Veterans returning to Honolulu for Pearl Harbor anniversary recall surprise attacks

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By Cynthia Washicko

In the early hours of Dec. 7, 1941, Emery Arsenault was wrapping up his shift manning a searchlight and radar equipment on the shoreline of Oahu.

Just as he was about to head back to his barracks, his quiet shift ended with the roar of Japanese planes overhead.

“All of a sudden, one of the guys starts screaming — the radar screen was all lit up in blips, and … after that the squadron of Japanese torpedo bombers were over our heads,” Arsenault said. “They were on their way to do their dirty work in Pearl Harbor.”

With just a rifle and five rounds of ammunition, Arsenault and his fellow soldiers planted the gun on the ground and fired at the planes overhead, then ran into the cover of nearby trees to wait out the attack.

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