"It was a Sunday morning [in California], and a friend of mine and I were visiting another friend. And we were standing on the sidewalk and just talking. And all of a sudden somebody ran out of the house up the street and just run down the middle of the street screaming, 'War! War! The Japs are bombing Pearl Harbor.' So, we went home. And my family was all gathered around the radio listening. And we stayed there all day listening to all the reports coming in…
   "They had sentries leading to all the roads in and out of that town. You could get out all right, but to get back in you had to show proof that you lived in that town. It was kind of an exciting time, really. The town was blacked out. All of the automobiles had their headlights painted over and all the movie theaters had black-out curtains…
   "The way the war was going right at the beginning, we expected just any time we could be invaded. One night – I just lived two blocks from the fort, and the anti-aircraft guns – sirens blew and searchlights came on and the anti-aircraft guns started shooting at something during the night. It was kind of a scary moment…
   "Yeah, we talked about – 'Mary,' [his father said,] 'we better get out of here. Let's go back to Nebraska.' We didn't own a car. 'Let's buy a car.' And the whole family agreed we ought to come back here [to Nebraska]. Get as far away from there as we could, because we sincerely believed we were due for an invasion…
   "Well, you know, the people that lived back here really didn't experience those sort of things. But out there on the West Coast, we did."

Jim Chenault – Pearl Harbor


Other Excerpts from Jim Chenault's Interview:

Enlisting before High School Graduation
Bombing Germany from England
Nisei Internment in California
V-E Day
Student Pilots on the GI Bill
Flying the Berlin Airlift
Mining the Aquifer
Irrigation Enabling Other Technologies
Crop Dusting