Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Clarence Gunther, September 21, 1987

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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KELLY: Okay, it's September the 21, 1987. I'm in Frankfort, Kentucky in the home of Clarence Gunther, who was a World War II veteran, served in the Navy, entering service on March 6, 1940, and separated March 8, 1946 as a boatswain's mate first class. He was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese dropped on December the 7th, 1941 -- on a destroyer, the USS Farragut, number 148.


KELLY: Uh, 348, he was only about . . . located about a mile northeast of the battleship row, and was a witness to the bombing of the, of the battleship row. He later participated in . . . on a destroyer, the USS Doran in North Africa invasion, and was in the Coral 00:01:00Sea battle on the USS Farragut, and was later, later served on the, the New Yorktown, in the southwest Pacific, participated in several of the actions in the Marshall, Marshal Isle, Turks and Wake, he was at Okinawa on the Saint George A.V. as in Victor, 16 which was a seaplane tender, and underwent experience. . . or he experienced, the kamikaze attacks on the U.S. fleet when one plane attacked his ship. . . while he was in that area. Let's start with Pearl Harbor and . . . you're sitting out there on a destroyer, Sunday morning, 00:02:00Japanese planes are going to come over a little after 7, I believe, something after 7. What were you doing, and what was going on?

GUNTHER: Well, on the Pearl Harbor . . . it came about . . . shortly right at, conflict in time anywhere from 10 minutes to 8 to 20 minutes past 8, but it was right in the vicinity of 8:00. Breakfast had been over with and Sunday morning . . . nothing usual, unusual was going on at that time, you just didn't have any work to do on Sunday. But me, I bought me a newspaper and had went below in the berthing compartment and went back, laid there on the bunk to read the paper. And . . .


KELLY: How old were you now, at this time?

GUNTHER: I was 18. And . . . I went into service when I was 17. But. . . so when this general quarter started sounding. . . well, everybody was just a little bit upset because they were assigning general quarters on Sunday morning when we did not supposed to have anything going, but anyhow, everybody went topside and manned their battle stations, and this is when we saw. . . all these planes flying around with the, the red circle painted on them, and most people like myself had never encountered the Japanese or any other planes as far as that's concerned, other than the United States planes, and we didn't know whose it was nor what they were doing nor even why till. 00:04:00. . we saw. . . a couple of planes go over and drop the bombs and they started blowing up our battleships. And . . . some was in dry dock, they hit the California, and they come back and worked over the Arizona . . . and there was an old ship that they was. . . turning into a training ship that was tied up at the berth where the Saratoga should have been, but the Saratoga had not come back in off patrol. And . . . four torpedo bombers went flying over and dropped four torpedoes into the old USS Oglala. And tore it up. And thinking 00:05:00that it was an aircraft carrier, because it's all these Japanese pilots were flying over there and they were dropping bombs from a map that they had, and they wasn't exactly . . . firing at any particular ship, they was just firing where a ship should have been and whatever happened to be setting there is what they, what they bombed. And it just so happened that the Saratoga wasn't there and the Oglala was, so there wasn't a whole lot lost on that account. But . . . the destroyers after . . . a while, all this was going on the bombs were dropping, and for some reason. . .

KELLY: Let me, let, let me stop you here just one second.

GUNTHER: All right.

KELLY: Were you on a gun when the first bombs started falling on Battleship Row?



KELLY: And you were alerted, and you saw . . . can you describe for us . . . what you . . . were thinking when you saw that first bomb fall on, on. . . Battleship Row, as they called it.

GUNTHER: No, not really, because. . . we really didn't know what, what was going on at that time, of course now after a few minutes, and they dropped bombs other places, then we realized what the situation was and. . .

KELLY: You mean, when they first dropped the bombs on Battleship Row and you saw it, you didn't realize that it was a hostile attack. . .

GUNTHER: This is true.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: And, because like I say, we didn't know the Japanese was all that mad at us. And . . . Lord only knows we wasn't mad at nobody up until then. And then we got a little bit . . . unnerved about 00:07:00this whole thing.

KELLY: All right, when did you first become aware that it was a hostile act toward the fleet?

GUNTHER: When they had more than one wave come over. The first wave of Japanese planes came over, well we really didn't know what the situation was, but by the time that they had come over and dropped some bombs and strafed a few ships, and then left on out and made their circle and the second wave is coming in, then we knew that we had a problem.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: But we had a bigger problem, actually, than what a whole lot of people don't know about, now I've had interviews before, and I've said this time and time again, but for some reason or another they always edit this thing out before it ever gets on the air. Now, I've been on television, I've been on radio, I've had write-ups in the paper. And . . . they never. . . put out on the air what you tell them, they 00:08:00take it back and they edit it out, and . . . and they just put on there what they want people to know.

KELLY: Mmhmm. So what was it that you wanted to say?

GUNTHER: Well, what I wanted to say is, why, at that particular time, that all of the ships in Pearl Harbor were all standing by for an admiral's inspection. All of the guns had been cleaned and greased down and covered. All the breeches had been greased, all the ammunition was struck down below and put in the ammunition locker.

KELLY: Are you talking about the destroyers or the whole. . .

GUNTHER: I'm talking about everything. And there was two . . . radar units, one sitting up on Diamond Head and the other one at Barber's Point, which was on each side of the mouth of that harbor. And they were unmanned, and when the Japanese planes come in, they came in low, 00:09:00and around Diamond Head. And, of course, by the time that we got the . . . the guns cleaned and the ammunition up, and started firing. . .

KELLY: You mean because of, because of the cleaning of the weapons, and because of the preparation for the inspection had delayed the time that you could get in position?

GUNTHER: This is true. If the guns had been . . . left as they were, when we was out on patrol, where the ammunition was setting right up there by the guns, and the guns was ready for firing, because when we'd go out on patrol, why, a lot of times they would come over the airplane and pull a sleeve and, and we'd set there and shoot at this sleeve to see what we are on our marksmanship, and, but, when we came back in, 00:10:00why, everything was struck below, and . . . we had nothing to fire with until after that first wave went through and we found that. . .

KELLY: How long did it take you, how long did it take you to, to get into. . .

GUNTHER: It took about twenty minutes to. . .

KELLY: . . . readiness.

GUNTHER: . . . to get this thing, to get ammunition up and the guns cleaned, and . . . got to where we could shoot these things.

KELLY: You mean you had to dry, all off the gun, is that what you're saying?

GUNTHER: Yeah. And, and, then by the time you get, see your five-inch guns, of course, that's. . . was as big a gun as we had on the destroyers at the time.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And . . .

KELLY: What was your position on that gun?

GUNTHER: I was a pointer.

KELLY: Which meant that you did what?

GUNTHER: I, I, I aimed this gun around here and pointed it around here and you had a. . .

KELLY: tranverse it with a wheel?

GUNTHER: Yeah. You got a handle. . .

KELLY: And you pointed, you pointed it horizontally or vertically?

GUNTHER: I went horizontal.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: And they had another one on the other side that done the thing vertically and you looking through your sight, and, when you both get 00:11:00your sights on, and I was the one that pulled the trigger.

KELLY: Okay. All right. Uh . . . so you, you were delayed because of the, the . . . inspection, that you were preparing for the admiral's inspection.


KELLY: Which was not kind of a normal thing for you to do, is that what you're saying?

GUNTHER: This was not, this is true.

KELLY: For a Sunday morning.

GUNTHER: It wasn't normal for that time of year.

KELLY: Okay. All right. So the first wave comes through, and, and that wave that came through that you're talking about, is that the one that came around Diamond Head?


KELLY: All right, and, and dropped . . . how many are you talking about then?

GUNTHER: Well the first, the first . . . the first bunch that came through, they were fighters and, and bombers.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: When the fighters, they come through there and they started strafing and all this kind of good stuff. And then. . .

KELLY: Did you see that?

GUNTHER: Oh yes. Yes, it wasn't no problem to see.


KELLY: What were they, what were they strafing, the fighters as they came in . . .

GUNTHER: They, they were just strafing anything that coming by, they was just, just flying through and, and shooting.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And if they hit anything, fine, if they didn't, why, they lost nothing but a few bullets.

KELLY: What were some of the things that you saw them hit? As they were strafing?

GUNTHER: Well, you can't see them, actually hit anything, I do know that they hit the Farragut with their strafing.

KELLY: The first time? The first, the first fly-by.

GUNTHER: Well, that's right.

KELLY: Before you fired a round?

GUNTHER: No, well, before we fired, right after we fired the round . . .

KELLY: All right, well just a second now.

GUNTHER: Yeah, we were, we were already up, and see the fighters, they led these bombers in and they come back and they led the torpedo planes in, and the fighters led everything in.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: 'Cause they, they took the blunt of the blow and what they was doing was strafing, getting everybody to hide so they wouldn't be shooting at these bombers and torpedo planes, course we couldn't shoot at them, I didn't have 'em to shoot. And, but after the second wave started through, well we was already ready for them, and . . .


KELLY: All right, the first wave that comes through now, I want to get it, I want to be precise and I want to see it through your eyes and hear it, smell it, feel it, first wave that comes through, did you say that they strafed and some of the rounds hit on your ship, the Farragut.

GUNTHER: The, the, no.

KELLY: Not the first wave.

GUNTHER: The first wave that came through, they went after the, the bigger things, just what it, well, actually, just whatever come out, I think it was more or less feeling things out to see what was going to happen.

KELLY: I don't want what you think now, I want what you saw, okay?

GUNTHER: Well. . .

KELLY: So stick with me on this now, to help me out, 'cause I've, I've gotta, I want to look at it from you, an 18-year-old sitting on the USS Farragut as a pointer.

GUNTHER: All right.

KELLY: First one comes through, you see, tell me what you saw, and, and not what you didn't see.

GUNTHER: Well I saw a bunch of planes coming through there and they were 00:14:00firing and . . . following the, the fighter planes, why, the bombers come in and . . . they bombed over Battleship Row, of course, some of them hit and some missed.

KELLY: All right, and at this time now, you're not ready to fire, you're trying to get your guns ready to fire.

GUNTHER: Right, we cannot fire; we didn't have nothing to shoot.

KELLY: All right, what did you have to do to get it ready? Did you have to run downstairs or down the harbor?

GUNTHER: No, we had, the men . . . at their battle stations, why you had men that was in the magazines to send the ammunition up.

KELLY: What were you doing, do you remember what you were doing specifically?

GUNTHER: What I was doing specifically was sitting up on the gun on my pointer's chair waiting for somebody to do something so I could close the trigger and shoot my gun.

KELLY: All right, and the other people had to, they're the one that were. . .

GUNTHER: The gunners may have had to clean the guns and . . .

KELLY: The, just kind of, with a big ram. . .

GUNTHER: Well they, no, they cleaned it out with rags and stuff, just wiped the grease off of it, and got it, where it, what they done was 00:15:00reach it down heavy oil to keep the salt water from. . .

KELLY: Had to get it, had to get it off of it.


KELLY: All right now. As you're sitting there, and, and you're looking off to your right to see Battleship Row, which way do you have to look to see Battleship Row?

GUNTHER: Now I was sitting, my gun, mount, was right on the fantail.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And I could look right over the fantail and see Battleship Row.

KELLY: So you were looking right at it.

GUNTHER: I was looking right square it.

KELLY: All right, are you seeing anything nurry up? Or, what, what, I'm trying to capture your feelings here now, you're sitting there on that gun, you're trying to point it and can't get it, a round off because they're not ready to go. Are you. . .

GUNTHER: Well, that's true, but. . .

KELLY: . . . raising any Cain? Or . . . getting. . .

GUNTHER: . . . but I, well an 18-year-old that never had nothing in his hands bigger than a 16-gauge shot gun, I mean, and these planes flying over there and blowing up everything, you really don't know what to think, and . . .

KELLY: Are you kind of numb? Is that, is that what you're. . .

GUNTHER: Well, you couldn't, you just don't know what, what's going 00:16:00on, what are they doing this for? Who's doing it? What have we done to somebody to make them mad enough to come over here and blow us up?

KELLY: Are you thinking that?

GUNTHER: I'm thinking this, yeah, because . . . what have we done to anybody? I mean, we was friends with everybody in the world, we thought.

KELLY: Mmhmm. You're saying, "Why's this is going on?" is a big question in your mind, is that what you're saying?

GUNTHER: Yeah. Why, why are we doing this? Or, why are they doing it? We didn't know. But then, after we got things straightened out and . . . by the time that second wave come through, then here come the fighter planes again, but we were ready for them this time, because we'd had time to get the ammunition stuff above.

KELLY: That first wave, I want to stay on that just a while. Did that thing just kind of zip right by? It was all over? Or . . . or did. . .

GUNTHER: Well they, the fighter planes they come through there and they let, they just done their strafing and went on. . .

KELLY: Kinda. . .

GUNTHER: . . . not, not sure whether they were carrying small bombs or not because they didn't get that close. . .

KELLY: Did they go out of your sight? Quickly?

GUNTHER: Yeah, they went on around and went clear on around the sub base, and around Schofield Barracks and Hickam Field, went all the 00:17:00way around.

KELLY: And disappeared out of you.

GUNTHER: And just went out, disappeared, the bombers followed them, and they dropped their bombs on, on the way through.

KELLY: And that just took seconds, right?

GUNTHER: Right. And then it wasn't but a little while till here they found out that . . . it was a cakewalk for them really, because nobody was shooting anything back at them.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And, so, it wasn't too awful long till here come that second wave. But by that time, we were ready for 'em. . .

KELLY: First wave was bombers, right?

GUNTHER: First wave was bombers and fighters and the next bane was fighters and torpedo planes.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And a few more bombers throwed in for good measure.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: So, they . . . fighters come through on this second wave, and we were, like I say, we were ready for them and, the way they. . .

KELLY: When you say we, are you speaking for the whole fleet or are you speaking for your ship?


GUNTHER: I'm, I'm speaking . . .

KELLY: Or are you speaking for your gun?

GUNTHER: I'm, I'm speaking of . . . the Farragut.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: I'm speaking of my gun.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: I figured that if my gun was ready, so was other people's in this fleet, and it proved to be true, because when the other bunch came through, why then there was a whole lot of shooting going on. And it wasn't coming from them, it was coming from us.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: So, I think that first wave done made us mad, and we was trying to get back at them or something.

KELLY: What, I want to know about that, what do you mean you think they made you mad?

GUNTHER: Well, when you see. . .

KELLY: You said at first there, you were in a state of bewilderment, why this hostile act.

GUNTHER: Right, but by the time that these other people that these planes got around again and we got our stuff up there, you had time to think about what was going on, and here these people flying over there and dropping bombs on your ships and tearing up your, your. . . play toys that you ride around on. . .

KELLY: Yeah.

GUNTHER: And . . .

KELLY: And hurtin your crews.


GUNTHER: And you don't know why.

KELLY: Friends.

GUNTHER: And they're killing these people and all this kind of good stuff, and you just don't know what, what's going on, but then, by the time that they got back to try it again, why it done dawned on you that somebody done, done done you wrong.

KELLY: This is war, huh?

GUNTHER: Yeah, and . . .

KELLY: Did you think of it as war at that time?

GUNTHER: No, I never did think of it as war until, of course. . .

KELLY: Till they declared it, but you thought of it. . .

GUNTHER: [chuckle]

KELLY: . . . time to do something . . .

GUNTHER: It was time somebody was doing something, and, so . . . the second wave came in, well then then the fighters came, and that's when they came and strafed the ship that I was on.

KELLY: They meaning how many? 1, 2, 3. . .

GUNTHER: No, there was, there were several of them that come over and maybe it could have been just one that strafed our ship, but there were several fighters come over.

KELLY: How high, how, which direction did they come from?

GUNTHER: Well when they, when they came in on that. . .

