Remembering Pearl Harbor, the Day and It’s Heroes

Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored

Hundreds turned out at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday morning, January 17, 2015, to pay an emotional tribute and farewell to the remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors from the Pensacola area. Local authors and Pearl Harbor historians, Billie and Robert Nicholson, who chronicled the survivors’ return to Pearl Harbor in 2011, were also honored.

As part of the Museum’s Discovery Saturday series, called Remembering Pearl Harbor, the Day and Its Heroes, the program opened with an Invocation offered by retired Navy pilot, Christopher Robinson, Pastor of Deliverance Tabernacle Church in Milton, Florida, followed by the singing of The National Anthem by gospel singer Richard Long, Pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Pensacola.

There was standing room only in the Museum’s Blue Angels atrium hanger as a rapt audience listened to tributes and presentations by Lt. Gen Duane D. Thiessen, USMC (Ret), President and CEO of the Museum’s Foundation, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and Pensacola NAS Commanding Officer Capt. Keith Hoskins, USN.

Pearl Harbor Survivors

Surrounded by the Museum’s vintage aircraft hanging overhead, the actual morning of the attack was described in vivid eyewitness accounts by remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors, William Braddock, 92, Cass Phillips, 94, Frank Emond, 96, and Jay Carraway, 92.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Cass Phillips said when he first noticed the “meatballs” painted on the side of the airplanes flying in, he thought it was just another Sunday morning exercise and commented about how realistic they were – until they started dropping bombs. Over two thousand four hundred Americans lost their lives in the attack.

WCOA 1370 Talk Radio Host Don Parker’s talk, Attack on Battleship Row, December 7th, 1941, included original archival footage and a description of the Japanese high command.

Publicist and emcee Dianna Roberts read the national winning Pearl Harbor essay by 7th grader, Jenny Anderson from Camano Island, WA entitled, Ingenuity, Sacrifice and Teamwork.

Pensacola Naval Air Station commanding officer Capt. Keith Hoskins, USN, spoke about NAS Pensacola during WW II just after the attack when Pensacola NAS mobilized to become the world’s foremost military aviation training center. Hoskins, a former lead solo pilot with the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, called the men, “heroes”, and admitted he was “humbled to be on the same stage as them.”

Pearl Harbor Survivors Receive Proclamations from Mayor

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward read a city proclamation honoring the men for their bravery and courage under fire and how they had all sacrificed and fought “so we can sleep well every night.” Recently deceased Pearl Harbor survivors Jim Landis and George Mills were honored posthumously with the sounding of Taps by veteran bugler, Scotty Mills.

Pearl Harbor Survivors

Boy Scout Troop Read Pearl Harbor Survivor Stories

The highlight for the men was the reading of their stories from the Nicholson’s book, Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye, by Pensacola honor scouts from Boy Scout Troop 628 and Venture Crew 628 while standing on the stage next to the survivors. “We should  remember the motto of these Boy Scouts – ‘Be Prepared’, said survivor Cass Phillips. “We were not prepared for what happened that day. People need to hear these stories and remember our history and learn from it.”

Story Credit: Dianna Roberts

Naval Aviation Museum to Honor Pearl Harbor Survivors at Discovery Event

Pearl Harbor Survivors

Pensacola, FL - Pensacola’s Pearl Harbor Survivors and local authors Billie and Robert Nicholson will be honored by the National Naval Aviation Museum and the City of Pensacola with a special program to be held at the Museum next Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 10:00 am.

The program will include tributes and presentations by Lt Gen Duane D. Thiessen, USMC (Ret), President and CEO of the Museum, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola NAS Commanding Officer Capt. Keith Hoskins, USN, and WCOA 1340 Talk Radio Host Don Parker.

