NAVY LEAGUE NEWS
Navy Leaguers, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps cadets, World War II veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors
marked the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with ceremonies and special events
around the country and “across the pond.”
America’s oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, 100-year-
old retired LT James W. Downing received the annual
Pearl Harbor Day Proclamation from the El Paso County
Commissioners during their meeting in Colorado Springs,
Colo., Nov. 26, that was attended by Colorado Springs
Council members and another Pearl Harbor survivor.
Downing was a 28-year-old gunner’s mate 1st class
assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia when Japan
attacked the U.S. fleet in Pearl Harbor on what President
Downing was commissioned in
the field during the war and retired
from the Navy in 1956 as a lieu-
tenant with 24 years of active duty.
After viewing a video documenting the events of that day, Downing
told the commissioners, “These pictures bring up pleasant and unpleasant memories. What’s missing
are the noises and the smells of that
morning,” according to Blaha.
Downing also gave the invocation
to start the meeting.
Also attending the proclamation
presentation was Jerald Douglas
Huggins, who was a 19-year-old sea-
man assigned to the light cruiser
USS St. Louis at the time of the
attack. As the ship escaped from
Pearl Harbor, Huggins watched tor-
pedoes from a waiting Japanese ship
coming at them, but a coral reef
took the hits. Huggins separated
from the Navy in 1946 as an electrician’s mate 1st class
with six years of active service.
Both men described their experiences on that day
and were thanked for their heroic service by the com-
missioners, Blaha said.
Huggins concluded, “Thank God for our country. We
came together at that time. I wish we could do it now.”
The council later participated in a Pearl Harbor
Observance on Dec. 7 at the Regional Development
Center in Colorado Springs. A half-dozen World War
II veterans attended and received warm applause.
Guest speaker was RDML Kerry M. Metz, commander, Special Operations Command. North
Widefield High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers
Training Corps members posted the colors and memorial wreaths, and the Fort Carson 4th ID Band provided
fitting pomp and ceremony with music and “Taps,”
according to a report in Halyards, the council’s monthly newsletter
Navy Leaguers, Sea Cadets Join
Pearl Harbor Commemorations
By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 60 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
At the front row, right, El Paso County, Colo., Commissioner Sallie Clark and Pearl
Harbor survivor James Downing hold the Pearl Harbor Day Proclamation pre-
sented to Downing during the commission’s Nov. 26 meeting. At Clark’s right is
Pearl Harbor survivor Jerald Douglas Huggins and his wife, Ruth, along with
Commissioner Amy Lathen. In the back row, from the left, are Commissioner
Dennis Hisey, Colorado Springs Council Vice President (Finance) and Treasurer
Art Cyphers, Council Vice President for Programs Bunny Blaha, Council National
Director Richard Cooper, and Commissioners Peggy Littleton and Darryl Glenn.