remembers Day of Infamy
should do ití
Express Staff Writer
terrorist attacks Sept. 11 on the East Coast on prompted many comparisons
to the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by Imperial
Imperial Japanese Navy photo shows Wheeler Army Air Field on Dec. 7,
1941. It was attacked as part of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.
U.S. armed forces engaged against terrorist training camps in Afghanistan,
it is perhaps time for Americans to reflect on their freedoms again this
native Ray Roessler was a U.S. Army sergeant stationed at the Schofield
Barracks in Honolulu when the Japanese attacked.
80, now lives in Gooding with his wife of 25 years, Cory.
barracks was the location of the opening scene from the 1953 movie
"From Here to Eternity."
In a phone
interview from his home, Roessler said he remembers he was trying to get
some sleep that Sunday morning when he heard "something like a plane
going down about a half mile away at Wheeler Army Air Field."
take him but a moment to realize the sound was coming from Japanese
bombers when he looked out.
they dropped their bombs, they strafed everything in sight.
were coming out the front door when they strafed the barracks, so we went
back inside. They didnít hit anyone."
post was the 24th Division Headquarters Signal Office across an open field
from the barracks.
that as he made his way across the field, a lone Japanese plane flew over.
And while the pilot ignored him, Roessler didnít ignore the pilot. He
emptied his .45 caliber automatic pistol shooting at the plane, but he
didnít hit it.
no," he said, "the pistol was like a bean flipper."
attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which lasted one hour and 50 minutes,
2,403 people were killed, including 68 civilians. Another 1,178 Americans
after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the Congress
to declare war on Japan.
Dec. 7, 1941óa date which will live in infamyóthe United States of
America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of
the Empire of Japan.
exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and
our interests are in grave danger.
that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack
by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United
States and the Japanese Empire."
was 20 at the time. He had joined the Army a year earlier on March 13.
the advantage of working at division headquarters, so we all felt
something was going to happen," he said. "We could just feel
he said, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kichisaburo Nomura
reviewed American troops at Schofield Barracks a short time before the
said he was "the telephone runner under the ambassadorís viewing
the time I thought this was an honor, but Iíve changed my mind
attack on Pearl Harbor, Roessler fought in the South Pacific on the
islands of Leyte, Luzon, New Guinea and Okinawa.
discharged from the Army in 1945, but was called back into active service
in May 1951 to fight in Korea. He eventually retired from the Army in 1966
and worked as a well driller in Blaine County until 1988.
He is a
past president of the Magic Valley Chapter of the Pearl Harbor
Association, and he last visited Pearl Harbor on the 50th
anniversary of the attack.
Association has two chapters in Idaho. The Magic Valley is No. 2 with
about 19 surviving members. Boise is Chapter 1, and it has about 34
members, Roessler said.
Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, he said, "When Bush was
first elected, I didnít think much of him. But now I give him credit. Heís
right in the way he is pursuing terrorism. Itís right. We should do