KELLY: You were on the tail end of it, were they coming toward you from a. . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, they came in from a, a. . .


KELLY: And the tail end of yours was pointing toward. . .

GUNTHER: The mouth of the harbor and . . . and . . . the . . . of course when you're on the fantail of the ship, why you can cover the whole area. And this is what this gun I was on, we could swing that thing around and cover . . . well, from port to starboard.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And, and this way, well you could see everything around the harbor, the Pearl City, you know, just everything around because there wasn't nothing in there to obstruct your view anyhow. Oh, when they strafed the ship, then. . .

KELLY: I kinda wanna go with you on that strafing, because this is the first time you're gonna, first time war is coming to you, or. . .


KELLY: Hostile in action.

GUNTHER: But I didn't have. . .

KELLY: How far out did you see the planes, were they right on you before you saw them?

GUNTHER: Oh no, no. No, you could see them coming in. And . . .


KELLY: How high up were they when they were coming in?

GUNTHER: Well they, oh, they were, they were flying fairly low, because when they first come through that, that first trip, why wasn't nobody doing nothing to them. . .

KELLY: How, how low?. . .

GUNTHER: And I'd say . . . oh, 2 or 3000 feet, probably.

KELLY: Did you know they were coming toward you?

GUNTHER: Well, you could see them coming. And, there was no way to. . .

KELLY: All right, that's what I want to capture now. As soon as you knew they were coming to you, and gonna engage your ship, can you remember that feeling?

GUNTHER: Yes, I can remember that feeling, and . . .

KELLY: Describe it please.

GUNTHER: And, well. . . you felt like that, you were more or less like a sitting duck, they was coming in at you, and you could see they had the . . . guns along the wings, and you could see them things firing, I mean you could see the flashing. And here they coming right at you, well now, like I said, I was the man on this gun that fired that gun, 'cause I had the trigger.


KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And, these, the powder loaders and the shell loaders, they would put that powder in, the guy'd throw the shell in and ram it home.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well when he rammed that home, that bullet never did stop.

KELLY: Cause you pull the trigger just as he rammed it.

GUNTHER: I closed that key and I never did let up on it. Whenever he throwed that thing right out of there, why, it just kept going.

KELLY: Was that kind of a . . . intention, or just kind of froze.

GUNTHER: No, I done, somebody asked me why, and I said, well, I may not hit 'em, but if they want me they gotta come through it. I was laying it up there from the, to fly through if they were gonna get me they were gonna fly through what I put up there. And every time they loaded that gun it never did stop.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And there's a little old destroyer over there . . .

KELLY: Well how, how were you kind of coordinating that with the guy that did the vertical . . . what do you call that guy that did the vertical traversing.

GUNTHER: He was a trainer.

KELLY: Trainer. And you were the pointer.

GUNTHER: Right. And . . .

KELLY: So how did you keep. . .

GUNTHER: Well you had sights on these things, see, and they was coinciding. And . . . you could . . . when you dart that gun 00:23:00around there and, could, fight on a. . .

KELLY: So, are you telling me that the gun was already pointed correctly before they stuck the round in there so when you pulled the trigger you weren't gonna be shooting off into the wild blue yonder.

GUNTHER: No, I'm not telling you this. I'm satisfied I sent several bullets up in the wild blue yonder. Uh, but, I felt that . . . the more bullets I could put up there. . .

KELLY: Just get them out there.

GUNTHER: . . . why, it, more planes that come through, the more bullets I put up there, I might accidentally hit one.

KELLY: Uh-huh.

GUNTHER: And, whatever I, whatever I accomplished. . .

KELLY: So you were, you were more concerned at that point at getting bullets out there and they were a lot of targets out there and you thought you'd get one.

GUNTHER: That's exactly what I thought.

KELLY: Okay, now. . . as you see that plane coming towards you, and you see those bullets coming out of there. . . that's kind of a bad sight, isn't it?


KELLY: Can you tell me what you're thinking there?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I'm thinking that . . . that this . . .

KELLY: Is dangerous?


GUNTHER: This war's gonna be an awful thing if a thing like this keeps up, but . . . that . . . one of these bombers, like I was telling you, dropped this bomb and hit this buoy. Well that's . . .

KELLY: This same flight's coming toward you now?

GUNTHER: The second flight come through. . .

KELLY: Is this a stra-, is he behind these planes that are strafing you as you're coming in now?


KELLY: All right, now before we get to the bomb and the buoy, 'cause I know that's gonna be a different experience for you too. I want to ride with that . . . little gunner on that . . . fantail of that ship, on that five-inch gun . . . when he looks out there and he sees those Zeros coming at him, how many coming at you?

GUNTHER: Well, I, I don't really know . . .

KELLY: More than five?

GUNTHER: Just like I said, there was . . .

KELLY: More than five? Less than five?

GUNTHER: Something in that neighborhood, you can't hardly tell 'cause . . .

KELLY: I know it's confusion because there's everything . . .

GUNTHER: There was just a whole swarm of planes coming in, and . . .

KELLY: And actually, I want to address both of it, I want to get specific 00:25:00when there's you and one plane, and I want to get the confusion, I want to get, capture the confusion that's in your head, because of all this.

GUNTHER: Yeah, well . . .

KELLY: But before we do that now, as he comes toward you and he's spitting out bullets . . . just go right, again, and, and, you know, all the sudden you get your first round off.


KELLY: You haven't aimed this time; you've already just pulled it down.

GUNTHER: No. The first. . . the first that we fired, why, we got up there and we done our thing with this gun, training and pointing and getting our sights in on this thing, but then, these planes were flying fairly close, and they was going at such speed that you couldn't get your gun trained in on them . . .

KELLY: Fast enough?

GUNTHER: . . . fast enough to lead them enough to do anything with them.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: So, what we decided to do, at least I decided, and, of course, 00:26:00my finger was the one that was doing the deciding.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: That, I couldn't train in on them fast enough to. . . lead them enough to get them, so what we'd do, we'd just set the gun up there at an angle and . . . to the height that these planes were flying, and just close the trigger and let it happen.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And that's what we done.

KELLY: Were you getting pretty close to them, generally, in the general area. . .

GUNTHER: Well, when you get up there, you set. . . see these 5-inch 38 bullets, they've got a fuse on the end of them, and you crank that fuse in for three seconds, two seconds or whatever, and then when you fire them up in the air in two seconds they explode.

KELLY: Right.

GUNTHER: Or three seconds, or whatever you get them set for.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well, we were shooting them up there and hoping that we had the thing set where it could maybe a chunk of shrapnel or something could . . . tear an engine or whatever, and do that thing.


KELLY: Had you fired at sleeves enough to know that you could hit a moving target?

GUNTHER: Yeah. If. . .

KELLY: Was this different because they were moving faster, or. . .


KELLY: And 'cause they're coming toward you.

GUNTHER: Well yeah, they're coming right at you, and besides . . . the sleeve that you shoot at, they just pull behind an observation plane, and . . .

KELLY: Slow.

GUNTHER: . . . and then they're not going all that fast. When you take a plane that. . .

KELLY: That's coming at you.

GUNTHER: That's coming at you at 350, 400 miles an hour, why, it's a whole different story all together.

KELLY: So, well, your training wasn't really setting you, helping you get that plane right at that point.

GUNTHER: No, you couldn't, you couldn't train that fast.

KELLY: All right. Now, as he comes toward you, and they're spitting those, those rounds out towards your ship there, is any, are any of them hitting in your vicinity?

GUNTHER: Yes. As a matter of fact, one of them got awful close to my vicinity. He got me right through my left leg.

KELLY: What'd it hit?

GUNTHER: My leg.

KELLY: It hit your leg?

GUNTHER: Yeah. I got the bullet hole . . . [microphone noise].


KELLY: You, you were wounded right on the first action.

GUNTHER: Yes sir.

KELLY: Not bad enough to stop you from continuing the mission though.

GUNTHER: Not the first time, see . . . this bullet hole right through here?

KELLY: Mmhmm, right below your knee on your left leg.

GUNTHER: Yeah, right here. Well that 30 caliber bullet . . .

KELLY: Just the flesh.

GUNTHER: Went right through my leg, and then . . .

KELLY: Were you aware of it at the time that you'd been hit?

GUNTHER: No, it happens fast, and it, all it done was stung and, of course now. . .

KELLY: Well, when you, when you felt that sting, did, what'd you think?

GUNTHER: I never give it a thought. I mean we was all excited and we was . . . doing our thing now, and . . .

KELLY: Too much confusion. . .

GUNTHER: . . . everybody was all . . . going around and running around and doing all that stuff.

KELLY: Was that that first wave, that first attack on your ship that, that got you in the leg?

GUNTHER: The second one.

KELLY: The second one.

GUNTHER: The second strafing come by . . .

KELLY: All right, I'll get to the second one in a minute, I want to deal with the first one there, and then we're gonna, is that bomb going to 00:29:00come out of that first wave too? Or second wave.

GUNTHER: No, it's gonna come out of the second wave.

KELLY: All right, we'll do the first wave, and then we'll get to the second wave, all right?

GUNTHER: All right.

KELLY: You, you got hit though in this first wave, right?

GUNTHER: No. Second wave.

KELLY: Oh, okay, I'm still trying to do the first wave, I want to separate them, see, so I can understand exactly what happened to you. You get your first round off, and then you decide that you're gonna just . . . hold the trigger down, and as soon as they stick a round in there and close the door it's gonna go off.

GUNTHER: Hope, yeah, that's exactly what they're doing.

KELLY: Did you get one off at that first wave at all?


KELLY: You mean it went right over you.

GUNTHER: Not a one . . . I, as far as I can remember, I can't remember a shot being fired from any ship.

KELLY: Now, I'm talking about the first, I'm talking about the first wave that hit you now.

GUNTHER: I'm talking about the first wave that came through. There wasn't a shot fired, but now, the second wave. . .

KELLY: Is the one that's coming toward you.

GUNTHER: The one that's coming toward us.

KELLY: And that's the first time you're going to get engaged.


KELLY: All right. Okay. All right, I think I've got it sorted out now. 00:30:00Yeah, we've been talking about that wave all along, the second wave here, right?

GUNTHER: Well, mostly, but. . .

KELLY: Mostly, yeah.

GUNTHER: But the first wave . . . the United States people and ships didn't have anything to do with that, because . . . we didn't have anything to fire back at them.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: They just come through there strafing and dropping some bombs on Battleship Row, and maybe a cruiser or something is setting around out there.

KELLY: You didn't get a thing off.

GUNTHER: And we didn't get nothing off.

KELLY: But you were trying to get ready.

GUNTHER: And we were getting ready and getting everything squared away.

KELLY: All right now, let's get back on this second wave then, and this, this guy that was shooting at you, that was the second wave.


KELLY: It was the first time it came at you though.


KELLY: And . . . and, right off the very bat he stung your leg, and a bullet went through your left leg below your knee . . .

GUNTHER: Right in the calf of the leg.

KELLY: In the calf.


KELLY: And stung you, but you didn't take note.

GUNTHER: Didn't . . . it didn't, didn't bother me.

KELLY: And up to this point in time, now, you were wonder what's going on, and then you're saying who's, why are they doing this . . .



KELLY: . . . to us. To my navy.

GUNTHER: Now I didn't tell you what the uniform of the day was at that time, but it may have a little something to do with this thing. At that time, the uniform of the day in Pearl Harbor was short pants, white T-shirts, and white hat. Well now, that's what we had on when we went up there to this battle, battle stations, when they assigned. . .

KELLY: You didn't have your helmet on.

GUNTHER: Didn't have, no, I didn't have a helmet; I had a white hat on. And, of course . . . well we wore white hats, because we didn't even have steel helmets at the time, so. . .

KELLY: Let me ask you one question, back you up just a little bit, when you got that general alarm . . . by the time you got up to your station, was you already aware that Japs were in the immediate area?


KELLY: Were they already there? It was a little while before they got there?

GUNTHER: We, no, they were, they were flying around up there when, when 00:32:00we got to the guns, but we didn't know what was going on.

KELLY: Oh, okay.

GUNTHER: We didn't know who it was.

KELLY: All right, they were there though.

GUNTHER: Oh, they were there.

KELLY: All right, go ahead with this.

GUNTHER: And, so . . . but the same . . . this same wave that came through the second wave, when this, fighters were strafing the ship, and this bomber come over and dropped this bomb and hit this buoy.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well then the shrapnel came over.

KELLY: That's, that, you're talking about the buoy by your ship. . .


KELLY: The Farragut, which is only about how far away?

GUNTHER: Oh, less than 100 yards, probably.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And, when they hit, when that shrapnel come flying over, then it took off part of my knee.

KELLY: Be careful with your mike there. And you're still limping from that, that wound, is that right?

GUNTHER: See this one here?

KELLY: Yeah.

GUNTHER: Well now that piece of shrapnel come across there and hit that knee, and then. . .

KELLY: It didn't take the knee cap off, it just took a. . .

GUNTHER: No, just took a. . .

KELLY: . . . a little piece of flesh out of it.


GUNTHER: Right. So, then. . .

KELLY: It still has a scar there, about three inches long.

GUNTHER: When I'm, right, now when they . . . after we . . . started shooting and all that stuff, somebody come up to me and told me I better get my leg looked after. And I looked down there and my socks and shoes were full of blood.

KELLY: How long after this?

GUNTHER: Just a few minutes.

KELLY: I mean, you're talking about minutes, a minute's a pretty long time. . .

GUNTHER: I know, but you see. . .

KELLY: That, that wave that attacked you, that thing, that was kind of a zoom and gone, right?


KELLY: And then you were shooting, you were shooting up there and you know you didn't get anywhere close to them.

GUNTHER: Probably not.

KELLY: And . . . shortly after the strafers came by, or, almost immediately, therein came--comes the bomb, and it drops.


KELLY: First the . . . right off the bat that gets you with a, in the strafing, both of them in the left leg, right?


KELLY: And then they get your . . . the bomb fragment from the buoy, 00:34:00which is about a hundred yards away. Were you able to hear that bomb go off?

GUNTHER: Yeah. It went o-

KELLY: Can you describe that . . .

GUNTHER: Well it was just a big boom, of course, it was a, a lot . . .

KELLY: Crashing noise?

GUNTHER: Yeah, there was a lot of . . . well, I don't know whether you've ever heard a cannon go off or not.

KELLY: Yeah, I've heard lots of them.

GUNTHER: Well it's just a, it's just about the same deal . . . have a little bit of a popping and cracking bit because when that bomb hit, why. . .

KELLY: Cracked the. . .

GUNTHER: . . . the, it busted whatever it was that it'd hit, see, and then, quite a bit of noise going on there, of course . . .

KELLY: It didn't go under water and go off, it was, went off on top of that buoy, is that right?

GUNTHER: Yeah. It just hit that buoy and went out. And . . .

KELLY: And fragments were buzzing through there . . .

GUNTHER: Everywhere.

KELLY: Did you hear those fragments flying through there?


KELLY: Did you hear them hitting the ship?

GUNTHER: I didn't hear a thing, of course, when you . . . listened to all them bombs they were dropping on them battleships over there and torpedoes and . . .

KELLY: Can you, can you kind of describe that noise that was going on in 00:35:00that general area about the time that that bomb fell on your buoy? Can you kind of separate it out . . .

GUNTHER: I can't, I don't think I could pinpoint it.

KELLY: Is it a, is it a horrendous bunch of . . . noises out there?

GUNTHER: Well yeah, when you figure you've got . . .

KELLY: Volumes of noises. . .

GUNTHER: You've got 150 airplanes up there in the air, and . . .

KELLY: The airplanes . . .

GUNTHER: They're dropping bombs and torpedoes and they was booming and banging and . . . everything.

KELLY: From explosions?


KELLY: Yeah, well let's try to, let's try to sort it out. You got airplanes that are flying in formation making noises.


