James Leamon Forbis enlisted in the Navy in 1939. When war came on 7 December 1941, he was on the front line of history, serving as a coxswain on board the USS Arizona (BB-39) when the bombs started dropping. He survived the attack and went on to serve through World War II on board the destroyers Craven (DD-382), Kalk (DD-611), and De Haven (DD-727). He retired from the Navy as a chief boatswain’s mate in 1961. In the following excerpt from his U.S. Naval Institute interview, he vividly recounts the fateful events of the Day of Infamy from Ground Zero.
As I Recall - Competing for the Top Job
By Admiral Robert E. Kramek, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)