Pearl Harbor Day 2015

Florida Guard Team,

In the morning hours of December 7th, 1941, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese fighter planes. The two-hour attack dealt a devastating blow to the United States, not just in the loss of life and equipment, but also in the fact that we, as a nation, were attacked on our own soil.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” said President Roosevelt during an address to the nation on December 8th.  He went on to say, “Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

I ask that you take a moment to remember those Americans who were there, those who fought, and those who are still entombed in the waters of Pearl Harbor. When the USS Arizona sank, it took with it 1,177 Sailors and Marines.  Some of those were fellow Floridians whom I would like to especially remember:

– Machinist’s Mate 1st Class John Anderson Arrant
– Ship Fitter 3rd Class Atticus Lee Blanton
– Mess Attendant 2nd Class Reliford Fields
– Aviation Metalsmith 3rd Class James Durant Mattox
– Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Rex Haywood Mayo
– Seaman 1st Class Claude Edward Rich
– Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Dale Andrew Ruttan
– Fire Controlman 3rd Class Earl Walter Smith
– Seaman 1st Class William Alfred Suggs
– Fireman 3rd Class William Lafayette Watson

We must remember that this horrific day was our forefathers’ equivalent of 9/11.   In light of the events last week in California, another attack on our soil, we must remain vigilant in our commitment to not only preserve our freedom, but to also remember the sacrifices of Americans whose lives were shortened by those who seek to destroy our way of life.


Major General
Florida National Guard
The Adjutant General