KELLY: And when they dive they make special noises, right?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, they make a screaming noise, sort of.

KELLY: Are you hearing that?

GUNTHER: Yeah, you hearing that.

KELLY: All right, and in with that now on this second wave, there's anti-aircraft weapons firing, on your ship. How many are you firing, you've got your five-incher, how many . . .

GUNTHER: We had five five-inch guns.

KELLY: And they're all going off.

GUNTHER: Oh, every one of them.

KELLY: But they're not, I mean, how, how quick can you get another round 00:36:00off, how, how. . .

GUNTHER: Oh you, well let's see, you can get them off pretty quick, you got this loader, the powder man, he puts his powder in the loader and then they ram it home and fire it, and I'd say you can get off . . . oh every 30 seconds.

KELLY: Mmhmm. That's, 30 seconds a long time in the battlefield, though, isn't it?


KELLY: In that setting.


KELLY: But still . . . with, with five of them, they're all going off at different times. . .

GUNTHER: Oh yeah.

KELLY: . . . so there's probably one big gun going off, and, is there, is there a spewing of 20 mm coming off your gun? Or . . .

GUNTHER: We didn't have 20 mm at that time.

KELLY: Machine guns? You have . . .

GUNTHER: See, 20 mm didn't come about in this war until later on.

KELLY: Did you have a machine gun?

GUNTHER: Yeah, we had some 30 caliber.

KELLY: Were they going off?


KELLY: Off your ship?


KELLY: All right, just trying to get, capture what you're hearing now. You're hearing the airplanes flying, you're hearing the screaming, kind of a screaming noise as they dive, you're hearing five-inchers from your ship going off, and there's other, three other ships right beside you.

GUNTHER: And they're firing too.


KELLY: So that's almost a constant booming.

GUNTHER: It's really a constant thing, and then with their bomb, dropping them bombs and . . . of course . . .

KELLY: The bombs going off on ship row, on Battleship Row, can you hear that cracking noise . . .

GUNTHER: You can hear them and you can . . .

KELLY: Can you feel the concussion of . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, you, you can feel this thing, you can even feel the heat from them . . . when they, they drop bombs down . . .

KELLY: From, from Battleship Row, you can feel the heat?


KELLY: Is that the heat from the bomb or heat from the burning of the ships?

GUNTHER: Well, from whatever it's from, you can feel it.

KELLY: You're feeling heat.

GUNTHER: Yeah, and they drop these bombs and went down into . . . one of those ships, I forget now which one it was, went down the stack, and then blowed that thing up.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And . . .

KELLY: Well, let me, let me kinda capture this, this noise level and this part of the confusion that's going on. Let's continue on building up that scenario, you're hearing . . . you're hearing the five- inchers off of yours, off of the three ships that are right beside you, 00:38:00or is it two ships right beside you?

GUNTHER: Had three.

KELLY: Three.


KELLY: All together? Or. . .

GUNTHER: Four all together.

KELLY: Four all together. Fifteen, five guns apiece.


KELLY: And that's 20 guns, and 30 caliber machine guns, but they're not firing. Now there's shore batteries around, they're going off, are you hearing those?


KELLY: There is, there are other ships that are firing different kind of weapons, are you hearing those?

GUNTHER: Yeah, you can hear those because. . .

KELLY: And these are 40 mm buzzing. . .

GUNTHER: There wasn't no 40 mm.

KELLY: No 40 mm at that time?


KELLY: All five inches.

GUNTHER: Five inches and 3 inches on the smaller, older destroyers.

KELLY: Those three inches, are they going off kind of like a machine gun? Or is it a pop, pow?

GUNTHER: Oh, they're just going pop pop just like the five-inch gun, you load them the same way.

KELLY: You're not hearing much automatic weapon fire then.


KELLY: Okay . . . the bombs . . . crashing, describe that noise.

GUNTHER: [chuckle] Well, it. . .


KELLY: Is it generally, are they generally kind of in one place, kind of on Battleship Row, mostly, at first?

GUNTHER: Well, yeah, it seemed like that that was . . . of course that's the . . . after the bombings and everything was over with, why they took . . . they took inventory on what the situation was, and they have . . . of course they tore up Hickam Field and . . .

KELLY: Yeah, I really don't want to get into that right now.

GUNTHER: You don't want to get into that right now . . .

KELLY: I will though, I'm just trying to, I'm trying to look out through your eyes, 18-year-old, now you've already got two wounds, and the battle, just the second wave's come through.


KELLY: Gonna be more waves, right?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah. And . . . but see now all this time, we're trying to get things ready to get underway too.

KELLY: Okay, are you involved in that?

GUNTHER: Oh no, I'm not involved in that, that was a fireman had . . . had . . . had to do all that stuff.

KELLY: All right, this is the other part of the noise. Are, are you hearing . . . on loud P-sets, are you hearing all sorts of people giving noises and that, uh, giving orders and that sort of thing?


GUNTHER: No, because, what they do is, they got their own phones on down below decks and they was getting their orders from the bridge.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: And . . . so that doesn't have anything to do with us at all.

KELLY: You all trying to get on, underway as you call it.


KELLY: Okay, but you, you know that, but you don't hear it, or it doesn't . . .

GUNTHER: I didn't even know we was trying to get underway.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: I mean that, that just . . .

KELLY: That's just another . . .

GUNTHER: Between the, that was between the skipper and the engineers [chuckle].

KELLY: Okay, so go ahead now, you're shooting some more and let's go on with your wound and, and take it just kind of a second at a time in the battle.

GUNTHER: Well, after . . . after I got the . . . shrapnel hit, of course they come up and told me I should, before I got the shrapnel hit, they told me I should get my leg looked after.

KELLY: Who told you?

GUNTHER: And I, one of the fellows around the gun, and I looked down there and my, and my leg was all bleeding and my socks and shoes full of blood, so I said, "okay," and . . . my relief man was standing 00:41:00by, and . . . so, what I done was started to get off of the gun, and that's when the bomb hit, and that's when the shrapnel got me. And while I was trying to get off the gun to get one wound looked after, why . . .

KELLY: Got another one.

GUNTHER: Then I got another one, so . . . that kind of knocked my pin out from under me and . . .

KELLY: What do you mean the. . .

GUNTHER: . . . I fell to the deck.

KELLY: The second one . . .

GUNTHER: Knocked my leg out from under me there, and . . .

KELLY: And you fell on deck.

GUNTHER: And I fell on deck. . .

KELLY: All right, right there when you're on the deck, can you tell me what you were thinking?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I'm thinking I should be home.

KELLY: I mean, how- can you describe that a little more? Did you say anything to yourself? Did you say, "My God, what am I doing?"

GUNTHER: I was scared.

KELLY: Yeah, naturally you were scared, but what were you saying to yourself there then.

GUNTHER: And I'm, oh I'm . . .

KELLY: Right now, I'm talking about when you knocked on your rear end and you're laying on the deck, can you recall specifically what you 00:42:00were thinking and saying.

GUNTHER: Yeah, and I really can, and I just thought to myself, if this is gonna happen very often, and if war is gonna last very long, I'm in trouble. 'Cause here I'd done been hit twice in less than 3 minutes . . .

KELLY: And the war is 3 minutes when you get shot . . .

GUNTHER: And the war is 3 minutes old, and if it lasts very long I'm in trouble if it's gonna happen like this very much.

KELLY: You, were you thinking that right at that time when you got . . .

GUNTHER: I absolutely was . . .

KELLY: At that particular moment?

GUNTHER: Yes sir.

KELLY: Did you think that you made a big mistake, would that run through your mind, that you made a big mistake getting in the Navy?

GUNTHER: No, because I done been almost two years before the war started.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: See, I was in . . .

KELLY: All right, can you tell me what else you were thinking?

GUNTHER: No, not at, not right off hand at. . .

KELLY: Well that's pretty good thinking. . .

GUNTHER: Yeah [chuckle].

KELLY: I mean you'd had, you had the right answer.

GUNTHER: It, it [inaudible], but then I, see when, like, on that destroyer we don't have a, we don't have a doctor.

KELLY: Right.

GUNTHER: And, we don't have a sick day.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: All we've got is a pharmacist's mate and a, and a little . . . hole in the wall and he's got some Band-Aids and some methialade or 00:43:00mecuricrome or whatever.

KELLY: How bad are you bleeding?

GUNTHER: Well I was bleeding pretty good.

KELLY: Are you scared? That you're gonna be dead?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I'm scared, I was afraid to look at my leg, 'cause I thought maybe I didn't have one. And, so they helped me down to the . . .

KELLY: Did you ask them about it?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I ask them, of course I couldn't feel it, it was numb, and . . . they, they put a tourniquet around my leg above my knee and helped me down at the sick bay, and the pharmacist's mate patched me up and, what he done he held his thumb . . .

KELLY: Oh, before he starts working on you, and that fear, that moment of fear see . . . when you're, when you're afraid that your leg might be severely damaged so that you're gonna lose your leg, did you say you were scared? You wouldn't look at it because you were afraid that you were . . .

GUNTHER: Well I, I really didn't particularly care about looking at it, because I couldn't feel it.


KELLY: Mmhmm. Were you afraid to look at it?

GUNTHER: Well sure I was afraid to look at it. I didn't know if I had one there or whether I left it laying back on the deck, 'cause it was numb.

KELLY: Okay, you thought it might be gone.

GUNTHER: That's true.

KELLY: And you didn't want to shock yourself.

GUNTHER: That's right, so I just didn't bother and . . .

KELLY: Did you, well then did you ask them, "have I got a leg?" or did they tell you.

GUNTHER: I don't remember.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: I just don't remember whether I asked them or not . . .

KELLY: You don't remember asking about it.

GUNTHER: . . . and, when I did get to the sickbay, why they . . . he put his thumb underneath that bullet hole, and dumped the thing full of methialade, and then wrapped it up, and. . . took a needle and thread and sewed my shrapnel wound up and wrapped it up, and then. . . told me to go over and, I remember him telling me, go over and sit down. And, of course by this time now . . . we were getting underway.


KELLY: Was that, is that a good feeling?

GUNTHER: Yeah it was, 'cause I didn't know whether we would be able to . . . get underway or what was gonna happen.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: But anyhow. .. I can remember 'em. . . the seamen running around with fire axes and chopping the mooring lines. They didn't even bother about untying them; they just chopped them off and . . .

KELLY: Were people kind of panicked? Or were they . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, and . . . see you, you . . . you had a whole lot of young, young people like, like myself on, on that ship, and . . . of course, the old timers that was on the ship . . .

KELLY: Clarence, let me turn this over.

[End of Tape 1, Side 1]

[Beginning of Tape 1, Side 2]

KELLY: Okay, Clarence Gunther, let's continue on, we're at Pearl Harbor now, and you're wounded, and your ship is getting underway.

GUNTHER: But, these, these people that are just . . . young fellows as 00:46:00myself, and the old-timers I was saying, they weren't so old that they had been in any battles before either, as a matter of fact I, I would say that the . . . this attack on Pearl Harbor was the first battle that anybody on the ship had been in. And everybody was scared, they was panicky after they found out what was going on, they didn't . . .

KELLY: Can, can you describe that panicky . . .

GUNTHER: Well . . .

KELLY: Give me some examples of some of the panic things that you saw.

GUNTHER: Well, people running around, see, [chuckle] on a ship, you've got a port, and you've got a starboard.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: The starboard side of the ship is the right hand, and port is the left, well now, when you have general quarters, you, everybody goes forward on the starboard side, aft on the port side.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And that way they don't get into each other's way when they go 00:47:00into the battle stations.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: But . . . when this happened, why, everybody was so confused that they was . . . going . . .

KELLY: Milling.

GUNTHER: . . . everywhere.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: The one that . . .

KELLY: You, you're talking about at the onset . . .


KELLY: . . . at the first, at the battle station . . .

GUNTHER: Right, they was going . . .

KELLY: So you all must have known that there was trouble then, before you got out of the hole.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, we knew, well, we didn't know exactly that there was trouble when we got out of the hole, but after they got top-sided and seen all this going on, is when they started running over top of each other and trying to get to their gun stations as fast as they can and taking shortcuts and going up ladders that you should be going down, and . . . see, you have . . . people that go down into the engine room, and people coming up out of the berthing compartment uses the same ladder, but you've got a ladder going down and one going up, and some of them . . . are going . . .

KELLY: Down on a ladder.

GUNTHER: Yeah, they going up the down ladder and all this kind of stuff, and run into one another, and . . .


KELLY: Okay, I want to dwell on that just a little bit more. When did you first, kind of experience some, a little panic yourself, after you got on top of the deck?

GUNTHER: After I got topside and . . .

KELLY: Almost immediately?

GUNTHER: Well no, not really, because I was more disturbed, or, well, you could even say . . . mad. Because they sound the general quarters on a Sunday morning when . . .

KELLY: You were mad at the captain.

GUNTHER: Yeah, I was mad at everybody.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: I mean, I was gonna read a paper that I just paid 10 cents for.

KELLY: Disturbed you, that was the first thing that hit you.


KELLY: And now let's get the panic moment, when did that occur?

GUNTHER: That occurred after . . . I was up on the gun and seen this wave coming through there dropping all this stuff and strafing everything that come along, then you get panicking because you don't know what's doing, going on, and who's doing it, and why they're doing it. And therefore . . .

KELLY: The, the first wave that, that engaged the Navy.


KELLY: Not your ship.

GUNTHER: And then after they seen all this going on, that's when they 00:49:00started closing all the watertight doors and the hatches and all this kind of good stuff, and running up. They even close some of the people . . . down below decks that should have been topside that was a little slow, and they was mad just like I was, and they was just a little bit reluctant about going up to their battle station anyhow, because it was on a Sunday morning, they thought it was just a drill.

KELLY: Thought it was kind of . . . uncalled for.

GUNTHER: Yeah, absolutely.

KELLY: And harassing them.

GUNTHER: And they had six, seven, six days a week to do this stuff, and they should have left us alone on Sunday, but . . .

KELLY: Sunday morning was yours.

GUNTHER: [chuckle]

KELLY: All right, now. When that panic moment comes, that first wave comes through there, doesn't engage your ship, but it's engaging Battleship Row, and then, all of the sudden this, you realize it's for real, and there's panic, and you just described some of that, were you on the gun at the time?


KELLY: So how were you panicked, yourself?


GUNTHER: Well my panic came. . .

KELLY: Or fear, maybe I should say fear, maybe you weren't in a state of panic.

GUNTHER: Well, actually I think maybe you went into fear before you went into a panic because . . . or, it could be vice versa. Because when you see-

KELLY: Were you already on your station when you, it all of the sudden dawned on you this was not a captain's harassment . . .

GUNTHER: Oh yeah.

KELLY: . . . alert.

GUNTHER: By the time. . .

KELLY: Or battle drill?

GUNTHER: Yeah, because, see my berthing compartment was aft on the ship anyhow, and when I come right up off the ladder, well I just go out on the deck onto my gun station.

KELLY: Just took you seconds to get there.


KELLY: All right, now, Clarence, on your fear level, when you realize it's for real, and, and your . . . things that you were doing that would indicate fear. Were you shaking, teeth chattering . . .

GUNTHER: No, I don't think . . . I don't think that was the case, I 00:51:00think it was . . .

KELLY: Because some of them even wet their britches.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, yeah.

KELLY: On your ship, did they do that?

GUNTHER: Well I, I would assume so, I didn't . . .

KELLY: You didn't see any of it.

GUNTHER: . . . see anybody in particular . . . had one fella who was a. . . he said he wasn't scared, but he was so close to the deck that they could have swept it down and never touched him, so evidently [chuckle] he was digging down there pretty close, but . . .

KELLY: Is this right in the middle of it? Or is this afterward.

