Pearl Harbor Survivor Recounts Day Of Infamy

NORTH STRABANE (KDKA) — Seventy years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, 2,400 people lost their lives in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

One who survived to tell the story was 17-year-old Seaman First Class Alan Sanford. At a ceremony in his honor in the Meadowlands, the Washington County man remembers.

“Horrible.” His eyes well up with tears. “That’s all I can say is absolutely horrible.”

It is a little known fact that the young seaman fired the very first shot of all.

“I fired the shots an hour and twenty minutes earlier than the Japanese first line came,” he said. “Two-man submarine armed with torpedoes.”

He was serving on destroyer U.S.S. Ward when a pair of enemy midget subs entered the harbor to supplement the fighter planes to follow.

“We had orders to shoot anything that was trying to get into Pearl Harbor,” he recalls.

He fired the shots and the midget sub went down. Now family, friends and brothers in arms gather to recognize to one of the few who was able to fight back.

Even on a Day of Infamy, America had that single triumph.

“We sank them,” he says.

The proof is underwater: a two-man sub resting on the sands of Pearl Harbor for 70 years.

More from Dave Crawley
  • harry t

    the uss ward was not a battleship it was a destroyer,battleships were named after states ie,uss arizona, uss utah,uss pennsylvania.

  • Bart

    Dave Crawley should be ashamed of this article. Did he do ANY research? If Mr. Crawley would have spent ten minutes, he could have found many articles on this subject. As the previous poster has stated, the USS Ward was a destroyer not a battleship. Also, Mr. Sanford did not fire torpedoes at the submarine. He used on of the Ward’s deck guns to sink it. This is historical fact. Get your facts right Mr. Crawley!

  • Ernest P. Worrel

    My name is Mr. Crawley, sometimes my reports are folly.
    I like to sit high on my perch, and not do my research.
    Now I’m looking like a jerk, because I didn’t do my homework.
    Oh well there’s always next time, maybe I’ll do a story about a mime.

  • Dave Crawley

    Harry and Bart, Thanks for pointing out the need for corrections. I’ve followed your advice, and the script and story should now be “shipshape.” Sad to say, research sometimes falls to the wayside in the rush to get a story on the air (in this case, we finished editing 20 seconds before the anchors introduced the piece).

    Fortunately, nothing can diminish the great work this veteran and others have done for our country.

    Note to Ernest:
    Thanks for your support. Don’t mean to be contrary,
    But next time may I recommend a Rhyming Dictionary?

  • Bart

    Mr. Crawley, thank you for making the corrections. Also, I would like to thank Mr. Sanford for his service.

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