Hogan's Heroes and Hawaii Five-O belong to others. I'm only visiting their worlds.
Special thanks to GM and BH for allowing me to reference the background on Danny William's childhood from their stories. Mahalo!
In honor of the "Greatest Generation"
December 7, 1971
It had been a long day, a somber yet proud day, a day to remember, to honor heroes lost in battle, the opening salvo of a great two-ocean war that spanned the world and threw it into chaos. A time to look back 30 years to a day of infamy and courage, of heroism beyond measure. Pearl Harbor Day, a day Honolulu—and the people seated around the dining table—would never forget.
There had been the usual remembrances: speeches and a wreath-laying at the Arizona Memorial,
flags decorating the graves at Punchbowl, Hawaii Koa, and so many other quiet places throughout the Islands, the words of the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father Strong to Save," the single, solemn bugle blowing "Taps" at sunset . . . A day of courage and pride, tears and resolve. Pearl Harbor Day.
As is usual at such a gathering, talk turned to "Where were you when?" Lt. Colonel James Kinchloe was the first to speak up. "I was in Detroit, my home town, working as lineman for the phone company. I'd always been interested in communications, even built my own radio as a kid, so I'd applied for technical training. We had Sundays off, so I'd gone down to the gym to spar a few rounds. I was in contention for Golden Gloves. Looked like I might make it, too. The trainer had the radio on—we could hear it real good—when the announcer broke in: 'This morning, at 7:55 AM Hawaiian time, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.' We were shocked into silence. Nothing else seemed important, not the Golden Gloves, my job, nothing. I signed up the next day, trained as a radioman, got assigned to the 504th, and wound up at Stalag 13. The rest is history."
Andrew Carter, former POW, one-time munitions expert, and now Chief of Pharmacy at Tripler Army Hospital, grinned as he added, "Stalag 13! Never expected I'd wind up as part of an underground intelligence operation. I got so lonely sometimes, thinking about my family back in Bullfrog, North Dakota, my girl Mary Jane . . . If it hadn't been for you guys, my best friends, I don't know if I would have made it." His eyes filled with tears at the memory.
General Robert Hogan smiled at the younger officer. Carter's exuberance had gotten them through more than a few dark and discouraging days! He remembered the rabbit trap, Carter's pet mouse Felix, his falling for so many of Newkirk's jokes . . . He listened as Carter resumed his story.
"I really liked chemistry in high school, especially playing around in the lab to see what I could discover." He shook his head and grinned ruefully. "I even blew the place up!"
"You almost blew us up a few times, too," Kinch teased his friend.
"Well, I was in college studying pharmacy when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I got drafted and assigned to the Air Corps. Got shot down and sent to Stalag 13. Colonel-I mean General-Hogan put me in charge of making bombs. Blowing up bridges, that was my specialty!"
"You made a pretty convincing Hitler, a couple of times," Hogan reminded him. "I'll bet Klink still believes he had a visit from the Fuhrer." Carter blushed.
"I made my share of mistakes, too," he remembered. "Like the time I forgot to put film in the camera, or got lost in the woods, or . . ." He stopped, then looked at Hogan and Kinch. "But you guys never gave up on me. Thanks."
Chin was next to speak. "I was planning to propose to my sweetheart that evening. Had reservations for dinner at the Royal Hawaiian." Chin took his wife's hand. "When the bombs started dropping, all I could think about was my family, her, keeping them safe." He wiped a tear from his eye. "I still proposed, asked her to wait for me. I'm glad she did."
"I joined the Marines," the Chinese detective continued. "Got sent to Europe after Boot Camp. My sergeant was a big Irishman. He never could get my name right, called me 'O'Kelly' the whole time we served together. We went ashore at Anzio in January 1944, fought our way up Italy. He didn't come back. I was lucky."
"Never knew you were in the Marines, Bruddah," Kono Kalakaua's admiration was evident in the warmth of his voice. "I was just a little kid, only turned six a couple of weeks before. Never been so scared in my life! I hid under the bed and wouldn't come out for nuthin'." Laughter echoed around the table at Kono's confession.
