On December 7, 1941, the USS Tennessee was berthed on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor next to the USS West Virginia and the USS Arizona. Seventeen-year-old Boyd Gibson was on the Tennessee getting ready to go on liberty and head to town at 8 a.m.
A general orders drill sounded at 7:55 a.m. Boyd couldn’t believe they were having a drill just as he was about to leave. But when he stuck his head out the window and saw a Japanese plane in the air and bullets hitting the water beside his ship he realized it was no drill and scrambled to his battle station.
Two bombs hit the Tennessee as a raging fire spread onto it from the burning West Virginia and Arizona battleships. By 9:30 a.m. the Tennessee was steamed up and ready to get underway but was trapped by the now sunken West Virginia and Arizona. The Tennessee survived and was later repaired.
After the war, Gibson moved to the Rogue Valley, graduating from college with an education degree. For the next 50 years, he was an educator in Rogue Valley schools and an active community leader.
Sources: Fattig, Paul. "Pearl vets' numbers shrink." Mail Tribune, 8 Dec. 2000 [Medford, OR] . Accessed 6 Nov. 2016. www.mailtribune.com/article/20001208/NEWS/312089969; Landers, Meg. "Educator remembered for service, commitment to his community." Mail Tribune, 10 Oct. 2006 [Medford, OR] . Accessed 7 Nov. 2016. www.mailtribune.com/article/20061010/NEWS/310109997; "USS Tennessee BB-43." WorldWar2Headquarters 2009-2015, worldwar2headquarters.com/./PearlHarbor/shipsPearlHarbor/uss-tennessee-pearl-har. Accessed 9 Nov. 2016.