KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports - - Local Pearl Harbor Survivor Recounts Attack

Local Pearl Harbor Survivor Recounts Attack

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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. -

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> Victor Paradis was 21 years old, farming in Marshall, when he decided to join the navy.

Paradis says, "But I was underweight and the recruiter wouldn't take me, he said you better go back to the farm and gain some more weight and come back and see me."

A year later he did go back, and on January 2, 1941 he was sworn into the navy.

Paradis says, "October of '41 I had a chance to go to machinist school at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor, and that is where I was stationed."

On the morning of December 7th Paradis was outside watching two servicemen raise the American flag.

Paradis, pointing to an aerial picture of the base, says, "There is a little white flag pole there and that is the pole I was standing by."

Except he never saw the flag reach the top of the pole.

Paradis says, "The airplanes came over the top of the mountains, right down from here to get to the battle ships."

Paradis was about 2 miles from where the battle ships were, and the Japanese planes were headed.

Paradis says, "They came right in low where we were at, real low, you could even see the goggles on the faces of the pilots."

As far as Paradis knew, he wasn't in grave danger, but still everyone on the sub–base was told to go to the armory and draw rifles and ammunition.

Paradis says, "About an hour after the bombing started, we started getting survivors from the battle ships that were hit and sunk and they were all cover with fuel oil."

When they were bombed, oil from the ships poured into the water and sailors had to swim through the water to safety.

Paradis says, "It was a hectic day because nobody new what to do, it was such a mix up day."

And now over 70 years later, the memories of that day, and years of war following continue to weigh heavy on the 94–year–olds heart.

Paradis says, "There was a few times throughout the war where I didn't know if I was going to make it or not, but here I am."

To think a few pounds almost stopped him from joining the Navy.