Learning About Pearl Harbor

Sharing a story of Pearl Harbor

Posted by Michelle Graves on December 7th, 2016

Presentation teaches students about events of attack


Sid Waterman shared his uncle Russell McCurdy’s experience aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 
Dec. 7, 1941, with students at Onekama Middle School on Wednesday. — At 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, U.S. Marine Russell McCurdy’s watch ended, and as he was changing out of his uniform he heard a few loud thumps.

ONEKAMA — At 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, U.S. Marine Russell McCurdy’s watch ended, and as he was changing out of his uniform he heard a few loud thumps.

McCurdy was aboard the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.

Russell McCurdy, an Onekama High School graduate, was a Marine aboard the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

 Russell McCurdy, an Onekama High School  graduate, was a Marine aboard the USS  Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl  Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Michelle  Graves/News Advocate)

“He said it sounded like someone had dropped something on the main deck, large thumps,” said his nephew Sid Waterman. “What it was, was torpedoes hitting one of the other battleships, Tennessee or the Oklahoma.”

McCurdy climbed up into one of the battleship’s masts and was among eight others in that crow’s nest who survived the attack.

Waterman gave a presentation to 144 students at Onekama Middle School on Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He told the students about his uncle’s experience aboard the Arizona.

On Dec. 12, 1941, McCurdy’s mother received a telegram saying “he was missing in action from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She was told that he was probably deceased,” said Waterman.

However, although McCurdy wasn’t a good swimmer, once he got off the Arizona and back on shore, he went looking for someone to communicate with.

“He got cleaned up, back then they didn’t have dog tags, and they didn’t know who he was,” said Waterman. “He went to check in with the master of arms, and they didn’t want to check him in because they didn’t know who he was. He couldn’t prove who he was.”

Russell McCurdy was stationed in the crow's nest on the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was one of only 15 Marines aboard the Arizona to survive. (Courtesy photo)

Russell McCurdy was stationed in the crow’s nest on the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was one of only 15 Marines aboard the Arizona to survive. (Courtesy photo)

McCurdy was finally identified by another Marine from another ship who recognized him.

The Onekama High School graduate, class of 1936, went on to serve in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His last assignment was getting Japanese out of China, said Waterman.

While McCurdy’s nephew went on to join the Navy, Waterman did follow his uncle’s footsteps, having been stationed in Pearl Harbor for a time.

Students were very impressed by the presentation and learned a great deal.

“I thought the presentation put on by Mr. Waterman was amazing. I really learned a lot from it,” said Maegan Hrachovina. “I walked into the cafeteria not really knowing anything about the day, or why it was such a big deal, and when I left I had a good understanding of everything that had happened, and why it was so important.”

She thanked Waterman for teaching them the importance of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I think it’s really important that we learn about this date, not only because it was a sad day, and many, many lives were lost, but we should also keep it in our minds that it could happen again,” Hrachovina said.

Madisen Clouse didn’t know much about the event before the presentation.

“It was very surprising to find out how many people were wounded or killed in Pearl Harbor,” she said. “I think that it is very important to learn about this because it was a big attack in history, it was something that affected our country emotionally and physically.”

Mairin McCarthy found the presentation to be “eye-opening.”

“Over 1,200 people died on the USS Arizona, and I’m so happy that Mr. Waterman could share the story of his uncle with us,” she said. “It is important that people in this generation remember and learn about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, because it is one of worst attacks that have ever occurred on U.S. soil. We need to remember it and make sure that the men that survived are honored forever.”

I thought the presentation put on by Mr. Waterman was amazing. I really learned a lot from it. I walked into the cafeteria not really knowing anything about the day, or why it was such a big deal, and when I left I had a good understanding of everything that had happened, and why it was so important. I learned that only a couple hundred people survived. I think it's really important that we learn about this date, not only because it was a sad day, and many, many lives were lost, but we should also keep it in our minds that it could happen again. I want to thank Mr. Waterman for teaching us about and the importance of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By: Maegan Hrachovina


 

I loved the presentation because it showed the challenge of World War II and the scale of how many people were willing to fight for America.

-- Zack White

 

Before the presentation, I didn't know that much about this historical event, but after today it really opened my eyes. It was very surprising to find out how many people were wounded or killed in Pearl Harbor. I think that it is very important to learn about this because it was a big attack in history, it was something that affected our country emotionally and physically. I think that a great way to learn about this subject is to have a speaker such as Mr. Waterman. I think that it is great because it’s not just us reading something in a book, or watching a video; it’s someone who experienced the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it connects us to it, too. It makes us want to learn more, too. 

-- Madisen Clouse

 

I think it is important for young students and even adults to learn about Pearl Harbor so that we don't forget about the start of WWII or how veterans like Russell McCurdy fought for us. The attack of Pearl Harbor should motivate people to do the same as all the veterans who fought for us on December 7 1941.- Riley Foreman


 

The Pearl Harbor presentation was eye-opening. Over 1200 people died on the USS Arizona, and I'm so happy that Mr. Waterman could share the story of his uncle with us. It is important that people in this generation remember and learn about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, because it is one of worst attacks that have ever occurred on U.S. soil. We need to remember it and make sure that the men that survived are honored forever.  - Mairin McCarthy

 

    I thought the presentation was very insightful. I learned a lot about Pearl Harbor I perviously didn't know, like where the bomb hit the U.S.S Arizona, how many people passed from that event, and how many people lived through the attack. It surprised me how much Russell McCurdy did and went through, and how he wasn't harmed, except when his hands were burned from the hot metal. I think it's important to remember historic events like this so that people can remember the sacrifices people went through for their country, and what it took for you to be where you are now.
By: Breanna Schneider

 

I think it is important that not just Onekama students, but people all over the Untied States, continue to learn about the Pearl Harbor attacks, because it will keep the memory of those who died alive. Many people don't know what happened that day, and I think that it is important to know who risks their lives everyday for our freedom. Mr. Waterman made this point while he was giving a presentation at my school, I couldn't agree more with him.  --Anika Martell











Comments