Skip Navigation and Jump to Page Content    The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center  
Veterans History Project (Library of Congress) ABOUT  
Home » Frank Thomas Oravecz

"The rumors were flying thick and fast, and you didn’t know what to believe…" (Audio interview, 24:27)

   Frank Thomas Oravecz
Placeholder Image
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Battery E, 64th Coast Anti-aircraft Artillery (AAA)
Service Location: Central Pacific; Pearl Harbor and Fort Shafter, Hawaii; Puget Sound, Washington
Rank: Sergeant
View Full Description

For Thomas Oravecz, enlisting in the Army provided a way out of the coal mines of West Virginia; serving in Hawaii offered the promise of balmy conditions and a chance to play baseball. Even as he saw Japanese planes flying overhead, it was unbelievable that his home for two years was under attack. The day’s turmoil didn’t end there: reports circulated that the Japanese would return for another attack or invasion. Come nightfall, soldiers shot at anything that moved--including the mongooses rustling in the bushes.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview  (101 min.)
More like this
»Pearl Harbor
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Hearing explosions on the morning of the attack; seeing smoke from Schofield Barracks; thinking it was a fire or sugar cane fields burning; planes flying very close overhead. (05:20) Japanese pilots waving from planes overhead; flying about the same level as the treetops; seeing torpedoes being dropped on the USS Raleigh; finally realizing that the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor. (01:56) [Previous Highlight Continued] (03:01)
Watching Japanese dive bombers; absolute chaos of attack; second wave of attack; everything in harbor burning; one of his comrades sleeping through entire attack. (09:25) Going to his barracks, which had been hit by a shell; comrade who had been hit; shell that hit barracks was fired by US ship in Pearl Harbor. (07:58) Not being able to eat the day of the attack; rumors and bullets flying as soon as the sun went down; soldiers shooting at everything; friendly fire on B-17s that flew into Hickam Field; finally being able to eat the next day; eating the best-tasting bread of his life. (08:07)
Home » Frank Thomas Oravecz
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us