The North Texan, Volume 51, Number 4, Winter 2001 Page: 14
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A 0I hilst
"The window of opportunity is closing for interviews.
Within 10 years, there will be very few Pearl Harbor
survivors still alive, which makes the project even more
important," he says.
James, now 77 and president of the North Central Texas
chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, agrees.
"It's extremely important for those of us who were there
to leave behind firsthand accounts," he says.
Marcello began the Pearl
Harbor survivors project
in 1971 when he returned
to his small hometown of
Wrightsville, Pa., to inter-
view Sam Zangari.
"He worked at the local AND GRA
post office, and I was his
paperboy. I knew he was a
Pearl Harbor survivor," FLIG H T JAC K E
Marcello says. Zangari was
stationed at the Schofield
Barracks, Pearl Harbor's P H LI PI
largest U.S. Army outpost,
on Dec. 7, 1941.
Marcello had become director of UNT's Oral History
Collection in 1968. The collection then consisted of inter-
views with Texas political figures, and he did not plan to add
different types of interviews to it.
As a historian, however, Marcello believes World War II
"was the defining event for the United States in the 20th
"Here was an opportunity to interview an eyewitness to a
significant event in the war," he says.
;O DIE W ITH
SIR BOOTS ON
Marcello didn't interview any other Pearl Harbor survivors
until February 1974, when he spoke with Philip Willis ('48), an
Army Air Corps pilot. Marcello contacted him after he was fea-
tured in the Dallas Morning News.
Willis' squadron was stationed at Bellows Field, a temporary
auxiliary base, on Dec. 7, 1941. He was scheduled to leave the
base on Dec. 8 and was out
celebrating his departure
the evening of Dec. 6. He
returned to Bellows at
SO Y BOOTS ... 4 a.m. and fell asleep still
in his tuxedo. Bombs and
B B ED M y machine gun fire woke him.
"I said, Us Texans like
AND HELME T. to die with our boots on,
Willis recalled for the Oral
History Collection. "I got
W I L L I S my cowboy boots and put
them on with the tuxedo
pants and shirt and grabbed my flight jacket and helmet."
He and other pilots ran to save their planes.
"We had no ammunition, so we were told to fly up and
down over the treetops," he recalled.
Willis landed when the Japanese left after destroying
Bellows' gasoline trucks and radio shack. But his plane was
destroyed when the Japanese returned for a second attack.
Willis was then assigned to a Hawaiian National Guard
unit. On Dec. 8, he helped to capture the first Japanese pris-
oner of World War II - one of two sailors on a two-man
14 The North Texan
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University of North Texas. The North Texan, Volume 51, Number 4, Winter 2001, periodical, Winter 2001; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38300/m1/14/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.