If You Were There You Never Forget: Local Pearl Harbor Survivor - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

If You Were There You Never Forget: Local Pearl Harbor Survivor

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

It's been 71 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For the men and women who survived it they'll tell you it seems like yesterday. Friday morning four survivors shared their stories at Fresno's VA Hospital.

"I tell you if you were there you never forget it." Joe Quercia of Fresno had a front row seat aboard the USS Medusa when the bombing began on Pearl Harbor. "I was looking out the port hole at Fort Island. I told him Louie they're having gunnery practice on Fort Island. They've even got red spots on their planes. And about the time I get done saying that, GQ sounded. That was the start of World War II."

The 90-year-old Quercia, shared his war story at Pearl Harbor remembrance day at Fresno's VA Hospital.

A color guard unit from Lemoore Naval Air Station presented the colors. There were salutes and a few speeches. But Pearl Harbor survivors are always the hit of this show. If anybody wants to be in the service the Navy is great. Quercia says the USS Medusa was a repair ship with limited amount of weapons on board.

Did he ever think he was going to die? "No because I didn't know enough about it. I'd never been in a war before. I'd figured if I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die. I had a job on top side as look out. I could see what was going on. I didn't have no gun. I helped carry ammunition off."

Quercia says his boat was credited with shooting down two planes and a two man submarine.

The bell sounded more than 100 times Friday as the survivors group remembered fallen comrades. Outside there was a 21 gun salute to the more than 24–hundred Americans who paid the ultimate price.

The Valley's Pearl Harbor Survivors group has thinned over the decades. But the four who spoke Friday always beam with patriotism and leave their captive audience with a positive farewell saying "see you next year."

Joe Quercia spent six years in the Navy. He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

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