Pearl Harbor attacked and already in the Army

We've heard civilian stories about where people were and what they were

doing when they heard the news about Pearl Harbor.


My mom said she was at home reading a book by the kitchen radiator and her

sister Patsy was in the living room teaching their brother Frannie to jitterbug when

the news came over the radio that Sunday afternoon.


What was happening at the Army Camps & bases around the country?


My Dad had just arrived back to Camp Edwards with the 181st IR and was

preparing to muster out on Dec 8th. When I asked him about hearing the

Japs had bombed Pearl, he'd only say: "I was in for the duration." That

was all I could get out of him about it, no emotion, but it must've been devastating

to realize that you weren't going home, you were going to war.


There are no entries in Dad's 1941 diary after Dec7th. I wondered what was going on in

Camp Edwards & other Camps/Forts around the country. Never having been taught WW2 history, I think most of us just assumed that Pearl Harbor happened and then we went

off to war. Not quite.

Infantry regiments were detached & reassigned to other

divisions etc. I read somewhere that there was only one unit left of the original 26th ID

in Camp Edwards - a military police company. I believe that company was my Dad's.

He writes in his diary that he was inspected by the 39th and later that he was transfered

to the "39th MP", but I can't find anything about that unit.


Here are some excerpts from his '42 diary:


Jan 12TH: issued new gas masks at Logan Field. Some boys still on furlough.

14th: our Company has guard

15th: 15 fellows left our company to go to the 182nd

16th: Flying column again (this must be some kind of military maneuvar)

18th: last day for visitors of the 182nd

19th: Al & Fred went to the 182nd to say goodbye to Jackie Pierce & McGeever before

they pullout

20th: 182nd moves out

21st: check on equipment

23rd: Loaded trucks on trains

24th: our company has guard

31st: went home on Cutler's pass


In february, my father was picked for a special drill team to go to Canada for a "goodwill"

trip and exhibition. Dad was proud to have been selected as a "model soldier". Feb 42 he

was inspected by VI ARmy Corps. While he was in Canada, his brother Joe was in a very

bad automobile accident & almost lost his eye.


Feb 3rd: yellow fever injections

9th: group picked for Canada

10th: drill all day

11th: new equipment

12th: Inspected by SIXTH ARMY CORPS

13th: Inspected by General Eckfeldt

14th: TRip to Canada. Joe's accident

15th: arrive in Montreal. 5 mile parade. show revue in auditorium at night.

101st moves out at 10:30 for Toronto.

16th exhibition in arena

17th: left for Ottawa. Parade to Parliament. Heard PM McKenzie King speak

18th: Ash Wednesday, back to Montreal

19th: left for Quebec, dinner on the train. Parade in afternoon

20th: left Quebec for tHree Rivers, Parade afternoon & night.

21st: Went skiing in Three Rivers. Back to Montreal for Hockey Game Canadians VS

Black Hawks.

22nd: left Montreal for Camp Edwards at 7:30pm. Blizzard!


I want to add that the 182nd infantry regiment was reassigned after

Pearl Harbor to Task Force 6814 on 1/14/1942 & was sent to Australia

& then on 3/16/1942 to New Caledonia. They were then reassigned to the

Americal division and landed on Guadalcanal on 11/12/1942. Dad notes

in his diary on 12/19 that "Bart Connelly was killed in action" and I wonder

if this was one of his buddies from the 182nd.




Once again a great post and a great inquiry to all out there. I hope we hear from all kinds of folks.


I am putting together more info on my chapter for my book that has to do with Pearl Harbor and the boys getting drafted etc. There stories are fascinating, fun and sad.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Hmmm, surprised this post hasn't had any other responses yet because it's such a great question. Come one folks, what was going on with you that day, especially if you were already posted at a barracks.


In the interim, I thought you'd like to see this article from America in WWII Magazine. Here ya go M2.




The first 24 hours

By Carl Zebrowski


For one day—Sunday, December 7, 1941—the front and the home front were one and the same. America was under enemy attack. Japanese bombers hit the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, hard. Los Angeles could be next, or maybe New York. And after that, who knew? New Orleans? Chicago? Houston? Americans everywhere were in this thing together.


Word of the Pearl Harbor attack arrived almost immediately by phone at the White House. Elsewhere in the nation, the news spread like wildfire over the radio and by word of mouth. Families gathered in their living rooms and listened to radio news for hours.


Rumors surfaced that Japanese bullets and bombs were hitting other American targets. There were reports of US ships sunk at sea, the Panama Canal being blocked, and California coming under siege, with Japanese forces establishing a beachhead at San Francisco and landing at Long Beach to advance on Los Angeles.


