Current Weather
The Spy FM

Veteran Of Pearl Harbor Dies On Anniversary Of Attack

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
December 7, 2011

Frank Curre, a Navy veteran who survived the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, has died at the age of 88. According to family members, he died around noon on Dec. 7, 70 years after the attack.

Curre’s story of how he remembers that horrible day was featured in last month’s Veteran’s Day edition of StoryCorps.

For years, Curre had been suffering from mesothelioma, a type of cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos. He had reportedly been living with one of his daughters, in his native Waco, Texas.

In his StoryCorps segment, Curre described his eagerness to join the military and leave Texas as a teenager — he was so intent on his plan that he threatened to forge his enlistment papers if his mother didn’t sign them.

Eventually, Curre shipped out on the USS Tennessee, a battleship.

“We headed for Pearl Harbor,” he said. “I’d never even heard of it. I didn’t even know what it was.”

That was in August of 1941. In December, Curre watched with horror as U.S. ships and sailors were destroyed by the attacking planes. He and his shipmates tried to fight back, and when the attacks had ceased, they desperately tried to save anybody they could find.

As Curre described in a videotaped interview he gave in recent years, he and the other members of a rescue party were forced to listen helplessly as three men who were trapped inside a flooded neighboring ship tried to signal for help.

“They banged on them pipes, on them hulls down there,” Curre said in the interview. “And we listened to ‘em. And it tears your heart out. Tears your heart out. You can’t go get ‘em. You can’t help ‘em. And they’re banging and banging.”

Curre said that he never fully recovered from what he saw on that tragic day.

But he was intent on sharing his experiences, to provide future generations a sense of what it was like to witness the event that propelled the United States into World War II. That’s a goal he shared with the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association — a group that is reportedly slated to be disbanded at the end of this year, due to a declining membership.

Frank Curre has said that even decades after the Pearl Harbor attack, any sudden loud noise forced him to flinch involuntarily — something he blamed on watching the USS Arizona explode.

“What happened on that day is tattooed on your soul,” Curre said in his StoryCorps interview. “There’s no way I can forget that. I wish to God I could.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

Listen Live Now!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center