Remembering the Oklahoma

Dec 7, 2012

The USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island, Hawaii.
Credit KWGS News photo

71-years ago this morning, the United States was plunged into World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Only the Arizona had more fatalities than the USS Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City native Joe Lawter  was the bugler that morning. He saw the Japanese planes approaching  and told the signalman. The signalman was not worried and told him " Lawter, you are paid to blow and not to think”. Moments later, the first torpedo slammed into the battleship.

Lawter remembers the general quarters announcement that morning as the attack got underway, “General Quarters, General Quarter, this is no bull ______”. He says that announcement added an element of urgency and should be credited for saving many lives aboard the ship. He says "no one would have dared to say that, if it were not true."

429-crew members of the Oklahoma died that Sunday morning when the big ship capsized in the harbor. There is a USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, not far from where the ship was moored.