- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 21:56
- Published: Sunday, 21 April 2002 00:00
I had no sooner gotten on the bumper when a 50 foot launch swung around by the quay. The coxswain told us to jump if we wanted to get aboard, that he did not have time to stop. I jumped for one of the front seats, not giving too much thought at the time to breaking a limb. When I hit the seat, the oil on my body made it almost impossible to stop! I almost slid right over the other side of the launch.
The coxswain headed for the landing at Ford Island. He said the Japanese planes were strafing the ships and the bay and that he couldn't stop to pick up any more men in the water. At that point, I threw everything I could get my hands on over the side, hoping the men left in the water would find something to help keep them afloat.
Once we got on the boat landing which was at the near end of Ford Island, we were taken to a shelter located under one of the houses not too far from the boat landing. Some mattresses had been put on the floor in one of the basement rooms so we could rest. But almost immediately, we were asked to leave the area so the women and children of Ford Island could lay down. I walked to the far end of the basement, out on to a patio, where an officer took our name, rate and serial number. When most of that was completed, an officer and four or five of us went through some of the houses on Ford Island looking for men's clothes we could wear. All we had on at the time were our skivvies.
When we got some clothes on, we were taken to an airplane hangar on Ford Island to help make up 50 caliber machine gun belts. We were told that the planes off the Enterprise would be coming in to be armed. Everyone was told that the planes would be coming in with their lights on so that we would know they were our planes. But they still got shot at.
I stayed in the hangar Sunday night but didn't have a place to sleep except on the hangar deck. By morning I was so sick from the oil I had swallowed and the lack of sleep, that I turned in to sick bay at mess call on Monday AM.
MONDAY: One of the pharmacists that had gone through boot camp with me at Great Lakes was assigned to the hospital on Ford Island after his pharmacy training. He took me under his wing and helped me out a great deal.
The clothes I had taken the day before from one of the houses happened to belong to one of the doctors here at the sick bay. Somehow, he recognized his clothes and gave me a "royal chewing out" for taking them out of his house. I think he originally was supposed to check all of us over on his morning rounds, but he got so mad at me that he was about to put me on report and give me a court martial. Before he left the area, he picked up all his clothes, stormed out, and never did check us over. My pharmacist shipmate told me he would ask his friends to help me out with clothes and they all did.