Local Pearl Harbor Veteran, 100, remembers the attack on its 77th anniversary

Massachusetts

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Ceremonies were held Friday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

Bill Kostanski of Greenfield served with the U.S. Army’s 19th Infantry on Oahu when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941.  

“It was nice when I went in, it was peace time,” Kostanski told 22News. “Then they hit while I was there.” 

Kostanski enlisted in the Army with two of his brothers, and he was deployed to Oahu.  

“I was in a big barracks there,” said Kostanski. “Hawaii is a big army base. There’s 19th Infantry, 21st this way. 19th, I was in the 19th.” 

Kostanski was serving at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, right next to wheeler field, the base for many of the pacific fleet’s aircraft, making it a target on December 7, 1941.  

Japanese fighters bombed the airfields, crippling the American air defenses, before heading for their main target, the ships in Pearl Harbor.  

“It was a nice place, until the Japanese hit,” said Kostanski. 

After hours of bombing, more than 2400 men and women were killed, and the United States entered World War II.  

“Did you know people that didn’t survive that day?” 22News asked Kostanski. 

“A lot of people,” he replied. “I had been in for quite a bit, six years. So they died. Just like any that were somewhere else.” 

Kostanski lost one of his brothers in the war; killed at nineteen.  

“That’s part of war,” Kostanski said. “Whittles down your family sometimes.” 

At 100-years-old, Kostanski said his memory of the attack has faded.  

“My memories are all forgotten about,” the local veteran told 22News. “The war part of it. I’m glad I forgot about it. I don’t care about remembering things like that.” 

22News thanks Kostanski, and all our veterans, for their service.

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