In 1941 Terri’s dad, Vincent Michael Sojat was a 21-year-old sailor on the cruiser USS Honolulu based at Pearl Harbor. On December 7th at 7:30 in the morning he was on the deck of the ship getting ready to go to mass when the Japanese attack began. The Honolulu did not take a direct hit but was damaged from a near miss when a bomb exploded 20 yards from its stern. Below I’ve posted the ship’s Plan of the Day. Despite everything Vince had to do that day (including trying to stay alive) he had the foresight to remove it from the ship’s bulletin board and save it for posterity.
Vince and his shipmates on the Honolulu saw sustained, intense action in WWII, including sea battles fought at night in “The Slot” near Guadalcanal where hundreds of Japanese and American ships today lie at the bottom of “Iron Bottom Sound.” In 1943 the Honolulu was torpedoed and its bow was severely damaged. It sailed backwards to Australia to have the bow replaced. We believe that the sailor at the far right in this photo is Vince. He was a carpenter’s mate but clearly he wasn’t going to be able to repair this damage.
Later in the war the Honolulu was torpedoed several more times. The photo below shows the damage from a “dud.”
In 1944 the Honolulu was hit 0nce again during the Battle of Leyte which is considered the largest naval battle in history. To save her from sinking the captain had the ship beached. This effectively marked the end of the Honolulu’s active service in WWII.
The USS Honolulu earned eight battle stars during the war including a star for the heroic actions of Vincent Sojat and her crew on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.