PORT TOWNSEND — On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, Harry Fitch was standing at a bus stop in Waikiki, returning from shore leave to the USS Arizona, when a elderly woman approached him and said, “Young man, young man, hurry back to your ship. The Japanese are attacking the island.”
But when the 26-year-old ensign got back to the base, there was no ship to return to. The only thing he could see was black oily smoke so thick, it covered the harbor.
“I was trying to get out there when a boat came up and when I tried to jump on, an officer said, ‘It’s no use, Fitch, the ship has been sunk and been abandoned,'” he said.
“I couldn’t believe it — that a great ship had been sunk in a few minutes.”
For Fitch, 89, a retired Navy officer who lives in Port Townsend, that day launched a war career that included eight battles, all of which he survived without a scratch.
————–The rest of the story appears in the Sunday Peninsula Daily News.