As part of the Museum’s Discovery Saturday series, this much anticipated event, Remembering Pearl Harbor, the Day and Its Heroes, will feature the stories and eyewitness accounts of the actual morning of the attack by Pensacola’s remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors, William Braddock, Cass Phillips, Frank Emond and Jay Carraway. Recently deceased Pearl Harbor Survivors Jim Landis and George Mills will be honored posthumously.

Selected excerpts from the Nicholson’s book, Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye, will be read by Pensacola Honor Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 628 and Venture Crew 628 together with the Pearl Harbor Survivors. “Since most of the survivors are now in their mid ’90’s, events like this one where our young people can actually meet these famous World War II heroes in person is a piece of history just by itself.”, says author Billie Nicholson. Music will be provided by Pastor Richard Long, vocalist, and “Taps” will be played by Scotty Mills.

Immediately following the program, Museum Curator Dina Linn will give a tour of the Pearl Harbor memorabilia, and both the Pearl Harbor Survivors and the authors will be available to sign books. Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye by Billie and Robert Nicholson may be purchased the day of the event in the Flight Deck Store located in the Museum. The Cubi Bar Café, also located in the Museum, will be open for lunch following the program.

Families are welcome to attend the FREE event which begins at 10:00 am at the National Naval Aviation Museum located at 1750 Radford Boulevard, Pensacola, FL 32506 at NAS Pensacola. For directions



James Vlahake Landis Reports to His Final Command

Jim LandisJim Landis, Senior Chief Petty Officer, USN

Jim passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on November 24, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Anne Burmester.

Born is Detroit, Michigan on January 10, 1920, the son of Nicholas Vlahake Landis, a World War I veteran and Maria Rizan, a French national, Jim was raided in a Catholic Seminary in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France until he was 13 years old. He returned to the United States to graduate from Jackson High School in Jackson, MI. He completed two years of college before joining the US Navy in December of 1939.

Jim Landis – Pearl Harbor Survivor

Jim Landis

After being wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, he received the first of three Purple Hearts. He continued to serve on the old USS Lexington (CV-2) aircraft carrier until its sinking on May 8, 1942 during the battle of the Coral Sea. Other assignments included Guadalcanal in 1943, the Black Cat Squadron, and flying the Bob Hope entertainment troop, where he met the love of his life, Anne. He said, “The first time I met her I just melted. We were on tour for two weeks. When we got back, we went to Tijuana and got married.”Jim Landis

His entire Navy career was in aviation in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He served on several aircraft carriers to include the USS Mindoro (CVE-120), USS Saratoga (CVA-60), and the USS Independence (CVA-62), and later, a four year assignment with his family working out of Thailand aerial mapping SE Asia.

Jim Landis retired at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1970 with 30 years in the Navy, followed by a successful career in real estate.

He was a member of the national and local Pearl Harbor Survivors Associations. An airplane he flew in during the war is on display at the National Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. He reminded us, “When we’re all dead and gone, this plane, #2106, will still be a Pearl Harbor Survivor.”

The SBD, a dive bomber, has it’s own history. Assigned to the USS Lexington (CV-2) until the Lex sunk, it was transferred to the USS Yorktown (CV-10), which was also sunk at the battle of Midway Island. Somehow it made it’s way stateside to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center where it was used as a trainer. It crashed into Lake Michigan and remained under water for 50 years. Discovered, retrieved and restored at Naval Aviation Museum, it a memorial to all World War II veterans as well as to Jim. “I flew in this very plane, it’s in my flight log book,” Jim said.

Jim Landis SBD # 2106

Jim will be missed but not forgotten.


Pearl Harbor Survivors

Pearl Harbor Survivors and active duty military pay respects to their fallen comrade.

 James Landis, Fair winds and following seas, dear friend.

Rotary Military Appreciation Day

Pensacola Combined Rotary Clubs paid tribute to  local military personnel in their annual military appreciation day luncheon held at New World Landing in downtown Pensacola.

Honored guests included three Pearl Harbor Survivors, William Braddock Sgt. Maj., USMC (Ret.), Francis Emond CWO4, USN (Ret.), and Jacob Gallawa, RMCS, USN (Ret.) enjoyed lunch and conversation with active duty military.

