HISTORY MAKERS
AND THEIR STORIES

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Lieutenant James Downing - 

Mr. Downing was a speaker at the 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade Ceremony. Jim Served as a Gunners Mate and Post Master aboard the USS West Virginia. On the morning of December 7, 1941 the alarm rang and Jim and his new wife rushed to Harbor to see the USS West Virginia aflame. He worked to help shipmates off the damaged ship along with the USS Tennessee. Jim committed to memory the names of those who had fallen and wrote personal notes to their families back home. 

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Thomas Berg

Mr. Berg was a speaker at the 78th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade Ceremony. He has walked in the parade each year with his wife since the inaugural parade in 2011. 

An 18-year-old Thomas Berg enlisted in the Navy and after boot camp requested to be with a buddy on the battleship USS Arizona but was assigned to the USS Tennessee instead.

“On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Tom saw the first Japanese Zeros flying over Pearl Harbor,” an obituary from Linde-Price Funeral Service in Sequim, Wash., states. “He spent that day of the Pearl Harbor attack at his battle station in boiler room No. 7. That night, he was able to sneak up to the main deck to look around at the damage. Honolulu was in complete blackout. The only light he saw was from the fires on the various other battleships and on Ford Island.”

The Washington state man died April 24 at the age of 97.