GUNTHER: After it was all over with, he was talking to us about it, and . . .

KELLY: Laughing about some of the things . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, of course, you know, after you get underway and you get out away from all this stuff, then you start going over . . . what has happened and what did happen and how you felt about these things.

KELLY: Well let's, let's get back on your fear level now, after you get over being angry at the captain. Do you recall, you know, what it was doing to you, whether . . . what was going on?


GUNTHER: N-well . . . the fear actually, it came . . . a little later on after, of course after the first bunch of planes went over and you see them dropping these bombs and strafing different things . . .

KELLY: But that was some distance out, and that's different, isn't it?

GUNTHER: Yeah. But then. . .

KELLY: They come at you.

GUNTHER: Then the next trip, when they started coming in, why they were coming a little bit further out into the, the bay and, they was catching a few more of these ships and they was coming in at you, then you were gonna have this fear that . . . golly is that next one gonna drop right down the stack, or is gonna hit on the fan belt, is it gonna hit us? And . . .

KELLY: Yeah, can you remember how you felt then?

GUNTHER: Yeah, you felt scared and you . . .

KELLY: Are you shaking?

GUNTHER: Well I don't know whether I was shaking or not, but I was doing a whole lot of thinking.

KELLY: Can you remember what you were thinking?

GUNTHER: I can think of maybe, yeah, that if that dude comes over this way and drops one of these bombs, well there ain't no way after you 00:53:00see what happened, what one of them bombs do to a battleship, then there's no way that, that it couldn't have blown that destroyer clear out of the water, and there was no way that anybody was gonna survive that thing if one of them did hit. And what you were sitting there thinking, "is he gonna drop it on us or is he going over here and drop it on somebody else?" You're hoping he's gonna drop it on somebody else. You don't want him to drop it on you. Although you don't want nobody else to get hurt, but you don't want it on you either.

KELLY: If it's between you and him it's you first.

GUNTHER: That's right, you think about number one.

KELLY: Right, well. Do you have to do anything with your feet? Are you, are you pushing on any levers or anything with your feet?

GUNTHER: No. It was all hand control . . .

KELLY: Are your feet shaking?

GUNTHER: Probably. But I didn't notice.

KELLY: And you don't remember.


KELLY: Sometimes, you know, when a fear level gets a certain level. . .

GUNTHER: But you see. . .

KELLY: . . . funny taste in a person's mouth, did you notice that?

GUNTHER: No, but I do know for a fact that . . . you actually don't 00:54:00get scared until it's over.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Of course, you were on the gun; that helps, doesn't it?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, it gives you something to do, something to think about, instead of just standing around, of course, now you, you setting there while we was trying to get ready, and you're sitting there wondering what taking them so long.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: But then. . .

KELLY: Are you fussing with any of them when their . . . [inaudible] is all so slow? Are you saying "Hurry up" or. . .

GUNTHER: No, no. I, I. . .

KELLY: Are you just sitting there silent as a young . . . gunner.

GUNTHER: It, I was doing my job they was doing theirs, and I knew they was doing the best they could do, and of course . . .

KELLY: Are you right up against that eyepiece looking out?

GUNTHER: Yes sir.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: I was looking and . . .

KELLY: And, is that where you see them coming towards you?

GUNTHER: Yeah, you could see them coming and . . .

KELLY: And when they came towards you, and you're looking out through that little eyepiece, you know they're heading right towards you then.

GUNTHER: That's right, that's the reason I was shooting at them.

KELLY: You knew exactly where they were coming.

GUNTHER: That's right.

KELLY: That's kind of taking away some of your vision, panoramic vision of what's going on.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, you, you, when you're looking through that eyepiece then . . . you've got this crossbar in there, and . . .


KELLY: Is that how you saw Pearl Harbor, mostly, through that eyepiece?


KELLY: Or are you gonna get the panoramic view of some of it.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, I, I had . . . plenty, plenty view of it, 'cause I wasn't looking through that eyepiece at all times . . . especially the first wave had come through and after we got underway and all this stuff, why . . . I was looking out all the way around this place and . . .

KELLY: [inaudible]

GUNTHER: Find out what was going on and . . . seeing the ships that got sunk, and the ones that got torpedoed and all these other good things, see.

KELLY: Clarence, can you kind of sort out a particular incident of where you saw something that really stands out in your mind, like the, one of the battleships getting hit and something happening, can you remember any specific thing that really made an impression on your memory?

GUNTHER: Well, the biggest thing that I saw that I . . . really . . 00:56:00. stand out in my mind, it wasn't, it wasn't the ships in Battleship Row, that got. . . that got bombed, but it was, the one I was telling you about a while ago that was setting in this, the aircraft carrier, Saratoga's Berth. . .

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: . . . that Oglala.

KELLY: . . . right?

GUNTHER: Right. And that second wave come through there with the torpedo bombers.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And . . . these Japanese, they were using maps, and these, the maps say, well, "aircraft carrier sitting here, battleships here, destroyers over here" and so forth, see. Well they wasn't too awful interested in what a destroyer can do, because they didn't care about them. They wanted the big boys.

KELLY: They're after . . . yeah. Well, anyway, when they hit that, what is it that they're gonna hit that's gonna . . .

GUNTHER: The Oglala, it was a ship, it was an old ship that was turning 00:57:00into a training ship.

KELLY: Big ship?

GUNTHER: Well, it was . . . it was a fairly good-sized ship, about the size of a troop ship.

KELLY: Is it a cruiser or something? Or. . .

GUNTHER: Well it wasn't as big as a cruiser, no no, it was just a ship that they was gonna use to train, gonna make a gunnery training ship out of it.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And they had big timbers and stuff like that on board the ship, you know, and . . .

KELLY: You mean they're gonna shoot at the ship?


KELLY: They're gonna use it as a target?

GUNTHER: They, the Japanese?

KELLY: No, the Americans.

GUNTHER: No no no. What they was gonna do with it . . .

KELLY: Crew, crew training.

GUNTHER: Yeah, they was gonna put guns and stuff on it and take it out and teach, teach these sailors how to operate a 20 mm

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And a 40 mm, and just a . . . training ship.

KELLY: Okay, go ahead with the . . . what . . . registers on your mind after seeing this torpedo coming in there.

GUNTHER: But this, all right, now this . . . these . . . four torpedo planes came in, and . . . each one of them dropped their 00:58:00torpedo, and they dropped it into this old Oglala, thinking it was supposed to be an aircraft carrier. But when those four torpedoes hit that ship . . . it blowed that thing clear up out of the water, you could see the bottom of it, and turned it over on its side.

KELLY: Now that impressed you?

GUNTHER: It sure did. To think that four torpedoes could take a ship that size, and bring it clear up by the water where you could see the bottom of it and turn it over on its side.

KELLY: Was it bigger than the, than the, was it bigger than a cruiser?

GUNTHER: No, it wasn't hardly as big as a cruiser.

KELLY: but it did, it gave, it . . .

GUNTHER: But it was a good, it was a good-size ship big as a troop ship.

KELLY: Now, uh, how . . . high out of the water did it bring it?

GUNTHER: Well it, it brought it high enough that you could see the, when it turned over on its side, you could see the bottom of it, see the keel, and then it settled back down into the water and dumped all them 00:59:00. . .

KELLY: Well, I know . . .

GUNTHER: . . . big timbers out in the bay.

KELLY: Are you, I wanna make sure I'm understanding you here, that we're communicating, are you saying that it lifted the bottom completely out of the water?

GUNTHER: I'm telling you when them four torpedoes hit that ship . . .

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: . . . it raised that, it, it, well what it done was blowed the ship up, and turned it over, and you could see the whole bottom of that ship, and then it settled back down.

KELLY: Okay. But you, you couldn't see light between the ship and the wa-and the water.

GUNTHER: Oh no, it, it was turning this way.

KELLY: It just lifted it and turned immediately.

GUNTHER: Right, right over.

KELLY: It was the turning over of it that did it.


KELLY: And a, and a lifting too.

GUNTHER: Right, there was a lifting and turning and you could see the bottom of the that thing when it . . .

KELLY: It really didn't lift it out . . .

GUNTHER: Oh it didn't really blow it plum up out of the water where you could see daylight under, no.

KELLY: Okay. All right. All right. But it lifted it up and turned it over.


KELLY: And it was almost instantaneous?


KELLY: Is that what got your attention?

GUNTHER: Yeah. And it. . .

KELLY: This was the second wave? This was before you got bombed and before you got wounded?

GUNTHER: No, this . . . it was before I got wounded, because after I 01:00:00got wounded I didn't get back on the gun.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: But then . . . this was . . . during that second wave, it come in and done all this damage, and that second wave had come in and was the one that done the damage to the Arizona which left, oh they say anywhere from 11-1500 people dead on it. Of course, that's . . .

KELLY: All right, well when you see 'em turn that ship over, can you recall what you thought, other than the fact that you realized that it was very dangerous there for you.

GUNTHER: Well. . .

KELLY: Are you gonna think about the troops that are on it? Is that gonna go through your mind?

GUNTHER: Well it wasn't, it wasn't anybody on that ship . . . when it . . .

KELLY: When it went over.

GUNTHER: When it went over, because what they had on there was a . . .

KELLY: That's right. At that time . . .

GUNTHER: Uh, shipyard workers see, to work itself over.

KELLY: Okay, so, so the main thing that got your attention there was dangerous.


KELLY: Extremely dangerous.

GUNTHER: That's right.

KELLY: All right now, when you see them hit the Arizona, and you know 01:01:00there's troops on that, do you see them hit the Arizona?

GUNTHER: Well, I don't know whether they did or not, really.

KELLY: What, when you see them hit the battleships there, you know they're on that.

GUNTHER: Yeah, well I, I could see them hitting the battleship, but I couldn't tell you exactly which ones.

KELLY: Now at that distance, you couldn't see . . . casualties . . .

GUNTHER: No, no.

KELLY: . . . you couldn't see people being blown under water and jumping, could you see them jumping in the water?

GUNTHER: No, you, yeah, you, well you couldn't see them, but you could hear them.

KELLY: What do you mean you could hear them?

GUNTHER: You could hear them hollering.

KELLY: See that's another thing I wanna get, see, we're missing, we missed that a few minutes ago in trying to catch all these sounds. You, what are you hearing, who are you hearing hollering, and how are you hearing?

GUNTHER: Well, see . . . when, when these bombs hit the, hit the ships and blowed them up, then it split fuel tanks.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And oil out all over the bay, then, this oil catches on fire and these ships are blowing up and these fellas jumping off of the ships and jumping into the water.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well when they're jumping into the water, they're jumping into 01:02:00flames, oil and so forth, you can hear them hollering and splashing around and trying to get out of that oil and fire at the same time.

KELLY: Well you can't hear them splashing now.

GUNTHER: You could hear them hollering. I mean I wasn't so far away from them that you couldn't, that you can't hear . . . 15, 20, 25 people hollering, "help me" and all this kind of good stuff.

KELLY: Well can you, can you recall what you're hearing, what those voices were saying, were they . . . individually voices periodically, or was it a . . .

GUNTHER: Well you. . .

KELLY: Sort of a coarse and kind of continuous . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, it was a bunch. What I'm, no, what I mean, "in a bunch" I'm talking about. . . maybe. . . 25 or 30 that went over the sides when this bomb hit the ship and they went over. Well by this time, see, we're underway.

KELLY: All right, well what, what ship is this that you're talking about where you're hearing this, these, and seeing this [inaudible].

GUNTHER: Well they was in Battleship Row there, the ones that could have 01:03:00been off of the Arizona, or California, or whichever ones that were being bombed.

KELLY: Where are you so that you can see this? Are you on deck?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I'm up on deck.

KELLY: With your foot wrapped up now?

GUNTHER: Yeah. Sitting up there on deck, we were getting underway.

KELLY: And . . .

GUNTHER: And we passin' right out through the, the harbor.

KELLY: How far out from, are you going, you're gonna go toward them some as you're going out, or, are you gonna be going away from it from where you were sitting originally.

GUNTHER: We were coming toward them, and then away from them, after we got out of the bay.

KELLY: So, when you see them, are you gonna be closer than a mile?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah.

KELLY: All right, how close are you gonna be?

GUNTHER: Oh we, we ain't . . . golly, we, we're talking about a few hundred yards.

KELLY: Okay. Now I wanna stop you right there. That's where I wanna get you. I wanna talk about that. In order to get to the harbor, from where you're located, and initially you were a mile away, so to speak, 01:04:00roughly, estimate, whatever. And at that time you were northeast of them, the way you pointed it to me on that map. Now, to get out of that harbor, you've got to go by, between Fort Allen and, and the mainland, and by them?

GUNTHER: Go by them and go right up the harbor.

KELLY: And go out at the harbor.


KELLY: All right. And when you go by them, how close are you gonna be to them?

GUNTHER: Oh, we're talking . . . a few hundred yards.

KELLY: All right, and that's where you're hearing this noise, right? Is that when you're catching the noise?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, you're seeing . . . you're seeing the oil, the flames, and . . . and you hear them.

KELLY: Okay, let, let's stop it and frame it right there. Let's do it. And let's do it in detail. Where are you sitting on the fan, on the ship, are you at station, at your station?

GUNTHER: No, I'm sitting on. . . oh, I don't know, toward the starboard side of the ship, about, just a little way from the gun station, I couldn't get, be . . .

KELLY: All right, by on the starboard side, are you gonna be on the side 01:05:00that's closest to the battleship row?

GUNTHER: No, if I'm on the starboard side, see, when we were going out this way, well I'm on the right, but the battleship row will be on my port side.

KELLY: All right, but the ship is level enough so that you can see the water from that, where you are, or do you?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, you can look out and see the water, you don't have to look straight down, I mean . . .

KELLY: I mean, you're gonna be able to see the . . . the bottom of those ships over there.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah. No problem.

KELLY: What I wanna kinda get what you can see here. So, so you're gonna get a panoramic view, you're gonna go whizzing right back, are you gonna go all the way back from the . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah, we go right back from the . . .

KELLY: From the last ship to the first ship.

GUNTHER: Right. Well, now, I won't say we go right by the, from first ship to the last ship, what I'm saying is we go by Battleship Row . . .

KELLY: Well are you kinda going by the head of it?

GUNTHER: Yeah. We'll go right by the head of it and on out . . .

KELLY: You're not going parallel with it; you're going by the head of it.

GUNTHER: No no, not parallel.

KELLY: Okay, all right, that, that helps.


KELLY: Okay, now. By the time you're doing this, are they still 01:06:00bombing, or is it paused between waves?

GUNTHER: It . . . it's paused between waves, because the next bunch that came by was the high-altitude bombers.

KELLY: All right. So as you go by then, there's not anti-aircraft fire going off, and there's not. . .

GUNTHER: No. Everything's quieting down, it's . . .

KELLY: Between, is this, is this, do you remember whether this was after the second wave, and before the third wave, or was there two or three other waves that came in there.

GUNTHER: No, this is the . . . between the second and the . . .

KELLY: The third wave.

GUNTHER: The third wave, because . . . they estimate that these planes had to go back and get some more fuel, and there was . . .

KELLY: Well there was another, there was another group of them that came.


KELLY: In other words, there was 180 that came through, and then . . . an hour later there was another . . .

GUNTHER: Another bunch with . . .

KELLY: . . . in the vicinity.


KELLY: Off the same ships. I, you know, and that, that first one, the 01:07:00whole thing lasted two hours, and the first one, I think, lasted almost an hour.

GUNTHER: Well, there was a whole lot of different estimates on it. . .

KELLY: Yeah. And I, I'm trying to get where you are as you're leaving here now, but in any event, it, as far as the attacking of aircraft is concerned, there's not much there now.


