Monday, December 6, 1999

'I still remember ...'

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Ed Borucki stands at the USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Borucki was on board the USS Helena, which was damaged in
the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Tomorrow, three generations
of the Borucki family will participate in ceremonies
at the USS Arizona Memorial.

Ed Borucki, 79, was on the
USS Helena, a light cruiser
in the Pearl Harbor Naval
Shipyard on Dec. 7, 1941

Bullet Ceremonies mark 58th anniversary
Bullet USS Utah: Forgotten memorial
Bullet U.S. B-17s: Mistaken identity

By Gregg K. Kakesako


NAVY Yeoman 2nd Class Edward Borucki has kept the memory alive of what happened to his shipmates on Dec. 7, 1941, for nearly six decades and three generations.

Tomorrow, three generations of the Borucki family will participate in ceremonies on the USS Arizona Memorial marking the 58th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

For the youngest member of the Borucki family -- his 9-year-old grandson, Ethan -- Pearl Harbor and Hawaii is a "really long flight" from Massachusetts, where he is a third-grader at Morgan Elementary School in Holyoke, about two hours south of Boston.

"All I know is that there are a lot of volcanoes there," Ethan said in a telephone interview before the trip.

His older brother -- 13-year-old Aaron -- found the possibility of a trip to Hawaii and missing one week of eighth grade more enticing.

"I've heard the story many times," said Aaron, "and there is always something new that my grandfather always adds. He also has a two-hour video which we have watched together and which tells the same story."

"I know that Pearl Harbor was secretly attacked and that my grandfather was there and got torpedoed. ... I got most of the story from my grandfather and not from school."

"It was a tragic encounter, and a lot of people died there."

Grandfather Ed Borucki has maintained a personal shrine in the cellar of his Southampton home to keep alive the memory of the Pearl Harbor raid, according to his grandson. Books, posters, photographs, newspapers, magazines and other military momentoes are exhibited on the walls and the tables, Aaron Borucki said.

Beginning in 1961, Ed Borucki, now 79, has made 10 pilgrimages to Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.

"I lost 33 of my shipmates that day. ... My brother enlisted a day after Pearl Harbor and was killed in the North Atlantic in August 1942 when his ship, the USS Ingraham, a destroyer, was sunk.

"He thought I had been killed at Pearl Harbor. Communication then wasn't like it is today."

Two other brothers, Joseph and Frank, also served in the Navy in World War II.

Grandfather Borucki; his son, Steve; and grandsons Aaron and Ethan will place three wreaths at the USS Arizona Memorial tomorrow at the Navy ceremony honoring those killed that day.

Tomorrow's ceremonies, which begin at 7:45 a.m., will mark the 58th anniversary of the attack that sank 21 American warships, killed 2,388 military personnel and civilians and destroyed 165 planes.

Ed Borucki was on the USS Helena, a light cruiser that was at Dock 1010 in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard next to the minelayer USS Ogala on Sunday, Dec. 7.

"When general quarters was sounded, I went to my battle station," Borucki said, "and that saved my life. Minutes later, a torpedo hit the forward engine room where I had been working, killing 33 of my shipmates."

The Helena was one of 150 vessels in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 and one of the first ships attacked by the Japanese. It was struck by a Japanese torpedo that passed under the Ogala. The explosion opened up the starboard side of the ship.

Eleven days after entering the shipyard for temporary repairs, the Helena set sail for San Francisco and Mare Island. Borucki left the Helena and was assigned to the seaplane tender USS Rockaway throughout World War II.

Following the war, Borucki became a high-school business teacher and father of seven sons.

For the past five years, Aaron and Ethan Borucki have maintained their grandfather's remembrances by carrying the Pearl Harbor Attack Veterans banner in St. Patrick's Day parades in Holyoke and Pearl Harbor Day anniversary events.

Ed Borucki is the past commander of the Pearl Harbor Attack Veterans in Southampton.

Last weekend, he took his family to the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl to pay his respects to another Helena shipmate, Salvador Albanese, who is buried there.

"I still remember ... he brought me a sandwich on Dec. 6 as I stood the watch. ... There was a movie on ship that night: 'Hold Back the Day,' with Charles Boyer and Paulette Goddard."

U.S. Navy
Smoke rises above the USS West Virginia and the USS
Tennessee. Also, smoke on the left from the battleships
Maryland, Oklahoma and Arizona.

Ceremonies will mark
attack’s 58th anniversary

Star-Bulletin staff


The National Park Service at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center will commemorate the 58th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Oahu and Pearl Harbor with a one-hour ceremony beginning at 7:45 a.m. tomorrow.


Bullet Part I: 7:45 a.m. tomorrow. Flyover of the Missing Man formation by the Hawaii Air National Guard, keynote address.

Bullet Part II: 9 a.m. tomorrow. Minority Sailor's Memorial unveiling.

Guest speaker will be Kermit Tyler, a Pearl Harbor survivor who was stationed at Fort Shafter Information Center.

Adm. Thomas Fargo, Pacific Fleet commander, will speak at private ceremonies on the memorial itself.

At Hickam Air Force Base, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran, will be guest speaker at ceremonies beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the flagpole in front of the Pacific Air Forces headquarters building.

A tour of the base's historic landmarks will follow.

At Kaneohe, ceremonies honoring the 18 sailors and one civilian who were killed there on Dec. 7, 1941, will be held at the Clipper Monument near Marine Corps Base Hawaii's headquarters building.

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