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Thursday, December 07, 2006

07 December 2006, Today’s blog is dedicated to those lost, passed away and to the survivors of the USS Oklahoma, BB-37. December 7, 1941. This date still holds a grip on America. Even with the passing of 65 years now, the survivors still ask why? Why did they live and others die? This is not a question that can be answered here, but only in the afterlife, when each of us stands before the Creator of Life, then he can answer our questions. Even during this past year 15 more have gone home to be reunited with their shipmates. Soon it will be up to the next generation to remember for them. 429 men lost their lives aboard the USS Oklahoma. A total of 2403 men lost there lives on that day. Today, in Hawaii, the ground-breaking ceremony is to take place to erect a monument for the ship and her crew. It is to be completed in time to honor those next year.
The USS Oklahoma was launched in 1914 and completed in 1916. On November 26, 1941, Japan launched the most powerful carrier task force ever assembly at that time. It included 6 aircraft carriers, 420 airplanes, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, submarines and midget submarines. The midget submarines were equipped with two torpedoes and were sent the night before the attack to enter Pearl Harbor and upon the start of the attack begin sinking ships. Of the five, one was attacked prior to dawn of the 7th outside the Harbor and sunken by the USS Ward, one entered the Harbor and was sunken by the USS Monaghan, and a third was found the following day beached on Oahu. Two others remain missing but it is suspected that one may have entered the harbor and fired its torpedoes at either the USS Oklahoma or the USS West Virginia. It was reported that the USS Oklahoma was hit by at least 5 and as many as 9 torpedoes. Two men serving aboard the USS Oklahoma were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions after it was evident that the ship was capsizing.

Medal of Honor citation of Seaman First Class James Richard Ward (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 277):
"For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, WARD remained in a turret holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life."
Medal of Honor citation of Ensign Francis C. Flaherty, USNR (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 184):
"For conspicuous devotion to duty and extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese Forces on 7 December 1941. When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Ensign Flaherty remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life."

While researching this event I discovered two paragraphs that could be spoken of the secret attack on the World Trade Centers and the ensuing war on terrorism.
"These great Japanese (insert Islamic Extremist) successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since…(for the next five years, the continued assault on Military and civilians alike in Iraq and Afghanistan)…..American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accommodation might have been considered." Excerpt taken from (http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm) Under normal political circumstances, an accommodation might have been considered, yes that makes sense to me, but the unwarranted attack against America, because America put an oil embargo on Japan for their greediness to conquer more than what was theirs, did not qualify as 'under normal political circumstances.'
"However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 19 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace." See above siting.
Wow, a concept of stopping future aggression by taking the battle to the enemy and not allowing him to strike at us again. Hmmm.........there's an idea.

Visit the official site dedicated to the survivors of the USS Oklahoma. We salute you for your sacrifice to your God, your Country and your Family.

4 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

great post sarge! just great. we remember....bee

Sarge Charlie said...

Another great post Sarge, you mad me cry. That is just the way I am when I learn new stuff about what that generation did for us. My farther was not at Pearl, but he was on a ship in the Pacific during the war, I hate this, I have no idea which ship he was on. I am going to try to find out, the problem is that those who would know are dead.

I just finished a comment on your post on Rock’s site, that too was a great post.

Thank you for your service, just in case I forgot to tell you that lately, kudos my friend.

Stay safe
Charlie

MrsDub said...

Wow, I am so impressed with your blog today and thank you for sharing your knowledge. I for one, never paid much attention to Pearl Harbor and what occurred on that awful day -- that was until I had the opportunity to see it in person last year. There aren't words to describe the way you feel when you stand on that hallowed ground and think about all the lives that were lost and changed forever. There were survivors at the visitor center and people were clustering around them to shake their hands and listen to the stories they told. We should all take the time to say Thank You to Veterans of all wars and to those serving today. We should never forget the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom and will continue to be made for generations to come. Dub, we are very proud of you and appreciate your service to God, Country and Family. Thank God for Soldiers - without them we would not be here today!

Sarge Charlie said...

Mrs Dub, you are a great American

The old sarge