For a while, no one spoke or moved. Then, little by little, men began talking to each other.
One Sailor walked over to Tate and said, "Hogie, isn't your brother's ship at Pearl?"
There was a knot in the pit of his stomach. Tate couldn't respond. Another deck hand slapped the guy on the back of his head and knocked his cap off to shut him up.
The knot twisted. Tate felt numb. His brother might be dead. He wondered when he would know for sure. His head was spinning. He didn't know what else to do, so he prayed and went about his duties. It would help pass the time.
Day turned to evening. There were a few reports from the captain. Nothing helped ease the tension and despair within the ranks. Planes were searching for the Japanese fleet. No one on board got much sleep that night.
The morning of 8 December was clear and visibility was good. Even miles from the island, smoke could be seen rising from the burning ships and buildings on Oahu and at Pearl Harbor. News of the loss of the USS Arizona (BB-39) circulated among the crew.
As his ship approached the island, Tate left the deck and went down to his bunk. He couldn't bear to stand at the rail as they sailed in. His heart ached. Thoughts of his brother's wife and children in California, and his dad and sisters back home in Texas, made him feel very alone in his grief.
From his bunk, he sensed the engines slowing, felt them stop, and heard the release of the anchor. He closed his eyes. Then, the ship's practical joker came clattering down the ladder and burst through the door shouting, "Hogie, hey, Hogie! Get up man. Your brother's ship is here, and it's okay! We just put in near her. Hurry up!"
Tate grabbed the guy by the collar, pulled his face close, glared at him, and said, "That's not funny. This is no time to be joking!"
"Honest, Hogie. I'm not. I wouldn't. Not about this, honest! It's his ship, and it's okay. Come on. You'll see!"
Tate, his heart pounding, responded, "If you're joking, you'll be overboard by the time we get topside." Then they both raced up the ladder.
Sure enough, not only was Jake's ship there, he was standing in the bow of a dingy rowing toward Tate's ship. Tate made his way to the ladder in disbelief. Sailors on both ships were yelling and clapping as Jake jumped off the small boat and bear-hugged his younger brother.
Jake's captain had ordered his signalman to use semaphore flags to convey the surprise visit to Tate's skipper.
So it was that on 8 December 1941 Oliver Tate Hogan turned 20 and had a reunion with his brother that neither of them would ever forget.
They talked about a lot of things during their shore leave together. Both ships had been delayed in arriving at Pearl. Jake too had spent many hours worrying about his younger brother, and had been relieved to learn Tate's ship was not yet at Pearl when the attack occurred.
Over the years, Jake told many people he always felt he had cheated death on that day. His wife, children, brother, father, and sisters were grateful.
Jake retired from the Navy and had yet another career. But near Thanksgiving 1969, fate intervened. He suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. He died on 7 December.
Tate left the Navy and returned to Texas in 1945, married, and had one child.
Both men enjoyed telling their special reunion story, and their children loved hearing it. Tate Hogan died in July 1974. He was only 52, and he was my dad.
They must have had another great reunion.