KELLY: Okay. All right. Now, if you please . . . when do you start, sort of looking over towards Battleship Row, and what do you see as you start looking over there and, and show me all the way across it.

GUNTHER: From the time . . . from the time that we got underway.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: We . . . we were operating . . . very slowly, going out of the harbor . . . for the very simple reason that there was all these timbers and things that was on this old Oglala I was telling you about that done floated out into the harbor and there was smaller ships 01:08:00that . . . had done captured a couple of two-men submarines in the harbor and there was just a very, very slow moving going out of there.

KELLY: Because there's disorder in that harbor.

GUNTHER: Right. And . . . you could . . . you could see these . . . these ships . . . burning, you could see them sinking, you could hear, see the fire, the oil, and you could hear these people . . . hollering . . .

KELLY: All right, I want to be a little more specific if we can. I know it's 40-some years away. When you say you can see these ships sink, are you talking about the battleships?

GUNTHER: The battleships that they . . .

KELLY: All right, let, let's concentrate on the battleships. And then we'll catch anything out in the periphery. Let's just concentrate on that now, for the moment.

GUNTHER: Well I can't tell you too much about the battleship, because I wasn't on them, I wasn't that close to them.

KELLY: No, but you're gonna go by them, right?

GUNTHER: Yeah, we went by them.

KELLY: And how close are you when you go by them?

GUNTHER: Oh, like I say, just a few hundred yards.


KELLY: All right, so I, that's a hell of a scene there isn't that?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, yeah.

KELLY: You saw it?

GUNTHER: I saw it.

KELLY: All right, as you go past Battleship Row, sort of, the battleship row is sort of facing you, and you're going by it at right angles, is that correct?


KELLY: Like this? As you first come up on that scene, can you kind of say, and let's talk about Battleship Row, tell me what you remember first seeing, then, if you can, if you can sort it out.

GUNTHER: Well, I got to think about it. Umm. Now we, when we come by Battleship Row, Battleship Row . . . they were . . . tied up alongside that shipyard.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And we were going past the end of the last ship that was tied up, not parallel, we were going to the end of it.

KELLY: Kind of pointing toward you, the ship, the front of the ship's pointing toward you?

GUNTHER: Right. They were . . .

KELLY: Okay.


GUNTHER: . . . just, we went by the end of it, like one ship setting there and we went by it, but the rest of 'em was strung out down . . .

KELLY: Out behind it.


KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And . . . you could see . . . some of the ships were still settling in the water, turned over, some of them on, on their side, like I say this one, one ship . . . they dropped this bomb down the stack, and . . . had blowed the whole inside of that thing up.

KELLY: Are you talking about that, are you talking about that trainer ship?

GUNTHER: No, no, I'm talking about a battleship here.

KELLY: All right. I think it was the Arizona, or . . .

GUNTHER: California, it could have been, I really don't know what . . .

KELLY: In any event, it was one of them that got hit, and go ahead with that story then.

GUNTHER: So, we went on by the . . . the battleships, and, they, they were, now whether or not, I couldn't tell you whether it was Arizona, 01:11:00California, which one of them it was, but I do know that there was five or six of them in there that, some of them was even setting in dry dock, that got bombed, they wasn't even out in the water. And . . . that could have been maybe the California or something. And . . .

KELLY: Well. Just to back you up a little bit, you know, to kind of be precise, and I know it's hard to separate it out over time, as you come up on it though, you know, you're seeing carnage and you're seeing turmoil, and you're seeing movement, and there's fire and smoke and oil and all this stuff, kind of get that picture, paint that picture for me, will you please?

GUNTHER: Well, there was a. . .

KELLY: Are you gonna see a ship actually settling and turning over and sinking? Kind of . . .

GUNTHER: No, you can't . . . you can't see it . . . sink in itself, but you can see where it was laying over on its side and . . .


KELLY: It's already happened when you . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah. And you could see it still trying to . . . still trying to [Kelley gets coffee with cream and sugar] . . . to get . . . you still, the ship itself is already leaning, and it's sinking, but you, you know it's still sinking, because it ain't hit bottom yet, but it's going so slow that you can't see it.

KELLY: Mmhmm. You know it's sinking, but you can't see it sinking.


KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: And then . . .

KELLY: You see that.

GUNTHER: Yeah. Then, then . . . you can see holes blowed in the side of them, and where the, the oil, the oil is seeping out of them, and . . . you can see . . .

KELLY: You're seeing oil coming out of a battleship or several battleships?

GUNTHER: Well, two or three of them that, that had . . . the sides of them blowed out there, and . . .

KELLY: All right. When you're talking about the sides blowing out, how much are you talking about blowing out?

GUNTHER: I'm talking . . . oh, some of them had just been gushed out. 01:13:00See, your, your, your fuel tanks on these ships are in compartments.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And maybe one whole compartment is blowed out. . .

KELLY: Go ahead.

GUNTHER: She didn't give you no cream?

KELLY: That's all right, that's all right, go ahead, I'll get it later.

GUNTHER: And . . . maybe . . . a few thousand gallons would come out of one of the fuel compartments.

KELLY: All right, now, are you, are you telling me you're seeing big gushes of oil coming out the side of them.

GUNTHER: No, I'm, I'm telling you that, you see the side of the ship in the fuel tank had been blown out, and the oil had come out of the ship. I didn't see it gushing out, because when you get a hole that big, it don't take long for that water to go in and bring that stuff out.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: But, what I'm getting at now, is that you seeing large billows of, of smoke and . . . fire . . . and it's catching this oil 01:14:00on fire.

KELLY: At. . .

GUNTHER: That's oil on the water.

KELLY: Mmhmm. As you come along there you're seeing it spread to the . . .

GUNTHER: You're seeing this stuff at a . . .

KELLY: Spread to the water?


KELLY: Or is it already in the water when you come up by?

GUNTHER: It's in the water and, and the fire is burning.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: I mean . . .

KELLY: Describe just the fire.

GUNTHER: Well, the fire, of course you know how oil spreads on water.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well, this fire catches this diesel fuel on fire, and it spreads right along with the fuel.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well, now, these people that's coming off of these ships that have been bombed and are gonna blow up . . .

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: They're going over the side.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And when they do, they're jumping into this oil that's on fire. And what they're trying to do is push this oil and fire away from them . . .

KELLY: Are you seeing this?

GUNTHER: I'm seeing this as I go by.

KELLY: All right, describe it a little more now, how many people are we 01:15:00talking about then?

GUNTHER: I'm talking about what you can see is about 25 or 30.

KELLY: And, and . . .

GUNTHER: That come off of a battleship, maybe . . .

KELLY: [inaudible] battleships?

GUNTHER: Yeah, because . . .

KELLY: Did you see 'em, did you see them jump into it yourself?

GUNTHER: No, you could just see 'em after they got in there.

KELLY: You didn't, you weren't, you weren't seeing anybody coming off the ship.

GUNTHER: No, no, no.

KELLY: So you're seeing them in the water, and there're about 25 or 30, and, and the water's on fire around them.

GUNTHER: Right, but now see, what you've got here is a, a battleship and you've got a gun crew, the gun crew's on a battleship, we're talking 16-inch guns, and they take quite a few people.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Now, we're also talking about 50 caliber machine guns that they man on these battleships. Now, if that ship is hit in the forward compartments up around the bow, and, you on number one turret, and it's gonna blow, and the fire's in the magazine, you're gonna get the hell off that ship.


KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Because, if you don't, why, shame on you.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: So what they done is went over the side.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And that whole gun crew's over the side and it's, like I say, there may be 25-30 of them.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And there all splashing around that water, and there's fire, and they're trying to keep out of the way, and you can hear them hollering for help or send a boat or whatever, whatever they could do to . . . to get . . . up out of that oil and stuff.

KELLY: I have to see a little better in order to know how much, it could just be a flame that's just . . . engulfing them and burning them right there to death, or it could be that there's little spots of fire around, and that they're splashing them off, which . . .

GUNTHER: Well it's not, it, it's not a solid sheet . . .

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: . . . of fire.

KELLY: All right. It's little spots of fire?

GUNTHER: Well it, not, the spots are not so small, but still it's not, not like you got . . . 20 acres of a solid sheet of flame out there either.

KELLY: Mmhmm. But there's little, little spots of fire.


GUNTHER: Yeah, you've got some here, and some there, and some hadn't been caught on fire yet.

KELLY: They will. . .

GUNTHER: And spilled the oil, but eventually it would be . . .

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: . . . and they're trying to. . .

KELLY: All right, a little more then on that scene, I want to catch that scene from you. You're talking about 25 that are out there in little, there are spots of fires and some pretty good size spots of fires.


KELLY: And . . . there are, there are, there're are they screaming in terror, or are they just asking for help?

GUNTHER: Well they're screaming, they're hollering, they're asking for help and all the time they're trying to kick this fire and stuff out of the way and heading to the, to the beach or anything they can get a hold of to . . . to help them up out of this water that they . . .

KELLY: How, how far are they from the beach?

GUNTHER: Oh, they're not all that far, it's just the . . . maybe, 75, 80, 100 yards maybe. Umm . . .

KELLY: Are you gonna see some of them get on the beach? While you're going by them?


KELLY: Are you gonna see somebody pick up any of them while you're there?



KELLY: When you hear them hollering, is it a pitiful, painful holler?

GUNTHER: No, they don't, they don't seem like it's, it's in pity, as much as . . . as it is . . .

KELLY: Emergency [inaudible].

GUNTHER: Yeah, emergency . . .

KELLY: Get somebody over here, get a ship over here . . .

GUNTHER: Somebody help us, whatever manner of help you can send or do, or whatever. And . . .

KELLY: Well are they just hollering, "help help!" can you, can you remember?

GUNTHER: "Come and get me," "help," just whatever, you can't understand them too awful well because the . . .

KELLY: The noises?

GUNTHER: Well you've got engines turning over and, you know, people hollering and . . .

KELLY: Are you gonna, are you gonna kind of look down on them and kind of reflect about their predicament?

GUNTHER: Well I can't look down on them; I'm looking out over this way at them.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And I don't look right down on them, 'cause, like I say, we're going out of the harbor.

KELLY: Yeah.

GUNTHER: And we're going out very slow, because we're dodging a whole lot of stuff that's laying around in there.


KELLY: Are you too busy to think about it? About that predicament? Or do you think about your predicament?

GUNTHER: Well you think about the predicament that they're in.

KELLY: But you know you can't do anything about it?

GUNTHER: But there's nothing you can do about it . . .

KELLY: Is that frustrating you?

GUNTHER: Well, no, not really, because I got my own problems.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Mmhmm. You've gotta concentrate on getting out of there.

GUNTHER: I'm sitting there with a leg all messed up and, and they're sitting out there with fire around them, so . . .

KELLY: Is this leg hurting you now?

GUNTHER: Well yeah, because . . .

KELLY: It's beginning to hurt then . . .

GUNTHER: . . . it, it's not numb now. I can feel this thing and . . . and it, it begins to . . .

KELLY: Did you know anybody that was on any of those ships by any chance, the battleships?


KELLY: You didn't have to think about, "Oh, John might be in trouble," or something like that.

GUNTHER: No, I, I didn't know anybody . . .

KELLY: All right, so we've got that little people scene, was there any other people scene that you remember as you were going by there?

GUNTHER: Any other people?

KELLY: Mmhmm. Any, anything else that you saw people doing, sailors. . .

GUNTHER: No, not . . .

KELLY: Except in the water . . .

GUNTHER: Oh they were . . . they were manning their, their fire hoses 01:20:00and stuff of that sort . . . trying to put out fires here and fires there, and I did see . . . one of these battleships . . . trying to put, fired out on deck that . . . seemed like it, they got a fire hose connected up somewhere and maybe it was . . .

KELLY: Do you know, do you know which battleship it was in the row?

GUNTHER: I . . .

KELLY: I don't mean the name, but, looking down the battleship, was it the inside battleship and the third one down, or . . .

GUNTHER: I couldn't tell you, it . . .

KELLY: It was just one of them.

GUNTHER: Just one of the ships.

KELLY: Okay. You, you recall . . . seeing the hoses, the hose they were using was from the shore hose? Or . . .

GUNTHER: No it, it was from the ship.

KELLY: It was from ship.

GUNTHER: It was from ship.

KELLY: All right. So you're seeing, you're seeing firefighting activities by crews. Are you seeing a lot of that? Or just this one . . .

GUNTHER: Did, get, did happen to see one of them trying to save his own 01:21:00ship, I guess is whatever they could do to help.

KELLY: Now are any of these ships right now . . . gone and down and . . .

GUNTHER: Oh yeah.

KELLY: I mean, that's, that's nobody's on it . . . do you recall. . .

GUNTHER: I don't know whether about whether anybody was on it or not, but I do know that they was done . . . [inaudible]

KELLY: There was one where there was no firefighting and no, no movement on the ship.

GUNTHER: Oh, they was moving on all the ships.

KELLY: You mean the troops, of people.

GUNTHER: Yeah, people was . . . moving on all of them, but . . . there wasn't a whole lot they could do I don't guess, 'cause . . . like I say, there was some of them leaning on their side, some of them done had the deck blowed up and some of them had holes in them and . . .

KELLY: Are you seeing any of the . . . casualties, you're seeing any of that as you go by there?


KELLY: Too much other stuff to see. Now, on the fire itself, can you describe that fire, how much fire we're getting from those on board the ships, and how much [inaudible] they're getting . . .

GUNTHER: I don't know exactly how many battle wagons there was . . .


KELLY: Seven there, I think.

GUNTHER: Setting in Battleship Row. I never did get . . . right count, or didn't know anybody that did have the right count, but anyhow I never got it. But it seemed to me like that was quite a bit of fire and big, every once in a while you see a big billows of smoke go up. Now, for what reason, I don't have any idea why a big bellow of smoke would go up . . .

KELLY: Just kind of . . . real fast like.

GUNTHER: Yeah, you didn't see no, you didn't hear no boom or nothing, you'd just see the smoke.

KELLY: I mean would it be a, a big bellow that was a new bellow of smoke? Or would it be . . .

GUNTHER: Well there'd be . . .

KELLY: Some smoke there and then all of the sudden it'd bellow out.

GUNTHER: Well it'd be, be fire.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Flaming.

GUNTHER: And then, all the sudden it'd just be a big bunch of smoke go up in the air and that would be all of it, and then maybe a little while later there'd be another one. But . . . for what reason.

KELLY: As you look out there, are you talking about an acre of fire, are you talking about a big motel on fire and the fire department thing? Or 01:23:00is it a little less intense than that . . .

GUNTHER: You, you, well it . . .

KELLY: Are you talking about a lot of little spots of fires?

GUNTHER: I'm talking about . . . you've got this ship on fire, maybe the ship next to it hasn't, is not fire. But it may be. So . . . you're talking . . .

KELLY: Scattered sparsely, I mean scattered here and there.

GUNTHER: Yeah, it wasn't, it wasn't all ships with one great big bonfire, it was . . .

KELLY: There's a scene right there from it, does that look anything like it?

GUNTHER: That could be, but you can see that it's not but one ship or maybe two that's burning here.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: See, you've got two or three setting right here that ain't even got no fire coming from it at all.

KELLY: And that's what you saw as you went by it.

GUNTHER: Yeah, and now just . . . billows of smoke like . . . so here. Of course now that mess over here is all that oil and stuff that's burning that's making all that black smoke go up there.

KELLY: Is that oil up up, way out from those ships and almost solid layer?

GUNTHER: Well almost . . . of course . . .


KELLY: How far out had it gone? Several hundred yards, or just a little bit . . .

GUNTHER: Well, yeah, it had gone out several yards, of course, depends on the . . .

KELLY: Anybody jumping off that ship's gonna get in that oil.


KELLY: Anybody jumping off that ship's gonna get in that oil.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah. Oh yes.

