recently interviewed Roy Celia about his experience at Pear Harbor. This is his story, through his eyes, retold by me. Enjoy.
He was on the bridge of the USS Sumner, helping preparations for colors.
The first Japanese plane flew over them about 0755 and banked to the right toward Battleship Row. Just prior to this pass, they had heard large explosion coming form Ford Island. They did observe planes in the air, and to a man questioned the Army flying on Sunday. Very unusual to say the least.
By the time a second plane made a pass, they were at General Quarters, and one of their gunners was fortunate enough to get a direct hit off their starboard quarter. The plane went up in one large ball of fire, and immediately dropped into the water. Several days later a small floating crane retrieved the skeleton and all that remained, was the radial engine wing tips and part of the tail. The rest of the skin was gone, and only a faint framework visible.
Roy Cella's battle station was on a Range Finder, and in view of the air attack, had little to do. However, shortly after the attack began, all ships were ordered to send boats to the ammo depot. He had been qualified as a boat captain, in spite of his rating Quartermaster Second Class, and upon ordered form the C.O., manned one of their boats and proceeded across the harbor.
By this time, probably 0820, the Arizona was on the bottom and the Oklahoma rolling over. The Cage Mast Wagons, i.e. West Virginia Class, were on fire and the Nevada was getting underway. Roy had served on the Nevada form 1937 to 1939, and had a lot of shipmates on board.
During on of their trips hauling ammunition, Roy ran close aboard the Nevada, as she was being beached on Nevada Point (Hospital Point). The dive bombers were giving her a real working over, as it appeared she was going to get out of the harbor. However, orders had gone out to beach her, rather than chance blocking the narrow channel to the sea. Several bombs exploded on the forecastle, knocking out a couple a AA guns over the side, as well as several of the crew.
They ran ammunition all day, all over the harbor, and after awhile, the thick bunker fliel the covered the harbor began to plug up our cooling water intake, and we secured the boat. During the attack the Curtis sighted what they said was a "Miniature Japanese Sub" they fired at it, as well as one of the Destroyers that were underway.
The Summer was a Survey Ship, and had sweeping capacity and equipment. They were asked to sweep the area that it was felt the sub had sunk, and after a couple of passes, we found her, and once again a floating crane recovered the sub.
They were constantly strafed by the passing planes, as they came over them after banking over the tank farm. They looked right into the twin guns, one on either wing, as the Japanese ran the length of the ship, fortunately, no casualties, only a lot of canvas, and wooden decks ripped up.
A couple of days after the attack, they were once again ordered to tend subs. A division came alongside and received tender services. In the meantime they loaded four 1 55mm AA guns, and four large searchlights, and shortly thereafter, 100 Marines. They got underway for Palmyra Island to reinforce the troops there, and return the civilians.
The Summer spent the duration of the War in the Pacific, working with the amphibs, following the various attacks all the way to the Leyte gulf. They were involved in every landing from Guadalcanal to Leyte. The Summer was decommissioned on 3 September 1946.By Kristen "The Armadillo" Padilla