The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Island man's Pearl Harbor story available online


December 7, 2017

Courtesy photo

Former Puget Island resident, Kenneth Garrison, was serving aboard the USS Nevada when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Sixty of his crew mates were killed. 109 were injured. Garrison passed away in 2010.

On December 1, 1941, former Puget Island resident Kenneth Garrison made Seaman First Class. He claimed it explained the mood he was in: one of the happiest sailors in the Navy.

Six days later, on Sunday, December 7, Garrison was still feeling good. He was in a bunk room on the USS Nevada, hanging out with his buddies and sharing a laugh when a fellow walked in and said he was wanted up at his battle station.

"What for?" Garrison asked.

"I don't know," his crew mate replied. "Some kind of a drill. I was sent to get you."

Courtesy photo

Three Puget Islanders, the photo reads. Kenneth Garrison, George "Buck" Lawson, and Buck Clark, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, according to Garrison's daughter, Judy Alholm.

Unhurried, Garrison made his way to the deck where the anti-aircraft guns were located.

That's where he found another crew mate screaming, "Coming up, coming up, coming up!"

Garrison didn't know what was going on, but he was suddenly in a hurry.

He looked up and saw tracer fire. A plane was going down in flames.

There had been no alarm. Not a general alarm, nor any alarm in the request that came for his presence.

Garrison survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but 60 crewmen on the USS Nevada did not. One hundred and nine were injured. According to Wikipedia, total casualties among American servicemen numbered 2,335.

Garrison died in 2010, but in a series of four videos available online, he gives an account of his experience that day.

It is powerful.

To watch:


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