Former UH president recalls Pearl Harbor attack

By Paula Akana
Published On: Dec 06 2013 06:07:35 PM HST

Tomorrow marks the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. Tonight we talk with a former UH President about his memories of that day.

HONOLULU -

Former University of Hawaii president Fujio "Fudge" Matsuda was playing basketball on Dec. 7, 1941 at the Mother Waldron Park in Kaka'ako when he heard the news.

"My sister who worked at the Advertiser at that time came to call me and say, you better come here, there's a war going on!" said Matsuda.  "I argued with her, how can that be?"

Click here to watch Paula Akana's report.

Matsuda lived just across from the park in Kaka'ako where his family rain a saimin stand.

From their neighborhood, they saw the attack thinking at first it was just an exercise.

"I could see planes flying and puffs of anti-aircraft shells and I thought it was very inconsiderate of the military to have maneuvers going on a Sunday morning," said Matsuda.  "Then later, when they had actually hit Pearl Harbor, all the black smoke came up.  You know there was major damage being caused."

In 1943, when he was 18, Matsuda joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and left Hawaii to fight for the United States.  The Field Artillery Observation Battalion would take him to Europe, mainly France and Germany.

Matsuda came home, got his civil engineering degree under the G.I. bill, later becoming the president of the University of Hawaii.

PHOTOS: 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor


Click here to see photos from the Pearl Harbor ceremony in 2012.

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