The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.

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USS Bremerton (SSN 698) enters Dry Dock 2 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for scheduled maintenance on Oct. 7, 2009. (U.S. Navy/ Liane Nakahara)

A surge in demand for attack submarines and the lengthening of Virginia-class subs to carry more missiles has the Navy examining building its first new dry dock at Pearl Harbor since World War II or creating a 650-foot floating dry dock to better maintain its Pacific-based undersea fleet.

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The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Virginia in 2004. Two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named for the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Dec. 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo)

Navy ships named USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma will return to active duty with the announcement by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly that two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named after American heroes of the greatest generation who perished on the famed Pearl Harbor battleships.

The move brings back into service the hallowed ship names 78 years after both were badly damaged in the surprise Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Most of the Navy casualties that day came from losses on those two ships.

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Divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment donned vintage Mark 5 hardhats — the only two still certified for use — and lead boots that along with the drysuit to inter World War II veteran Lauren Bruner aboard the sunken USS Arizona

Two Army divers gave a unique World War II sendoff to USS Arizona crew member Lauren Bruner when his ashes were interred on the sunken battleship Saturday, the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment donned vintage Mark 5 hardhats — the only two still certified for use — and lead boots that along with the drysuit weighed about 200 pounds, to walk across the deck of the sunken battleship and descend 22 feet into gun turret 4 to carefully place Bruner's ashes in one of the deepest spots in the wreck.

Dozens, if not hundreds of divers, wore very similar gear in the salvage of damaged ships in Pearl Harbor during the war.

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Pearl Harbor survivor Lauren Bruner attends the dual interment of fellow USS Arizona survivors John D. Anderson, boatswain's mate 2nd class, and Clarendon R. Hetrick, seaman 1st class, at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Somers Steelman)

Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.

The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.

Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.

It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.

More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.

Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.

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The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy photo)

Harry L. Chandler knows he's among the last of a vanishing breed.

His fellow members of Massachusetts' Pearl Harbor Attack Veterans Post 1 are now gone. The post had its final meeting in June 2008 at the old Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, and its state organization disbanded later that same year.

His dear friend Robert A. Greenleaf, of Westfield, who was post commander, died two years ago. "What a loss," reflects Chandler one recent afternoon.

Before and since Greenleaf's passing, most all of the Western Massachusetts veterans who were at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, have died.

Borucki. Woicekoski. Lockhart. Toms. Mieleszko. Grimaldi. Fitzhugh. Kostanski. Stoklosa. And, more.

One by one, the voices of the men, many of whom each year shared recollections of that fateful day that propelled America into World War II, have fallen silent. Charles J. Lockhart, of East Longmeadow, was 95 when he died last Christmas Day. In September, William Kostanski, of Greenfield, died at 101. Only when his family surprised him with a 100th birthday party did Kostanski relent to speak – if only fleetingly – about his experiences at Honolulu's Schofield Barracks all those years ago. For decades, he never spoke about it.

Today, on the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Chandler, who grew up in Holyoke, chooses to look to the future. "What more is there for us to talk about," he asks. His concerns are less about the past and more about today's soldiers and the challenges they face.

"What's going on today is horrendous," he says. "There's so much division in this country. It's terrible. Let's put it this way, we never would have won (World War II) if we had this kind of division."

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