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Katy veteran remembers Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Katy Texas News
Posted December 7, 2010

The Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182 held a remembrance service for the Attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 5 at their Post Hall.

VFW Commander Mike Mastrangelo gave the opening remarks about the significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Master of Ceremonies Stephen Brady set the stage for the video presentation to follow by describing the state of world events that led up to “the day that will live in Infamy.” VFW Post Jr. Vice Commander Dave Brasell then introduced the event’s guest speaker, retired Chief Petty Officer John B. Webster.

Chief Webster, a 30-year Navy veteran and resident of Katy, Texas. shared his extensive military history with the assemblage. He joined the US Navy when he was 18 years old, and survived 14 major engagements throughout his career. Shortly after he enlisted, he was on convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic sending supplies to England in support of the American Eagle Squadron. After suffering extensive storm damages during the hurricane season of 1941, his ship the USS Mustin was at the Boston Naval Yard for repairs on that fateful morning.

Webster, remembers being in the ships log room doing some log entry work, when around 9:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, a young sailor ran down the corridor screaming the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor.

Webster remembers the crew getting back to ship and departing the next day for the Naval Yard at Charleston, SC where 40 mm guns were installed.  In early January 1942 they set sail for Pearl Harbor and arrived in early February.

He remembers seeing the destruction and seeing his shipmates crying in anger at what they were witnessing as they entered the harbor for the first time. He stated that Pearl Harbor looked completely destroyed. The hate, anger and tears were so great; it is hard to describe the complete effects it was having on the American men at war.  John Webster said,

“It was the first time I had ever seen men cry so hard,” Webster told the audience Sunday. “I had been in Pearl Harbor prior to the bombing, and it was paradise. There was never a place more beautiful. It wasn’t the Pearl Harbor that I experienced, men knuckling down to do battle and wanting to fight like I had never seen before.”

The United States worked miracles getting ships and squadrons back into fighting action; they cleaned the oil off the water, repaired and salvaged the personnel and equipment together.

Webster and his ship the USS Mustin, which won 13 Battle Stars, went on to fight battles across the Pacific. He remained on the USS Mustin for more than five years.

Webster’s Pacific service also included battles alongside the USS Texas, to which he was recently named an honorary crew member. Webster also served on the USS Cascade, USS Regal and the USS Hyman during the Korean War.  A highlight of his naval career was being stationed off the coast of Haifa, Palestine the day Israel became a nation.

Since retiring in November 1970, Webster says his most thrilling experience was at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. when he was honored and asked to “light off the engines” of the new USS Mustin. Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

Retired Chief Petty Officer John B. Webster recounts his experiences at Pearl Harbor for the Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182.

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