Central Texas Pearl Harbor survivor shares story about attack

Posted at 3:18 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:16-04

A Pearl Harbor survivor from Central Texas is sharing what he experienced on Dec. 7, 1941.

J.C. Alston who now lives in Troy said he was aboard the USS California when the attack started. The 94-year-old recalls hearing an announcement notifying sailors to man their battle stations. However, when they got to their assigned locations, they had to leave.

“We had to abandon the ship, it was sinking. We had to swim to Ford Island," said Alston. 

Alston who was 18 years old at the time said he saw images he will never forget.

"It was quite some site for a young fella like me. I had only been in the navy about six months," Alston said. "I can't imagine. All those ships on fire, explosions from 350 planes, bombs and torpedos."

The veteran said on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, he honors the lives lost, including the 104 crewmembers from his ship.

"It's a remembrance to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice," Alston said. "They say we are the heroes but we are not the heroes. The ones who didn't come back are the heroes." 

The somber day in history also has a similar meaning for those who served after the attack on Pearl Harbor, including World War II vet Crisp Pirelo. 

"It's a sad day to remember," Pirelo said. "A lot of military lost their lives that day."

Pirelo spent Pearl Harbor Day at the Veterans One Stop talking to high school students about his experiences during WWII. Alston who also served in World War II planned to attend a ceremony at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.

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