KELLY: Were you seeing people loading up on . . . life raft, on . . .


KELLY: All you saw was the people . . .

GUNTHER: All I saw was them sailors just trying to get away from that fire and oil.

KELLY: Okay. All right. Go ahead then, anything else that you saw in there that, that you can recall about those battleships.

GUNTHER: No, and like I say, you, we were, we were moving on out and . . . and 40 years had done gone by, and it's kind of hard to remember all that stuff.

KELLY: You're a little numb anyway going by there, aren't you?

GUNTHER: Well, a little bit, you know, you're sitting back thinking all this stuff had happened to you and happened to . . . to your . . . your country and . . .


KELLY: Can you tell me what you're thinking about when you're going by Battleship Row there? Can you recall that?

GUNTHER: No, I, I really don't . . . my, my main, main thought is, is, just like it was earlier that . . . I can't figure out why.

KELLY: That's still troubling you?

GUNTHER: Yeah, why, why are they doing this? What have we done to them? Or what do they expect to gain by this? And . . .

KELLY: As you're going by Battleship Row there, if you can recall, if you can be that specific and pinpoint it, are you talking with any your, your mates there? Gun crew troopers? Are you silent, meditating?

GUNTHER: Yeah . . . of course, like I say, I'm setting off there by myself. . . biggest part of the time . . . or once in a while somebody'll walk by and we'll spoke a howdy, and they'll wanna know how things are, and it wasn't but just a couple of us that got wounded on . . .

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: . . . on this thing, and, they had . . . they wanted 01:26:00to know how I was feeling and so forth and how my leg was, but we didn't dwell on . . . too much of anything that went on, because it was still happening and they were busy and. . . they was still on general quarters, and . . . the engineers was getting underway, and . . . it was just a, a lot of activity going on, and you didn't have time to . . . to sit and pass the time of day with anybody.

KELLY: You said the fear kind of got a little worse as time went on, is this when it began to set in, because all of a sudden, or are you going to be later after you get out to sea.

GUNTHER: It, it . . . as long as you are in where the, the activity is, is going on and you're seeing the ships that . . . that's on fire and blowed up and all this kind of stuff, you don't give too much thought about it because, you can't tell when it might happen again right away.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: But then after you, we cleared the harbor and . . . that 01:27:00night . . . later on in the afternoon . . .

KELLY: Then fear set in, huh?

GUNTHER: Then, then you stop and start thinking about what you'd went through and what you had done and . . . you had never seen anything like it before, and hopefully you'll never see anything like it again, then you start, you start getting scared, and that's when you start shaking.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: It's after.

KELLY: Delayed. . .

GUNTHER: It's not during. And I went through several of these . . . encounters . . . nighttime attacks and all this kind of good stuff and, I never been into one yet that I wasn't scared.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Yeah. There'd be something wrong with you if you weren't. Well, uh, I, I still wanna . . . see, I guess we've about exhausted Battleship Row there, going by that then, is there anything we left out that we ought to record?

GUNTHER: Well, nothing that I can . . . that I can add to what I . 01:28:00. .

KELLY: Can you remember what was going on on the shore right next to them?

GUNTHER: No, I couldn't, I couldn't tell what was going. Now, Mr. Horn can give you all the information on that shore business.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Because . . . he was on the gunnery crew on the shore base, and he can give you probably more of a detail on Battleship Row than what I can, because . . .

KELLY: He was at Schofield, right?

GUNTHER: I don't think he was at Schofield, I think he was just . . .

KELLY: At Hickam?

GUNTHER: On a . . . a . . .

KELLY: A battery?

GUNTHER: Attached to a gunnery battery or . . .

KELLY: Anti-aircraft crew member.


KELLY: Is that right? In, in, in Pearl Harbor itself?

GUNTHER: Yeah, he was right there in Pearl.

KELLY: Okay, all right . . . as you, as you go by the battleships there, heading on out for the sea, how far a piece do you have, you have, you have to go a pretty good piece, don't you?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah. That . . .

KELLY: And, and, and, as you, as you leave that scene of the Battleship 01:29:00Row, what are you seeing now as you go toward the, the entrance to the harbor.

GUNTHER: Well actually, you don't see anything after you, after you get on up, because once you get past Battleship Row, why you've got wide- open spaces, the only thing you gonna pass is some, Pearl City and, on out into the . . . into the water.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Now, they . . . man that was running a little old fruit stand there in Pearl City, he was a commander in the Japanese navy, but nobody knew anything about it until after the war started.

KELLY: How'd you get that information?

GUNTHER: Well, I don't know, it just . . . they picked him up and . . .

KELLY: I mean who told you that, how'd you get that information, I mean sometimes, sometimes people just talk about that and that's . . .

GUNTHER: Well now that, it could be, because I never got it firsthand from anybody, it was just . . .


KELLY: Just talk of that.

GUNTHER: Probably.

KELLY: On, on on your ship, on this, on this ship? Or is this afterwards, after the war?

GUNTHER: This, this was . . . no, it was during the war, just . . . somebody had . . .

KELLY: I mean that you, that you got the story that the guy was a . . .

GUNTHER: Oh, I got the story shortly after . . . Pearl Harbor, but I don't know exactly from . . . whence it came.

KELLY: Yeah.

GUNTHER: But I do know . . .

KELLY: All right, as you go by Battleship Row there, going out, it's gonna take you a while to get out, are you gonna see that second big force coming there, 180-some planes? Or are you too far away to . . .

GUNTHER: The second, second one we saw, but the third one we didn't.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And the second one we were still in the harbor.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Well, yeah, but . . .

GUNTHER: And the third one we was out.

KELLY: Mmhmm, I'm, I'm, I'm categorizing a little differently, I think, than what you are. The first . . . wave that attacked, the first group of planes that attacked came in about 7:45, somewhere along in 01:31:00there, there was about 180 of them, roughly, plus or minus a few, and they attacked in waves, at that, at that time . . .


KELLY: And then that, that group was able to clear, and this other group was coming in, which was a . . .

GUNTHER: Shortly thereafter.

KELLY: Second group . . .

GUNTHER: But they were a different type plane.

KELLY: Yeah, so, so . . . so you were there for under, under two waves.

GUNTHER: Two. Right.

KELLY: Okay, and you were left, now when the third one comes in, you didn't see any of that at all?

GUNTHER: No, we, we were out at sea by the time that third one come in. We could hear.

KELLY: Did you know, you could hear them?

GUNTHER: We could hear them, but we didn't . . .

KELLY: And you could hear the bombing.

GUNTHER: Yeah, but we weren't in there . . .

KELLY: But you couldn't see anything.

GUNTHER: We wasn't in there to partake.

KELLY: And you didn't see anything then . . .


KELLY: Uh-huh. So that part of it was all over for you. Now, as you go out to sea, are you the only one out there? Are your, two, three other sisters out there too?

GUNTHER: Oh, the rest of the, the destroyers came out with us, and . . . what we done . . .

KELLY: What, what were the name of those three destroyers you were tied up with there?

GUNTHER: Beg your pardon?

KELLY: The name of the destroyers that you . . .

GUNTHER: Well the only one that I can remember is the Dale and the 01:32:00Monaghan; I don't know what the name of the other one was.

KELLY: Was what?

GUNTHER: The Dale and the . . .

KELLY: Dale.

GUNTHER: And the Monaghan.

KELLY: And the Monaghan.

GUNTHER: And the Farragut, the Farragut I was on, and . . . but the other one I cannot remember the name of it.

KELLY: And so they were all out there with you?

GUNTHER: Yeah, and . . .

KELLY: So what do you all do there after you get out of the harbor?

GUNTHER: We go looking for this . . . aircraft carriers and stuff that, that these planes have got to come off of, 'cause we knew they can't flying from Pearl, I mean from Pearl Harbor to Japan, they had to have some way to get there. We went looking, but we never did find them.

KELLY: Did the captain tell you, "We're going after them"?

GUNTHER: Well, we knew it.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: 'Cause there was no . . . secret about it at all, and . . . the Saratoga . . . sent planes up and went out looking for this outfit and never did find them.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Don't nobody knew where they was. But I do know one thing that I would like to say, they . . . the Japanese had every intentions in the world, I guess. . .

KELLY: Let, let me, let me change this tape . . .


GUNTHER: All right.

KELLY: And . . . then we'll pick it up.

[End of Tape 1, Side 2]

[Beginning of Tape 2, Side 1]

KELLY: Okay, I'm talking to Care-, uh, Clarence Gunther, it's September the 21st, 1987, we're in Frankfort, Kentucky, we were just talking about . . . your leaving the harbor there . . . leaving Pearl Harbor, and during the break you were telling me that you went by the head of the, that would be the Nevada, which would be that battleship that's, floats out there.

GUNTHER: Yeah. At the time, I didn't know what it was.

KELLY: And you went by the, this point right here, what was that called?

GUNTHER: The Chew. The USS Chew, it was a old four-piper destroyer.

KELLY: And you're going to go by Pearl City, and North of Ford Island, and then out.


KELLY: Okay. Now, did you remember seeing anything around Pearl City that you recall, or . . . in this area right in here as you're going out?

GUNTHER: Nothing, nothing other than that Oglala turned upside-down. 01:34:00And . . . there was a lot of big timbers floating around . . .

KELLY: So when you get out to sea then, now you've got in, your wound, and is the ship damaged any?

GUNTHER: My ship?

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Nothing other than . . . where they strafed the ship . . . the . . . stacks had a few . . .

KELLY: Had a few holes . . .

GUNTHER: . . . few holes in it where the bullet holes, bullets went . . . went through the stack.

KELLY: And just two of the crew members on the, on your ship wounded.

GUNTHER: Just . . . just a couple of us . . .

KELLY: Who was the other fellow that was wounded?

GUNTHER: Don't have any idea what his name is.

KELLY: Was he hurt real bad?

GUNTHER: No. He just . . .

KELLY: How long was it before they got you to a doctor?

GUNTHER: Well . . . [chuckle] it was, to be honest with you, I never 01:35:00did get to one.

KELLY: Is that right?

GUNTHER: Well, pharmacist's mate took care of it pretty well and, of course . . .

KELLY: Sewed you up and everything?


KELLY: Sewed you up and everything. Well, I don't want to dwell on that too long, I want to, just make sure before we move onto the next thing . . . that we got everything that was, we could that you observed and took in at Pearl Harbor. Is there anything else that we ought to get on this tape?

GUNTHER: Not that I can remember, I think we've pretty well covered . . . what happened . . .

KELLY: Well I will get into your delayed fear factor, let's talk about that just a little. When did you have time to all of the sudden get really . . . frightened by the whole thing?

GUNTHER: Well, that was after we cleared the, cleared the harbor and . . . we just got out and started . . . patrolling around to see 01:36:00if we could find where these planes was coming from, and . . . then after you set around and think about it for while. You think about what you've been through, and what you've seen, and how close you've come to . . .

KELLY: Getting wiped out?

GUNTHER: . . . getting wiped out, yeah. Then is when you start getting scared and you started . . .

KELLY: When was this? Was this . . . late at night? Or . . .

GUNTHER: Just a few . . .

KELLY: . . . late at night? Or . . .

GUNTHER: No, it was, it was later in the, in the afternoon . . . while you was . . . you was, figured you was out of danger at the time, and . . . because there was nothing around other than . . . friendly ships that was helping you do whatever that you were trying to do, and it gave you time to think about these things and, and . . 01:37:00. when you start thinking about them, that's when you start getting scared.

KELLY: Well can you describe it, what, what it . . . what the impact was on your body and your mind, and your spirits and . . .

GUNTHER: No, not really, the only thing I can think about is, my leg was all messed up and I didn't know exactly what was gonna happen with it, whether it was gonna be stiff, or whether I was gonna be able to use it or just exactly what, and . . .

KELLY: It was all just flesh though, it wasn't bone, wasn't any bone involved, was it?

GUNTHER: No, no just . . .

KELLY: It's pretty big, good big gash there, right above your knee, wasn't it?

GUNTHER: Yeah. Yeah. It's . . .

KELLY: About 3 or 4 inches, or . . .

GUNTHER: About 3 inches long.

KELLY: Do you ever have any trouble with that wound now?


KELLY: You drawing any, any kind of . . . VA compensation?

GUNTHER: No sir. I can't even get in the VA hospital.


KELLY: Did you get a Purple Heart for it?

GUNTHER: Now this is something else I wanna tell you about. This Purple Heart business . . . I didn't get a Purple Heart, I put in for one . . . and . . . they informed me . . . that the United States was not in the act of war on December the 7th, 1941, and therefore that I wasn't eligible for a Purple Heart, because we did not declare war on the Imperial of Japan until December the 8th, 1941 . . .

KELLY: When did they tell you that?

GUNTHER: That's what they wrote back and told me when I put in for this Purple Heart, the skip . . .

KELLY: When, when did you put in for it?

GUNTHER: The skipper put in for me on the Farragut . . .

KELLY: Why don't you, why don't you try it again?

GUNTHER: Well, I don't know. I just . . .

KELLY: I tell you what you do, go over and talk to the personnel people 01:39:00in the . . . Boone center.


KELLY: At the Boone Center. The National Guard people, they can help you with it.

GUNTHER: Well . . .

KELLY: I think you're eligible for a Purple Heart.

GUNTHER: Well they seemed to think I wasn't, and then, again after . . . after . . . I seen the way some of them got their Purple Hearts, well then, I wasn't all that anxious to get one anyhow. I've got this thing, that I'm sure that a whole lot of people have got but a whole lot of them haven't got, I've got presidential unit citation from Harry Truman . . . wrote by him, signed by him on White House paper . . .

KELLY: On the, on the . . . ships, something the ship did?

GUNTHER: On my performance as a. . .

KELLY: A sailor?

GUNTHER: As a sailor doing my duty for my country and all this good stuff, but I don't know how many they put out, maybe everybody in the service got one, I don't know.

KELLY: Did you get a decoration of any kind?


GUNTHER: Yeah, I've got a few . . . decorations, but . . . I throwed them in a box, and . . .

KELLY: Bronze Star, did you get a Bronze Star?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I got a Bronze Star, and I got a . . . oh, I got several campaign ribbons, and so forth . . .

KELLY: What'd you get your Bronze Star for?

GUNTHER: Uh, I got it on . . . oh golly, I can't even think now what battle, it came . . . one of these campaign ribbons, you know, you go into a campaign, then you go into another one in the same area, you get a star for it.

KELLY: Oh I see, you got a Bronze Star on your campaign . . .


KELLY: Okay. All right, now . . . one of the next . . . actions that . . . became very personal to you was when you were operating the 40 mm on the tender, the seaplane tender, the Saint George. Let's 01:41:00go through that one. First of all, where were you?

GUNTHER: I was at Okinawa.

KELLY: And you were, at sea, off Okinawa.


KELLY: Do you know which direction? North, south, east . . .

GUNTHER: All I know is we were sitting out there between two islands, one of them Kerama Retto, and the other one Okinawa.

KELLY: Okay, and you were closer to . . .

GUNTHER: Kerama Retto than I was Okinawa.

KELLY: All right. And this is a kamikaze that's gonna . . . gonna cause the trouble. Would you, you describe, first of all, before that kamikaze attack on your particular v . . . vessel. Are you seeing kamikazes attacking other ships out there? Or are you kind of off to yourself, then.

GUNTHER: Well we were, we were off . . . we were by ourself out there for a few days . . . and nothing actually happened, didn't nobody 01:42:00shoot at us or nothing of that sort from Okinawa, and . . .

KELLY: Are you able to see Okinawa from this position?

GUNTHER: Yeah, but it was, it was a good distance off.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: But, then . . . a couple of days before D-day, there was a bunch of ships that came into Okinawa.

