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Pearl Harbor survivors share stories of attack

December 6, 2011 • National News


In this Nov. 29, 2011, photo, World War II Navy veteran Clarence Pfundheller poses at his Greenfield, Iowa, apartment with a photo of himself taken during basic training in 1939. Now 91, Pfundheller will be returning to Pearl Harbor on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, for the 70th anniversary ceremony honoring those lost in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack that brought the United States into World War II. Accompanying him will be fellow survivors, other World War II veterans, and a handful of college students to hear their stories. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

HONOLULU (AP) — Clarence Pfundheller was standing in front of his locker on the USS Maryland when a fellow sailor told him they were being bombed by Japanese planes.

“We never did call him a liar but he could stretch the truth pretty good,” Pfundheller said. “But once you seen him, you knew he wasn’t lying.”

The 21-year-old Iowa native ran up to the deck that Sunday morning to man a five-inch anti-aircraft gun. Seventy years later, he remembers struggling to shoot low-flying Japanese planes as smoke from burning oil billowed through the air.

“This was the worst thing about it — yeah, your eyes — it bothered you. It bothered your throat too, because there was so much of that black smoke rolling around that a lot of times you could hardly see,” he said.

Now 91, Pfundheller will be returning to Pearl Harbor on Wednesday for the 70th anniversary ceremony honoring those lost in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack that brought the United States into World War II.

Accompanying him will be fellow survivors, other World War II veterans, and a handful of college students eager to hear their stories. The student and veteran group will be among 3,000 people attending a ceremony the Navy and the National Park Service hoist jointly Login to read more

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