Stanley Durkalec, Pearl Harbor
Addedby Theresa Durkalec-Koch
on the island of O'ahu, Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Repost in honor of my father and all who served there…..
Photograph of my father Stanley Joseph Durkalec, Chief Gunner, United States Navy, April 19,1914 - September 16,1990.
My father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, told me many war stories from that era. Stories of men floating out in the ocean for hours, maybe days, their ships having been hit, waiting, watching, hoping to be found and rescued. A story of a man, while floating, waiting, seeing his friend in the water close by him, touches his shoulder only to find out his dear friend is dead and the lower half of his body missing. When my father was older, he had a massive stroke which left this monster of a man paralyzed, having to rely on his family. How hard this had to be on such a strong, outdoorsy man. He started having flashbacks of the war. He would make machine gun sounds, pointing around the room when you'd come in to see him, still telling his war stories that burned so vividly in his memory. I remember him as a big gentle man with quite a roar when angered. One great moment in his life was the dedication at the Arizona state capitol, when they placed the anchor of the U.S.S. Arizona there for all to see.
Now his story.
He remembered that morning vividly. He was a young man, relaxing, sitting back on his bed reading the Sunday morning paper when it happened. December 7, 1941 around 8am Sunday morning, Pearl Harbor, on the island of O'ahu, Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Navy, led by commander Mitsuo Fuchida, with a force of 353 Japanese aircraft. Approximately 100 U.S. Navy ships were present that Sunday morning, over half the U.S. Pacific fleet were out to sea. Hickam Field also fell victim to this surprise attack. Approximately 188 U.S. airplanes were destroyed in all. 18 Army Air Corps aircraft were, destroyed or damaged on the ground. A total of 29 Japanese aircraft were shot down. When the smoke filled sky cleared 2,280 Americans were dead and nearly 1,200 were wounded. This is my tribute to my father and all those great men who stood with him representing our country.
May they always be remembered.