KELLY: Did you see that? Did you see those, those hundreds of ships come in?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, there wasn't hundreds of ships, but there was quite a few, and . . . umm . . . a bunch of them was troop ships. Now . . . they brought these marines and soldiers and so forth in there and made this . . . landing on Okinawa, and . . . the marines went to . . . they went ashore and . . . took this Okinawa, of course . 01:43:00. . don't really know exactly how long it took them to do this, but anyhow they chased the Japanese off on one end of it or something and . . . of course, I'm on a ship, I'm not on the beach, and I don't know what went on, but . . . anyhow when the soldiers . . . went to the beach, and the marines come back aboard ship, it wasn't too awful long they hollered for the marines to come back, to the beach because the Japanese had done chased their soldiers back again and the marines went back aboard to the, island and got rid of them again, I don't know what went on, but they had quite a bit of fighting going on there for a while and then. . . that's when the kamikazes started coming in. And to my knowledge . . . that could have been the first bunch of kamikaze planes that the Japanese had decided to use.


KELLY: I think they started in Leyte, but anyway, go ahead with . . . go ahead with that specific incident of, of the kamikaze attacking your position.

GUNTHER: Well when . . . when these kamikazes came over, of course, they didn't, they didn't come over every five minutes or so, but . . . they would come over and then they'd go back to Japan or wherever they'd come from and then maybe the next day they'd come over again for a bit, but this one particular day they came over, and . . . I happened to be a gun captain on a quad 40, and I was on a fantail of the ship and I happened to look up in the air and I seen this plane coming just as straight toward our ship as it could come, and we shot 01:45:00everything we had at him, but I guess we didn't shoot straight enough, but anyhow we didn't get him, but he come over top of my gun mount, about 30 or 40 feet above me, and hit to the base of the seaplane crane that we used to horseshoe planes aboard ship to work on them, and he uprooted that thing, and . . . in the process of doing so, there was about 3 people killed and 25 or so wounded, and he had 2 500-pound bombs, strapped underneath his plane . . . but they wasn't the type that you could . . . press a button and drop, they was strapped to the plane. And . . . so when he hit there was 1,000 pounds of 01:46:00explosives that went off and that's what done the damage, but I don't know how many other ships in the, in the bunch that, that caught the kamikazes.

KELLY: All right. Let's do yours. You look up and see him, how far out is he?

GUNTHER: Oh, he's. . .

KELLY: First of all you're on the . . . you're on the fantail, right?


KELLY: And you're, you're the . . . chief of a 40 mm crew.

GUNTHER: Yeah, the gun captain.

KELLY: Which is a dual . . .


KELLY: Four of them, and . . .

GUNTHER: Quad 40.

KELLY: Quad 4, and they're kind of semi-automatic, right?


KELLY: And, was it radar controlled?

GUNTHER: It's radar controlled, or you can control it manual, and at the time that, this kamikaze come over, it was controlled by radar.

KELLY: All right. So, how far out is he when you see him?

GUNTHER: Oh, he could be several miles.

KELLY: When you saw him?

GUNTHER: Yeah, but you, of course when you're setting, when you're 01:47:00setting off by yourself like we were, and you could see he's out there and several miles and see him, he's coming right straight at you in a dive at about 500 miles an hour, why . . . You know where he's . . .

KELLY: You know, you know where he's coming.

GUNTHER: You know where he's coming, and where he's coming from.

KELLY: All right, now actually he's coming right toward you from the fantail, from the . . .

GUNTHER: Right exactly overtop of us.

KELLY: All right, when he, when he's diving, how far out is he from you?

GUNTHER: Oh, distance, I don't know.

KELLY: What I'm trying to get is, I'm trying to figure out the amount of time that you're gonna have to look him right in the eyeball, so to speak, until he hits.

GUNTHER: Very, very short time.

KELLY: How many rounds are you gonna get off at him?

GUNTHER: Well, see, you've got . . . there's five . . . five shells to each of these clips.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And you've got four, and . . . four gun. And . . . these 01:48:00loaders they can push those things down and that thing will fire just as fast as you can push them in. So, we got off several rounds at him, but, like I say, when he's traveling 400 or 450 miles an hour it's, it's kind of hard to hit one if he's coming straight at you.

KELLY: All right, as he's coming straight at you, he come, he's closing on you pretty fast, right?


KELLY: But you know that he's gonna pretty, hit pretty close to you, you know that, don't you? Before he hits.

GUNTHER: I was under the impression that . . . that he was gonna hit right in my lap.

KELLY: All right now that's what I want to do, I want to capture your feeling when you, when you thought that.

GUNTHER: Well . . . my feeling, again, I was scared, so scared that I had . . . I had stretched my headphone cord so tight that it was choking me, I was trying to run away, but it was holding me in place and I couldn't go nowhere.

KELLY: You were trying to get out of his path.


GUNTHER: I was trying to get out of the way, period.

KELLY: I mean you, you thought he was gonna hit right where you were.

GUNTHER: I'm satisfied it was gonna hit right where I was, and it's a good thing actually, that . . . that I couldn't go anywhere, because where I was gonna go . . .

KELLY: Was where he hit?

GUNTHER: Was where he hit. And . . . it might have been shame on me, had I'd a got loose from that headset that I had wrapped around my chin and couldn't get loose.

KELLY: That headset is screwed into the . . .

GUNTHER: Is screwed into the bulkhead, and . . .

KELLY: Strapped under your chin?

GUNTHER: Strapped under the chin, and I, I couldn't get away from it, and . . . if I had a gotten away, I'd a probably wouldn't be here telling you about it now.

KELLY: Mmhmm. You were kind of like a dog on leash that . . . had run to the end of it?

GUNTHER: Absolutely.

KELLY: And then you were keeping pressure on it?

GUNTHER: And that was all she wrote, it was tight as a fiddle string, I just couldn't get away from it, and . . . of course, the fellas that was on the gun, they couldn't get away, and . . . so I, I guess I 01:50:00was the coward of the whole bunch, and I was supposed to be the leader.

KELLY: Well it's not a coward, I mean, when you see something, when you see a plane getting ready to hit you, I mean you're gonna, you're gonna try to get out from under it. That's just a natural reaction. But what I'm trying to get from you is . . . and it's different being, standing behind the gun, and operating it.

GUNTHER: Oh yeah.

KELLY: There's a big difference in, in the psychological feeling.

GUNTHER: Well that's true, you kind of figured that if, if you was operating that gun, why . . . you, you could hit that plane.

KELLY: And you got to.

GUNTHER: And there's no doubt in your mind that you could do it. And you were wondering why these fellas couldn't do it, as good a job as you may think that you could have done had you been in their place.

KELLY: All right, now . . . I'm trying to catch your fear level as you see this booger getting closer and closer and closer . . .


GUNTHER: My fear level.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Well I don't know just what, just how . . . how scared a fella could get, but I think I was just about as far as I could go.

KELLY: Can you describe what it was like?

GUNTHER: No. I can't, I was, I was just so scared I was . . . well . . .

KELLY: Were you kind of numbed out of your senses?

GUNTHER: Evidently I was something, or I wouldn't have had that . . . cord on that headset pulled so tight that it was choking me. I was trying to get away from it.

KELLY: You, you said that it choked you so bad that you, you were almost . . .

GUNTHER: I couldn't hardly breathe.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: I could not hardly breathe.

KELLY: And you can remember that, you can remember not being able to breathe.

GUNTHER: I can remember I couldn't hardly breathe, because I was trying to get away from that thing.

KELLY: And you couldn't, that's, that's because that . . . chin strap was pulling against your throat there. . .


KELLY: Cutting off your wind.



KELLY: And . . . when did you become conscious that that was what was causing your breathing problem?

GUNTHER: After . . . the plane had hit and I found out it didn't hit me. Then I let up a little bit to where I could get some slack in the line.

KELLY: Did it dawn on you then that you were . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah that it was my fault and . . . like I said, you can get so scared that . . .

KELLY: Well, when it hits, it must be a terrible explosion, can you describe that?


KELLY: How, it's not, how far is it from you? 50 feet?

GUNTHER: Well, we're, we're talking . . . we're talking maybe 150, 150 feet.

KELLY: Mmhmm. And an explosion of 1000 pounds is a tremendous explosion.

GUNTHER: It shook that whole ship, I mean . . . see this, this seaplane crane is big enough and heavy enough to lift a full motored 01:53:00sea plane . . . up out of the water.

KELLY: Mmhmm. And that's [inaudible] on your ship, and set aside.

GUNTHER: And set, right, and set it up on the deck for people to work on, and when that kamikaze, with them 2 500-pound bombs hit that thing, it uprooted that thing right out of the deck.

KELLY: Fell over in the water?

GUNTHER: No, it didn't, it didn't fall off the ship, it just uprooted the thing, and just left it leaning. Had just pulled it loose from, from the ship actually. And . . .

KELLY: How big a hole did it knock into the ship?

GUNTHER: Well, actually, it didn't, except where the crane was bolted down to the, to the deck where it pulled it up, was all it, it really damaged, because what it hit was the seaplane crane itself. And it blowed that thing all to pieces, well. . .


KELLY: It didn't, it didn't quite hit the deck of the ship then.

GUNTHER: No no, it hit right at the base of this seaplane crane.

KELLY: Just a little above the deck.

GUNTHER: Mmhmm. And it blowed that thing up and uprooted the . . . the base of the crane from the deck, but not enough that, that it would fall off of the ship. And . . .

KELLY: Did fragments go flying by you? Or pieces of plane? Or . . .

GUNTHER: Well. . .

KELLY: Was there anything left of the plane at all?

GUNTHER: Very little. They found the scalp of the pilot hung into the gears on the crane where it, the gears were when, you know, back and forth to pick the planes up, and so forth. His scalp was hung in them gears, the plane itself was . . . just practically demolished, of course when it hit, why, those 2 500-pound bombs just . . . disintegrated the whole thing. And . . .

KELLY: You don't know for sure that it was 500 pounds bombs, do you?


GUNTHER: Only . . . what the rest of the kamikaze planes was carrying.

KELLY: All right.

GUNTHER: I mean that, that's what they was supposed to been all, all of them supposed to been armed with that.

KELLY: Okay.

GUNTHER: Because they had captured some of them and hadn't got off of the ground yet, and . . . . that's what was on them, so then I guess that all of them armed the same way.

KELLY: All right. And . . . can you describe . . . you know, after you sort of got back to yourself, you know, after you got off of that leash, so to speak, choking, can you, can you describe what you saw there? Just looking at it?

GUNTHER: Yeah, saw the . . . a lot of wounded men, laying around on the deck . . . and . . . we go to give the . . . pharmacist's mate and the doctors a hand, there was no more action going on at 01:56:00the time, we went over stretchers and there was an arm here and a leg there, and you didn't know what body it belonged to, and there was three of them that was pretty well demolished and several of them laying around there wounded, with, maybe an arm off or a leg off or a scalp wound, or whatever. But, all in all it was 3 dead and 25 wounded from that kamikaze plane. And just thank God I wasn't one of them.

KELLY: What did you do with the wounded? Did you take them to a hospital ship? Or. . .

GUNTHER: Took them to . . . hospital, it was sent . . . put a 50- foot motor launch in the, in the water and took them over to a larger 01:57:00ship that had a bigger sick bay on it, and then they took the . . . the dead bodies and . . .

KELLY: Bury them at sea?

GUNTHER: Well they took them down, yeah we buried them at sea, but we took them down to . . . and put them in a cooler. Until we could . . . get things ready to . . . to have burial at sea.

KELLY: Did you know any of the boys that were killed?


KELLY: About how many people were on that ship?

GUNTHER: There was about 1800.

KELLY: 1800?


KELLY: That big of a ship?

GUNTHER: Yeah, it was a pretty good-sized ship. Seaplane tender . . . of course you had all kinds of deck force, and you had engineers, and you had all these mechanics, air dales and so forth to work on . . .

KELLY: Your job was still gunner, you were still a gunner, you were still a gun crew member.


KELLY: Okay, what'd that do to you, seeing all that carnage, horrors of war, so to speak?

GUNTHER: Well . . . it makes you, in a way . . . it makes you 01:58:00kind of hard-hearted. Umm . . . you have, you see so much of this that . . . you, you sit around and you see some of your buddies . . . dying off, then . . . at first, why you shed a tear . . . because they are your buddies, then after a while, why, you don't shed those tears no more. It just, makes you hard-hearted. I had a, a real good friend of mine on there on the first ship I was on, the Farragut. We was coming back from Australia, and for some reason, unbeknown to anybody, he just took out a 45 that he was wearing while he was 01:59:00on watch, and . . . just took it up there and blowed his head off. Nobody knows why.

KELLY: What year was this?

GUNTHER: I'm talking forty . . . 42.

KELLY: Well, these, these people that were wounded, were they kind of, why were they at this particular place?

GUNTHER: Well they, that's where their gun stations happened to be, see you've got X amount of people on a ship, why, then you've got your . . . crews that's on your guns, and then you've got . . . your . . . oh, your crews that stand by to, what is the word for them, I can't think of it, to prepare ships in case there's a hole blowed in it, there's shore-up this, or shore-up that, and they don't have a 02:00:00particular . . .

KELLY: Station.

GUNTHER: Station to be, so, maybe they just . . . in a group standing back up underneath one of the decks or something, you know, to be out of the way of the gun crews, and be out of the way of, of any . . . bullets that might be coming their way or whatever. Like I say, I can't think of the name, the word I'm looking for, but there's one there that should be used.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Is that . . . even though that ship's closing on you fast . . . when you're looking right at it, and it's coming right towards you, and you know it's gonna hit your ship. There is some time, that seems like an eternity, even though it's seconds, can you recall some of the thoughts that went through your mind at that time?

GUNTHER: Hmm. The only thing I could think of right at the point in time, is, "I hope it don't hit me." And I was trying my best to get out 02:01:00of its way. You know, you . . . people say there's a whole lot of stuff that flashes by your mind . . .

KELLY: You were busy, actually, you were busy trying to get . . . out of the path of it.

GUNTHER: That's right.

KELLY: And that was occupying your . . .

GUNTHER: That was occupying my mind and my time at that time, and . . . that was all I had on my mind. I done seen that . . . the gun crews . . .

KELLY: Sometimes a man, man's mind will go beyond its limits, and . . . snap, did you see any of that while you were out there in the Pacific?

GUNTHER: No . . .

KELLY: Under those . . .

GUNTHER: Not unless it's these, this, like that fella that decided to take a .45 to himself, why . . . his mind may have snapped, but, at 02:02:00the time he done it, why . . .

KELLY: You didn't see any yourself on your crews, any of your ships.

GUNTHER: Well this fella was on my ship.

KELLY: Well I mean other than that one.


KELLY: Yeah. Okay . . . this was in . . . on the . . . seaplane tender, let's go to the, anything else you want, we should record about that incident?

GUNTHER: No, that's not . . .

KELLY: Did you all get back to duty pretty soon and go on about your business?

GUNTHER: Oh yeah, yeah it wasn't, we just went to, went to shipyard in, in Pearl and had the thing fixed back again, and went on about our business.

KELLY: Get some leave while you were at Pearl?

GUNTHER: Naw. You don't get no leave in Pearl Harbor. Got some leave when I got back to, to the States, but . . .

KELLY: Okay, well let's go back to the earlier part of the war, after 02:03:00Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea came in April '42, which wasn't too long off.


KELLY: And you were going on the Farragut, to Australia, you know what the purpose of that . . .?

GUNTHER: No, the skipper at the time at . . . that we was getting ready to go to . . . to Australia, we had picked up some . . . new personnel, and was gonna take time to Australia to meet a ship, of some sort to put these fellas on, because after we did get there, why they did put them on, on another ship, but, I'm satisfied that we didn't make the trip all the way to Australia just to put these people on that ship and . . . and being a time of war, why the skipper never did . . .

