Oral history interview of Robert Gordon Gibson
@ Atlanta History Center
DescriptionIn this interview, Bob Gibson describes his career in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He began college in Indiana and transferred to the Naval Academy where his program was accelerated due to the threat of war. The graduation date for his class had been planned for 19 December 1941, so they already had their assignments when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He recalls listening to the radio when the announcement of the attack interrupted programming. He went to the West Coast and describes the time there as a bit frightening, with all the rumors and uncertainty. He was married on 15 May and sailed overseas two days later. He sailed into Pearl Harbor in January of 1942 and describes a scene of tremendous damage. He points out that the press had been asked not to reveal the extent of the damage because if the Japanese had known how successful they had been, they may have attempted a landing in Hawaii. He felt shocked and realized what a dangerous place he was in and saw what war might be like. His ship was part of a convoy to the Pacific, where he witnessed his first casualty when a bomber crash-landed near their convoy. His ship was sunk, and he describes in great detail that ordeal, including nearly being run down by a battleship, and having oil removed from his skin with diesel fuel and salt water fire hose. After training with a new ship and crew, he escorted convoys in...
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