Pittsylvania Co. Sailor Recounts Attack on Pearl Harbor - WSET.com - ABC13

Pittsylvania Co. Sailor Recounts Attack on Pearl Harbor

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Lewis "Kermit" Law Lewis "Kermit" Law
Law in 1941 Law in 1941

Reporter: Sarah Bloom l Videographer: Nick King

Pittsylvania Co., VA - On December 7, we remember thousands of brave service members killed in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, back in 1941. 

For many, that day feels like yesterday. It was a shock that threw so many military members, and our country, into the throws of World War II.

"It was right after breakfast you know, and we was in what was the crew's lounge then," said Lewis "Kermit" Law, a Pearl Harbor Survivor from Pittsylvania County.

Not quite 21 years old, Law was a fresh-faced sailor that infamous day. The only gunfire he'd seen was target practice.

"We was playing acey-ducey when all the sudden we heard 'woom!'" said Law.  

The Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed.

"I went up on top five, I looked back, and I saw this plane drop its torpedo what was in line with the Oklahoma," remembered Law.

Luckily for the young sailor, Law was aboard the USS St. Louis- later nicknamed Lucky Lou for its uncanny success during the attack. He remembers sailors rushing to pull the ship away from the pier, dumping food, fuel, and supplies into the water to make it lighter and faster.

"When they attacked us, you'd see the ship going like this!" said Lewis. "Man it would rock! They'd drop a plane on either side of us and the guys would get the gun and shoot them down and they'd fall down beside of us!"

For two days, Law says they circled the island, thankful for their lives: "We didn't get hurt that day. No one got a scratch."

On that day- sailors aboard the Lucky Lou were the exception. Thousands of others died and were wounded. But, the USS St. Louis saw its share of action during the war.

"That's our ship right here," said Lewis, pointing to an aging picture. "And that one is when the suicide plane hit us. We was shooting them down. In fact the one that hit us, the guy had got him and he hit the ship upside down!

The ship was also hit by a torpedo.

"We got hit three different times," said Law.

Throughout the course of Law's service, he lost several dozen fellow sailors.

"I bet there's hand prints in the deck now where I'd hold on, but He had his hand on us," said Law quietly.

A hand- a faith- Law says brought the Lucky Lou home through it all.

Law is a bronze star recipient. He says we must remember Pearl Harbor so that it doesn't happen again. Law served in the Navy for 6 years. He says he left to settle down and start a family.

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