Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Memorable Moment

A friend of mine sent me an email this evening regarding an old Brownie Camera. It seems that the camera was 68 years old and still had film in it which when developed revealed pictures of the attack on Pearl Harbor from 1941. I was interested in both aspects of her email - the Navy history and the fact a Kodak Brownie camera could survive 68 years and still yield photos.

Her email did spark a memory regarding Pearl Harbor. Most of the time I spent in the Navy was in the Continental United States and during the first part of my career on 3 cruises to the Mediterranean. It wasn’t until my last tour when I was serving as the Command Master Chief of a Recruiting Detachment in Alameda did I make a trip to Hawaii.

I was there visiting the recruiters and made it a point to visit the U.S.S. Arizona. A commander I once worked for had an uncle entombed in the Arizona and I promised him I would pay my respects. I went with the local supervisor, a Chief Petty Officer, and we were both in our summer whites (quite a spiffy uniform)... at any rate, as we were getting off the launch after having visited the memorial a young Japanese girl, probably 10 or 12, asked if she could have her picture taken with us. We agreed and she gave her camera to her mother and stood between us and smiled... when they were finished they thanked us by bowing and said something in Japanese that we couldn’t understand, but the smiles told us they were appreciative.

As we started to leave we discovered a line, a very long line, of Japanese tourists who wanted their picture taken with 2 U. S. Sailors. We couldn’t say no to any of them and we stood there for what felt like 2 hours having our picture taken. We didn't leave until the last picture was taken. It was a moving and memorable moment...


Roshni said...

that must have been fun!! :)

Jessica Gallagher said...

I had never heard this story before, Dad. Neat.

Les Barr said...

Aye, Command Master Chief!

Liked your story about the Arizona. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor for 2.5 yrs. aboard the USS Carpenter DD-825. I had visited the Arizona on a number of occasions, but there just didn't seem to be that many Japanese people there when I was. Looks like things have changed at bit since 40 yrs. ago.

On a note - I had 4 Uncles that were all Navy Chief's. I only have one left now, and my Mother was a S/sgt in the WAC during WWII stationed over in London. My whole family is Navy, except for Mom. My Brother was a BT1 aboard the USS America.

With due respect, Master Chief. Stay well.