Day of Confusion
5:35 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Memories of Pearl Harbor, 72 Years Later

This weekend marks 72 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Earlier this fall we heard from Walter Wendt, 95-year-old naval veteran of Pearl Harbor.

Walter Wendt survived the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.
Walter Wendt survived the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

He remembers the day of the attacks as one of confusion.

“Rumors filled –spread like wildfire.  They said that there were Japanese landing at Pearl Harbor and there wasn’t any. They said they were landing at Waikiki Beach and there wasn’t any.  There was a guy they put on watch – there was a guy came in, he shot em and it was one of our own men.  The jitters were so high.”

He says when the torpedo hit his ship…the USS Helena, it loosened the shafts that held the ship to shore. 

“And water was pouring in. So that was my main job was to make sure the water didn’t come in too much – to take up on the nuts and slow that water down – it wasn’t a great thing to do but you had guys for every little job.”

Wendt survived the attack unharmed.  More than 2400 Americans died that day.