East Texan remembers Pearl Harbor - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texan remembers Pearl Harbor

It remains the most-remembered attack on America, and one East Texan remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941; the day then-President Franklin Roosevelt said 'would live in infamy.' 71 years ago today, Imperial Forces of Japan attacked Army and Naval installations in Hawaii without warning. Bill Terry of White Oak is one of the few East Texans who can tell you exactly what it was like at Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941. He was there.

"It was a long day. We saw them diving on the battleships, they thought if they could get all the battleships they'd have us whipped," he says.

Terry was a 19-year-old gunners mate asleep in his bunk on board the destroyer USS Reid, and at first didn't know what was happening.

"There had been rumors of war but we didn't think much about it. It was a complete surprise when they attacked," Terry says.

He and his shipmates began to hit back, himself downing one Japanese plane.

"I was on a 5 inch 38. I had a chance at a bunch of them," he says.

Saw the nightmare of the attack, four U.S. Battleships sunk, four more damaged, cruisers, destroyers and airplanes destroyed and 24-hundred Americans dead.

"We were attacked several times. Sometimes it was 100 planes, nothing but chaos," says Terry.

For Terry, the image of that day remains fresh in his mind, and it will always be with him.

"We need to remember what happened try to make sure it don't happen again. I'll always remember Pearl harbor," he adds.

National statistics estimate that less than 3,000 Pearl Harbor veterans remain nationwide.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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