Monday, December 7, 1998

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ike Sutton salutes as he honors
the 3rd Marine Regiment Rifle Detail at the Arizona
Memorial today.

Dec. 7 Navy
Cross heroes
to be honored

Street names will remember the
17 sailors who earned the medal

By Gregg K. Kakesako


The Navy next month will dedicate street names in one of its housing areas in honor of the 17 sailors who earned the Navy Cross on Dec. 7, 1941.

Rear Adm. William G. Sutton, Pearl Harbor Naval Base commander, said the Navy will do this because the names of the sailors link the nation's past to its future.

Speaking at today's 57th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the naval base, Sutton in his 12-

minute speech told a group of Pearl Harbor veterans assembled on the USS Arizona Memorial, "You remind us all daily that we owe our freedom to those who have gone before."

Sutton also honored the sacrifices, hardship and uncertainty the wives and mothers of America's sailors endured during World War II.

Sutton also praised the efforts of the Pearl Harbor shipyard workers who "worked to return the damaged ships of the Pacific Fleet back to the fight."

"Their will combined with the industrial might of the United States, came together to overcome all obstacles and bring your successors home alive."

To those service members and civilians who were killed during the attack, Sutton said his message today "is simple. Even 57 years later, we remember the heroism, the valor, the sacrifice and are thankful for the legacy they left for us - a legacy which continues to thrive in today's Navy."

In Washington, D.C., President Clinton ordered all federal departments and agencies to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff today in honor of those who died as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Guests sat in a moment of silence as the USS Russell
passed the Arizona Memorial in review during a ceremony
commemorating the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Also in Washington, Rear Adm. Christopher Weaver, Washington Naval District commander, laid a wreath at the U.S. Navy Memorial at the foot of the Lone Sailor statue near the outline of Hawaii on the Memorial's granite map of the world. The Navy Band performed at the ceremony.

"We remember the more than 2,000 Americans who died that day," said Lt. Cmdr. Deborah Mariya, a Navy chaplain, to a crowd of about 200. "We gather to honor their ultimate sacrifice."

At the nearby Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, meanwhile, about 20 Filipino American World War II veterans marked the anniversary by laying a wreath at the statue of FDR. The ceremony also featured an empty wheelchair to symbolize fallen comrades.

As in past years the focal point of Hawaii's ceremony was the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, where 1,177 crewmen were killed in 1941.

The 184-foot long white memorial, designed by Alfred Preis, spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship.

In the shrine room the names of those killed on the Arizona are engraved on a marble wall.

At 7:55 a.m. -- the time when the first wave of Japanese aircraft arrived over the target area, a long whistle blast from the destroyer USS Russell signaled a moment of silence in memory of the lives lost 57 years ago.

Overhead five Hawaii Air National Guard F-15 jet fighters pealed off in the missing man formation to begin the morning's one-hour commemoration.

The surprise Japanese attack on the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, resulted in the loss of 21 American warships, crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet and vaunted the nation into war.

The Japanese killed 2,341 military personnel and 64 civilians and destroyed 165 planes.

Japan's losses were set at 64 killed, five ships lost or beached and 29 aircraft destroyed.

Fifty-seven years ago the action at Pearl Harbor lasted for little more than two hours, placing the naval base in history with names such as Bunker Hill, the Alamo and Chateau Thierry.

Forty-five representatives of the military, veterans groups, and government and diplomatic corps officials dropped red anthuriums from the monument into the waters of the naval base.

Mickey Michenovich, 76, of Torrance, Calif., survived the attack while serving on the USS Virginia. "I try to come every year to remember my friends who were killed," he said.

Albert Alexander, 81, was stationed at Schofield Barracks when the Japanese strafed the Army base and has been returning to the islands each Dec. 7 for the past 30 years.

"We were frozen and couldn't transfer to anywhere since they needed our anti-aircraft guns," said the Army artilleryman who spent two and half years in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor.

On shore, children from Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School assisted members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in presenting wreaths. Guests were invited to drop a flower into the harbor as a tribute.

A special salute to 63 minority sailors who died during the attack also was held at the visitors center this morning with Sen. Dan Inouye as the keynote speaker.

Throughout Oahu today, veterans and their friends, families and supporters commemorated the 57th anniversary of the attack.

At Hickam Air Force Base members of the 11th Bomb Group Association were to hold their last memorial service honoring the 44 airmen lost during the Dec. 7 attack. One hundred eighty-nine airmen were killed and 303 wounded at Hickam.

Age and illness have taken their toll on the Air Force veterans and the association disbanded this year.

At Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii, which a half-century ago was known as Kaneohe Naval Air Station, a wreath was to be laid by Brig. Gen. Arnold Field, base commanding general; and Capt. Robert Kernan, commander of the Barbers Point Naval Air Station, at the monument honoring the 18 sailors and one civilian killed there. On Dec. 7, 1941, air forces of the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Kaneohe Bay minutes before hitting the naval fleet at Pearl Harbor.

The attack was designed at disabling America's long-range reconnaissance capabilities by knocking out the Navy's PBY Catalinas stationed there.

Star-Bulletin reporter Pete Pichaske contributed to this report.

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