Bay Area Coast Guard members pay tribute to Pearl Harbor attack survivors, fallen heroes

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Pearl Harbor survivors observe colors during a remembrance ceremony on the 69th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010. The six survivors were honored guest at the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony that took place on Coast Guard Island. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Pamela J. Manns.ALAMEDA, Calif. – Alameda-based Coast Guard members payed tribute this morning to the survivors and fallen heroes commemorating the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony was held at the Point Welcome Room on Coast Guard Island. The ceremony included the reading of proclamations, historical background of the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Association and words of remembrance, and a message of appreciation from Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, Commander, Pacific Area.

“As we recall the fateful days of Dec. 7, it’s appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the bravery of the men and women who carried the fight to the enemy in the dark days after Pearl Harbor ,” said Brown. “As we fast forward back to today, indeed, the world was fortunate enough to have brave individuals that fought in the face of great uncertainty to overcome such a tremendous burden.”

A ceremonial wreath was hung followed by a moment of silence to remember the fallen. A solemn playing of taps by the Coast Guard Island Honor Guard preceded volleys of a 21-gun salute.

“Coast Guard Island has been hosting the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony for many years and each year the ceremony keeps getting bigger and better,” said Capt. Keith J. Turro, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Base Support Unit Alameda and is the presiding official for the ceremony. “It has been the members of the Northern California Pearl Harbor Survivors Association that have envisioned and designed this ceremony over the years and we are truly honored and blessed to have them present with us today as we pause and remember their sacrifice on this 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

The Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor and on the airfields of Oahu began at 7:55 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, and ended shortly before 10 a.m. Even with a vigorous counterattack by American military forces who were caught by surprise, the Japanese forces sank or severly damaged 18 ships including eight battleships, three light cruisers and three destroyers. Aircraft casualties included 161 planes destroyed and 102 seriously damaged.

Military casualties numbered into the thousands: Both the Navy and Marines lost more than two thousand members. The Army lost more than 200. In all, more than 1,200 military were wounded.

The Coast Guard was transferred to the Navy about a month before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Working under the Navy, several Coast Guard cutters were stationed at Pearl Harbor including the 327-foot cutter Taney, and two 125-foot patrol crafts Tiger and Reliance. During the attack, the Taney opened fire on Japanese aircraft flying over Honolulu Harbor while the Tiger conducted anti-submarine sweeps outside of Pearl Harbor.

Even though the Coast Guard played a small role in Pearl Harbor, it was a precursor to the much larger role it would play throughout the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of operation for the remainder of the war years.

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