Rotary Military Appreciation Day


Military Appreciation Day

Heroes Among Us

Heroes among us

L to R: Pearl Harbor Survivors Frank Emond, (CWO4, USN RET.) William Braddock, (Stg. Maj., USMC RET.) Jay Carraway, (ETC, USN RET.) Pearl Harbor Honor Flight co-organizer William Phillips, (Lt. Col. USAF RET.) and Pearl Harbor Survivor, Cass Phillips (LCDR USN RET.)

Heroes Among Us not fazed by rain

Members of the Pensacola Chapter 138, Pearl Harbor Survivors Association were honored at “Heroes Among Us” ceremonies, August 29, 2014. Scheduled to take place at the Veterans Memorial Park, the event was relocated to A&J Mugs store on Palafox Street because of rain.

Honorees included Frank Emond, (CWO4, USN Ret.), William Braddock, (Stg. Maj., USMC RET.) Jay Carraway, (ETC, USN RET.) and Cass Phillips (LCDR USN RET.)


heroes among us

Co-organizer of Pearl Harbor Honor Flight, Holly Shelton with Frank Emond, William Braddock and Don Snowden

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight co-organizers Holly Shelton and William Phillips, (Lt. Col. USAF RET.) introduced our National Treasures. Each survivor recounted his unique experiences during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. All nonagenarians, their memories were sharp and the store packed crowd hung on every word.

Heroes among us

Pearl Harbor Survivor, William Braddock, USMC Ret.








Heroes among us

Pearl Harbor Survivor and Pensacola Chapter 138 President Emeritus, Jay Carraway.

Heroes among us

Pearl Harbor Survivor, Jim Landis (SCPO, USN RET.) was unable to attend due to health issues. His story of December 7, 1941, as written in the book “Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye,” was shared by author Billie Nicholson.

Heroes among us

Excerpt from: “Pearl Harbor Honor flight: One Last Goodbye”, used with author’s permission

Heroes Among Us Special Guest

Heroes Among Us

Mrs. Earline Williams, child Pearl Harbor survivor

In addition to the survivors, Mrs. Earline Williams, who was a 12 year old, living with her family on Ford Island on December 7, 1941 shared her experiences that day. Their home was across from the berth of the USS Oklahoma, which was torpedoed and rolled over, trapping many sailors inside. Some of her clothing was used to cover the dead and wounded.

“What take home lesson would you like us to have from your experience,” someone in the crowd asked. “Pay attention to what is going on in the world around you and always be prepared,” responded survivor Cass Phillips.Heroes among us






heroes among usWhen asked to what they owed their resilience and long life, Frank Emond replied, “Keep you mind active, and your body, too. I paint and volunteer one day a week at the Veterans Medical Center.”


Read the Pensacola News Journal article here. If you can’t access the PNJ Archives, read it here.Heroes Among Us.

“Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye” Book Launch May 8th, 2014

Turn the Page, Gifts & Books was the location of a book launch for “Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye,” on May 8, 2014. Friends and customers had an opportunity to meet the authors, Billie Nicholson and Robert Nicholson, hear stories behind the book production, and spend time with some of the Pearl Harbor Survivors whose stories were told in the book.

Survivors Jay Carraway, Bill Braddock, Cass Phillips and Frank Emond shared their experiences during the Pearl Harbor attack as well as through out the war.

Jay Carraway said, “When we were called to General Quarters by shouts because our alarm system didn’t work, our response was ‘We don’t drill on Sundays.’ When an explosion nearby rocked our ship, we knew they were serious.”

“We were getting ready to go to breakfast when we saw the planes flying overhead. We thought they were Army planes on a drill. I said, ‘They’re making this look realistic, with meatballs painted on the sides of their planes,’” recalled Cass Phillips, a radioman stationed at Kane’ohe.

