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Hickam ceremony honors Army Air Corps veterans

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Tony Esquivel, left, got Armando “Chick” Galella’s signature in the early morning before the 75th Remembrance of the Hickam Field attack. From left: Esquivel, Michael Galella (Armando’s son), Johny Cisneros and Armando “Chick” Galella.

Ten Army Air Corps veterans who survived the Japanese attack on Hickam Field and Wheeler Army Airfield 75 years ago today were honored at Hickam while a much larger ceremony took place next door at Pearl Harbor.

While the nation focused its attention at the dock-side service at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier, Air Force Col. Kevin Gordon, commander of the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, told a crowd gathered at Hickam’s Atterbury Circle flag pole that, “This very ground shook from enemy bombs … Our citizens stepped up and fought back in defense of our nation.”

At Hickam, 492 Americans were killed or wounded, along with another 108 at Wheeler, Gordon said.

As he looked at the 10 survivors of the attack who were seated in the front row, Gordon said, “No other generation has sacrificed more for our nation.”

The flag that hung from Hickam’s flag pole and survived the attack 75 years ago is now in the Pacific Air Force headquarters which had been used as enlisted barracks in 1941, Gordon said.

While much of Hickam has changed over the years, Gordon said 1941 landmarks remain, including the flag pole, water tower and officers’ club.

These reminders of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, Gordon said, “help preserve our heritage.”

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