Jolley Recalls Pearl Harbor-Hickam Field Attack



Former Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Harley Jolley of North Carolina showed his grandsons Sam, left, and Johnathan Jolley where shrapnel and bullets hit his barracks at Hickam at the time of the attack.  Jolly is the father of Clearmont School Principal Stuart Jolley. The following story and photo are courtsey of  staradvertiser.com
 
Army Air Corps Veterans Recall Friends Lost at Hickam and Wheeler
 
Ten Army Air Corps veterans who survived the Japanese attack on Hickam Field and Wheeler Field 75 years ago were honored at Hickam Wednesday while a much larger ceremony took place next door at Pearl Harbor.

As the nation focused its attention at the dockside service at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier, Air Force Col. Kevin Gordon, commander of the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, told a crowd gathered at Hickam Field’s Atterbury Circle flagpole that, “This very ground shook from enemy bombs. … Our citizens stepped up and fought back in defense of our nation.”
At Hickam, 492 Americans were killed or wounded, along with another 108 at Wheeler, Gordon said.

As he looked at the 10 survivors of the attack on Hickam and Wheeler who were seated in the front row — some of them wearing “Pearl Harbor Survivor” caps, Gordon said, “No other generation has sacrificed more for our nation.”

Airmen lowered the U.S. flag to half-staff. An Air Force rifle team fired three volleys and an Air Force bugler blew taps.

The American flag that hung from Hickam’s flagpole during the attack is now in the Pacific Air Forces headquarters that had been used as enlisted barracks in 1941, Gordon said.

While much of Hickam has changed over the years, Gordon said 1941 landmarks remain, including the flagpole, water tower and officers’ club.

Hickam’s lasting reminders of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack “help preserve our heritage,” Gordon said.

After the ceremony, former Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Harley Jolley, 96, of Mars Hill, N.C., took two of his grandsons to Hickam’s “I Wing” where he used to live — now home to the Pacific Air Forces headquarters.

Outside the building’s entrance, Jolley showed his grandsons, Johnathan, 8, and Sam, 12, where shrapnel and bullets struck the building, the damage still visible today.

“It seems like a century ago,” Jolley said. “You could not believe it.”

Jolley had never attended a Pearl Harbor-related ceremony on Oahu but wanted to make the long trip from North Carolina “to let my grandsons know what this was all about,” he said.

His bunk mate died on Dec. 7, 1941, and Jolley never learned how he was killed.
“All I know is he didn’t come back,” Jolley said.

Ken Sweet, 94, of Milwaukee was an 18-year-old corporal in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to guard duty at Wheeler when the attack began.

After 40 years in the Air Force, Sweet retired as a colonel.

He had not been to a Pearl Harbor-related event since 1995, but wanted to attend this year’s commemoration “because it’s a big milestone,” Sweet said.

The thoughts of several veterans at Hickam turned to their friends who never enjoyed the opportunity to grow old and raise families of their own.

Armando “Chick” Galella, 95, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., enlisted with his best friend, and they were both stationed at Hickam when the bombs and bullets began raining down. Galella was only 19.

Seventy-five years later, he found himself thinking of his boyhood friend, John Horan, who was killed by shrapnel during the Japanese attack.

“It’s important to come here and honor the fellows that made the supreme sacrifice,” Galella said.

He was a private in 1941 and remembered the sound of the initial wave of enemy planes.
“All of a sudden, I heard ‘Whoom, whoom, whoom’ and then there was black smoke,” Galella said. “The planes were as low as palm trees.”

A knot of sailors gathered around to thank Galella, who eagerly shared his memories and complied with incessant requests for photographs.

“It’s important for him to come back here,” said Galella’s granddaughter, Andrea, who joined him on the trip. “It’s less for himself and more for those we lost.”

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