CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 6, 2010

Navy Yard Broadcast from Pearl Harbor: Part 3


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NAVY YARD BROADCAST FROM PEARL HARBOR: Part 3

This is the third of four parts of a radio broadcast aired from Pearl Harbor, March 18, 1942. The first part, an interview with Albert Briskay, a civilian worker dealing with submarine repair, was posted on December 7, 2009. The final part will be posted March 18, 2011. Links to previous and following posts are listed at the end of this post.

To view photo illustration,click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3899210556/in/photostream/

WAHL: You know, Captain Swain, I was just thinking, in the days of King Kamehameha, the harbor here must have been surrounded by tropical jungle and rolling fields of sugar cane. This world-famous drydock, for instance, the site of our broadcast, is a far cry from Hawaii of half a century ago!

SWAIN: As a matter of fact, Jim, this isn’t the original drydock. The first one started in 1909. The floor under the graving dock was of volcanic rock and coral, and after four years of hard work and plenty of sweat in building it, it collapsed before it was used. That was really the first Pearl Harbor tragedy. Francis Smith—“Drydock” Smith they called him—was the engineer in charge…one of the best in the country. The dock and cofferdam were built, the water pumped out, and the bottom deepened. But, the bottom wasn’t stapled (illegible word) (crossed off: would rise or fall, depending on how much water was pumped). So, they drove concrete piling into the bottom of the harbor. Everything appeared alright, but suddenly one day the crib timbers cracked, the concrete blocks on the bottom were forced up and the cofferdam, built to hold back the sea, collapsed.

WAHL: Yes, and the old Hawaiians said it was all because the drydock was built on the site of the temple of the great and powerful Shark Gods. Any Hawaiian will tell you that the Shark Gods (crossed off: Kaahupahau and Kahi Uka) simply avenged themselves for the desecration of their temple.

SWAIN: I can understand that belief, and, of course, nobody wanted to hurt the Shark Gods’ feelings, but we had to get a drydock built. So it was started again. This one you see here was finished in 1919, after ten years of struggle. It cost 20 billion dollars…(chuckle) and incidentally the work of rebuilding was attended with a suitable prayer and sacrifice to Kahi Uka.

WAHL: And if I remember my Hawaiian history correctly, Josephus Daniels, then Secretary of the Navy, dedicated it. He said then that its usefulness would multiply as time went on.

SWAIN: Yes, at the time of its construction it was called the greatest engineering achievement in the world next to the Panama Canal.

WAHL: You know, I’ve been in Hawaii for ten years, but this is the first glimpse I’ve had of this drydock.

SWAIN: Then just take a look around you and tell your listeners what you see!

WAHL: I see more than there’s time to tell. Shops to one side of me, thundering and clanging. I see the harbor bustling with activity. I hear the hum of great motors operating a crane overhead, the jangle of a yard engine’s bell, the roar of great trucks. I see tugs scurrying around the harbor—a fighting ship claimed sunk by the Japs, now ready to take her place int eh battle line. Here below me I see this dock, just pumped out after finishing one job, being readied for the next customer, men swarming about like ants down below. And whichever way I turn my ears are filled with the strident voice of Pearl Harbor at work.

SWAIN:  A mighty good word picture, Jim…..and speaking of voices, here’s one with a touch of the old sod in it. Meet one of the newest additions to our army of workers—Terry Milsop, who was born in Belfast, Ireland.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Pearl Harbor: A 1942 Radio Broadcast Script

Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania: Quaint

Earthquakes in (Southwestern) Pennsylvania

You are invited to visit Intertwined Love’s blog site

Memoir Writing Can Elicit Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

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