Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pearl Harbor and the Taylors

Tomorrow, December 7th, is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Among the 2,402 Americans killed there were six Taylors.  I am not sure which of our Taylor project families they represent, but please let me know if one of these is from your family:


Taylor, Aaron Gust, Rank of  M.A.T.T.1c, United States Navy, on (or attached to) the USS Arizona

Taylor, Charles Benton, Rank of  E.M.3c, United States Navy, on (or attached to) the USS Arizona

Taylor, Charles Robert, Rank of PFC, United States Marine Corps, on (or attached to) the USS Oklahoma

Taylor, Harry Theodore, Rank of G.M.2c, United States Navy, on (or attached to) the USS Arizona

Taylor, Palmer Lee, Rank of M.A.T.T.1c, United States Navy, on (or attached to) the USS Shaw

Taylor, Robert Denzil, Rank of Cox, United States Navy, on (or attached to) the USS Arizona

Today Pearl Harbor is a place of beauty, much like it was before the attack.  Here is a photo of today's view.  But on the morning of 07 Dec 1941, things were quite different.  Here is a map of the large natural harbor and the battleships arrayed around it.

Wikipedia summarizes this event:

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia.

The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but two of the eight were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters.  The lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy."

This resulted in the enlistment of my great uncle, Olin Taylor, who served in the Pacific.  Olin joined the Navy in the spring of 1942 and saw action in the Pacific from July 1942 on until the end of the war.  Olin is still alive and of sound mind; he is also a member of the Taylor surname project.  My grandfather, James Bentley Taylor, was already an Army officer.  He was part of Patton's efforts in North Africa and then went to Europe.  Unfortunately James Bentley Taylor was killed in action in August 1944 and lies buried in Brittany, France.
Many Taylors served in the Second World War, including members of our Taylor project and their direct relatives.  May we remember their heroism and sacrifices on this anniversary. 
Lalia Wilson for the Taylor Surname Project

P. S.  In the interest of providing you with more human connection to Pearl Harbor see this item from the Sacramento Bee.  One of the Pearl Harbor survivors lives in the metro Sacramento California area and this is her story:

According to the Sacramento Bee, Beverly Moglich has a unique perspective.

Moglich, an 82-year-old El Dorado County resident, is a Pearl Harbor survivor. As a 12-year-old, she stood on her porch and watched a Japanese pilot strafe the house from so close that she saw his eyes and can still remember his smirk. "His facial expression indicated he was enjoying every moment of his mission, which was to kill," Moglich wrote in her self-published "Memoirs of a Navy Brat," which came out in 2010.

"For 40 years, I didn't even want to talk about it," she said.

For more information see: http://www.pearlharborevents.com/

For more on Beverly Moglich see: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/06/4102273/a-childs-perspective-on-living.html#ixzz1fnhQdEBA