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Boalsburg commemorates Pearl Harbor attack

by on December 12, 2019 11:24 AM

BOALSBURG — At 12:45 p.m. on the afternoon of Dec. 7, a group of about 50 people, a color guard of former U.S. Marines and an honor guard from American Legion Post 245 gathered on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

The ceremony was held next to two of the “big guns” of the battleship USS Pennsylvania, which was docked in Pearl Harbor, and took a direct hit from a bomb in the attack. In spite of its damage, the Pennsylvania is reported to be the first ship to return fire on the Japanese planes that day.

He was stationed on the USS Pennsylvania, docked at Pearl Harbor that day. The ship was being refitted, and had its shower facilities closed, requiring sailors to use a shower room about 100 yards down the dock. Winsett planned shore leave on that day, but while returning from the showers at about 7:30 a.m., he heard an alarm sounding.

He thought it was an odd time for a drill, but soon saw planes bearing the Japanese “red ball” emblem buzzing across the horizon so low he could see the pilots’ smiles.

Winsett quickly manned his .50-caliber machine gunning station and began pouring bullets in the direction of the oncoming attackers. He said he didn’t down any planes, but hit several of them. A civilian dock worker was moving a crane along the dock, attempting to block the view of attacking planes, and Winsett used the crane’s position to help him aim his gun.

Winsett fortunately emerged unscathed from the attack.

“Winsett was just one ordinary, if lucky sailor, on one of many ships caught up in an extraordinary event,” said Bloom.

Bloom noted the Boalsburg ceremony was to honor Winsett’s 28 shipmates who were not so lucky, as well as all the 2,403 who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor on that day of infamy.

“I hope we will continue to meet this way on this day for many years to come,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with a rifle volley by the American Legion honor guard and the playing of “Taps” by bugler Dave Strouse.


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