Pearl Harbor

In lieu of Hump Day Kick Start, I wanted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

December 7th 1941, the day that will live in infamy.  Though he was not there, it was a day my grandfather remembered well, as his life, like the lives of so, so many, was forever changed.

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On this day, my grandfather, Master Sergeant W.V. Bray, and his wife were at a cinema in downtown Houston, Texas. In the middle of the show, the movie was shut off and the lights brought up to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor. As you can imagine, his liberty was over. He had been on medical leave, recovering from injuries he sustained during a fatal airplane crash on the Laughlin air force base outside of San Antonio. Therefore, he was not immediately sent overseas. Instead, he was stationed on Matagorda Island off the Texas coast where he oversaw the crash boats, boats used to rescue survivors of sinking ships torpedoed by German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico. His assignment didn’t last too long—well, at the very least until March of ’42 because my dad was born in December of that year. He was deployed to the Pacific at the start of the Guadalcanal Campaign in August. This was the start of his many Pacific campaigns during WWII as well as later during the Korean War. In the end throughout his career, my grandfather survived eight plane crashes, two air raids (one of which had him hiding, unbeknownst to him, in an ammunitions shed and the other being buried alive in sand after a bomb strike), and, the worst of all for him, the occupation by Japanese paratroopers of their tiny island airbase in the Leyte Gulf where he hid in the jungle for days. He was truly a remarkable man and my hero.

For more information on Pearl Harbor:

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor

http://pacificwarbirds.com/interesting-pearl-harbor-facts/

http://www.encyclopedia.com/places/united-states-and-canada/miscellaneous-us-geography/pearl-harbor

Remember Pearl Harbor

 

7 Responses to Pearl Harbor

  1. Your grandfather sounds like a remarkable man. Must be- just look at his granddaughter.

  2. jbrayweber says:

    To me, my grandfather was larger than life. I miss him terribly!

  3. This is a man truly be proud of.

  4. jbrayweber says:

    Thank you, Judith.

  5. jeff7salter says:

    wow… I can only imagine his fear when trapped on that Japanese occupied island

  6. jbrayweber says:

    He had said it was the only incident that caused him recurring nightmares. It was also the only time he took a life, 3 of them. Out of approximately 220 men, only 24 survived. He watched Japanese soldiers poke bayonets in the jungle brush all around where he and others were hiding. If they found anyone, they were killed on the spot. He was extremely lucky he was not discovered.

  7. jeff7salter says:

    considering the incredibly brutal treatment the Japanese soldiers use on captured Americans, I can well understand those tense days being the source of a lifetime of nightmares.

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