Pearl Harbor: New Friends Share Moment in History

Chace Anderson
By Chace Anderson June 15, 2016 15:22
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Wally Walling (left) visits with fellow Pearl Harbor survivor Ski Biernacki

Jamestown resident and Pearl Harbor survivor Chester “Ski” Biernacki, 94, was aboard the USS Helena and only 400 yards from Wally Walling during the Japanese attack (see Summer 2014  story, From Pearl Harbor to Kula Gulf: A Survivor’s Story).

A shell man on one of the light cruiser’s five-inch antiaircraft guns, Biernacki and his crewmates were aiming at the attacking planes when a few of their shells zipped right by Walling on the 180-foot communication tower (see Summer 2016 story, Pearl Harbor: Witness to History).

Born within eight months of each other and stationed virtually next to one another on that iconic day in 1941, the two Navy vets had never met until Friends and Neighbors staff writer Chace Anderson brought them together over lunch in March.

“It’s so good to meet you,” Walling, 95, told Biernacki, taking his new friend’s hand in both of his. Immediately the two men began to reminisce about that famous day in history and the roles each played at Pearl Harbor and in subsequent Pacific battles.

Both veterans still drive and have pledged to meet again, at the very least for lunch but possibly in Pearl Harbor in December on the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack.

“It won’t take 75 years next time,” Biernacki says, and adds, “Hey, it’s just good to know there are still a few of us left.”

Copyright © 2016 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Chace Anderson
By Chace Anderson June 15, 2016 15:22
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