HONOLULU, Hawaii — Pearl Harbor survivor Peter Limon of San Diego is quite a man. At 93, he uses a walker to get around. But he remains resilient in mind and spirit, something U-Haul Team Members learned firsthand on Dec. 6.
U-Haul International, Inc. honored and remembered our veterans with its sponsorship of the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events surrounding the milestone anniversary. As the Presenting Veterans Sponsor of the Opening Gala, U-Haul helped surviving WWII veterans and their families with the financial means to travel to Pearl Harbor for the week’s events.
One of the other marquee events veterans were able to attend was the “December 7th Remembered” tribute dinner at the Hilton Waikiki Village.
Limon and his daughter were seated at the U-Haul table with CEO and Chairman Joe Shoen and wife Sylvia, Area District Vice President Doug McIntier and wife Angela, Marketing Company President Kaleo Alau, and others. The Shoens repeatedly showed their appreciation for Limon, who was visibly humbled by the applause he and his fellow WWII veterans received all evening.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Limon was a teenage sailor aboard the USS Swan, a minesweeper and not a primary objective for the Japanese pilots targeting battleships. Limon stated he was a radioman readying for his 8 a.m. shift. There was some excitement on his part that morning because Sunday meant eggs – anyway you want them – along with bacon and a then-Hawaiian rarity of a crisp Washington apple.
When the attack began, Limon heard the commotion and reported on deck. One Japanese gunner eyeing the Swan’s deck had Limon clear in his sights. Limon immediately hit the ground (that’s what he’d seen in the movies when people were fired upon) but bullets never came his way.
“They didn’t want to shoot and wake everyone up,” he recalled. “They didn’t care about killing three of us. They wanted to kill (hundreds) with torpedoes. When it was all over, I didn’t know what to think. There was confusion. There were bodies in the water.”
Limon not only survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he remarked about earning a Presidential citation for the documented number of enemy ships he helped sink from 1943-44. Among those was a transport ship, which resulted in a lot Japanese troops being captured – a feat he believes was his most important contribution in the war.
Limon returned to Southern California after the war and worked in construction. In his spare time, he still uses that sharp mind – and a good poker face – to beat his buddies in Texas Hold’em.
On Dec. 6, Limon was honored next to his new U-Haul friends. On Dec. 7, he took a seat alongside his fellow veterans at Pearl Harbor and was honored by a grateful nation.
Do you have a message for our WWII veterans or thoughts on U-Haul Company’s efforts to honor them at the 75th commemoration of Pearl Harbor? Please let us know in the comments box below.