Return to Pearl Harbor: 75 Years Later

♪ » OFFICIANT: And now, the United States Navy
will honor him by scattering his ashes in the waters of
Pearl Harbor. » SAILOR: Two.
[bolts retracting] Aim. Fire.
[gunshot] » ANNOUNCER: On a sleepy
Sunday morning like any other the world we knew
changed… forever. ♪ [morse code] » SURVIVOR: There was friction between the United States
and Japan. I didn’t know that it was anywhere near an actual attack. » When the general alarm sounded— uh uh uh— I was the first one there. Had the cover off of one of the .50 caliber
machine guns, the other one
about halfway off. A torpedo plane coming in
drops a torpedo and heads towards
Battleship Row. I stop what I’m doing to follow the torpedo over to hit one of
the battleships. I don’t know whether it was the
West Virginia or Oklahoma. And as I turned around to pull the cover off
the rest of the way, another torpedo plane drops his torpedo,
heading there, and I see this big red ball. [airplane engines] » ANNOUNCER: USS West Virginia
took six torpedoes then sunk into the mud
of Pearl Harbor. USS Oklahoma was hit
by numerous torpedoes and capsized
in less than 12 minutes. Hundreds of men
were trapped below decks. Some were trapped
for more than 25 hours before being rescued. 429 lost their lives. » Well, we were
right next to the Arizona, and she was all tore up. It was awful, you know. And—the only hit
we got is—like I said— is that one of the bombs
intended for the Arizona hit in between us, and then knocked our
propellers off. » ANNOUNCER: About 8:10 a.m., an armor-piercing bomb
hit USS Arizona forward of the
ammunition magazine. The explosion and fire
killed over a thousand crewmen. The repair ship Vestal was moored alongside
the Arizona. The explosion and fireball burst 500 feet into the air, thrusting men on nearby ships
in the air, and snuffed out flames
on the Vestal. » Something was
causing it to sink and our captain and I
got blown over the side. He got back aboard
[laugh] and the executive
passed the word to abandon ship. I was gonna let it
get deeper in the water. [laugh] ♪ » RAYMOND CHAVEZ: You could see
the black smoke from one end to the other because our ships were on fire
and burning their oil. I started crying. [tearfully:]
I’m not ashamed to admit it because of all the Sailors that were trying
to save themselves and all the dead bodies
and the oil, and the ships were on fire and they were
jumping off the ships. » There were roughly
150 vessels in that harbor that morning. There were people
who got killed on other vessels that morning. There are kids that did great things
that morning— never ever got recognized. ♪ » ANNOUNCER: A second wave of
170 Japanese planes arrived at 8:40 a.m.
and was met with gunfire. The Japanese strike force continued to pound
island airfields, Battleship Row
and the shipyards. By 10 a.m. the attack was over. The Japanese considered
a third wave to hit the oil reserves but ultimately decided not to
launch another attack, in part because the
U.S. aircraft carriers— still unaccounted for— still posed too great a threat. The admiral felt
the two waves of attacks had effectively neutralized
the Pacific Fleet, which had been the objective. 21 vessels, including
all eight battleships were sunk or damaged. 169 aircraft were destroyed. 159 more were damaged. [morse code] American loss of life totaled 2,403 military personnel
and civilians. 1,177 men, almost half the total, died on USS Arizona. Within weeks, three battleships
were returned to service. Eventually all but three ships
of those sunk or damaged were completely repaired
and returned to duty. The attack united a nation behind a complete commitment to
victory in World War II. Forty-four long months of war followed the attack on
Pearl Harbor. Seapower determined the course
of the struggle and its outcome. There was a decisive shift
in Naval warfare, from the dominance
of the battleship to the emergence of
the aircraft carrier and the submarine. ♪ Japanese forces had advanced
through Southeast Asia, the Central Pacific and the Western Pacific, where their advances
were thwarted by U.S. Navy ships
and aircraft in the battles of
Coral Sea and Midway, leading the way to victories
on Japanese occupied islands and ultimately to victory
in the Pacific. During World War II and through the rest
of the 20th century and into the 21st century, America grew into the
preeminent world superpower, with a desire
to safeguard freedom, and to answer the call
when threatened. We will continue
to remember those who gave their lives on
December 7, 1941. “Remember Pearl Harbor”
will always be a rallying cry
for the U.S. Navy— a force whose core attributes of initiative, integrity,
accountability and toughness have withstood
the ultimate test. That same heritage
remains true today, as it did on that infamous day, just as it did in 1775. To serve as America’s
ultimate away team, to project power, protect American commercial
and security interests and when necessary, to land Marines
on hostile shores. A strong Navy. A United States Navy
that provides assurance, security and stability
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live
in infamy.

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