(AP) – Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7, 1941 – watching from afar as the bombs and bullets came closer, eventually reaching and destroying his solitary outpost.
The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he was forced to jump into the water and swim through fire to safety.
Now, 77 years later, Long will remember that day in Napa, California, where the 97-year-old survivor will reflect on the anniversary and honor those who died.