Jefferson City veteran talks about surviving Pearl Harbor attack

1 year 3 months 3 weeks ago December 07, 2015 Dec 7, 2015 Monday, December 07 2015 Monday, December 07, 2015 3:42:00 PM CST in News
By: Jenna Baker, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY -  On Dec. 7th 1941, Bill McAnany and a couple friends woke up early to embark on an adventure they had planned the night before. It was a Sunday morning and it was their day off.

The five friends were in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor naval base on the USS Solace where they had been stationed since mid-October. The Solace was a hospital ship where McAnany worked as an X-ray technician. 

A cab came to pick the friends up that morning to give them a tour around the island. Moments into their tour, they looked over and saw an aircraft burst over the air station. At the time, McAnany said the guys assumed the "crazy dudes over there were doing gunnery practice on Sunday," which was not unheard of.

Then they saw an airplane fall out of the sky. 

"Well, we decided they were probably shooting at the drones," McAnany said. 

A man approached them, asked if they were in the service and then told McAnany and his friends the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor and instructed them to get back to their ship. 

"So we looked at this guy like well, ok, he's some kind of a kook." 

Skeptical, the men turned on the radio to find out they were not being pranked, and their naval base had been attacked. The friends, all hospital crewmen, quickly returned to the ship. 

"We...were heading out toward battleship row when the second wave came over, that became more interesting. We were in the middle of a lot of nonsense that we thought was just a joke," he said. 

McAnany and his buddies started picking up some of the sailors who were swimming in the water, which he said was boiling hot from the explosions.

"Because by that time a lot of oil had been spilled in the water and it was a fire and it was really blazing so we filled up our motor launch with survivors."

Backtrack a few months, and McAnany and the others on the USS Solace were stationed at Pearl Harbor to take care of the needs of the fleet's medical situations.

McAnany said after the initial attack calmed down, cleaning up the remains of those they had lost became some what of a routine. 

"We spent the days going out into the harbor picking up bodies and up until the time we left in mid-March, we were picking up bodies that were, sunk, for lack of a better word."

The USS Solace left Pearl Harbor in March 1942, just days before McAnany's 21st birthday. 

McAnany would go on to be appointed to Chief Petty Officer and serve on four other naval ships. He finally retired from the Navy in 1958 after serving for 20 years.

But after that day that will live in infamy, McAnany said he knows his view on life changed forever. 

"One thing that impressed me, how dear that life was after we started picking these guys up from the battlefield."

McAnany said watching the survivors try to breathe and seeing how bad of shape they were in left a lasting impact on him. 

"They hurt," he said, "The thought that came to my mind is that life, by charge, is a very precious thing, I took on a very different attitude toward living at that time and I knew that I had to change my ways a little bit because it really was something to be alive." 

McAnany said he has been back to Hawaii since the attack, and said he has already booked a hotel with his wife, Linda, to take part in the 75th remembrance ceremony next December.

The two will also be there to celebrate, as it will be Bill's 95th birthday and the couple's 45th wedding anniversary.

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led House has squashed an attempt by Democrats to expand Medicaid eligibility. Members... More >>
8 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Less than a week away from election day, and Columbia City Council candidates are still working to out... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People looking for jobs and education opportunities will have the chance to meet employers and educators at... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:31:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prosecutors say a Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis was part of a stolen identity fraud... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:35:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - An area man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of stealing, trespassing and property damage. The Fulton... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:20:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
HOLTS SUMMIT - Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows colon cancer rates have been steadily... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:15:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two teenagers were arrested Wednesday and accused of ATV theft. According to a release, Callaway County... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:56:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
COLUMBIA - Former MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley has accepted the position of president at the New York Institute of... More >>
14 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
CALIFORNIA - Three people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday at the Moniteau County Jail. According to a release... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OZARK - Police arrested a man Wednesday morning following a vehicle chase in which the suspect allegedly hit a... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:03:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It only takes the swinging of a wrecking ball to reduce a historic building to rubble. ... More >>
16 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:11:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's transit system, JEFFTRAN, wrapped up a series of six public meetings on Wednesday. JEFFTRAN... More >>
17 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:08:00 PM CDT in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A suburban Kansas City police office is hospitalized after being injured in a confrontation after short car... More >>
17 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:56:10 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are advancing a proposal to ban Missouri cities and counties from using red-light cameras. ... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:48:48 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n'... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:45:11 PM CDT in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Police caught a Kansas City man who is accused of multiple burglaries across Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arkansas... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:33:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Only one state spends less per capita on its public defender system than Missouri: Mississippi. That could... More >>
20 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:27:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has passed a proposal to spend roughly $242 million more than planned this... More >>
20 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:23:07 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
8am 56°
9am 55°
10am 54°
11am 55°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
7:30a
Cops Reloaded
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
Powerless
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
The Blacklist: Redemption
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Riverdale
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld