Friday, December 7, 2007

a bit of history...

my father (on the left)

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My dad was on a ship, about to enter Pearl Harbor, the morning of December 7, 1941.
I don’t know exactly what my father did on the ship; I do know that he worked below, in the “fireroom”. My father passed away from cancer Thanksgiving Day, 1982.
I wish that he were still alive so I could ask him questions. He did say once, that he saw bullets strike across the deck of the ship. He rarely spoke of the war…he was a man of few words. He never even spoke on the telephone, except to say “hello”. Prior to and during World War II, my father was on the USS Antares. His ship was mentioned in the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” . I have seen this movie dozens of times. A few years ago, I purchased the DVD. I think of my father every time I see the DVD case.
He was one of the few that witnessed the start of the war…before the Japanese planes arrived the morning of December 7th.

Here is an exerpt from wikipedia:

Entering Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked
On 7 December 1941, Antares stood toward the entrance to Pearl Harbor at 0630 with a 500-ton steel barge in tow, having arrived from Canton and Palmyra and expecting to transfer the barge to a tug and then proceed into Pearl. Not sighting the tug at the appointed time, Antares altered course, turning slowly to the east, when her watch suddenly spotted a suspicious object about 1,500 yards on the auxiliary's starboard quarter. Antares notified the destroyer USS Ward (DD-139), on patrol off the harbor entrance, and the latter altered course toward the object which proved to be a midget submarine. A Consolidated PBY from Patrol Squadron 14 showed up almost simultaneously and dropped smoke floats in the vicinity; meanwhile, Ward went to general quarters and attacked, sinking the intruder.

Attacked with no armament to respond
While the report of this incident off the harbor entrance was making its way up the chain of command with glacial slowness, Antares spotted the tug USS Keosanqua (AT-38) at 0715. At 0758 Antares spotted explosions in Pearl Harbor and Japanese planes; two minutes later an enemy aircraft strafed the ship, and soon thereafter, bomb and shell fragments (perhaps American "overs" or unexploded antiaircraft shells) hit the water nearby. As Antares' captain, Capt. Lawrence C. Grannis, subsequently reported of events at that point, "As this vessel is not armed, no effective offensive or defensive tactics appeared possible." Passing the tow to Keosanqua at 0835, Antares zigzagged and turned to a position between the restricted waters of the entrance to Pearl Harbor and the entrance to Honolulu harbor, inshore of the warships beginning to sortie.

more information regarding the USS Antares can be found here.


Buck Pennington said...

He rarely spoke of the war…he was a man of few words.

My father was exactly the same way. And, like your Dad, TripleE, my father passed away from cancer after a three-year battle. The last time I saw him alive we sat out in his garage in Temecula, smoked cigarettes, and got rip-roaring drunk. He knew he was on his way out (he died a month later) and "indulged" over the very vocal objections of my step-mother.

But...what I'll NEVER forget was the fact that his "war stories" about being terrified over Germany in B-17s, garrison life in England, etc., just came pouring out that night. For the first and only time. I SO wish I had had a cassette recorder...

Thanks for this post. I appreciate it.

trying said...

what a great post about your dad and such a tragic and important day in our nations history.