Pearl Harbor survivor shares his story

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RAPID CITY, S.D. ( KOTA TV ) It was Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Two days prior to that, Steve Warren arrived to Hawaii on a 107 foot wooden yacht that the Navy had purchased to be outfitted as a patrol boat.

"There were 13 of us total on that wooden boat," 95 year old Steve Warren recalls, "A lot of us got seasick on the way out there. We thought being stationed in Hawaii would be a lot of fun."

Two days later the attack began, Warren was asleep on the wooden boat tied to a steel ship, the USS Ash.

"I had a guy start yelling we are under attack," Warren said, "I though he was just trying to wake me up, then I heard an explosion."

Warren said he popped his head of the hatch on his small Navy patrol boat and saw a Japanese tail gunner staring right back at him from an enemy plane.

"The plane could not have been 10 to 15 yards away from me," Warren said, "He seemed to look right at me, I didn't feel like he would shoot, our little boat was meaningless to them. They were headed to Hickam field at the mouth of Pearl Harbor, we were more on the foot of it."

Steve would haul ammunition, tend to the injured and dying men and volunteered to repel an invasion that never came to his boat.
Although the USS Ash that Steve served on wasn't in the direct cross fire, his ship still fired at enemy planes flying overhead. Steve remembers one close call where a bullet came within a foot of hitting him.

"That bullet hit right in front of me." Warren said, "I have no idea where it came from, I didn't hear a thing. For some reason I picked it up I have no worldly idea why I bothered to pick it up and I put it in my pocket."

You can hear more from Steve and fellow survivor Stan Lieberman this Saturday at the Black Hills Veteran's Writer's Group at the Air and Space Museum this Saturday, December 10th at 9:30 am.