Everett Hyland Turns 94
May 4, 2017
On Dec. 7, 1941, Everett Hyland was aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania, flagship of the Pacific Fleet.
“If we ever go to war, the last place in the world I wanted to be trapped was down in the bowels of the ship,” he said in a U.S. Navy interview. “I wanted to be top side, so if something happened, I could get off it. So I volunteered for antenna repair squad. I was with the radio division.”
When general quarters sounded on that fateful Sunday morning, he immediately went to his battle station with others in his division. Realizing there was nothing to be done from there, they began collecting ammo for a small anti-aircraft gun. At the same time, five high altitude planes dropped bombs just above them.
“We took one hit. The one that hit our ship just happened to be where we were,” Everett said.
Everett was so badly wounded by the blast that his own friends did not recognize him. He spent nine months in recovery, and then went back to sea.
Since 1995, Everett has volunteered at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center on Sundays, where he shares his story with visitors. On Friday, March 17, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks celebrated the 94th birthday of Uncle Everett, as he is fondly known, at the visitor center.