Eastern Carolina Veterans At Pearl Harbor Remember That Fateful Day

By: Dave Jordan/Kelsie Smith
By: Dave Jordan/Kelsie Smith

The memory of Pearl Harbor is not far from the minds of two World War II Veterans from Eastern Carolina who were stationed there and recalled that fateful day 70 years later.

Ninety-one-year-old William Reece was a private in the United States Army stationed at Fort Weaver at the entrance of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Reece says, "When the first bomb fell we knew something was wrong because we were suppose to be on maneuvers and not using live ammunition." Reece says he and his fellow soldiers began to run to their command post but something made him turn back. "A feeling come over me to turn back and I turned back and jumped up on the back of a truck, didn't know where it was going and those guys went down there and took a bomb blast that wiped most of them out, but for some reason I missed it.

Reece says he's not sure what saved him that day, other than possibly luck and faith.

Fellow Pearl Harbor survivor and Navy veteran, 89-year-old Adrian Gurganus, says it's a miracle he survived that day and the war. He was aboard the USS Reid destroyer at the time. Gurganus says, "50caliber bullets everywhere and dropping bombs on the rest of the ships in the harbor, just chaos more or less."

Gurganus says Pearl Harbor was just the beginning for him. He says the next four years he spent fighting the war were much more difficult to get through. "When something happens to you and it happens on and on and on and on for four solid years without a let up you face a death every day with out a let up and it goes on and on and on it is pretty rough."

Nearly 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor.


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  • by T Maxx Location: G-vegas on Dec 7, 2011 at 07:57 PM
    Thank you for your service May GOD Bless you all
  • by Ryan Location: Havelock on Dec 7, 2011 at 06:41 PM
    I can't say it to enough of them or often enough to any of them... you truly were the greatest generation.. with out you the World would be lost... than you for all you are.
  • by a vet Location: wash on Dec 7, 2011 at 06:16 PM
    these guys were real troops, they fought and fought and did not ask for P D S D , they ate the pain an went on with their lives !!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2011 at 06:43 PM in reply to a vet
      Are you saying that you did not see any type of combat?Or don't you believe in PTSD? You have a lot to learn, hero (and I use that term lightly).
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2011 at 11:56 PM in reply to
        What do you expect... Do you trust a post from someone claiming to be a Vet that doesn't even know the correct acronym for PTSD? I guess he thought it was Post Dramatic Stress Disorder. "A Vet": Is that supposed to be Veteran or veterinarian? I'm sorry but I've just never seen a Vet that didn't know what PTSD is. If you're a Veteran you shouldn't disrespect the present troops by implying they're weak or fake. Show some solidarity and love. Ate the pain, indeed! Some of those guys that "ate the pain" suffered deeply.
        • reply
          by Vet of the current fiasco on Dec 8, 2011 at 06:21 PM in reply to
          I believe he was referring to Post "Dramatic" Stress Disorder. The melodrama modern day vets tend to use as an excuse to beat their wives and kids. :) Rather than stomaching it like most of the heroes of the past they whine and bicker like self centered children. I've seen it first hand from most of my pals.
  • by Ty Location: Gcitylimits on Dec 7, 2011 at 05:22 PM
    We owe a GREAT Amount more than "Thank YOU's" to our WWII VETS, but hopefully a THANK YOU does let You know that YOU Are NOT FORGOTTEN!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU! and This Country! (Republican and Democrats and those in between)!!
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