Glimpses of a Last Goodbye

By manager1 on January 23, 2012

Cass Phillips, RM1c, traveled to Makapu'u in search of the site of a VP-11crash in 1942 that killed all members of his crew (Phillips was not on that fateful flight). This is his own personal memorial. (Photo courtesy of and Rusty Buggy).

Holly Shelton, founder and organizer of Pearl Harbor Initiative, and Lt Col William (Bill) Phillips, co-organizer, arranged for six veterans from Florida’s Pensacola area to travel to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to join over 100 other survivors in events commemorating the heroes who lost their lives in the Japanese attack. Air Compassion for Veterans with its partner American Airlines provided 18 plane tickets for the survivors from Pensacola and their guardians, caregivers, medical personnel and other crew. Here are poignant glimpses from that historic trip as recorded by Phillips and Shelton: “We were able to get George Mills onto the 1010 Dock in Pearl Harbor where, in 1941 he witnessed the attack from his ship the USS Argonne.  He reflected on the sight of the USS Arizona Memorial a few hundred yards away and bid farewell to the men who died there and are still entombed there. “I helped Bill Braddock, SgtMaj, USMC, retired, find the exact spot where he, as a young “Buck Private” Marine, stood on the steps of his barracks on Ford Island and watched as a Japanese torpedo plane flew by him, then dropped a torpedo, probably against the USS California.  He also described seeing the frantic efforts to cut through the hull of a capsized battleship to save sailors trapped belowdecks. The capsized ship was the Oklahoma.  Bill’s daughter, Carol Brediger, had the experience of making the trip with her Dad and reliving his memories with him. “We took Cass Phillips, LCDR, USN, retired, back to NAS Kaneohe where he was the honored guest at their Kaneohe Klipper Ceremony.  He walked through the historic hangar there that was bombed while he took shelter in it.  A friend from his squadron was killed a few feet away from him in that blast. “Jim Landis, SCPO, USN, retired, got to see the still-visible scars in the concrete of the seaplane ramp on Ford Island where the first bomb of the attack fell.  Jim was nearby and was wounded when he climbed into his plane, a Dauntless dive bomber, and used its rear cockpit machine guns to fire back at the attacking planes. “Jay Carraway, SCPO, USN, retired, made the trip accompanied by his daughter, Tina Sutton, and was able to show her where his ship, the USS Hulbert, was docked and where he helped man a five inch gun that was credited with shooting down a Japanese plane. “Frank Emond, CWO4, USN, retired, was a musician, a French Horn player, in the band of the USS Pennsylvania, a battleship in Drydock #1 across the harbor from Battleship Row.  He watched the attack from there and saw the huge explosion when the USS Arizona blew up, killing every member of its band.  Frank visited the Arizona Memorial, looked for and found each of the names of the 22 band members among the 1177 names on the Commemoration Wall that lists all the men killed on the Arizona.” These recorded moments are sober reminders of the horrors of war and the high deeds of heroism enacted by the Greatest Generation—those who survived and those who gave their lives for our liberty.
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  1. Holly Shelton

    March 5th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    We thank YOU so much. Air Compassion made the trip possible. Without the efforts of Bill Phillips contact with Gary Sinese’s contact to you and your true ‘Compassion’ we’d never have had this chance. No words can express my personal gratitude as this grew out of one man’s dream; my dear George Mills. His wish to return for ‘One Last Goodbye’was fulfilled and we are all humbled and grateful to you, donors who cared enough to help us and God.
    Sincerely hope to have an interactive documentary film tool for children within a year to teach and keep the memory alive. Many more mountains to climb… Keep us and these incredible men in your prayers as we do you all.
    Sincere Thanks,
    Holly Shelton

    Reply »

    • suzanne rhodes

      March 6th, 2012 at 01:35 pm

      It was a blessing to us to be able to give wings to these great men. Thank you for your kind comment and for your prayers for us as we seek to help veterans everywhere. May the Lord guide you and bless you in your many good works. We will look forward to seeing the documentary! What a great educational project for young people.

  2. Richard Eichorn

    May 3rd, 2012 at 04:42 pm

    Ms. Rhodes.

    I found this article while searching for information on the USS Hulbert. My father was the Officer on Deck the morning of December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was fascintate to see that there was a gentleman in your article that was aboard the USS Hulbert and served with my father. If you read the accounts of that day, you will see that my dad took the action of declaring an emergency and ordered all hands on deck as well as ordering to man battle stations. I am sure that Mr. Jay Carraway (if still alive) may remember my father and of course that day.

    If there is anyway to get this to Mr. Carraway or his daugther Ms. Sutton I would appreciate hearing from them if at all possible.

    Rich Eichorn
    Charlotte NC

    Reply »

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