East Texas serviceman recounts Pearl Harbor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas serviceman recounts Pearl Harbor

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - 70 years ago, a quiet morning at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was shattered, and the US was pushed into World War II.

Though their numbers are dwindling every day, there are still several East Texans who were at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese sneak attack.

One East Texas sailor survived "the day that would live in infamy."

Bill Terry was a 19-year-old Gunners Mate asleep in his bunk on board his destroyer at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941.

"I was asleep," Terry recalled, "I heard some of the guys talking about planes diving on an air base... The attack was well underway."

Caught off guard, Terry and his USS Reid shipmates quickly got to battle stations.

"They were everywhere," Terry remarked, "I remember I was running down the deck and I was expecting a bomb to hit anytime, cause they were dive bombing us."

Terry saw the nightmare of the attack--four US battleships sunk, four more damaged, cruisers, destroyers and airplanes destroyed and 2,400 Americans dead.

Terry scrambled to his station and began firing at Japanese planes, buzzing around like bee's around a hive, and scored at least one hit.

"I know one was trailing smoke when he went out of sight," says Terry, "We never understood why they didn't finish us off."

But the attack put resolve into every serviceman.

Terry later survived the Battle of Leyte Gulf when the Reid was sunk. But by then, the tide had turned.

"Remember Pearl Harbor, always be prepared," Terry proudly said, "I just had a job to do and we did it."

For terry, the image of that day remains fresh in his mind.

"I won't never forget it."

Terry had his last reunion with a former USS Reid members a year ago, and fears there may not be any more survivors from the ship today but himself.

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