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 www.navalaviationmuseum.org.

 

 

“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