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C/O Art Curtis
P.O. Box 318063
San Francisco, CA 94131-8063

415-334-0263
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Art Curtis:
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STORIES OF THE MEN

Ted Tupper
US Navy
USS San Francisco
 
starbar
 
At the time of the attack, I was on the Heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38), which was at a pier in the Navy Yard undergoing overhaul.

We were lucky, as we did not receive any hits or have any casualties.

I am currently the president of the Long Island Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

 

PEARL HARBOR AND BEYOND -  BY TED TUPPER

 

I ENLISTED IN THE NAVY IN 1940.  AFTER COMPLETING  BOOT CAMP AT NTS NEWPORT,  R.I., OUR COMPANY WAS SENT TO BREMENTON, WA. AND WE WENT ABOARD THE BATTLESHIP USS MISSISSIPPI WHICH TRANSPORTED US TO PEARL HARBOR.  THIS WAS ONE OF THE OLDER BATTLESHIPS AND WE SLEPT IN HAMMOCKS.  I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE HEAVY CRUISER USS SAN FRANCISCO CA-38.  ON DECEMBER 7, 1941 WE WERE IN THE NAVY YARD WAITING  TO GO INTO DRY DOCK.  ALL AMMUNITION HAD BEEN OFFLOADED AND NONE OF OUR GUNS WERE WORKING.  WE WERE ON A COLD IRON WATCH , GETTING ALL OUR POWER FROM DOCK SIDE.  AT 7:55 AM THE ATTACK STARTED AND GENERAL QUARTERS WAS SOUNDED,” MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS, THIS IS NOT A  DRILL”.   I WAS ISSUED A RIFLE AND PRECEEDED TO FIRE AT THE ATTACKING JAPANESE  PLANES.  LATER THAT DAY  I WENT ACROSS THE DOCK TO THE USS NEW ORLEANS, OUR SISTER SHIP, TO HELP GUN CREWS AND PASS AMMUNITION.  WE DID NOT RECEIVE ANY DAMAGE AS THEY ONLY WANTED THE BATTLESHIPS AND THE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS WERE OUT TO SEA.  WITHIN TWO WEEKS WE WERE UNDERWAY WITH A TASKFORCE TO WAKE ISLAND BUT HAD TO ABORT AS THE JAPS WERE THERE WITH A SUPERIOR FORCE. 

 

BLACK FRIDAY – NOVEMER 13, 1942

 

THE JAPANESE WERE ATTEMPTING TO REINFORCE GUADALCANAL.  THE JAPANESE VICE ADMIRAL HIROAKI ABE WAS DISPATCHED TO BOMBARD AND LAND TROOPS ON GUADALCANAL.  HIS STRIKE FORCE CONSISTED OF TWO 32,000 TON BATTLESHIPS – THE HIEI AND THE KIRISHIMA – WHICH WERE PART OF THE PEARL HARBOR TASK FORCE.  ALSO UNDER HIS COMMAND WERE ONE CRUISER, FOURTEEN DESTROYERS AND 11 TRANSPORTS CARRYING 14,000 TROOPS.  REAR ADMIRAL DANIEL J. CALLAGHAN ABOARD HIS 10,000 TON FLAGSHIP, THE USS SAN FRANCISCO, WAS DIRECTED TO INTERCEPT THE JAPANESE NAVAL STRIKE FORCE.  HIS COMMAND CONSISTED OF FIVE CRUISERS AND EIGHT DESTROYERS.  THE BATTLE COMMENCED AT 1:48 AM – FOURTEEN JAPANESE AND THIRTEEN AMERICAN WARSHIPS.  OUR SHIPS PENETRATED INTO THE CENTER OF THE JAPANESE BATTLESHIP FORMATION.  NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF MODERN WARFARE HAS US NAVAL FORCES CLASHED WITH ENEMY SHIPS AT COLLISION RANGE IN A PITCH BLACK NIGHT.  THIS IS THE ONLY US NAVAL SURFACE SHIP ENGAGEMENT IN WHICH AN AMERICAN ADMIRAL WAS KILLED IN ACTION, LET ALONE TWO: RADM DANIEL J. CALLAGHAN ON THE USS SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38) RADM NORMAN SCOTT ON THE USS ATLANTA (CL-51).  I WAS IN THE E-DIVISION AND MY BATTLE STATION WAS ON THE 36” SEARCHLIGHTS.  THERE WERE FOUR ELECTRICIAN MATES, ONE FOR EACH LIGHT.  ALL OF A SUDDEN WE WERE ILLUMINATED BY THE JAP BATTLESHIP HIEI.  WE TURNED ON OUR SEARCHLIGHTS AND THERE SHE WAS, ABOUT 3,000 YARDS AWAY LOOKING LIKE A HUGE FLOATING PAGODA.  IT WAS SO CLOSE THAT I COULD SEE THE JAP SAILORS AND THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.  THE 14” SALVOS GOING OVER OUR HEAD SOUNDED LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN.  THE 5” GUN LOADING PLATFORM BELOW THE LIGHTS WAS HIT AND ALL POWER AND PHONES WERE KNOCKED OUT.  I DECIDED TO GO DOWN TO THE GUN DECK TO SEE IF WE WERE GOING TO ABANDON SHIP.  I HAD JUST GOT DOWN WHEN A BLINDING FLASH THREW ME BACK AGAINST THE BULKHEAD, PROBABLY FROM THE DIRECT HIT ON ONE OF THE STARBOARD 5” GUN MOUNTS.  I RECEIVED SHRAPNEL WOUNDS IN MY SHOULDER, ARM AND HAND.  WE HIT THE JAP BATTLESHIP HIEI WITH OUR 8” GUNS AND STOPPED HER DEAD IN THE WATER.  WE WERE HEAVILY DAMAGED BY 45 MAJOR CALIBER HITS, SUFFERED 190 CASUALTIES INCLUDING THE ADMIRAL AND MOST OF THE OFFICERS.  THE USS SAN FRANCISCO WAS THE FIRST SHIP TO RECEIVE THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION FOR THIS ACTION AND ALSO RECEIVED 17 BATTLE STARS DURING THE ENTIRE WAR.  THE NEXT DAY WHEN RETURNING TO ESPIRITU SANTO A JAP SUB FIRED TWO TORPEDOES AT US THAT MISSED AND HIT THE LIGHT AA CRUISER JUNEAU WHICH BLEW UP AND SANK IN ABOUT TEN SECONDS.  MOST OF THE CREW OF 700 ON THIS SHIPWERE LOST.  THIS WAS THE SHIP THAT THE FIVE SULLIVAN BROTHERS WERE ON.  AT ESPIRITU SANTO I WAS EVACULATED WITH OTHER WOUNDED TO THE HOSPITAL SHIP USS SOLACE.  WE WERE TAKEN TO SUVA, FIJI ISLANDS AND TRANSFERRED TO THE 142ND ARMY FIELD HOSPITAL AND FROM THERE TO THE NAVAL HOSPITAL IN OAKLAND, CA. FOR FURTHER TREATMENT.  AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL I WAS ASSIGNED TO NEW CONSTRUCTION. 

