John (Jub) Tomlinson of Gallatin was an 18-year-old sailor stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Island was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.
"We were allowed to sleep in on Sunday morning," he said. "Most everybody was up. I was awake, getting ready to get up."
Jub was going to submarine school on the naval base. He was attached to the U.S.S. Oklahoma anchored in the fleet in harbor, but he lived in Navy housing. He describes the sub school building as several stories in a square horseshoe-shape with a big yard out front. It was a quiet morning with no sound but the bugles playing as the Stars and Stripes was hoisted.
Then the air was shattered by the noise of diving aircraft. When the attack began, Jub got up and ran out into the yard.
"The planes came by flying low, went up into the harbor, then turned around and came back," he said. "We were standing there with our mouths open."
The sailors heard the bombs and torpedoes and realized it was an attack by the Empire of Japan.
"We couldn’t believe it," he said. "We threw rocks at the planes. Got pretty close a time or two. I remember a Japanese pilot looked out the window and waved at us."
Jub and the other sailors made their way to the harbor where the Navy fleet had been torn apart.
"There was a lot of turmoil," he recalled. "We pulled bodies out of the water. It was terrible. Some were dead, some were burning. They swam toward us and we swam toward them. We pulled out the live ones."
Jub’s ship, the Oklahoma, was hit by up to nine torpedoes. She listed quickly, her port bilge struck the harbor bottom, and she then rolled almost completely over. Oklahoma came to rest less than 20 minutes after she was first hit. Some of Oklahoma’s men were still alive inside her upturned hull, and their rescue became the focus of an intense effort over the next two days. Thirty-two Sailors were recovered alive, but over 400 were killed.
"I lost my ship," said Jub. "She sank, went down in 20 minutes. I was a sailor without a ship."
After Pearl Harbor, he was on submarines for awhile, then he was on a submarine tender. He was shipped to Australia and was there for two years.
"We were expecting the Japs to come down there but they never did," Jub said.
It was during that time in Australia that he met a young lady named Hazele.
"We goofed around uptown in Perth, and went to the movies, like all the young people back then" he said.
Jub was assigned to a new ship in commission, an APA 130. The ship hauled soldiers to the Islands, where the fighting was going on.
Jub remembers when the whole fleet ran out of anything to eat. "Spam and jam was all we had to eat," he said. "I got so tired of it, I couldn’t see straight."
Jub was 22 when he came back to the farm at Gallatin. Later he sold life insurance and real estate. He got married to Reva and they had two children. Brenda lives in Trenton and Cartha lives in St. Joseph. Jub and his wife got a divorce.
Fifteen years ago, out of the blue, Jub got a letter from Hazele. They hadn’t been in touch through the years and that was the first time he had heard from her. She told him she had been married but had gotten a divorce. Hazele’s children are Howard and Adale (Dell). They are still in Australia.
"Then she called me and proposed to me," Jub said. "We didn’t take time to get to re-know one another. We probably should have. But we didn’t. I went to Australia and got her."
Jub received several medals and campaign awards during his term in the Navy from 1941-1947. He was one of 60 recipients of a medal during ceremonies of the 50th Anniversary of the attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1991, at Harry S. Truman Auditorium in Independence. The inscription on the bronze commemorative coin read, "Remember Pearl Harbor."
"Those of us who were there aren’t likely to forget," Jub said.