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December 7th, 1941

The seventy-seventh anniversary of “a date which will live in infamy…”

The official US Navy site on the Pearl Harbor attack.

There will be a memorial service aboard NAS Pensacola that normally features local survivors of the attack. Obviously there are fewer of them every year.


1 Badtux { 12.11.18 at 3:21 pm }

This was the first year that there were no Pearl Harbor survivors at the ceremony in Hawaii.

People with an institutional memory of total war are all pretty much gone, George H.W. Bush being the most recent famous person to leave. What that says about the future… I dunno.

2 Bryan { 12.11.18 at 10:18 pm }

Bob Dole is still around, but he looks terrible, and Kirk Douglas just had his 102nd birthday, but people from that era are few and far between. It was cold down here so even if there were survivors still in the area, they wouldn’t have been at the service held next to the Gulf aboard NAS Pensacola, usually in an open hangar.

It is unfortunate that there are so few of us who still remember what it was like living under the nuclear threat, especially the Cuban missile crisis. People who have never been in a war zone can’t appreciate how bad things can be.

3 Badtux { 12.12.18 at 12:02 am }

Talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was surprised, looking through my father’s papers, to find that he was called up for the crisis surrounding the Gary Powers shoot-down. My mother had always claimed that my father had received a compassionate discharge in order to care for his sick mother, but no, he had a regular DD-214 honorable discharge with recommendation for re-enlistment, and was called up while on ready reserve. Now, what they wanted with Navy cooks in 1960, I dunno, but so it goes.

I also found a photo of my father that appears to be from Stars & Stripes showing him opening cans of food while standing over a large pot. Alas the photo that my mother once had of my father standing over a large vat of spuds appears to have gone missing over the years, along with his duffel bag with his Navy uniform. Sigh. The disadvantages of a migratory life.

4 Bryan { 12.12.18 at 10:16 pm }

What they could do is transfer someone from active duty to the reserves rather than giving an actual discharge from service and then they receive a discharge after their 6-year reserve commitment. Back in the day if you were drafted or enlisted you got a 6 year reserve obligation. Active duty counted against your reserve time, but you were subject to recall for all 6 years. It would have been easier and less involved to just transfer to the reserves rather than processing a discharge, and it was quicker. If you completed your 6 years you got a DD-214 for your entire service and got your veteran’s benefits package.

Yes, it is hard to keep track of things when you move a lot.

It occurs to me that your Dad’s rating may have been different than what he actually did. He may have become a cook on his ship but the Navy may have had a different job entered in his records. It is also possible that like the Marines concept that all Marines are riflemen, the Navy may consider all of its personnel able seamen.

5 Badtux { 12.14.18 at 11:12 pm }

His specialty was CS3 (Culinary Specialist 3) on his discharge papers (and on his official headstone), and his training certificate from the Navy culinary school (yes, they had one, despite the reputation of Navy cooks!) is in with his papers. I had always thought that he was probably a fuck-up in the Navy, given that he had only joined to avoid having to charge up Hamburger Hill with a rifle in his hand and he had done his best to do a Ted Nugent to get out of service (at which point the Navy induction psychiatrist basically said “get out of here, you’re as sane as I am” — not exactly a sterling recommendation given the rep of Navy psychiatrists, but whatevah!). But no, he got his promotions on time and in order, and was discharged at the rank he was supposed to be discharged at given his time in service.

Funny how impressions you get from listening to someone talk about his past sometimes don’t sync up with the paper record… based on the paper records, he did his minimum active duty needed to fulfill his service requirement and wasn’t transferred to the reserves until his active duty requirement was fulfilled. He may have not re-enlisted because he wanted to go home to take care of his sick mother, but he didn’t get out of his active duty commitment early in order to do so. And apparently whatever they had on file for him was positive enough for them to call him back up for the Gary Powers crisis… hardly the fuck-up that I had assumed.