 

TO THIS DAY I CONSIDER FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH MY LUCKY DAY.   

In God We Trust

Another Story

December 7, 2007,  6:31 pm
Dropping of Roses Marks Pearl Harbor Anniversary
By Sewell Chan


J
oseph S. Hydrusko was a 22-year-old Navy seaman, working on board a
hospital ship, the U.S.S. Solace, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7,
1941. He was helping to paint the vessel when six planes flew overhead; he
assumed they were American planes flying ahead of a carrier. Instead, the
planes began to drop bombs. Hundreds of Japanese planes followed them. Mr.
Hydrusko rowed over to save wounded and dying men from the U.S.S. Oklahoma, a
battleship that was sunk that day.

On Dec. 7, 1970, Mr. Hydrusko, a longtime resident of Massapequa, on
Long sland, he began an annual tradition — a fly-by over the Statue of
Liberty in a 1929 Curtiss Robin — in memory of the more than 2,400 Americans
who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Hydrusko died in a cockpit fire in 1983, at the age of 63. Today, a
group of 11 Pearl Harbor survivors met inside the American Airpower
Museum
at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y., as four World War II-era
planes set off for the Statue of Liberty, maintaining the annual tradition.
One of those 11 survivors, Ted Tupper, 87, was a 21-year-old Navy seaman on
the U.S.S. San Francisco, a heavy cruiser, on Dec. 7, 1941.“None of our guns were working, because they had taken the ammunition off prior to going to dry dock,” he recalled today in a telephone interview. “They wanted to get the battleships. They weren’t concerned with the other ships as much. We didn’t get hit at all. We were lucky.”

Mr. Tupper received a medical discharge after he was wounded at Guadalcanal
in 1945. He lives in Massapequa. He did not know Mr. Hydrusko at Pearl
Harbor but met him in the 1970s. “It was his idea, to drop one rose for every year since Pearl Harbor,” Mr. Tupper said. “It meant a lot to him.” The four planes used today were a P-40, a P-51 and two AT-6’s. The AT-6’s are part of the Geico Skytypers Air Show Team, a squadron of vintage plans that perform at air shows. (Mort Arken, a retired pilot, commands the squadron, which also works with the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.)

The AT-6’s were loaded up not with bombs but with roses — 66 of
them, to represent each anniversary of Pearl Harbor — and were accompanied by
the P-40 and P-51, fighter planes that have long been decommissioned.
“They flew up the bay, fly up the Hudson, turned around at the George
Washington Bridge, and on the way back, flew over the Statue of Liberty
and droped the roses over the water,” said Fred Di Fabio, who is active
in the state and local chapters of the Air Force Association and helped
organize today’s ceremony at the airport. “They dropped their roses at
exactly 12:55 p.m., the exact time, in New York, of the Pearl Harbor attack.”
The planes were back in Long Island by 1:45 p.m. Mr. Tupper said he enjoyed watching the planes take off. “We were in the hangar, and it was very cold,” he said. He said he tried to come to each year’s ceremony; he did not attend last year because he was in Hawaii for a memorial service there. He said it was getting harder for veterans to keep the memories of Pearl Harbor alive. “We’re dying off very fast,” he said.“It was the first battle that started the war,” Mr. Tupper said.“And I was there.”
 

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