PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Two Pearl Harbor survivors participated in a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola’s Barrancas National Cemetery Dec 7.
Pearl Harbor Survivors Chief Warrant Officer 4 (ret.) Francis Emond, assigned to USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) at the time of the early morning surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Bill Braddock attended the hour-long event as guests of honor at the Pensacola-area Chief Petty Officer's Association and NAS Pensacola First Class Petty Officer Association-sponsored event.
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony event coordinator Chief Air Traffic Controller Amber Khoryati said is integral in ensuring the memory of the more than 2,400 Americans killed during the nearly two-hour attack remains a cherished part of Navy history.
“This service member and families of Pearl Harbor survivors are a living link to our past as United States Navy Sailors,” said Khoryati. “What they’ve seen is something almost all of us have only read about, learned about in school. And to be in the presence of two shipmates who witnessed things we know as history is awe inspiring and important to each and every chief here – we’re charged with ensuring our history and traditions as a Navy are upheld and having the opportunity to learn from a firsthand account of the bravery and sacrifice of the Sailors who came before us is an important part of our continued development as a Navy and a Chief’s Mess.”
Nearly 200 attendees observed morning colors at the start of the ceremony, acknowledging that 77 years ago, service members across Hawaii’s Oahu island were preparing to do the same when more than 350 Japanese fighters, level bombers, dive bombers and torpedo bombers launched from six Japanese Imperial Navy aircraft carriers in an attack on U.S. Armed Forces targets.
The ceremony also included an invocation from Lt. Cmdr. (ret.) Michael Garbey, a presentation from Khoryati on the impact the attack had, and guest speakers Emond and Ms. Holly Shelton, a longtime friend of recently deceased Pearl Harbor veteran Lt. George Mills.
NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Martin, who provided opening remarks for the ceremony, said the attendance of Emond, Braddock and other guests of honor was particularly fitting for a ceremony in an area with significant U.S. military ties.
“The two brave men who are with us today represent the fighting spirit of the U.S. Navy of yesteryear, and all of you here today represent the continued legacy these two fought for,” he said. “Pensacola has trained our naval aviators for generations, and countless numbers of the thousands of service members who fought in that and subsequent battles have ensured that we can continue the American way of life.”
Pensacola Area Chiefs and First Class Petty Officers then placed flags on the gravesites of four Pearl Harbor veterans interred at Barrancas National Cemetery: Chief Electronics Technician Myron Carraway, Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician Jacob Gallawa and Culinary Specialist 1st Class Robert Raymond, Pearl Harbor survivors; and Water Tender 1st Class Walter Sollie, who was killed during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.
NAS Pensacola, referred to as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation," is designed to support operational and training missions of tenant commands, including the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT), Naval Aviation Schools Command (NASC), Naval Aviation Technical Training Center (NATTC), Marine Aviation Training Support Groups (MATSG) 21 and 23 and is the headquarters for Naval Education and Training Command (NETC).
For more news from Naval Air Station Pensacola, visit www.navy.mil/local/naspensacola/.