Oral Bowman was aboard the U.S.S. Ramapo on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese Imperial Fleet attacked Pearl Harbor. His ship was tied up near Battleship Row where Japanese bombs and torpedoes sank four U.S. Battleships and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Also destroyed were 188 aircraft. With one torpedo and eight bomb hits, the U.S.S. Arizona exploded and sank so fast, 1,177 of its fifteen hundred man crew went down with the ship. They are still entombed in the Arizona as a memorial to that fateful day. Two thousand, four hundred two American serviceman died in the attack, a time that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described as "a day that will live in infamy.
Oral Bowman survived the attack and went on to serve his country until 1946.