 Frank Emond, a musician lined up on the stern of the USS Pennsylvania preparing to play morning colors, said, “I saw a line of planes coming in. The first one peeled off and dropped something. At first I thought the plane was falling apart. When it hit the ground and exploded, I knew we were in trouble.”

Marine Security Guard, Bill Braddock, remembered, “We were at breakfast in the chow hall when our side arms (cups and silverware) started bouncing on the table. We thought someone had crashed a plane and we’d need to go clean it up. When we stepped out of the barracks we saw a plane with a big red ball on the side flying by, shooting up the ground around our flag pole and the pilot smiled as he continued to drop the torpedo hanging beneath his plane.”

The rich tapestry of personal accounts detailed in the book came to life with a personal connection for both young and old.

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye

This 80-page premium color 1st edition book tells the touching story of the Pensacola community coming together to make an elderly veteran’s dream come true to return to Pearl Harbor and say “one last goodbye” to his friends and comrades who served with him December 7, 1941, on that day so long ago.

The book is filled with photos by the Nicholsons of the survivors recent return to Pearl Harbor. It is brilliantly interspersed with historic pictures and eyewitness accounts of the attack and pays homage to these military veterans of our Greatest Generation for their extraordinary courage and personal sacrifice. Says author Robert Nicholson, “the book was designed as a keepsake and lets the reader visually experience the enduring triumph of the human spirit that made our country great during World War II.

Proceeds from all book sales of “Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye” go to benefit the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Chapter 138.

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye – the Book

Proudly Announcing: Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye

We are delighted to announce the book is ready. This is the touching story of how a patriotic community worked together to make a veteran’s dream come true. Six Pearl Harbor survivors shared their experiences with schools, businesses and other organizations to raise awareness and refresh memories of a world altering event. Our hope has been to inspire renewed patriotism and respect for all our veterans.

As a result of their efforts, these veterans were able to attend the 70th and final commemoration ceremony in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and return to a place and time that changed their lives. Share the touching moments when these veterans transform into young service men as they return to the places they were that fateful day seventy years ago. They honored their fallen comrades and had an opportunity to find closure as they walked on hallowed ground.

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye

Pearl Harbor Honor Flight

Order your copy of Pearl Harbor Honor Flight: One Last Goodbye today. Sales benefit PHSA, Chapter 138.



Pearl Harbor Honor Flight

Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored at Rotary Luncheon

Pearl Harbor Survivors Among Honorees

November 4th at New World Landing, the twelve local chapters of the Combined Rotary Clubs of Greater Pensacola honored Pensacola area military personnel, both active duty, veterans, retirees and supporting staff with a Military Appreciation luncheon. Guest Speaker was Lieutenant General Duane D. Thiessen, President/CEO Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to all who served and are serving our country. “It is not the media, but the soldier who has provided freedom of the press, …”

Each Pearl Harbor Survivor was introduced. Jake Gallawa just entered the room when his name was announced. He was thrilled as a wave of applause crossed the room.

Pearl Harbor Survivors

Pearl Harbor Survivors

pearl harbor survivors are proud american heroes


Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored at Blue Wahoos Armed Forces Day

Pearl Harbor Survivors Special Guests

Our Pearl Harbor Survivors were honored with a ride around the baseball field, introductions and an opportunity to throw out the first baseball at the May 18th Armed Forces Day Commemoration during the Wahoos-BayBears baseball game in the new Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola. Bill Braddock, Jay Carraway, Frank Emond, Jake Gallowa, and Jim Landis were welcomed by the cheering crowd. The late George Mills, who passed away in December, 2012  was also remembered.

Following the presentation of Colors, Holly Shelton, our founder and co-organizer sang a touching rendition of the “National Anthem.” Twenty family and Pearl Harbor Initiative team members came together to honor our heroes.

Pearl Harbor Survivors

Pearl Harbor Survivors

pearl harbor survivors Thank  pensacola