Kalaheo resident revisits Pearl Harbor – Navy League dinner tonight
Josiah Adams of Kalaheo was aboard the destroyer USS Hovey, as acting officer on deck during anti-submarine patrol just outside of Pearl Harbor on a quiet Sunday morning.
Oddly, he noticed several anti-sub bursts in the air near Barber’s Point where Marines normally had target practice, and it seemed strange to him for it to be occurring on a Sunday morning.
The next thing he heard was not normal and answered his question about the anti-sub bursts. Coming across the bridge of the ship’s loudspeaker, which was reserved only for direct emergencies or directives from higher command, came these fateful words: “Air raid on Pearl Harbor … this is not a drill … repeat … this is not a drill.”
It was then that he noticed the smoke and flames billowing up into the sky. His first thought was not for his own safety, but he feared for his wife who was at their home near Diamond Head.
“I was worried more about my wife than myself,” Adams said.
Luckily, his patrol included the Diamond Head area, and only when he reached Diamond Head and saw from the deck of his ship that his home was unharmed could he put his personal fears to rest.
It wasn’t until the next day that he had any real feelings and understanding as to what happened that Dec. 7, 1941.
His destroyer was ordered into the harbor on Dec. 8, and he and his crew witnessed bodies floating in the water and the devastating wreckage to the military’s Pacific Fleet.
The mission of his destroyer was to hunt down enemy submarines in the harbor.
Since the harbor was so shallow, he and his crew had to reset all of the depth charges to go off at 30 feet instead of the normal 60. They did locate an enemy submarine in the harbor and were able to destroy it.
Adams will be attending the Kaua‘i Council Navy League’s dinner tonight at 6 p.m., as will special guest speaker retired Vice Admiral Robert Kihune.
Kihune is of native Hawaiian and Japanese ancestry. He graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1955 and entered the Naval Academy in 1959.
During his 35 years in the Navy, he made three star Vice Admiral in 1988 whereby he assumed the command of the U.S. Naval Surface Forces of the Pacific Fleet.
As of January 2001, Kihune continues to fill the position of Permanent Trustee of Kamehameha Schools.
He is also involved with many non-profit boards including the USS Missouri Memorial Association of which he acts as chair.
The public is welcomed to attend the Navy League dinner tonight at 6 p.m. held at the Kauai Marriott Resort in Lihu‘e.
Tickets will be available at the door for $40 for Navy League members, $50 for the public, and $20 for students. For more information, call Al Moe at 651-6592 or Larry Schlang at 826-4417.