Monday, December 7, 2009

If you don't remember why December 7 is an important day, this guy remembers

By William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser
PEARL HARBOR — Harold O'Connor, 88, was a Navy Fireman First Class on the USS Thornton, a destroyer seaplane tender, in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked.

"All the torpedo planes were coming right off our fantail," O'Connor recalls. "I watched the West Virginia go up from two torpedoes that were dropped. All hell was breaking loose. I saw the bombs that hit the Arizona."

That's just one of O'Connor's World War II stories from the Pacific. The Hawaii man was again on the Thornton in 1942 taking Marines to Palmyra Atoll, when the ship ran aground on New Year's Eve. There he saw two torpedoes streaming toward where he stood.

Another of our greatest generation. Hero to the bone. Thank you sir.