Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Navagato


By: J. Owen

Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Navagato was a 22-year-old Army Air Corps corporal stationed in Hawaii when the attack hit Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

He was an aerial gunner with the 86th Observation Squadron on that Sunday morning when scores of Japanese warplanes bombed and strafed his base at Bellows Field, Hawaii.

Navagato had the misfortune of watching US Pilots trying to take off from Bellows field only to be shot down by Japanese planes roaring over the field.

“I watched them all get shot down. It broke my heart. The plane of one of those guys just swerved right into the ground.”

Bellows Field is located at Waimanalo Beach, where the first Japanese Prisoner of War was captured. He landed there after his midget submarine malfunctioned and he had to go overboard.

“I knew they were Japanese because right away I saw the rising-sun insignia on the wings of their planes. I didn’t believe they would attack us because their officials were still talking peace in Washington. During the attack, we were all running. The planes were coming in so close you could hit them with a rock. We were all looking for weapons so we could shoot back.” — From a story in 1998.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Navagato Lived a Good Life

“He was more than a veteran,” former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed said. “Navagato was a humanitarian who volunteered at every opportunity.”

“He was a true American hero, especially a hero to his family. He showed us how to live and live well,” said Christian Life Pastor Wayde Wilson.

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