Pearl Harbor Survivor Recalls Attack - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/7/06-Longview

Pearl Harbor Survivor Recalls Attack

         An East Texas man vividly remembers this day 65 years ago when  the empire of Japan suddenly attacked American forces in Hawaii. 86 year old Bob Crowder of Diana remembers December 7th 1941 as if it were yesterday. He was there when the first wave of Japanese Zeros hit Pearl Harbor in a furious attack.

     "We were all confused, we couldn't understand why they were attacking us. At first I though it was a drill , I thought them damn fool airdales are practicing on Sunday then I saw a hangar go up and I said whoa" says Crowder.

      Crowder was on the U-S-S Curtiss near battleship row, he immediately manned a gun and began to fire back. Bombs hit the U-S-S Arizona causing a monstrous blast. 

    "We saw fire after fire with torpedo's hitting the battleships and they were sinking those son of a guns on that side of Ford Island" he says.

      117 of his crew mates were killed when his ship was hit by Japanese fighters, one plane crashing into the Curtiss.

    "He crash dived into the number 1 crane on the after part of the ship there were 17 men burnt standing up" he says.

      He went on to fight at Midway, the Coral sea, Saipan and Guam,  and was decorated for bravery under fire numerous times, but says nothing will ever compare to that day in December.

   "Well I lost some real good friends that day , real good friends" Crowder says.

     He's worried that Americans don't remember the lessons of the past.  Crowder's ship, the Curtiss, was instrumental in spotting the Japanese task force headed for midway in 1942. It was defeated by U-S forces, widely regarded as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting bhallmark@kltv.com

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