Jewish American Presence at Pearl Harbor

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By William Jackson

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December 7th 1941 will be “a date which will live in infamy” (President Franklin D Roosevelt, 1941). As most American’s know, Japan conducted a sneak attack in an attempt to destroy our Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. In the attack over 3,000 Americans were killed or wounded. But the phoenix of any great tragedy are those heroes that clashed against backdrop of catastrophe.

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The Destroyer USS Blue (DD-387)

Ensign Moldane and Ensign Asher, two Jewish Americans, were Junior Naval Officers eating breakfast on the Destroyer USS Blue (DD-387) when the attack took place. Their Skipper was on shore leaving these two men in charge. Ensign Asher took charge having the USS Blue head out to open sea, while Ensign Moldane took charge of the ships machine guns engaging the enemy(1). He was quote here saying:

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Illustration by Art Seiden

“I could see Japanese planes coming down about 30 or 40 feet over our heads. dropping bombs and shooting at anything that happened to come along. Our ship kept firing at the planes as it headed out to sea. I went out to the bridge to help Asher when we both saw a Japanese plane that the BLUE’s guns had hit go into a pineapple field. The men gave out a cheer when they saw the plane burst into flames. It took the BLUE one hour and a half to reach the open seas.”

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Congressional Medal of Honor

This was just one of many heroic acts that took place this day. The following Medals were awarded for the action at Pearl Harbor that fateful day 74 years ago

16 Congressional Medals of Honor
51 Navy Crosses
4 Silver Stars

Reference

(1) Seymour “Sy” Brody, (Oct 18, 2006) Jewish Heroes and Heroines in America, Florida Atlantic University Libraries

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