JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (ANFS) — The 15th Wing hosted the 73rd Remembrance Ceremony here at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time, Dec. 7, in commemoration of the fatal attacks on Hickam Field in 1941.
More than 50 survivors and family members of survivors attended the ceremony, which honored the 189 Airmen who lost their lives on Hickam Field during the two waves of attacks launched by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
“I am honored and humbled to speak to you on such a historic day,” said Col. Randy Huiss, the 15th Wing commander, while addressing the crowd. “Today marks the anniversary of a day that changed the course of history. On this day, the lives of everyone stationed at Hickam Field changed forever.”
During the ceremony, the heroic stories of the men and women who lost their lives during the attack were shared with the attendees.
“The stories are what keeps those who sacrificed alive,” Huiss said.
One unique survivor story was represented by the Shepherd family.
Marion Shepherd was assigned to Hickam Field after enlisting into the Army Air Corps, and survived both the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway in 1942. Before passing away at 89 years old, he left a lasting impression on his grandson; Tech. Sgt. Andrew Shepherd, who enlisted in the Air Force nearly 10 years later.
Shepherd, who’s assigned to the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Hickam attended the ceremony as a family representative and official escort to his father, Thomas Shepherd, who participated in the ceremony for the first time. During the ceremony Thomas accepted a folded flag in honor and recognition of his father’s selfless service.
“The ceremony was really emotional,” Thomas said. “It brought a lot of the stories to life … it was very beautiful and moving.”
Thomas said he felt proud to have his father honored in during the event.
“Attending this ceremony is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he said. “It’s an honor to me also that he and his fellow Airmen are honored like this. I’ve very proud.”
In addition to honoring survivors like Marion Shepherd, the ceremony also honored retired Master Sgt. Kenneth Ford and retired Col. Roy Bright, two survivors who were long-time attendees of the ceremony at Hickam, but passed away before this year’s ceremony.
By Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden, 15th Wing Public Affairs