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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Pearl Harbor: freedom-cost reminder;

By Cpl. Nicholas Tremblay | | December 12, 2002

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Saturday marked the 61st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor - "A day that will live in infamy." The attack killed 2,390 people. The survivors will not forget what happened that dreadful day, nor will they forget their fallen comrades who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Numerous movies, books and articles have been written about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those who survived that horrible attack have a unique story to tell. Most of them reflect on heroic acts while others tell of the terror experienced that day. No matter the person or the story, each is special and deserves to be heard. Andy Gubitti, Pearl Harbor survivor and Albany resident, remembers Dec. 7, 1941, as if it just happened. Although it is difficult for him to talk about his experience, it is something he'll never forget. Just seven days before the attack, Gubitti, a Marine private at the time, arrived at Pearl Harbor with his unit, the 4th Defense Battalion, I Battery, for what was supposed to be a routine stop. The Marines were staying in tents in a small area near the tank farm, which was where all the oil and fuel tanks were kept that re-supplied the ships. On the morning of the attack, Gubitti awoke to the sound of Japanese Zeros flying overhead. He and other Marines watched in horror as the planes began dropping bombs into the harbor where almost the entire U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet was docked. "You could see the planes flying over head, dive bombing into the harbor toward the ships," said Gubitti. "We could see what was going on, but we really didn't know what was going to happen." He was not sure what was happening until a message came through the loud speakers informing everyone the base was under attack by the Japanese. Then buglers played "Call to Arms." He and the other Marines quickly assembled and grabbed their weapons, which were 30- and 50-caliber machine guns. They were instructed to set up defensive positions around the tank farm and naval housing and to shoot anything that moved. "As far as I can see, we were very fortunate because they [the Japanese] concentrated heavily on the harbor," said Gubitti. Once they were no longer under attack by the Japanese, Gubitti and the small group of Marines he was with were told to report to the harbor. "We were instructed to pull the bodies out of the water and bring them into shore so they could be identified and arranged for burial," said Gubitti. "It was something that had to be done. It wasn't pretty because they were burnt and in pretty bad shape. If you pulled too hard some of the body parts would come off." Gubitti and the Marines he was with stayed in the harbor a full day, trying to recover as many bodies as they could, he said. "It was real sad," said Gubitti. "It's a shame something like that had to happen." Gubitti, a 30-year veteran of the Corps, is also a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. He has never returned to Oahu, the Hawaiian Island that was attacked, but said he hopes to in the next few years. Although he has not visited the island or the USS Arizona Memorial, he keeps his own memorial in his heart and mind.
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