Pearl Harbor attack survivor remembers the day from afar
FILE – In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a patrol bomber burns at a military installation on Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long wasn’t at Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes bombed Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 – he was on the opposite side of Oahu aboard an anchored seaplane in Kaneohe Bay. But the Japanese strike reached his installation soon after Pearl Harbor, and the young sailor watched from afar as explosions and gunfire consumed him and his comrades. Now, 77 years later, Long will remember that day from even farther away – across the Pacific near his home in Napa, Calif. (U.S. Navy via AP, File)
HONOLULU – Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7, 1941 — watching from afar as the bombs and bullets came closer, eventually reaching and destroying his solitary outpost.
The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he was forced to jump into the water and swim through fire to safety.
Now, 77 years later, Long will remember that day in Napa, California, where the 97-year-old survivor will reflect on the anniversary and honor those who died.