Veterans Voices

Pearl Harbor survivor volunteers at visitors center

HONOLULU (KHON2) – In November 1941, a war alert was lifted. The following month, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in two waves on a Sunday morning. More than 3,500 people were killed or wounded and 21 ships were sunk or damaged.

Everett Hyland, now 95 years old, is one of Hawaii’s four remaining Pearl Harbor survivors. “Every day above ground is a good one.”

Hyland has spent the past 23 years volunteering his time at Pear Harbor’s Arizona Memorial Visitors Center. He says it gets him out of the house and close to his memories of an 18-year-old sailor on board the Battleship USS Pennsylvania.

“I was a smart teenager. I figured if we ever go to war, the last place I’d want to be stuck is in the radio quarters down in the middle of the ship,” said Hyland.

But that’s exactly where he was, when peace was shattered.

The Pennsylvania was in dry dock across battleship row. Hyland ran up to the battle station on the aft deck. He says he saw five high altitude bombers fly overhead. “They all released their bombs at the same time and we took one hit.”

The ships USS Downes and USS Cassin in front of the Pennsylvania were destroyed.

“And the other fellows with me, Harold Comstock, Clarence Hoss, Joe Mahofski, Jim Owens, Joe Pace were killed.” 

Hyland was wounded beyond recognition and he had a long road to recovery. Nine months later he returned to the ship and stayed in the Navy until after the war ended.

Hyland is a retired elementary school science teacher. He moved to Hawaii in the year of the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when he met his wife Miyoko, who is from Japan.

He used to volunteer at the Visitors Center five days a week.  Now it’s down to one, with no plans of going to none.


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