Return to Pearl Harbor: Meet Joe Sweeney - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Return to Pearl Harbor: Meet Joe Sweeney


La Crosse, WI (WXOW) A group of Wisconsin veterans will set off Thursday, June 14th on a once in a lifetime adventure. The men are headed to Hawaii to tour Pearl Harbor as part of a special honor flight. Each of the veterans survived the attack on Pearl 70 years ago.

One of them is 91-year old La Crosse native Joe Sweeney. The navy vet was aboard the Whitney when the Japanese attacked. Joe's battle station was on the star-bird bridge facing the USS Arizona. He says the bomb that stuck the Arizona blew the ship out of the water. The blast sent men flying into the air.

Thousands of sailors died that day; many went down with the ship others died when they jumped overboard. After the attack the men on Joe's ship were assigned to search the harbor for survivors. Joe described what it was like in the harbor "The boats in there trying to pick up the guys who jumped over the side. They would grab an arm and all they'd get was a hand full of flesh. They were already gone."

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