The attack on Pearl Harbor, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor,the Hawaii Operation or Operation AI by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, and Operation Z during planning, was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' entry into World War II.
The following Ascension heroes were there.
Godfrey J. "G.G." Guidry, was born in Gonzales on Oct. 30, 1917 to Alphonse Guidry and Ida Richard Guidry. By 1920, census records show Alphonse, Ida and their family had relocated to New Orleans where Godfrey grew up. He was a graduate of Alcee Fortier High School. “G.G.” enlisted in the United States Navy on Feb. 12, 1936. In January 1941, he was assigned to the USS Maryland and was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the USS Maryland was moored along Ford Island, with the USS Oklahoma to port, connected by lines and a gangway. To her fore was California, while Tennessee and West Virginia were astern. Further aft were Nevada and Arizona. The seven battleships, in what is now known as "Battleship Row," had recently returned from maneuvers. Many of Maryland's crew were preparing for shore leave at 09:00 or eating breakfast when the Japanese attack began. As the first Japanese aircraft appeared and explosions rocked the outboard battleships, Maryland 's bugler blew general quarters.
The Maryland was struck by two armor-piercing bombs which detonated low on her hull. One hit caused flooding and increased the draft yet the Maryland continued to fire and, after the attack, sent firefighting parties to assist her compatriots, especially attempting to rescue survivors from the capsized Oklahoma. In all, two officers and two men of the USS Maryland were killed in the attack. As the ship was in repairs, Godfrey was reassigned to the USS Propus, USS Iowa, and the USS Princeton during the remainder of WWII.
Godfrey remained in the Navy also serving on the U.S.S. Iowa and in the Korean War. He retired on March 19, 1956 with the rank of Chief Petty Officer. After the service, he returned to the New Orleans area retiring as a detective for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. He passed away on Aug. 31,1997 in Metairie.
Ronald E. Harrell was born on Sept. 14, 1914 in Grady County, Georgia. He was a resident of Florida when he enlisted in the US Army on March 4,1941. Ronald enlisted in the Field Artillery branch with his first duty station in the Hawaiian Detachment.
He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and was subsequently sent to Europe to serve in the Allied forces there. Ultimately, he also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was discharged after the war and held the rank of Staff Sergeant upon his discharge.
In the early 1990’s, Ronald and his wife Mary, relocated to Prairieville and made their home their until his death in 2002 and her death in 2015. Both are buried at Mount Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. He was a member of Gonzales American Legion Gautreau-Williams Post 81 and Gonzales VFW Post 3693.
Adner M. Evans was born in the Galvez area on Jan. 9, 1921 to Merritt Evans and Zilda Batts Evans. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 11, 1940 and was assigned to the USS Portland on Nov. 28, 1940.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Portland was two days away, en route to Midway Atoll as part of a carrier group escorting aircraft carrier USS Lexington. From December 1941 to May 1, 1942, she operated between the West Coast, Hawaii, and Fiji on patrol.
Adner remained a member of the Portland’s crew until July 1946 when he was transferred to the USS Montpelier. Adner was discharged from the Navy on December 11, 1947.
Andrew Joseph Falcon was born Feb. 21, 1923 in Donaldsonville. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on June 15, 1940. He was assigned to the Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii and was on station when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
He remained Oahu until July 1943 when he was reassigned back to the continental United States. Andrew served at various stateside duty stations until his discharge as a Staff Sergeant on June 30, 1947. Upon his return to civilian life, he became a resident of St. Rose and entered public service.
Upon his death on March 11, 1991, he had served as Clerk of Court of Ascension Parish from 1952 to 1964; was past-president of Louisiana Clerk of Court Association; a member of National Association of County Officials, National Association of County Recorders and Clerks having served seven years on the board; third vice-president of National Association of County Clerks and Recorders; in 1963 he was appointed National Service Officer of Pearl Harbour Survivors Association, from July 1964 to January 1965 he served on the Ascension/St. James Parish Bridge Authority, and retired as Clerk of Louisiana State Supreme Court.
Jennings Brian Williams was born on April 28, 1923 to William Thomas "Tom" Williams and Alice Singletary Williams, in Ascension Parish. He enlisted in the US Navy on Dec. 15, 1940 and was assigned to the USS Arizona. Brian was on the Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, he lost a brother Adrian Delton Williams who was also on the USS Arizona that day.
Brian remained on Pearl Harbor and in March 1942 he was reassigned to the USS Rigel. The USS Rigel had arrived in July 1941 at Pearl Harbor for extensive repairs and alterations. It was still in the yard on 7 December 1941. She was without her authorized armament and superstructure and was slightly damaged during the Japanese attack. Her crew, unable to fire, immediately turned their skills to rescue and salvage operations. Conversion work on Rigel was completed on April 7m 1942. On April 20, 1942, with four 3-inch guns mounted, she got underway for the South Pacific with Brian as part of her crew.
Brian continued to serve in the Navy throughout World War II and was discharged on Dec. 17, 1945. Upon his return home "Brother Brian" was born. He served as an independent missionary to Brazil, spending 18 years there during several tours, until the death of his wife in 1976. He later remarried and lived in Walker until his death on Aug. 10, 2008.
Adrain Delton Williams is the only resident of Ascension Parish lost at Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941. He was born on June 15, 1918 to William Thomas "Tom" Williams and Alice Singletary Williams, in Ascension Parish.
He enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 13, 1939 and was assigned to the USS Arizona on March 29, 1940. He was on the ship when the Japanese attacked and subsequently listed as missing in action by the Navy.
His remains were never recovered and he immortalized with his fellow ship mates on the Courts of the Missing on the Honolulu Memorial at the Honolulu, Hawaii, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). He was 23-years-old and held the rank of Seaman First Class.