Gold Eagle Sailors Learn from Pearl Harbor Survivor

Story Number: NNS071221-08Release Date: 12/21/2007 1:03:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Philip Schrickel, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) welcomed a Pearl Harbor survivor, Dec. 12, during a Navy history event sponsored by the ship's naval heritage committee.

Retired Chief Commissary Steward Frank A. Chebetar, president of the Tidewater area Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association, visited with crew members and brought to life what most Sailors have only read in their history books as he recalled his experiences in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

"I loved hearing his story," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class (AW/SW) Jeff Morgan, of the ship's Weapons Department. "It was an honor to have him address the crew of USS Carl Vinson."

Because of Chebetar's visit, many Sailors came away with a better understanding of the significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the prominent role the Navy played in achieving victory in World War II.

"The planes kept coming at us in waves and were hitting USS Utah (BB 31/AG 16) so badly that it was rolling over on its side, and the men were sliding down or jumping off into the water," said Chebetar. "The Zeros kept strafing and bombing the side of Ford Island to get our Soldiers and Marines."

Carl Vinson Sailors attending the event took note of the sacrifices made by Chebetar and others on that fateful day, and said the stories shared made a profound impact on crewmembers.

"When he was describing the horrifying sights and sounds, it gave me chills down my spine," said Seaman (SW/AW) James Hall, of Supply Department's S-5 division. "I am very grateful to him for sharing his experience. It makes me even more proud to have joined the Navy."

Chebetar stressed the importance of learning the Navy's rich heritage, and passing on the legacy of the maritime services to junior and senior Sailors alike.

"I was happy to be able to meet with the Sailors stationed on this ship," said Chebetar. "I hope they continue to share my story of Pearl Harbor, so Sailors serving today will never forget the sacrifices of those who served during World War II."

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