Local Pearl Harbor Survivor Shares Memories And Life In Navy

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- One of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors, Emery Lundquist lives in Fort Smith.

He said he moved to the area from Illinois more than 50 years ago with his parents. Lundquist says at 18 he entered the Navy.

"Back then when you are in high school you didn't have a job, so the next thing you can do is go to the military. You had to go sooner or later anyway back then," he said. "I liked the outdoors and I liked the water. That was the only place I wanted to go."

Lundquist recalls training in gunnery for a full year before the Pearl Harbor attack.

"It was just like really being in war. I was on a destroyer," he recalled. "We had already had our gunnery practice and because we were the first group to be organized we were ready. We didn't know if it was North Korea, Japan or any of it."

Lundquist fought bravely as a First Class Torpedo Man. Time has worn away some memories, but not all. One of his favorite memories he said is of his late wife Katie. He said six months after Pearl Harbor he came home to Fort Smith, walked into a local skating rink and saw a girl that stole his heart.

"I thought, 'Oh! that was my girl!' That was the one I wanted," he said.

Married more than 40 years, the pair have two children and memories to last a lifetime.

"We skated for about 30 years after that," Lundquist said.

Each year on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Lundquist said the memories bring back the same message he wants to share with the younger generation.

" I want them to know, to be prepared for any incident and it may not look like anything, but be prepared," he said. "That is what war is all about. The enemy will try to sneak in and you gotta be prepared for anything even in peace time."