My grandfather's memories of Pearl Harbor

By Roger Douglass

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 7 2011 8:00 p.m. MST

A group of low-flying torpedo planes dropped three torpedoes into the port side of the Okie. One of these torpedoes went into the radio shack (my battle station) and exploded. A fourth torpedo followed in the wake of that one and exploded right in the radio shack. I reflected upon the events of December 6, 1941. If I hadn’t met Keith Taylor at the fireside, if I hadn’t listened to the promptings telling me to go ashore, if Ensign Stern’s duty officer had approved me to stand by for him, if Roseanne hadn’t asked me if I were going to church just as we passed the mission home, if Keith hadn’t forgotten something so that he had to return to where his phone was, if he had told me that he didn’t really have room for me now that he had lost his second bed, then I would have been aboard ship and would have gone to my battle station where two torpedoes exploded.

We lost all of our battleships in one fell swoop. Fortunately for us none of our aircraft carriers were in port. The carriers were scheduled to be in port, but for various reasons were not there. Our loss of manpower was very severe. The war was to be waged with aircraft and submarines. These old captains and admirals were forced into accepting air warfare, because their old battleships were now gone. These old battleships were restored and used later in the war to shell some of the Japanese islands. The number two, 2-gun turret was taken from the USS Oklahoma and installed on the USS Nevada. The number two, 2-gun turret was taken from the USS Arizona and also installed on the USS Nevada. These guns were fired by the USS Nevada against Iwo Jima and other islands. So the entire battleship force, which was destroyed at Pearl Harbor, managed to participate in some manner in the war against Japan.

My Grandfather, Gordon Elmer Douglass’ story was originally published December 5, 2006 in the Red Rock Reporter (Kanab, Utah). The article was written by my uncle Kent D. Douglass. I have borrowed heavily from my uncle’s story. Being that December 7, 2011 is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I wanted to remember not just my grandfather, but all those who have served this greatest nation on earth in all wars from The Revolutionary War to Afghanistan. It is my prayer that God keep us free from tyrany and oppression and that great men rise up once again to make sacrifices that will benefit not just the United States, but all people of Earth.

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