Wheeler shares memories of an infamous day

| December 8, 2016 | 0 Comments
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Maj. Chris Morisoli, the company commander of Charlie Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, chats with World War II veteran Peter B. DuPrŽ, after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Maj. Chris Morisoli, the company commander of Charlie Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, chats with World War II veteran Peter B. DuPrŽ, after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

Wheeler Field remembrance held for Dec. 7 fallen

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Stuart Hedley was stationed aboard the USS West Virginia, and Thomas Petso, stationed at Schofield Barracks, was playing football.

When the Japanese began their attack on Oahu, Hedley nearly lost his legs to an incoming projectile. As the ship lost its balance, he jumped and swam to shore. Meanwhile, Petso and his comrades ran for their rifles at the barracks.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Ray D. Ballungay, and Abilino Bagayas, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1572, present a wreath during the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Ray D. Ballungay, and Abilino Bagayas, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1572, present a wreath during the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

On Dec. 5, 2016, both veterans spoke at the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, where U.S. Army Hawaii personnel, families, veterans and other guests stood together to commemorate the attacks.

“I especially want to recognize our Greatest Generation veterans – those who were here on Oahu on Dec. 7th, 1941, and those who served in other World War II theaters,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii commander. “We truly honor all of you veterans. God bless you. Thank you for coming.

“Celebrate this day with us,” Cavoli continued. “You are an important part of our history, and we inherit from you the traditions of honor and service that make our country great.”

Memories of these attacks were also displayed in black and white photographs. They were complimented by wreaths from U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 1572 and 12138, and a lei from the Rough Riders Motorcycle Club.

Guests at the ceremony lined up to meet the attending veterans, taking pictures with them and sharing stories.

Maj. Chris Morisoli, the Charlie Company commander for 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, met World War II veteran Peter DuPré after the ceremony. Both found they were both medical Soldiers.

“Somber occasion, but a very humbling experience to be able to meet some of these service men and women over here. It’s incredible. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” said Morisoli.

World War II veteran Alexander Horanzy, who was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Dec. 7, 1941, was woken up at 7:50 a.m., by the attacks, after having gone to sleep at 2 a.m. from a day of training.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Maj. Gen. Susan Davidson, the commander of 8th Theater Sustainment Command, chats with World War II veteran Stuart Hedley after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Maj. Gen. Susan Davidson, the commander of 8th Theater Sustainment Command, chats with World War II veteran Stuart Hedley after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

The Philadelpha native, now, 94, said he was glad he came to the ceremony.

“Oh, it’s a great big change,” he said of visiting Hawaii again. “You got highways and skyways and everything now.”

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy struck several locations on the island of Oahu, including Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay and Wheeler Field. The attack resulted in more than 30 deaths, more than 50 wounded, and the destruction of 41 P-40s and 13 more aircrafts.

During the attacks, Lts. Harry Brown, Robert Rogers, Kenneth Taylor, John Webster and George Welch of the 47th Pursuit Squadron took to the skies and brought down nine Japanese planes.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the commanding general of 25th Infantry Division, chats with World War II veteran Clarence Byal, after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. Byal was stationed aboard the USS St. Louis in World War II. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Sgt. Maj. Scott A. Brzak, the command sergeant major of 25th Infantry Division, chats with World War II veteran Clarence Byal, after the Wheeler Field Remembrance, in Hangar 206, Dec. 5, 2016. Byal was stationed aboard the USS St. Louis in World War II. The ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Wheeler Field, Dec. 7, 1941. Wheeler Field was among several sites to be attacked by the Japanese in addition to Pearl Harbor. More than 30 were killed and more than 50 were wounded in the attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

“It’s a blessing to be back here for the 75th anniversary of the attack that put us into war,” Hedley said. “I want to say that in order to win that war, we had to have teamwork that included the Navy, the Army, the Marine Corps, the Merchant Marines, the Seabees and the Coast Guard, and we are thankful that we are able to be here as a group honoring that particular day.”

 

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Category: Leadership, News, Observances, Special, Veterans, Wounded Warriors

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