Pearl Harbor survivor Dorwin Lamkin returns to memorial after... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pearl Harbor survivor Dorwin Lamkin returns to memorial after 69 years

Dorwin Lamkin Dorwin Lamkin
Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor
Dec.  7, 1941 Dec. 7, 1941
Dec. 7, 1941 Dec. 7, 1941
Dec. 7, 1941 Dec. 7, 1941

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - For many of the Pearl Harbor survivors, coming back to the site of that fateful morning was not something some of them ever cared to do.

On Dec. 6, 1941 Dorwin Lamkin, a Navy corpsman aboard the USS Nevada, was up late treating a typical injury often seen in the service.

"We'd been up late at night sewing up a signalman that had got in a fight with a Marine," Lamkin said.

He'd hoped to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning, however, a racket outside woke him up early in the morning.

"I heard the tat-tat-tat-tat-tat, and I thought it was shipfitters," Lamkin said.

As he and many others were soon to discover, it wasn't shipfitters. Japan had declared war on the United States with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

As the history books show, the Japanese destroyed the American Pacific Naval Fleet in one fell swoop.

Many witnessed the devastation from the attack, but as a Navy corpsman, Lamkin was thrust before the very horrors of the aftermath.

"Took me a long time to get it out of my dreams," Lamkin said.

Dreams he wouldn't discuss on camera. Those memories of having to identify his unrecognizable fallen brothers or shoveling the remains of the many dead. Fifty-seven crewmembers had been killed from the USS Nevada alone.

"I didn't have any pleasant thoughts about Pearl," Lamkin said.

For Lamkin, those weren't memories he cared to stir up. He never returned to Pearl Harbor until Sunday.

Lamkin finally accepted an invitation this year from the U.S. Navy to partake in this year's ceremonies.

He arrived to the new visitor center for a close up look at his past.

"I've thought about that mooring a number of times," Lamkin said. "I was reminded afresh about the people who weren't able to sit up and make some kind of testimony."

"To be able to come with my son, this is really something, this is really something," Lamkin said.

On Wednesday, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will hold a remembrance ceremony for those who lost their lives aboard the USS Nevada.

Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans and their families are invited to attend the ceremony.


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