ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Dec. 7, 1941: a day America will never forget. An attack on the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans lost their lives. Twenty-one ships were sunk or damaged. More than 300 aircraft were destroyed.
"I was in the ward room eating breakfast about 0755 when a short signal on the ship's air raid alarm was made," said Lt. Cmdr. S. G. Fuqua of the USS Arizona. "I immediately went to the phone and called the Officer-of-the-Deck to sound general quarters."
"I saw approximately 15 torpedo planes which had come in to the attack from the direction of the Navy Yard. These planes also strafed the ship after releasing their torpedoes. Shortly thereafter there was a dive bomber and strafing attack of about 30 planes. This attack was very determined, planes diving within 500 feet before releasing bombs."
"The personnel of the anti-aircraft and machine gun batteries on the Arizona lived up to the best traditions of the Navy. I could hear guns firing on the ship long after the boat deck was a mass of flames. I cannot single out one individual who stood out in acts of heroism above all the others as all of the personnel under my supervision conducted themselves with the greatest heroism and bravery."
Dec. 7, 1941: a day America will never forget. An attack on the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 Americans lost their lives. Twenty-one ships were sunk or damaged. More than 300 aircraft were destroyed.
Although our Nation and our Navy suffered great losses that day, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors spent the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day honoring the courage of the men and women who fought and recalling the invaluable lessons learned that day.
"It's always important to reflect on Naval heritage, and I think particularly important to reflect on Pearl Harbor," said Truman's Commanding Officer, Capt. Nicholas Dienna. "One, to ensure that we never forget the sacrifices of our fellow Sailors who gave their lives that day. Secondly, to make sure that we take those lessons and understand very vividly that we need to remain vigilant at all times in order to defend the United States."
Truman Sailors are aware they could find themselves defending the ship at some point in their careers.
"As a Sailor, when you think back on what happened on that day, and what those Sailors woke up to that morning, they were not expecting anything out of the norm," said Senior Chief Navy Career Counselor James Osborne. "The next thing you know they are defending not only their lives, but their country and their ships. You start to realize the nature of our business and understand that we can be put in the same position at any given time."
The events that took place 76 years ago had a lasting impact on the Navy to the extent of changing the way the Navy operates, trains and qualifies Sailors today.
"The lessons of Pearl Harbor still apply to our current generation of Sailors and to Truman," said Dienna. "At the end of the day, Pearl Harbor is about grit, it's about toughness, it's about determination. It's also about young Sailors who in an emergency situation stepped up and performed. The same lessons hold true today. Every man and woman on board Truman needs to be ready to step up, grab a weapon, grab a fire bottle, get on a hose and do whatever they can possibly do to make sure that we fight, defend, and ultimately save the ship."
The sacrifices of Sailors at Pearl Harbor haven't been forgotten by their newer generation of shipmates. They continue to prepare themselves and their ships to protect the freedom of the seas.
"As we remember the fallen heroes from the attack 76 years ago, it really makes you appreciate all of the hard work and long hours we've been putting into our training these past couple of months," said Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Williamson. "Should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation, I feel confident we will be ready to handle it to the best of our ability."
Dienna said there are many lessons that can be taken away from the events in Pearl Harbor 76 years ago, but perhaps the most important lesson is what our Navy is.
"The events of Pearl Harbor demonstrated very clearly that the Navy is at its best when it's operating forward," said Dienna. "We are a strike force, we're an offensive force . . . we are at our best and most effective when we are at sea."
Truman is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications in preparation for future operations. For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit http://www.facebook.com/usstruman
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.