George V. Martin was 22 when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. He was assigned to HQ + HQ Squadron Hawaiian Air Force (which was later re-designated the 7th A.F.) The morning of the Pearl Harbor attacks, he was awoken by the sound of the planes going overhead.
Initially, he thought it was their planes practicing maneuvers but then he heard the sound of the bombs. He ran out of his barracks and saw several buildings burning and jumped into a bomb crater as a Japanese aircraft began firing at them. He looked up and saw five bombs from five planes, and realizing they were coming right towards him, he ran to the station firehouse for cover. 50 feet before he got to the station firehouse, bombs started so close it knocked him down.
When he got hit in the back with a piece of concrete, he decided to make a run for it to the station firehouse. He stayed there until the attacks ended, and met up with his friends by the barracks. That night he slept on the ground by the entrance to Pearl Harbor.
A few weeks later, George received orders to return to the states for pilot training on the B52s. He later flew for the Air Force and was a part of the Burma Bridge Busters. He returned to civilian life on Long Island and met his wife, Shirley. They were married in 1948 and had seven children and ten grandchildren.
He was a member of the Wantagh Volunteer Fire Department for a few decades. George and Shirley spent the later years of his life in Maryland where he often spoke to schools about his experience at Pearl Harbor.
Story & Photos courtesy of George V. Martin’s grandchild Alex Kaufman. Mahalo!
Medal of Honor Winner
Herbert Jones was a young officer in the Navy. He died rescuing others during the attack. His wife, Joanne was living in Honolulu, in officer living quarters. Joanne remarried and her son-in-law, Charles Edward Aubrey, had this to say about Herbert Jones:
When the ship got hit (Herbert) went down below to get all the people below deck, and on his fourth or fifth trip, there was a big torpedo explosion and he was killed.
Edsell class destroyer escort USS Herbert C. Jones (DE-137) was named after this Pearl Harbor Hero.
(Killed on USS Pennsylvania)
Hickok was assigned to the light mine layer USS Sicard.
According to defense officials, many Sicard crewmembers had been dispatched at the time to help the crew of USS Cummings, a destroyer docked nearby. The Cummings got under way and cleared Pearl Harbor after the attack and reported no injuries.
Instead of USS Cummings, Hickok was on USS Pennsylvania, where he was killed. He was not listed as killed on Pennsylvania though.
After the attack, many unidentified dead were buried in Nuuanu Cemetery. the Army Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains and attempted to identify them.
Hickok was not identified and was moved to Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific.
It was not until 2005 that Hickok’s remains were identified with the help of Pearl Harbor Survivor, Ray Emory.
6th Pursuit Squadron
Originally from Colorado Andrew A. Walczynski served at Wheeler field during the attack. He is now buried at Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific.
Lt. Gordon H. Sterling, Jr. was one of the few pilots who got airborn during the attack. He shot down a Japanese aircraft, but then was shot down over water and drowned after getting out of his aircraft.
He was a true hero of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Read more about Lt. Sterling at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ghsterlingjr.htm