Parents across the nation began to realize their sons might not remain home for long, that a military draft was soon to come. Mary Platt Aaronson, 23 years old at the time, recalled hearing the news on the radio after Sunday dinner in Rochester, New York. “There was no movement or speech from any of us for close to a minute,†she said. “Then my father looked at my 26-year-old brother and said, ‘Well, son, you’re in it.’â€


It was a rough Sunday night on the West Coast, where a follow-up Japanese attack seemed more likely than anywhere else. Around San Francisco Bay, fire sirens sounded falsely three times to warn residents of possible air attacks. Unpracticed civilian defense volunteers darted around neighborhoods yelling “Lights out!†Police ordered drivers to turn out their headlamps and proceed using only their parking lights. Japanese planes never did appear that night to inflict any damage, but all that driving in darkness caused a lot of damaging accidents.


Throughout much of the country, most people went to work on Monday morning as usual—though few got much done. They spent the day wondering aloud, asking questions, venting anger, exchanging bits of news and rumor. Some young men responded in a more active manner. Shortly after dawn, 30 youths were lined up at the front door of an army recruiting center in New York City. All over the country, the armed forces signed up record numbers of recruits that day. The navy took in 700 in New York City by mid-afternoon, turning away 1,000 because there weren’t enough doctors to perform the physicals.


Civil Defense offices were inundated, too, with citizens flocking to sign up to become air raid wardens and enemy plane spotters. Even before the attack, New York had 115,000 wardens ready to serve. When they were summoned for duty for Monday morning, very few called in sick.


Many kids went to school that day, where they listened to teachers who tried to explain the dire situation. “I do remember clearly sitting in a crowded classroom, squeezed into the same desk with my friend, Louis Snyder, while the principal, Mr. Oakey, spoke to us about the bombing of Pearl Harbor,†remembered Esther Early, a student at Wells High School in Nevada at the time.


In Washington, DC, early that afternoon, crowds pushed against barricades lining the south entrance of the Capitol as a convoy of big black limousines pulled up just after noon. Applause erupted as President Franklin D. Roosevelt arose from one of the cars and waved, carefully looking neither too nonchalant nor too nervous. Inside, sitting in the House Chamber were First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, dressed in black, and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, whose husband had presided over the American effort in World War I. Eventually, the senators filed in, followed by the Supreme Court justices.


Finally, the president himself entered to unanimous applause, even from Republi-cans, who hadn’t cheered him since his arrival in Washington eight years earlier. After a brief introduction, he took hold of the rostrum. It was about 12:30. “Yester-day, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked…,†he announced. The students gathered in Wells High School listened to his message on the radio. “We all sat frozen, uncomprehending, but filled with a sense of impending doom,†said Early. The war was on, and for the first 24 hours, at least, the nation was united—united in fear, but also in the determination to persevere and win.




Carl Zebrowski is the managing editor of America in WWII magazine. This article originally appeared in the magazine's December 2006 issue.



To see article with photo, look here:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

I'm surprised there isn't more info about HOW we went to war,

what was goin' on in bases around the country, how did the

Army respond to the attack on Pearl? How was it determined

where individual Divisions were sent etc?


It finally dawned on me why my father's military police unit were the

only ones from the original 26ID left in Camp Edwards after the

attack on Pearl. Everyone was now afraid of sabatoge, espionage

etc. The newly organized MP Companys & brigades were now

needed to patrol & secure the army bases & also surrounding towns.

My father was often assigned "town patrol" in Falmouth Ma.

It may see silly to us now, but at that time, enemy attack of

our bases & equipment was considered a possible threat.


More excerpts from his 1942 diary:


March 4th Guard. Regiment went on long hike.

10th Long Hike - about 20 miles

12th Range

13th Range

18th C-area

24th injections, regular detail

25th guard

28th full inspection in Logan Field

30th injections for typhoid. Reveille now at 6am

April 1st Hike

6th Army Day demonstration in Boston with Canadian Group

7th went to Sagamore had a black out

8th new army helmets

9th new men from the 104th arrived this morning, 3rd injection

10th interview with 39TH MP

13th overnight bivouac in Sandwich

15th Guard at 182nd. Report of transfer to 39th

16th Packed & transferred to 39th

17th Went to Middleboro for an Overnight Problem

18th Went on guard at 5. McDonald left for the Air Corps

28th check Property


May 2nd Town Patrol

4th watched 181st night problems

6th new field jacket

8th change of quarters


12th on the range


14th Guard. Gas rationing card signed

15th LT left afternoon off to clean equipment

16th Town Patrol

21th cleaning & greasing trucks

23rd Left the Cape for Niantic CT

30th 6 CORPS Colonel inspects us.


I'm waiting for this book to be published next month

"The 26th Yankee Division On Coastal Patrol Duty 1942-1943"


so interesting M1!


As you said, it may sound silly to some, but a home invasion was anything but and was always a possibility, so we had to be prepared. As they say, a good offense is a defense. Many forget that especially today! :armata_PDT_23:


That book sounds very interesting. If you get a chance, please place the reference in our book section. I'm sure there are other interested parties too. Thanks!

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

M1, here's some info re German sabatoge & espionage during



It details incidents at Amagansett Long Island ( I knew about that)

and Hancock Maine (I never knew about that).



I don't believe I knew about the Maine incident either. Am reading it right now. Merci beaucoup!
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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