PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - After more than 60 years, a survivor from the Pearl Harbor Attacks has made his first return to Hawaii.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Wood was working at Pearl Harbor as a civilian radio/electronics technician when Japanese planes flew overhead and started dropping bombs.
Wood was inside the USS Shaw which was actually struck and sunk during the attacks. Wood was only among a handful of sailors who survived
Following the attacks, Wood enlisted in the Army and later became a pilot.
During his tours of service Wood received multiple medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Wood explains he felt it was his duty to serve not only for his country but also for his fallen comrades.
"They needed us, the country needed us. I had friends killed at Pearl Harbor, and I just felt that I had a duty, so I went across the fence to Hickam, raised my right hand and said I do." Wood said.
In 1952, Wood left his home in Hawaii to set down new roots in the mainland. His memory of Oahu is much different than the urbanized metropolis it has become.
"I am absolutely astounded at the development. It is just awesome." said Wood.
During his visit, Wood visited the USS Arizona and got to stroll down memory lane and visit his alma mater, Iolani High School.
When he was a Raider, Wood says there was about 500 students at Iolani; today that number has more than doubled.
Wood, who beams with pride about his youth and schooling in Hawaii, is just as impressed with how far his old home has come.
"It was very enlightening talking to the youngsters and we were amazed at the tremendous facility the school has developed." Wood said.