Freedom Fighters: Hidden Pearl Harbor photos - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Hidden Pearl Harbor photos

Jack Rink. (Source: KLTV) Jack Rink. (Source: KLTV)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

At 7:55, Dec. 7, 1941, 353 Japanese fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The damage was devastating with four battleships sunk, 188 aircraft destroyed, and 2,402 Americans killed, including the 1,177 sailors who went down with the Arizona.

The sneak attack by the Japanese was to lead America into World War II. Somewhere on one of the ships, a young sailor took photos of the attack with his Brownie Box camera. 

The film was to remain undeveloped for over 60 years.

"I could not believe it when I opened it up and the film was still there."

Jack Rink was only eight on December 7, 1941, but he was later to serve in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1972. After his retirement from the service, Rink opened a small stall at a flea market in Galeton, Pennsylvania, near his old hometown.

One of the hundreds of items he picked up along the way, was an old Brownie Box Camera.

"When I see something old like that, I know that camera. You just don't see them around. Hadn't seen one in years and the guy only wanted a dollar for it."

Inside the camera, Rink found a role of undeveloped film.

"I seen the film and I said I wonder if this film is still good and it don't look tinted or anything."

Rink had the film developed and to his surprise, the photos were a historic treasure trove of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"They must have known they were important. Something must have happened to them somehow along the line."

Did the young sailor who took the photos die in the attack and were his possessions sent back to his family, only to end up in a flea market?

Or could he possibly have forgotten about some of the most important images any camera has ever taken? It's a mystery that will probably never be solved.

The photos in Rink's possession are some of the most dramatic and complete photos taken of that day that President Franklin Roosevelt called, "A day which will live in infamy."

And yet, were it not for a strange set of circumstances, the historic film of the Pearl Harbor attack, taken 76 years ago, would not have fallen into Jack Rink's hands, been developed, or even see the light of day.

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