"Couple of my uncles went into the Marines," he went on as the laughter died down. "One died in the Philippines-he's up at Punchbowl now. His last letter home said he'd seen the torches of the Night Marchers, so it's like he knew he wasn't coming back. The other one fought at Guadalcanal. Still gets together with his squad every year."
"Wasn't your aunt in the service, too?" Chin questioned his colleague.
"Yeah, she joined the Navy, worked at a big hospital on the Mainland. She became a nurse after the War."
Hogan smiled as the men continued to share memories. When Chin asked, "What about you, General?" he responded. "I was still a major, assigned to a base in Britain, part of the lend-lease operation. I'd been flying reconnaissance missions at the time, but after the attack, I was assigned to the 504th. Made Colonel the next year and took command of the squadron. I'd done 25 bombing runs and was due to rotate back to the States for another assignment when I was shot down over Hamburg. I never dreamed that other assignment would be a POW camp with the bravest men I've ever been privileged to call my friends, then and now."
He grinned at his companions, then added, "I met my wife there, too. Tiger's one of the most courageous people I know."
Marie Louise Hogan-Tiger-smiled at her husband, pride lighting her face. "For us, the war had already started. When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, we knew it was only a matter of time before he turned to us. We'd already begun to organize an underground movement when the Nazis came in May, 1940. By the end of June, France was a captive country. LeBeau was part of our group. When he was captured, we feared he had been killed. It was months before we learned he'd been sent to a Luftstalag, more months before we learned about the secret work going on there." Her accent grew more pronounced as she gave in to powerful memories. "I would not be here today if it were not for Rob and his men."
Steve McGarrett couldn't, and didn't want to, restrain the pride he felt as he listened to the stories his companions shared. At Kono's "Your turn, Boss," he began his tale.
"I'd graduated from Annapolis a few months earlier and was on my first sea duty assignment on a destroyer," McGarrett began. "We'd feared, maybe even expected, something, but an attack on Pearl Harbor! We all knew someone stationed there. Two of my classmates went down with the Arizona. Another one was lost a few days later in the Philippines. We wanted to fight back and got our chance when we were sent on patrol. We sank two Japanese subs, but it felt like so little as the enemy kept advancing across the Pacific."
He stopped for a moment as he sorted through memories. "I was assigned to Naval Intelligence after that and worked with Navy and Marine units stationed on small island bases: Espritos Marcos, Vella la Cava, Taratupa, New Caledonia. The courage of those men—marine fighter pilots, PT boat commanders—it was an honor to serve with them. They put their lives on the line every day, every time they went out. So many of them didn't come back." He couldn't go on.
McGarrett suddenly realized that Danny Williams had said nothing the whole time. He gently squeezed the young detective's arm. "You all right, Danno?"
"I lost my parents that day." Danny's voice was halting as he was overwhelmed by the sense of being cut adrift, orphaned in circumstances a very young child couldn't begin to comprehend. "I never knew what happened to them. I don't think anyone ever knew. There was so much confusion, so much fear. I never felt so alone and scared."
Pearl Harbor Day was always difficult for the young man and today, especially so, as he listened to the stories of courage shared by his friends. He felt, was grateful for, Steve's support as he continued, "I always wondered what it would have been like to grow up in a family with parents, maybe brothers and sisters. Would we have stayed in Hawaii? Been transferred to the Mainland? Would I even have become a cop?" He looked at each of his Five-O colleagues—his friends, his ohana—in turn. "At least I hope so. And I'm glad I did."
He paused a moment, then turned to his Aunt Clara, who had joined them for this day of memories. "What about you, Aunt Clara?"
Her eyes twinkled with mischief as she answered, "I was an intelligence agent, in Germany, with the Gestapo." She winked at Hogan, Tiger, Kinch, Carter. "But that's a story for another day!"
The Arizona Memorial was dedicated in 1962, Prior to that time, the ship's final resting place was marked by a simple platform and a flagpole.
The 504th, Hogan's bomber squadron in the series, was in reality stationed in the Marianas Islands in the Pacific.
The phrase "two-ocean war" is taken from the title of a book by the naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison, USN.
Aunt Clara's "story for another day" (Fraulein Clara) will appear in early 2012.
Pearl Harbor Day
December 7, 2011