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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