Amarillo Survivor Remembers Pearl Harbor

Garlen Eslick
Garlen Eslick
The sinking of the U.S.S. Oklahoma
The sinking of the U.S.S. Oklahoma

An Amarillo man is back home after spending the last several days in Hawaii for the 65th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

NC10's Jennifer Best has his story:

Garlen Eslick is a survivor.

He was on the U.S.S Oklahoma the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

That's why Eslick attended the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

During the event he took part in a special ground breaking ceremony for a new memorial. "Ii enjoyed the ground breaking for what we've been fighting for for  65 years for the U.S.S Oklahoma remembered. "

Eslick says the memorial is important to him to honor all those men who should not be forgotten. Eslick says he himself is lucky to be alive.

Back when the ship was attacked  Eslick was preparing vegetables ....."All the sudden there was a roar of engines it was air plane engines there was no doubt it was air planes. "

Eslick didn't know what was happening but something shot through the room he and another man were in. "It scraped across the deck and went right through our locker and hit the guy on the other side and just tore him in half. "

Then his heart started to race. "I got about 2 decks down and we took 3 torpedos  boom boom boom it just lift you off your feet. "

Eslick says by that time the ship started to roll over and all the lights went out. "I got to feeling around and everyone was dead everybody but me. "

Some time later another man found Eslick and together they found 11 other men.  They stared to use a wrench to bang on the ship to let others know they were alive. Eventually they were saved.... It took hours using a chisel to break through the steel.

Eslick says they were in there for 28 hours.  And when they got out.... Eslick was shocked.
"It got to where we could see and it was the most pitiful sight you could ever see in your life."

Eslick says out of the 448 people who were on the U.S.S Oklahoma.... Only 32 including him survived the attack.

That's why the 65 anniversary and new memorial is so important and so close to his heart.