Survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack watched World War II era planes fly over in the annual memorial ceremony at the Air Force Academy cemetery.
Japanese Zero's flew over the naval base in Oahu, Hawaii and opened fire in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941.
Although the tragedy happened decades ago, survivors, like Walter Himmelberg, remember it like it was yesterday.
"We were setting up telephone lines and a Japanese plane spotted us. He dove, strafing at us. Being heroes, we ran like hell for the ditch."
What would be known as the "day of infamy" took more than 24 hundred American lives.
It would eventually propel the United States into World War II.
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Dec. 7, 1941 Timeline of Events
- 3:42 a.m. - Minesweeper CONDOR sights periscope off Honolulu Harbour, notifies patrol destroyer WARD to investigate.
- 4:58 a.m. - Minesweeper CROSSBILL and CONDOR enter Pearl Harbor, defective submarine net remains open.
- 6 a.m. - 200 miles south of Oahu carrier ENTERPRISE launches 18 aircraft to scout ahead, then to land at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, ETA 8 a.m.
- 6:10 a.m. - 220 miles north of Oahu Admiral Nagumo orders launching of first wave of 183 aircraft off three carriers, are lost during takeoff.
- 6:30 a.m. - Destroyer WARD again notified of submarine sighting this time by supply ship ANTARES off Pearl Harbor entrance, Navy patrol plane (PBY) dispatched to the scene.
- 6:45 a.m. - WARD opens fire on target hitting conning tower, as she closes in drops depth charges, air attack by PBY follows.
- 6:53 a.m. - WARD'S commander Captain Outerbridge sends message to Commandant 14th Naval District: "We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area".
- 7 a.m. - Commander Fuchida flying towards Oahu directs his pilots to home in on local radio station.
- 7:02 a.m. - Private's Lockhard and Elliott of Opana Radar Station pick up what appears to be a flight of unidentified aircraft bearing in 132 miles north of Oahu, discussion follows.
- 7:10 a.m. - Elliott phones in information to Fort Shafter, only person present at Information Center is Lt. Tyler, having begun his on the job training Dec. 3, conversation last ten minutes.
- 7:15 a.m. - Capt. Outerbridge's attack message, delayed in decoding is delivered to duty officer, 14th Naval District, and to Admiral Kimmel's duty officer, Japanese launch second wave of 168 assault aircraft.
- 7:20 a.m. - Lt. Tyler feels certain that the unidentified planes are B-17s scheduled to arrive from the mainland, instructs Opana station to shut down. Privates Elliott and Lockhard however continue to plot incoming flight.
- 7:33 a.m. - Important message from Gen Marshall from Washington to Short received via RCA in Honolulu, cablegram has no indication of priority, messenger Tadao Fuchikami proceeds on normal route.
- 7:35 a.m. - Reconnaissance plane from cruiser CHIKUMA reports main fleet in Pearl Harbor.
- 7:39 a.m. - Opana Station loses aircraft on radar 20 miles off coast of Oahu due to "dead zone" caused by surrounding hills.
- 7:40 a.m. - First wave sights North Shore of Oahu, deployment for attack begins.
- 7:49 a.m. - Commander Fuchida orders attack, all pilots to begin assault on military bases on Oahu.
- 7:53 a.m. - Fuchida radios code to entire Japanese Navy "TORA TORA TORA" indicating success, maximum strategic surprise, Pearl Harbor caught unaware.
- 7:55 a.m. - Island wide attack begins, Japanese dive bombers to strike airfields Kaneohe, Ford Island, Hickam, Bellows, Wheeler, Ewa, Aerial torpedo planes begin their run on ships in Pearl Harbor.
Attack erupts at Pearl Harbor
- 8 a.m. - B-17's from the mainland reach Oahu after 14 hour flight. Aircraft from carrier ENTERPRISE arrive Ford Island, both caught between enemy and friendly fire.
- 8:02 a.m. - Machine guns on battleship NEVADA open fire on torpedo planes approaching her port beam, two planes hit, however one missile tears huge hole in ship's port bow.
- 8:05 a.m. - Repair ship VESTAL moored outboard of battleship ARIZONA opens fire. Admiral Kimmel arrives CINCPAC headquarters. Battleship CALIFORNIA receives second torpedo "portside at frame 110” prompt action directed by Ensign Edgar M. Fain prevents ship from capsizing. High level bombers begin their run "on both bows" of battleship row.
