaged warships to fighting condition. Second, even more important, was that the Japanese Navy failed to destroy the Pacific Carrier Fleet. US carriers USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown would would later play lead roles at the battle of Midway the naval battle that decisively and irreversibly changed the tide of war in the Pacific in favor of the United States and Allies. Now as the 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor comes to a close, will everyone please rise and offer a moment of silence in remembrance of the fallen and the survivors who are no longer with us today.

The brief description about the fate these three that were trapped in the West Virgina can be found here. It is a short but hard at times to read about the aftermath of the attacks. But also it has a rare view of America before the winds of war blew in.

Jack Miller and his shipmate, Clifford Olds joined fellow sailor Frank Kosa for a night at the “Monkey Bar”. It was December 6, 1941 in Pearl City, Oahu, and Miller and Olds were on liberty from the USS West Virginia. A barmaid snapped their picture and offered it for sale. “What a scam” they thought-keep it. Within 10 hours, this photo was to be the last reminder of peace and the terrifying beginning of Clifford Olds demise.

Jack Miller volunteered aboard the USS Lexington and was at sea for two weeks following the attack, looking for the Japanese fleet. When he returned to Hawaii, he made a bee-line for the “Monkey Bar” and located the girl who had snapped their photo “light years” before. She found the negative and gave it to him for free out of respect. This photograph shows from left to right: Jack Miller, Frank Kosa and Clifford Olds-Camel cigarette dangling from his care-free fingers. Shipmates, and our Country are represented in this amazing picture of the last hours of peace.

Anyways I should have some photo of me and my better half dressed up from the ball later for a healthy dose of ego inflated narcissism. Oh and just to make it interesting to day, lets play a game of “lets see how many people know why we remember what happened on this date in 1941 without hints or google”. Let me know how it goes.

Category: Historical, Navy

Comments (19)

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Was stationed in Pearl for the 50th anniversary and GHWB was there for the memorial services. Ex also had relative on the Arizona.

    Seeing it every time we went over to Pearl City or taking the small boats to school on Ford Island was a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made that day.

  2. AndyFMF says:

    Several weeks ago I had to tell my Department Head and three Division Officers that today was probably not the best choice of dates for the “holiday party.” Yes, they did ask, “Why?”

  3. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Perhaps I am missing something but I see no useful purpose in describing the last days on earth of these three sailors. I truly don’t. To be sure, some men die in miserable ways in war and I need not provide illustrative examples of that truth. That there are and were men who served our nation in uniform and gave their lives in that service is enough, at least in my book, to remember them in prayerful thanks. Would we have liked a different outcome for these three? Of course. If there is solace one can take from this account, it is that these three sailors, these shipmates, had one another, right to the end.

  4. NHSparky says:

    Andy–PLEASE tell me you’re shitting me.

  5. Bob says:

    First, am proud to be a VET. My wife’s uncle enlisted in the US Navy and was a plank owner for the USS Missouri (BB-63)till the signing of surrender, even have his on board diary, amazing things they did then. All of these veterans are amazing and deserve all the honor and respects given. Thanks to all of you for your service.

  6. Sporkmaster says:

    I hate people.

    But here is something that I did not know and I was wondering it anyone had heard it.

    Also I was also seeing if anyone knows if this quote from Admiral Yamaoto was real or not.

  7. AndyFMF says:

    @4. Not one bit. The best that I could negotiate was a moment of silence and some words of remembrance before the start of the “holiday party.”

  8. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @7. Well, well, well, perhaps I was wrong and the story of the three sailors should be hardcopied and distributed to each partygoer in your office.

  9. NHSparky says:

    Negotiate? Oh, FFS. I’d have raised pure holy hell up and down the chain, starting with the CMC/XO/CO.

    That ain’t the Navy I was in, that’s for fuckin sure.

  10. AndyFMF says:

    @8. I had heard this story as a young kid, but could never find a way to track it down. Now that I have that resource, the story was immediately distributed to all 100+ of enlisted (NCOs were ordered to read it to non-NCOs).

    Thanks to Sporkmaster for the post and the link.

  11. marinewm86 says:

    Yesterday while cleaning my mothers garage I found my grandmothers program from a Christmas party held on Dec 21 1942 the progam was hand typed and had all the women in her unit listed. It says WAC Det 1, 7th Service Command Fort Riley Kansas. Also included were three pictures. If anyone has a mother or grandmother or a relative who served in this unit I will be more than happy to make copies and send this to you. I told my mother and she agrees I think I will make copies for my brothers and I and donate the orginal to the Archives of Women in Military Service or if someone has a better place to donate it to please let me know. I think this is a great piece of history for both the women who served and the Army. It also included the menu of what was served at the unit Christmas party.

  12. OldSoldier54 says:

    “… a day that will live in Infamy …”

    I Hope I get the chance to go to the Arizona and pay my respects before I go to my Maker.

  13. AndyFMF says:

    @9. Want to guess what is missing from the POD, POW, Command Calendar and Command Notes?

    It’s not even the Navy that I joined….and I enlisted because of GWOT.

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    These are links to what one Pearl Harbor survivor is doing:

    Nothing about it except a little blurb about Ray Emory in the local newspaper this morning. That’s rather sad. The Pearl Harbor Survivors have disbanded because there are so few of them left. Once they are gone, who will there be to tell their stories?

  15. NHSparky says:

    @ 13 Andy–I’d suggest then that said responsible asshats be anywhere on the Pearl Harbor base or on the USS Arizona in about 90 minutes.

    Maybe then they’ll have a clue.

  16. Ex-PH2 says:

    Sparky, before you get your shorts in a bunch, when I was in the Navy 1967 to 1974, Pearl Harbor was a few very short decades in the past and nobody said much of anything about it, even though most of the WWII vets were still around and thriving. The Vietnam war was in the news more than either Pearl Harbor or Korea.

    I think it’s brought up more now, as it should be, because the element of surprise in that attack was exactly the same as the element of surprise in the hijackings and suicide dive bombing on Sept. 11, 2001, and because the WWII vets are beginning to fade away.

  17. Ex-PH2 says:

    I guess it’s appropriate that this trainer plane from NAS Glenview, which crashed during carrier landing exercises in Lake Michigan, was recovered this week:

  18. CBSenior says:

    @6 General “Billy” Mitchel predicted that in 1925 at his Court Martial and was laughed at.

  19. beretverde says:

    @18…Mitchell was wrong. He said the Japanese would bomb at 7:30. They bombed at 7:55!