Delmarva Veteran Remembers Pearl Harbor - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Veteran Remembers Pearl Harbor


Centreville, Md.- "December 7th, 1941.  A date which will live in infamy"

Those words echo throughout the images of that devastating Hawaiian morning, and across history.

They are particularly pointing for Ernest Smith, who was on board the USS. St. Louis when the first shots rang out.

"It was about ten minutes of eight, when low and behold, the buzzer sounded on my ship and said, 'Everybody man your battle stations immediately.  This is not a drill,'" said Smith of Centreville.

He went on deck to man his turret, and saw for the first time who was attacking him.

"Over 350 naval warplanes from Japan attacked us that morning. I could see the pilots very clearly when they rode past my ship.  I saw battleships and everything being hit, " said Smith.

Ernest's ship, nicknamed the Lucky Lou, was the only large ship able to escape Pearl Harbor during the bombing.

"I knew if they attacked us like they were, then our country was certainly going to resist and attack them back.  It left me to wonder what's going to happen to us?  What's going to happen to me?" said Smith.

Pearl Harbor wasn't the end of Ernest's time with the Marines, he fought in the Pacific theater, eventually being shot through the top of his head and awarded a purple heart.

From that bloody war, Japanese swords and flags weren't the only thing he brought back with him.

"I think we learn from these things, and I hope we learned that to protect our country, we have to be very observant of these foreign places.  That morning, who would have thought the Japanese would attack us from so far away," said Smith.

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