With the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, The March Field Air Museum will be hosting its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. Two Pearl Harbor survivors will reflect on their personal experiences during “The Day That Will Live in Infamy.”
The program begins with a video, produced by the Museum, which highlights the experiences of other, local Pearl Harbor survivors. This will be followed by survivors, Frank Verano and Earl Williams, who will share their experiences with the audience and answer questions.
Williams was an Army Air Corps sergeant and a B-17C assistant crew chief on his way to the Philippines with five other aircraft for a permanent change of station. They departed Hamilton Field, California, with a scheduled first stop at Hickam Field, Pearl Harbor Hawaii. During the approach two crew members were busy noting local sites such as Diamond Head, and Waikiki Beach when they took on enemy fire.
“When passing the Waikiki Beach area we observed three fighter type aircraft pass off our right wing going in the opposite direction,” Williams said. “Sergeant Bruce said that those were U.S. Navy aircraft sent up to escort us into Hickam Field. Within a minute or two, the plastic canopy over the twin 50 caliber machine guns in the radio compartment disintegrated,” he continued. “I stood up to look out of the opening to see what the cause was only to see a fighter aircraft firing its guns at our aircraft… Those bullets were piecing the radio compartment in such numbers that the cotton fiber in the soundproofing filled the air like snowflakes.”
During the next few minutes the aircraft was riddled with bullets as the pilot tried to land. As they rolled onto the runway the aircraft broke in half, at a point in the radio compartment where there was fire.
Williams will also recount other memorable sights and experiences from that day. The program is free with regular paid museum admission.
Regular museum admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 5 to 12. The March Field Air Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and located at 22550 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, California, 92518. For more information, contact Annie Lunetta at 951-902-5949, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.marchfield.org.