Freedom Fighters: Bud Taylor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Bud Taylor

By Joan Hallmark

Seventy-one years ago, a sneak attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, plunged America into World War Two.

Bud Taylor, an eighteen year old gunners mate, was aboard the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, December 7,1941. He was just finishing breakfast when all hell broke loose.

In less than two hours, 353 Japanese fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes wreaked havoc on the American fleet. The damage was devastating: 3,600 American casualties, and the loss, or severe damage, to 188 aircraft, eight battleships, three light cruisers, and four other vessels.

Although the Pennsylvania sustained two bomb hits, Taylor didn't know until after the attack that a case of "mistaken identity" may have saved his life.

As the "flagship" of the fleet, the Pennsylvania was a prime target of the Japanese. But its sister ship, the Arizona, was in its berth and since the ships looked much alike, the Arizona received the brunt of the attack. Eight bombs and one torpedo hit the Arizona. But it was the explosion of its magazine that dealt its death blow, engulfing it in flames, half sinking it, and taking much of its crew with it.

Most of those young sailors who survived at Pearl Harbor are gone now, the victims of old age instead of bombs.

Although Bud Taylor went on the fight in the Pacific and to bombard the French coast on D-Day, he will always remember the battle cry that carried American troops through World War Two to victory, "Remember Pearl Harbor".

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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