First to Fight: A Memory of Pearl Harbor

Wyatt  Reader M.A.'s picture

It was December 1941. Couple of weeks before Christmas, a time of concerns but peace. Suddenly out of the sky erupted history, as Japan viciously attacked Pearl Harbor and the US Navy Pacific Fleet on a quiet Sunday morning.

Two weeks later the US was not only at war with Japan but with Gerrmany as well. Enemies of democracy were assaulting free peoples politically, militarily, and legally all over the globe.

My family in California were potentially on the front lines, as no one knew if the Japanese would push onto the California coast and invade directly the US or merely attempt to take over the Hawaiian Islands. Volunteers began to gather for the military and one of them was my uncle, who went to the Navy and enlisted for service for the duration. He was shipped to training in San Diego and after Basic, his new unit and service members were off to Hawaii. Their training involved qualifying as Naval Infantry. Their assignment, should Japan invade, by February 1942 was to repel any invading force.

Happily, and luckily, Japan never moved into Hawaii. Their unit would have been one of the first to fight had such course been the outcome in the opening weeks and months for the Pacific War in WW II.

As it turned out, they were assigned instead to their second qualified skill. Aircraft Mechanic was the chosen field for our family member. He spent the duration repairing aircraft shot up on returns from the frontlines in the Pacific.

Shown in the picture attached is the Log Book cover from his record of that period of WW II, in Hawaii. All the pictures of his unit are long since given to other family members and unfortunately no longer available for post. He also fashioned a personal hand sword, which has since been given over to other family. It was a bayonet with brass knuckles attached. He carried this personal weapon until 1946, when he returned from the 7th Fleet and Pearl.

Wyatt Reader M A

UCLA/Whittier College

US Govt ret.