Don Green's Story: A Sailor from the USS Pyro (AE-1) Remembers Pearl Harbor by Elizabeth Case, William Tipton
On December 7, 1941 Don Green was a 19-year-old sailor on the ammunition ship USS Pyro (AE-1), anchored in Pearl Harbor's West Loch. The ship was loaded with thousands of rounds of 14- and 16-inch shells and powder canisters, awaiting delivery to the nearby battleships. When the bombings began that morning, less than half of the Pyro's crew was on board, but she still managed to return fire. Don himself was part of a team manning a .50-caliber anti-aircraft gun. Tow Japanese planes targeted the Pyro and strafed her with bullets; one did a roundabout and flew low to the ship, dropping a bomb. But the plane swerved just as it released its payload, and the bomb instead hit the pier next to the Pyro "...and blew it to smithereens!" remembered Don. The ship's high-explosive cargo, and that aboard nearby barges and boxcars, was untouched. This was Don's most memorable event of World War II, but not the only one; this memoir is his lasting legacy for WWII history.