The pilot who took on Japanese planes and made a miraculous landing while still wearing his pajamas. The chief petty officer who fired at the enemy for hours despite receiving 20+ wounds. The dockyard worker who turned his crane into both a shield and a weapon. These are the heroes of Pearl Harbor.
Doris Miller: ‘While at the side of his captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun until ordered to leave the bridge.’ He had no previous weapons training.
History.com has a whole list of remarkable stories from Pearl Harbor. These include Samuel Fuqua, who was knocked out cold by a bomb at first but still managed to get up again and evacuate himself and others from the doomed USS Arizona, and Chief Watertender Peter Tomich on USS Utah, who evacuated his boiler room crew and prevented a potential explosion before going down with his ship. Meanwhile, Chief Boatswain Edwin Hill was killed after trying to brave enemy fire to get the USS Nevada to the open ocean; while he died, his vessel survived to be used in the D-Day invasion.
Young Second Lieutenant Phil Rasmussen was awakened from sleep by the Japanese attack. Rasmussen didn’t even pause to change his purple pajamas before rushing out to find and take to the skies in an undamaged P-36 fighter plane! Along with George Welch and Kenneth Taylor, he was one of only five U.S. pilots to get in the air that day.
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