I was aboard the USS Arizona on the morning of December 7, 1941. The courage I saw in our men was astonishing.
Those gallant sailors fought back however they could. Pilots tried to locate airplanes that were still operable, but only a few managed to get in the air and into the fight.
Gunners found themselves with only the ammunition in their ready boxes, with the rest of the munitions they so desperately needed locked up belowdecks.
What happened on December 7, 1941, if it didn’t kill us, changed us forever. President Roosevelt was right to call it “a date that will live in infamy.” But for my fellow survivors and me, it also is alive in memory, like shrapnel left embedded in our brains because the surgeon thought it too dangerous to operate. These memories lie within me, forever still and silent, like the men entombed in the Arizona.
If the bullets ran out, they raced to another gun, often one that had a fallen sailor crumpled beneath it.
The rest of the men fought back with whatever weapons were at hand, shooting at the streaking Japanese Zeros with lightweight machine guns, rifles, even pistols.