KELLY: Tell you what was going on.

GUNTHER: Well he, of course . . . in peacetime, why, they would come 02:04:00out over the loudspeaker that . . . intercom that . . . we were going out for a patrol, for a week, or two weeks, and . . . you know, something like that, but, after, after the war started, why, when you got underway, why, you just rode the ship wherever it might be and it wasn't none of your business where it was going. And they didn't bother about telling you.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Well anyway, you ended up in the Coral Sea battle.

GUNTHER: Yeah, we wound up there. . .

KELLY: Tell me what happened there with you, with your ship and what you saw.

GUNTHER: Well. . .

KELLY: From your vantage point.

GUNTHER: From my vantage point we were real lucky and . . . that we wasn't in the heat of the battle. We was on the outskirts of this thing, and I guess, maybe, what really happened was we just happened to 02:05:00pick it up on our way by.

KELLY: But in any event, I mean, I, I. . .

GUNTHER: I mean we, we weren't scheduled to be in this battle.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: We were scheduled, the five ships that was in our group was scheduled to go from Pearl Harbor to Australia.

KELLY: Yeah, well, of course they'd moved ships into battles as time goes on. . .


KELLY: And a lot of times you're not scheduled in a specific battle, but anyway, what I want from you, of course, is what you saw, you know.

GUNTHER: Well, like I say, we wasn't in the heat of the battle, we was on the outskirts of this thing, but we was in close enough that these airplanes was coming over and introducing theirselves to us, which we wasn't too awful happy about the introduction, but . . . we were lucky enough that . . .

KELLY: Well, were you involved in any kind of a patrol around the task force? The carriers?


KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: Like I say, we wasn't within the heat of this battle at all . . . these planes come over and, but the only plane that came over 02:06:00and bothered us was the high-altitude bombers, and I don't know whether it was off of the beaten path or not, but anyhow they dropped their bombs on our group, but, Chicago was the only one that looked like it was gonna be in any trouble, and . . .

KELLY: Hit the, hit the Chicago?

GUNTHER: It never hit it, it just, everything fell around it, of course, we wasn't all that close together after we found out what was going on, we sort of scattered, the destroyers were using for escorts for the cruisers, and . . . of course the cruisers had quite a bit of firepower too, but, you cannot reach a high-altitude bomber with anti-aircraft.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: There's no way that you can get that high. So, I guess it was just lucky enough that they was high enough, that when they did drop their bombs, that, just lucky enough that they didn't hit anything, but the Chicago come steaming out of it and . . . and no problem. But . 02:07:00. .

KELLY: How far was the Chicago from you when they were bombing it?

GUNTHER: Oh . . . I don't know, it was, I guess a few miles in between, of course, when you, you sitting out on the water, a couple of miles ain't all that far.

KELLY: Right.

GUNTHER: And . . . if . . . I suppose that, we were lucky enough not to get right into this, this Coral Sea battle, because, well we, we got credit for being in the battle, but we wasn't in the, in the thick of things.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Is that the only incident that occurred to you while you were there? Was the bombing of the Chicago?

GUNTHER: That was the only incident that we had. . .

KELLY: Nothing hit you or fell near you.

GUNTHER: Yeah, no. Didn't none of them come close enough to us to do any damage at all, we did have to stick around and . . . do our thing, 'cause it . . . for some reason or another, they used us to 02:08:00escort, well, not escort either, but just sort of patrol around and see if we could find anything to go, because we were supposed to be underway for two weeks, to go from Pearl Harbor to Australia, and it took us 77 days to get over there. And that's when we run out of food for the last 10 days that we were at sea. Because we had these extra personnel on board, and, beside that, we wasn't supposed to be underway but two weeks, and that's . . . 77 days is a long time.

KELLY: You never completely ran out of food, you, you were eating the emergency rations.

GUNTHER: Emergency rations, hardtack off the life rafts and a bowl of soup once a day.

KELLY: One bowl of soup once a day, how long did that go on?

GUNTHER: 10 days.

KELLY: How hungry were you when you got to food, got to some food?

GUNTHER: Well, we got into Sidney, Australia, and . . . they brought 02:09:00. . . stores aboard, and . . . of course the skipper was good to his word, he said when we left [inaudible] and Starboard Liberty, which we did have, half of the crew went on boar, went to the shore, and the other half stayed aboard, and, of course they brought the food aboard, but those of us that went to the beach, we were . . . we were right hungry, and we went to a restaurant and ordered up a big meal, a steak or whatever, but then . . . unbeknowning why, your stomach had shrunk up quite a bit from not having any food in it . . . and that big steak just laid there after a couple of bites, why, you were full and you couldn't eat it, so what we all done, we just went out and got us some, what they call it, some Whitehorse scotch and gone drunk. And . . . we went back to the ship still hungry . . .


KELLY: A sailor was pretty good about getting drunk on leave wasn't it?

GUNTHER: Well, ordinarily, yes.

KELLY: That was kind of a, that was kind of the thing to do, really, wasn't it?

GUNTHER: Well, in a way.

KELLY: That's a way of letting off tensions, I guess.

GUNTHER: Yeah you had, see when you, when you're at sea for a, four, five, six, seven, eight weeks at a time, why, you've got nothing out there except a bunch of people, that giving you orders. And after a while, why, that gets just a little bit monotonous. And you get all this stuff built up in you. And then, when you do get to the beach, why, it's time to let off a little steam, and get rid of all this, anxiety that's been built up in you, and listening to these officers, most of them didn't know what they was talking about anyhow, but giving you orders. So, what you do just, get you a jug and . . .


KELLY: Let off steam.

GUNTHER: Sit down somewhere and forget the whole thing.

KELLY: [chuckle] Tied one on. Okay. Well . . . is there anything else on your navies-navy experience that we ought to get on here now that we left off?

GUNTHER: Well. . .

KELLY: Anything else stands out in your mind? Did you ever get attacked by a submarine? Or . . .

GUNTHER: No. Never had any, had anything to do with submarines, never had any encounter with . . .

KELLY: So essentially, in your five years there, what you really had was at Pearl Harbor you got bombed and strafed, and then you got, had a kamikaze come at you. . .

GUNTHER: Well now I was on that Yorktown, we was setting out there in, in the South Pacific.

KELLY: This is New Yorktown, after the first one been sunk.


GUNTHER: Yeah, the first one got sunk in Coral Seas and we was on the New Yorktown and, which incidentally I put in commission in Newport News, Virginia. And . . . we . . . rode that thing through the Panama Canal, and went out to the South Pacific . . .

KELLY: When was that, do you know?

GUNTHER: Oh, forty . . . '44 I guess.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And . . . but we got tied up into quite, quite a few night battles out there, of course . . . our planes done . . . done a whole lot of the damage on these different islands that we mentioned earlier, the Marshall and the Gilberts, Truks, Wake, Marianas, Philippines, Guam, you name it and we were there. And . . . but 02:13:00. . . it seemed like that they didn't want to attack the aircraft carriers in the daytime, and they would do most of their attack on, on them at nighttime. Because, an aircraft carrier, you may not realize, but it . . . it got a whole lot of firepower.

KELLY: Mmm-hmmm. Well, can you tell me about one of the times that . . . the Yorktown was attacked?

GUNTHER: Yeah. I don't . . .

KELLY: When you were on it, and where were you when it occurred?

GUNTHER: Well we were off of the Philippines, and this is when . . . Douglas MacArthur was gonna make his historic return, and . . . we had . . . sent planes off . . . to do a little softening up of the Japanese troops on the Philippines, and . . . when . . . 02:14:00night time, we were sitting at general quarters, and . . . this plane came over. . .

KELLY: Is this in Leyte Gulf? Or . . .

GUNTHER: Yeah. The plane came over at night time, and we wasn't supposed to fire, because we gave away our position, but from where I was sitting, a gun captain on his gun, and . . . from where I was, that plane was coming in, and he started shooting at us, and I couldn't see how, if we was to fire at him how we was gonna give away our position, when that rascal already knew where we was. 'Cause he was shooting at us, so . . . somebody shot down that plane, but I don't 02:15:00know who it was, but they . . .

KELLY: Well you know they had, they had that big battle in Lingayen Gulf, were you involved in that one? Was it Yorktown, I guess it was, wasn't it?

GUNTHER: Well yeah, but, like I say, aircraft carriers don't get in close enough to. . .

KELLY: You don't get in close enough to see the . . . the battleships and . . .

GUNTHER: No, your, your planes . . . takes care of that job for you.

KELLY: Mmhmm. So you're, you're some distance from the whole activity.

GUNTHER: Yeah. But I, I have seen those planes come in, shot up, they would try to land on that carrier, they have come in with one wheel, they've come in almost upside down, they tore the wings off on the . . . cranes . . . they have missed the barriers and run into the back end of other planes, I've seen my buddies get caught underneath of them and burn up and all kind of things like that, and that's the reason I say it makes you hard-hearted.


KELLY: Mmhmm. Actually you just learn how to close it out of your mind, is what you're doing, aren't you?. . .

GUNTHER: I, I suppose. Just, just block it out and forget about it . . .

KELLY: Otherwise it, otherwise it would send you beyond your limits probably.

GUNTHER: True. And, right now . . .

KELLY: You, you see it, but you don't look at it.

GUNTHER: Right now my good buddy, my good buddies die around here, and . . . I don't shed tears for them.

KELLY: Is that right?

GUNTHER: I feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for their families.

KELLY: So you don't cry.


KELLY: And you think having World War II experience caused that, huh?

GUNTHER: I, I think so. I've seen too many of my buddies . . . get killed, and died off that . . .

KELLY: Well, you know, do you, do you think that changed you so that you . . . don't let yourself get too close to somebody because of that?

GUNTHER: No, I get . . . I get fairly close to some of my friends, but . . . I've, well . . . my own cousins . . . I don't cry.


KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: They die often, I go to their funerals and . . .

KELLY: Bury them.

GUNTHER: That's it.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: I think the last person I . . . cried at a funeral was my dad.

KELLY: When did that happen? Before the war or after the war?

GUNTHER: That was after the war, and it was in '76. I just, just lock it out.

KELLY: That's what you were doing there as a young man, you, you were locking out, coping, you were locking all those things out.

GUNTHER: I suppose. But it, I just, I just don't let it bother me no more.

KELLY: Okay. Let me turn this tape over and then I'll get some personal data from you.


[End of Tape 2, Side 1]

[Beginning of Tape 2, Side 2]

KELLY: Well, let me, let me ask you this question: As far as the experience of World War II, did that do something to you or something for you, or both, or can you describe it?

GUNTHER: Yeah, I think it did, because, when, when I first went in, in the Navy . . . I was a little over 17 years old, and of course at that time it was peacetime navy and you couldn't get in unless your parents . . .

KELLY: Signed.

GUNTHER: Signed for you to get in at that age, and it took me a while 02:19:00to get my dad to, to sign my papers, but finally talked him into it. And, I think . . . it was then just like it is now. I think that . . . the service . . . made a better person out of me . . . a better man for the very simple reason that it . . . it give me more responsibility. When I first went into, into the service, why . . . I was wild as a March hare, I didn't care a whole lot about anything, and . . . I . . . I got my head slapped off several times while 02:20:00I, when I first went in, for the very simple reason that . . . any time that you're messing around with as many people that's in the service, there's always somebody gonna be a little better than you are, and it seemed like it was always my luck to pick on that particular person. And . . . he'd whoop up on me, and after a while I finally decided that . . .

KELLY: It wasn't a smart thing to do.

GUNTHER: It wasn't exactly the smartest thing in the world to do, no. So I started taking on a little bit more responsibility, and I started . . . hitting the books a little bit, and finally started getting along with everybody a little bit better, and made my rates and make a little more money, and took on a little bit more responsibility, and in the long run it, it made a better person out of me. And I think that these kids that's getting out of high school now a days, if they would 02:21:00. . . if they would take maybe a couple of years training into the service that it would give them a better perspective . . . on life when they got out, and then they can go to that college and . . . and . . . or whatever they wanted to do, and be a better person for it.

KELLY: As far as your contribution in World War II, are you proud of your service? Or . . . are you . . . how do you feel about that sort of thing?

GUNTHER: I'm, I'm, I'm real proud of my service, I . . . I fought this thing from Pearl Harbor clear through to Tokyo Bay, and . . . I, I, I didn't do anything to . . . to discredit my family, or myself. Like I say, I've got citations and I've got campaign ribbons, 02:22:00and I've got two di-, honorable discharges . . . one from Korea and one from World War II, and so I don't think that, that I've . . . I discredited myself or my family in any way, and I'm real proud of what I done while I was in the service.

KELLY: Okay. Now . . . you were born and reared in Frankfort?

GUNTHER: Yes sir, I was, 1921.

KELLY: And what was your, what was your father's name?

GUNTHER: Clarence Gunther, Senior.

KELLY: And your mother's maiden name?

GUNTHER: Fanny Mae Gunther Herndon.

KELLY: Herndon was her maiden name?

GUNTHER: Uh-huh.

KELLY: And, and your parents, were they . . . long-time Kentuckians that trace back several generations? Or, when did they come here.

GUNTHER: Well . . . as far as I know . . . my grandparents and, on 02:23:00both mother and dad's side, why they were Kentuckians as far back as we can remember.

KELLY: Mmhmm. You're [inaudible] now.

GUNTHER: My family tree . . . don't go all that far back as far as I know, I've never traced it back, I had no desire to.

KELLY: Mmhmm. Were they in Frankfort also?

GUNTHER: Uh no, they were in Anderson County.

KELLY: Anderson County.


KELLY: Okay, and . . . your, your wife's name and maiden name.

GUNTHER: Her name is Beulah. . . Mae Blackwell.

KELLY: Blackwell was her maiden name.


KELLY: Is she a native to Frankfort?

GUNTHER: No, she's a Hoosier. She's born in Indianapolis.

KELLY: Do you have any children?

GUNTHER: Do I have any children? Yes, we have two daughters, Carol Sue Cunningham, the oldest, she lives in Lexington, and Linda Joyce Stytes, 02:24:00she lives in Shelbyville.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: I have three grandchildren, Donna Lynn Newnam, she's 23 years old and she lives in Lexington, and she works for First Security National Bank in Lexington, I have a grandson that's 17 years old, he's Daryl Bradley Casey, he lives in Shelbyville, and I have a young granddaughter, 11 years old, name is Jennifer A. Cunningham.

KELLY: What did you, what did you do after you got out of the service?

GUNTHER: I went into . . . construction work. I was a pipefitter on 02:25:00construction work, local 522 in Le-, in Louisville. I stayed with that for . . . a few years and decided that it was too much traveling going on, 'cause, of course when you're on construction you have to go where the work is, they're not gonna bring it to you, so I left that and I went to work on maintenance for the state. And I stayed there for a few years, and . . . and they had an opening out at old granddad's distillery, for a maintenance man of my caliber and experience so I put in for the job and went to work at the national distillery and I was out there 10 years . . . and I had a . . . heart attack and they told me that I wasn't fit for anything, to go home and sit down and die 02:26:00off respectably. So they put me out to pasture, and . . .

KELLY: What year was this?

GUNTHER: It was 1975. So I've been retired from national service in '75 on. . .

KELLY: Workman's comp?


KELLY: Workman's comp?

GUNTHER: No, I was on disability.

KELLY: Mmhmm.

GUNTHER: And . . . so . . . I got over that, very well, and . . . so I . . . took up fishing and golfing.

KELLY: Been doing it ever since, huh?

GUNTHER: And I've been doing it ever since and enjoying it to no end.

KELLY: Very good. Well, Clarence Gunther, I, I appreciate your sharing all this information with me this morning and, an interesting story.

GUNTHER: Been my pleasure.

KELLY: Thank you.


[End of Interview]