Warfare History Network
An amazing story.
What It Was Like to Fight Japan at Pearl Harbor (On a U.S. Battleship No Less)
Wearing his dungarees, Winsett ran the 50 yards back to the ship and his battle station, a .50-caliber machine gun facing toward the bow on the starboard side. He still believed it was just “another drill.” As soon as the stations were manned, Condition “YOKE” (Enemy Is Probable) was set by Captain C.M. Cooke, Jr.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Gunner’s Mate Russell Winsett, 19, awoke at 5 am as he did most mornings. As he went topside he could see that the weather was like almost every December day in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sunny blue skies with a few white puffy clouds.
This was a day Winsett was looking forward to. He thought to himself, “It’s gonna be a beautiful day to visit the island with my cousin, his wife, and three kids.” Winsett had met his relative William Pope several months earlier when his family wrote and told him that he had a distant cousin also stationed at Pearl Harbor. Winsett had found the ship William was serving on, contacted him, and they met for a short visit. The next day his cousin went on a two-month cruise. Winsett was looking forward to reconnecting with his family member and getting to meet his wife and kids while taking in the sights of Hawaii. It was a long way from home for this Alabama farm boy.