USA: Joint Base Welcomes Pearl Harbor Survivors

Pearl Harbor survivors and their family members living in Hawaii attended a luncheon at the Silver Dolphin Bistro on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 12.

Five survivors attended the event, which was held to honor fallen and surviving service members from the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Rear Adm. Richard L. Williams, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, gave opening remarks at the beginning of the event and dined with the survivors and their families.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet such a fine, distinguished group of war-fighters in my whole life,” said Williams. “[It’s] a rare privilege and our honor to be able to eat with our heroes.”

Among the attendees was Everett Hyland who was aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB 38), one of the first ships to fire shots against the attacking Japanese planes.

During the event, Hyland spoke about his experiences in the opening moments of the attack on the Pennsylvania.

“It dawned on me in a hurry, we got hit,” said Hyland. “I finally picked myself up. I don’t know whether it was 10 seconds, or 30 seconds, maybe a minute, I have no idea. Then I heard some officer holler, ‘Get that man to sick bay!'”

Hyland had received multiple burns, wounds and injuries throughout his body.

“One of the things I can remember is my brother coming to see me,” said Hyland. “He was on the [USS] Indianapolis and they were out on patrol the morning of the incident. When they came into the harbor a week after the attack, the first thing he did was come to the ‘Pennsy’ looking for me and he said they had me on the ‘missing list.’ So he went over to the hospital and he finally found me and he said the only way he knew it was me was by the tag on my toe.”

Years later, at the 50th anniversary event of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hyland met Navy nurse Lanore Riccord who worked at a Pearl Harbor hospital during that time.

Riccord worked in the burn ward of the hospital and told Hyland that she probably took care of him while he was there.

“I thanked her profusely for doing a good job,” said Hyland. “So I asked her about my brother finding me with a tag on my toe. She said, ‘When you boys were so far gone that we knew there was nothing we can do for you, we tagged you so we wouldn’t lose your identity.'”

Hyland is the only remaining Pearl Harbor survivor who served aboard the Pennsylvania.

“Once in a while I get asked, ‘Do you keep in touch with the other fellas from the antennae repair squad?'” said Hyland. “And my answer is, ‘Not yet.'”


Press Release, September 16, 2013