How Many Montanans Died During the Attack on Pearl Harbor?
December 7th 1941 is a day we will never forget. As we remember that dark day 80 years ago, let's find out exactly how many brave Montana servicemen fought back against the Japanese attack on that day and didn't live to tell the tale.
Montana has one of the highest levels of veterans per capita in the US. Montana is actually 2nd in the number of veterans, next to Alaska. That number is nearly 100,000 vets. But, how many of those veterans witnessed the chaos that was the attack on Pearl Harbor and didn't return?
According to KTVH
2,403 service members and civilians were killed during the attack, 15 were from Montana.
One of those brave soldiers was a sailor out of Helena, who was aboard the USS Arizona. Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Jerry Dullum, was woken up to the sounds of gunfire and planes. When a bomb struck and sunk the USS Arizona, only 15 minutes into the attacks. 900 people died out of the 1,177 people aboard.
Montana's last surviving Pearl Harbor veteran is currently living in Anaconda. Charlie Dowd, was just 17 years old the day he was awoken by the sound of the Japanese attacks. Attacks that shook the harbor in Hawaii at 7:48 am on December 7th, 1941. These attacks left a total of 188 U.S. aircraft destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.
According to a recent report from KXLF in Butte, Charlie woke up by the sound of a large "ka-boom." He noticed a huge ball of fire just outside his window. Charlie was ordered to take cover. Shortly after they began looking for volunteers to fight back. Wearing nothing but a t-shirt, Charlie grabbed his 30-06 rifle and climbed to the roof of the building they were taking cover in. He and other volunteers fired their rifles at attacking planes until their barrels were red hot. It had to be a chaotic sight to see.