Ginger's diary

This diary entry was written by a 17 year old High School Senior who was living at Hickam Field, Hawaii, at the time of the Japanese bombing on December 7, 1941. Any references to last names have been deleted, except for those well known names of persons noted in historical documents. First names are those actually used by the individuals mentioned. Other than the above mentioned editing, all content is exactly as written in the diary.

Sunday, December 7, 1941

BOMBED! 8:00 in the morning. Unkown attacker so far! Pearl Harbor in flames! Also Hickam hanger line. So far no houses bombed here.

5 of 11:00. We've left the post. It got too hot. The PX is in flames, also the barracks. We made a dash during a lull. Left everything we own there. Found out the attackers are Japs. Rats!!! A couple of non-com's houses demolished. Hope Kay is O.K. We're at M's. It's all so sudden and surprising I can't believe it's really happening. It's awful. School is discontinued until further notice...there goes my graduation.

Shortwave: Direct hit on barracks, 350 killed. Wonder if I knew any of them. Been quiet all afternoon. Left Bill on duty at the U. Blackout all night of course!

The following was typed on a separate piece of paper attached to the diary page:

I was awakened at eight o'clock on the morning of December 7th by an explosion from Pearl Harbor. I got up thinking something exciting was probably going on over there. Little did I know! When I reached the kitchen the whole family, excluding Pop, was looking over at the Navy Yard. It was being consumed by black smoke and more terrific explosions. We didn't know what was going on, but I didn't like it because the first explosion looked as if it was right on top of Marie's house. I went and told Pop that (He in the meantime had gotten dressed and was leaving) and he said, "Who cares about Marie when you and Mom might be killed!". Then I became extremely worried, as did we all. Mom and I went out on the front porch to get a better look and three planes went zooming over our heads so close we could have touched them. They had red circles on their wings. Then we caught on! About that time bombs started dropping all over Hickam. We stayed at the windows, not knowing what else to do, and watched the fire works. It was just like the news reels of Europe, only worse. We saw a bunch of soldiers come running full tilt towards us from the barracks and just then a whole line of bombs fell behind them knocking them all to the ground. We were deluged in a cloud of dust and had to run around closing all the windows. I got back to the front door just in time to see pop calmly walking back to the house through it all. He said we could leave if a lull came. Also that a Mrs. B was coming down to our house and to wait for her. Then he left again. In the meantime a bunch of soldiers had come into our garage to hide. They were entirely taken by surprise and most of them didn't even have a gun or anything. One of them asked for a drink of water saying he was sick. He had just been so close to where a bomb fell that he had been showered with debree. He said he was scared, and I was to, so I couldn't say that I blamed him. I saw an officer out in the front yard, so Mom said to ask him if he thought it would be wise for us to try to leave. He said, "I would hate to say because we don't know whether they are bombing in town or not, and besides this is your home." I no sooner got back into the house then a terrible barrage came down just over by the Post Exchange. That's just a block kitty corner from us, so the noise and concussion was terrific. Mom and I were still standing in the doorway and we saw the PX get hit. I was getting more worried by the minute about this time as they seemed to be closing in the circle they had been making around us. (The Japs were flying around in a circle bombing us, Pearl Harbor, and machine gunning Fort Kam.) A second terrific bunch of explosions followed the first by a few minutes only. I found out later these had landed in the baseball diamond just a second after Dad had walked across it. He ran back to see if the men in a radio truck there had been hit. All but one had and they were carted off in an ambulance. I went dashing into my room to look and saw that the barracks was on fire, also the big depot hanger. I hated to go into my room because the planes kept machine-gunning the street just outside my window and I kept expecting to see a string of bullets come through my roof any minute. We had all gotten dressed in the meantime and had packed a suitcase and were ready to leave any time. Finally, after two and a half hours, the planes went away and we left. I gave the soldiers in the garage two and a half packages of my chewing gum before I left and they nearly died of joy at sight of it. Poor guys!!

As we left the Post, we looked around to see what damage had been done to the place. The barracks was all on fire, the big depot was on fire, the theater was burned to the ground already, the PX was wrecked, the whole hanger line was blown up on the far side of Operations, a couple of the non-coms houses were very badly blown out, there was debris all over everywhere, and Pearl Harbor was just a solid wall of smoke which we found out later was burning oil from the boats that had been hit. Reports are that nothing was hit there except boats.

As we drove into town we found the highway blocked solid in all three lanes coming out to the Post as the radio had been calling for all personel of the Army or Navy to return to their posts at once. We were forced to drive out in the gutter, and every now and then we had to move aside from there to let an ambulance go by. The people in town were standing along the street watching it all with very dazed looks. Of course, they didn't know what was going on as the radio hadn't said a thing about it. (We turned it on at home before we left and there amidst all the concussion and noise all we could get was church music.) We ran into Bill on the way into town and made him come back with us. (He had been at the University practicing shooting and had missed it all.) He was mad because he wanted to go and see the fireworks. Ha! Lowyd was with us so we dumped him at the U. where he had a room. Left Jack with him, and Mom and I went up to the M's in Moana Valley. Decided to stay there until further notice so we went back and got Jack. Bill stayed at the U. on duty in the ROTC.

From Ginger's Diary 1941
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