LOCAL WWII VETERAN-PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR, LT. COL. JAMES SEALS PASSES AT 102

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A true Patriot has passed from this world, but not before living an extraordinary and long life.  Lieutenant Colonel James A. Seals of Crossville died this morning at the age of 102.  Lt. Col. Seals is a World War II Veteran and was one of very few remaining survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  “The Colonel” as he was affectionately referred to by his family and friends, has had a book written about his life along with many published articles telling his story.  Below is one article from the Tennessean written about “The Colonel” when he turned 100 years old. Services will be announced at a later date.

The Tennessean

published Dec. 6th 2016

A few minutes and 200 feet were all that separated James A. Seals from the explosion that could have killed him.

The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the good-looking, blue-eyed private from Pikeville, Tenn., awoke with plans to have breakfast on the USS Pennsylvania dry docked in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.

He walked unhurriedly with a friend under the calm sky, just a few clouds hovering high above them as they neared the shadow of the great battleship. That’s when Japanese warplanes roared down from above, unleashing bombs on the battleship and the two destroyers — the USS Cassin and USS Downes — docked side by side nearby.

Bombs punctured the destroyers’ hulls, releasing fuel oil and igniting major fires. Ammunition exploded and a torpedo detonated, blowing a large hole in the side of the Pennsylvania below the front deck. The crew of one gun mount was wiped out. Flames licked at the ship’s bow.

For two hours, Seals lay in a roadside ditch where he dove when the bedlam began. He could hear people screaming and scratching in the hulls, trying to escape.

When the chaos subsided, the destroyers were wrecked. The Pennsylvania, too, had been hobbled. Had Seals been just a few minutes earlier for breakfast that day, he may have had a much different fate.

Seventy-five years later, he still recounts the day with clarity.  CONTINUE READING HERE