Seventy-five years ago today, December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” President Roosevelt would say, planes from the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, launching the United States fully into World War II. The George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives holds several Pearl Harbor photographs as well as the papers of U.S. Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster, of the Class of 1909, who sat on the Joint Committee to Investigate the Pearl Harbor Attack.
And with thanks to Secretary of Development and College Relations and de facto College historian John Cross ’76, we pass along the names of alumni known to have been stationed at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago:
John E. French ’21, Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, was killed in action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona. Of the 1,400 on the Arizona, 1,170 perished in the attack. French was a World War I veteran of the U.S. Navy as well.
Stanley W. Allen ’39, Ensign in the U.S. Navy, was killed in action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, on the battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma.
Philip M. Johnson ’40, Lieutenant (junior grade) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, was cited for meritorious service at Pearl Harbor on the destroyer U.S.S. Henley. The Henley was one of the first ships to maneuver into position to screen American ships from torpedo and aircraft fire after the initial attack. In October 1943 in New Guinea the Henley was hit by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine, breaking Johnson’s right leg and throwing him into the water. He was rescued after 14 hours in the water. He died December 1, 2006.
“Japan’s bold strike is now largely seen as an act of ‘strategic imbecility,'” writes Ishaan Tharoor, who covers foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Read more in the article, “75 years ago, what if Japan never attacked Pearl Harbor?“