100 years of Living
Pacific Historic Parks
As we live through a catastrophic global pandemic, we look back to another world changing event, the attack on Pearl Harbor. These three centenarians have survived Pearl Harbor and have no plans of letting the coronavirus slow them down.
As we live through a catastrophic global pandemic, we look back to another world changing event, the attack on Pearl Harbor. These three centenarians have survived Pearl Harbor and have no plans of letting the coronavirus slow them down. Charlie Imus was a Seaman 2nd Class assigned to the Navy's VP-23, an aircraft patrol squadron on Ford Island. During the first attack on Pearl Harbor, personnel were ordered to remain in their barracks until there was a lull. He later reported to the hangars and fired a few rounds at a Japanese airplane with a rifle. Damage to the Navy's grounded planes, Imus said, was devastating. "All of our planes were destroyed except for one," he said.
"I’ve climbed Mount Fuji, I’ve gone bungee jumping in New Zealand, I’ve been to a 500 Indianapolis race,” he said. "I bungee-jumped off the Kawarau Bridge, which is the first commercial bungee-jumping deal in the world. It was on my 80th birthday. I was 20 years younger."
He just grinned when asked what he thinks of every morning when he wakes up to greet the day. "You just hope that your back ain’t hurtin’ like it can,” he said.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Shipfitter 1st Class John “Jack” Garrett was aboard the light cruiser USS St Louis tied up next to its sister ship, the light cruiser Helena, in Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Garrett was waiting to go ashore when Japanese bombers, torpedo planes and fighter aircraft attacked the U.S. Navy fleet in the harbor.
Upon the attack the crew went into action firing the ship’s cold boilers in preparation to back away from its mooring, moving into the channel, where it was fired upon by a Japanese mini-sub. The two torpedoes missed the ship, giving it the nickname the “Lucky Lou.” The USS St Louis was the first ship out of the harbor, between the two Japanese raids.
The St Louis would participate in 11 major naval battles in World War II and earn 11 battle stars. Garrett was in all of them.
Garrett believes, from what he has been told, that he is the oldest active member of an honor guard firing squad in the United States. At 100, Garrett plans on continuing with the honor guard as long as he can.
Dr. Harley Jolley, retired professor of history at Mars Hill University, is remembered fondly as one of most loving and interesting instructors to grace the campus. A veteran of the Army Air Force, Dr. Jolley was one of thousands stationed at Hickam Air Field on the morning of December 7, 1941. When asked about his experiences that day, Dr. Jolley remarks how he was asleep in his bunk when the attack commenced. Hearing the commotion from the dropping of bombs, Dr. Jolley and his bunk mate initially believed it was some sort of practice being carried out by the United States Navy stating, “the damn Navy is at it again.” After realizing what was happening, Dr. Jolley rushed to his post along the perimeter of the airfield and began defending his fellow soldiers. Today, Dr. Jolley still suffers from a piece of shrapnel picked up from the attack as well as the realization that he was” very fortunate” to avoid a much serious injury.