PACIFIC OCEAN (12/7/2011) – Sailors and Marines aboard two
ships whose names honor the memory of the Pacific War held
services to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Dec. 7,
1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
Aboard USS Pearl
Harbor and USS Makin Island, service members gathered to
“recognize the sacrifices of those who have gone before us,”
said Navy Capt. Jim Landers, commander of the amphibious
assault ship Makin Island.
Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailors aboard USS Pearl Harbor stand in formation during a 70th anniversary commemoration ceremony of the attack on Pearl Harbor here Dec. 7,
2011. The unit embarked USS Makin Island, USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor in San Diego Nov. 14, beginning a deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East regions. Photo by
USMC Cpl. Tommy Huynh
The ships, to include the amphibious transport dock USS New
Orleans, left San Diego Nov. 14 embarked with the 11th
Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 5, which
together make up the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.
The group arrived in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor Nov. 21
for a scheduled port visit where hundreds took liberty in
visiting historic sites like the floating USS Arizona
Memorial straddling above the battleship sunk by Japanese
“Observing the wreckage was a sobering experience,” said
Sgt. Ryan J. Eskandary, a 27 year old from St. Paul, Minn.
“I don't want the sacrifices of those men to be forgotten
Eskandary serves aboard USS Pearl Harbor
as a member of the Marine unit's detachment from 1st Air
Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, based at Camp Pendleton,
All eight battleships quietly moored at
“battleship row” suffered losses in that fateful surprise
attack. The exploded Arizona's 1,177 lives lost were the
greatest, according to the Naval History and Heritage
Command web site.
Cruisers, destroyers and
auxiliaries, all in threes, were among the losses, as was
the former battleship Utah. The dry-docked USS Pennsylvania
remained in service after repairs, and all but two
battleships returned to service. USS Oklahoma, which
capsized and suffered 429 dead, was refloated two years
later and stripped of its guns and superstructure. While
being towed to San Francisco in May 1947, Oklahoma again
overturned and was lost at sea.
“It was pretty
meaningful coming into port in Hawaii on a ship named Pearl
Harbor,” said Sgt. James A. Moniz, a 29 year old from
Granite City, Ill. “My grandfather lives in Hilo, Hawaii,
and used to talk about the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
Moniz, who serves with the Marine unit's ground combat
element, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, said his grandfather
was in the Army during World War II, and his father served
as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
Pearl Harbor, he
said, is “definitely something my family doesn't forget ... I
won't forget it. Every Marine should think about that day;
it's a big turning point in history.
Staff Sgt. Dave
J. Washington aboard USS Pearl Harbor gave the name of every
ship that suffered casualties in the attack, and Seaman
Alonzo W. Bender responded to each name by sounding a bell.
Washington, 27, is from Cleveland.
Cpl. Brandon Hund
and Lance Cpl. Steven Stroud followed, doing the same bell
salute for the Army's Wheeler and Hickam fields, the Marine
air base at Ewa and the Navy's Ford Island Air Station,
where, all totaled, 188 aircraft were destroyed and 31 more
Sailing aboard Makin Island on its maiden
ocean transit, an honor platoon of 60 sailors and Marines
formed in an open hangar, backdropped by a Pacific sky and a
“We go forward with our heads held high
but look back and remember where we come from,” said Col.
Michael Hudson, commanding officer of the 11th MEU during
his address to the embarked Marines and sailors.
Navy choir sang, a Marine rifle detail fired volleys in a
salute to the fallen, and a bugler played taps.
Makin Island, the second ship to bear the name, is the
newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the first U.S.
Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion
system. The ship is designed with a flight deck and a well
deck from which Marines are moved ashore in helicopters or
This past summer off Southern
California's coast, Marines and sailors aboard Makin Island
commemorated the 69th anniversary of the daring U.S. attack
on Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. A commando-type raid force
from 2nd Raider Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Evans
Carlson, made its way to the Japanese-held island after
launching in rubber boats from the Navy submarines Nautilus
For a complete historical record
featuring documents, photographs and oral histories of the
Pearl Harbor attack, go to www.history.navy.mil. The web
site also includes a 2,000-word abstract depicting the
actions of U.S. Marines at Pearl Harbor.
Huynh aboard USS Pearl Harbor contributed reporting to this
More photos available below
By USMC Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
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