- 8:08 a.m. – KGMB radio interrupts music calling for "All Army, Navy, and Marine personnel to report to duty"... High level bombers unleash armour piercing, delayed action bombs from altitude of 10,000 feet scoring hits on battleships.
- 8:10 a.m. - Forward magazines on battleship ARIZONA suddenly ignite resulting in a tremendous explosion and huge fireball sinking the battleship within nine minutes, concussion of explosion blows men off repair ship VESTAL.
- 8:12 a.m. - General Short advises entire Pacific Fleet and Washington, "Hostilities with Japan commenced with air raid on Pearl Harbor."
- 8:15 a.m. - KGMB interrupts music with second call ordering all military personnel to report for duty.
- 8:17 a.m. - USS HELM first of several destroyers to clear Pearl Harbor spots a midget submarine struggling to enter harbor, shots fired misses target, sub frees itself from reef and submerges.
- 8:25 a.m. - Using a Browning Automatic Rifle Lt. Stephen Saltzman and Sgt. Lowell Klatt shot down enemy plane making strafing run on Schofield Barracks.
- 8:26 a.m. - Honolulu Fire Department responds to call for assistance from Hickam Field, three firemen killed, six wounded.
- 8:30 a.m. - Third call out for military via local radio stations.
- 8:35 a.m. - Tanker NEOSHO half loaded with high octane aviation fuel moves clear of Battleship Row and oil tanks on Ford Island, damage reported in city. Police warn civilians to leave streets and return to their homes.
- 8:39 a.m. - Seaplane tender CURTISS sights midget sub in harbor and commences to fire, destroyer MONAGHAN heads for intruder at ramming speed.
- 8:40 a.m. - Submarine surfaces after sustaining damage, MONAGHAN hits sub and drops depth charges as she passes, first explanation over local radio stations. "A sporadic air attack, rising sun sighted on wing tips.”
- 8:50 a.m. - Lt. Commander Shimazaki orders deployment of second wave over military bases on Oahu.
- 8:54 a.m. - Attack run begins, 54 high-level bombers hit Naval air stations, 78 dive bombers hit ships in Pearl, 36 fighters circle over harbor to maintain air control.
- 9 a.m. - Crew of the Dutch liner JAGERSFONTEIN opens up with her guns, the first Allies to join the fight. Radios throughout the island crack out urgent messages. "Get off roads and stay off. Don't block traffic. Stay at home. This is the real McCoy.”
- 9:30 a.m. - Tremendous explosions rocks destroyer SHAW sending debris everywhere, bomb falls near Governor's home.
- 10 a.m. - First wave arrives back on carriers, 190 miles north of Oahu.
- 10:05 a.m. - Governor Poindexter calls local papers announcing state of emergency for entire territory of Hawaii.
- 10:30 a.m. - Mayor's Major Disaster Council meets at city hall. Reports from local hospitals pour in listing civilian casualties.
- 11 a.m. - Commander Fuchida circles over Pearl Harbor, assesses damage then returns to carrier task force. All schools on Oahu ordered to close.
- 11:15 a.m. - State of emergency announced over radio by Governor Poindexter.
- 11:42 a.m. - As per orders by Army local stations go off the air, General Short confers with Governor regarding martial law.
- 11:46 a.m. - First report of many false sightings of enemy troops landing on Oahu.
- 12:10 a.m. - American planes fly north in search for enemy with negative results.
- 12:30 a.m. - Honolulu police raid Japanese embassy, find them burning documents. Blackout to begin at night ordered by Army.
- 12:40 a.m. - Governor confers with President Roosevelt regarding martial law, both agree it necessary that the military take over the civilian government.
- 1 p.m. - Commander Fuchida lands on board carrier AKAGI, discussion follows with Admiral Nagumo and staff concerning feasibility of launching third wave.
- 1:30 p.m. - Signal flags on carrier AKAGI orders Japanese task force to withdraw. Territorial director of civil defense orders blackout every night until further notice.
- 2:58 p.m. - Tadao Fuchikami delivers message from Washington, message decoded and given to General Short regarding ultimatum from Japan to be given at 1 p.m. Washington time, "Just what significance the hour set may have we do not know, but be on the alert accordingly.”
- 4:45 p.m. - Governor signs Proclamation, martial law put into effect.