My Dad, Whit Criswell Bryan, was proud of his service in the Navy. A Chief Petty Officer (HMC), he was a veteran of three wars and a Pearl Harbor survivor. Dad was a pharmacist mate stationed at Mobile Naval Hospital #2 about 800 feet above Pearl Harbor on Aiea Heights. He arrived at the Mobile Naval Hospital #2 on December 1, 1941 where all of the medical staff was charged with building the hospital.
When the attack on Pearl Harbor began, Dad was delivering newspapers for a friend who had a paper route. He had driven the friend’s car and was at a top of a hill when he saw the planes. He watched, first thinking that they were US planes, but, when the bombing occurred, he left the car and ran back to the hospital. From the hill, he could see into the cockpits of the Japanese planes.
The hospital was only half finished on the day of the attack. Shrapnel fired upon the hospital was the result of friendly fire. One sailor was killed as they watched the attack. Much of the hospital equipment was still crated. Beds were taken out of the crates and set up as a roofless hospital in minutes. The completed barracks was used for injured patients and the staff slept outside in ditches.
Whit Criswell Bryan remained in the Navy until 1969, serving for 29 years.