Ewa Marine Corps Air Station Seconds Before The Pearl Harbor Attack

Michael E. Haskew

Ewa Marine Corps Air Station

Technical Sergeant Henry H. Anglin rose early on Sunday morning December 7, 1941, and a short time later he left his home in Pearl City, near Honolulu, for the drive to Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, where he was responsible for the installation’s photographic section. This day was special. Anglin brought along Hank, his three-year-old son, so that he could take a few pictures of the child to send to his grandparents.

As the sergeant prepared to snap his camera’s shutter, he heard a disturbance that he remembered sounding like “the mingled noise of airplanes and machine guns.” He stepped outside the photographer’s tent and was shocked to see aircraft with the rising sun of Japan emblazoned on their wings strafing the edge of the airfield.

Ewa Marine Corps Air Station

Ewa Marine Corps Air Station on Oahu sprawls before the camera lens prior to the Japanese attack. Marine Technical Sergeant Harry Anglin and his son, Hank, endured a harrowing experience during the unexpected attack. Image is taken from the book The Marines in World War II

While the father looked skyward, the son darted out of the tent toward the sound of the gunfire. When Sergeant Anglin realized that his son was in grave danger, he sprinted toward the boy and covered him.

As bullets sprayed dirt over their heads, the father crawled 100ft (30m) while protecting his son and reached the relative safety of a radio trailer as bullets tore into its door. The pair then scurried back to the photographic tent, where Anglin told Hank to stay put under a wooden bench.

Remembering his job, the sergeant gathered equipment to begin taking photos of the attack but was wounded in the left arm. Holding his useless limb, he checked on his son and found Hank pointing at a Japanese bullet lying on the floor. The youngster advised, “Don’t touch that, daddy! It’s hot!”

During a lull in the strafing, Anglin took Hank to the Ewa stockade, where a woman offered to drive the boy home. Amid the chaos of the day, this was easier said than done. It would take a few hours to get the boy safely to his mother, who was understandably worried and had left home to find her son.

Michael E. Haskew is the editor of WWII History Magazine and the former editor of World War II Magazine . He is the author of a number of books, including THE MARINES IN WORLD WAR II. The Sniper at War and Order of Battle. Haskew is also the editor of The World War II Desk Reference with the Eisenhower Center for American Studies. He lives in Hixson, Tennessee.

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