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Montana's connections to the Attack on Pearl Harbor

USS Helena
Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 20:28:22-05

HELENA — Thursday marks the 82nd anniversary of the attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor.

On that day that shall live in infamy, 2,403 service members and civilians were killed during the attack, 15 were from Montana.

Montana’s last known living Pearl Harbor survivor Charlie Dowd of Anaconda passed away in March of this year. Dowd was just 17 years old at the time of the attack.

The Montana Military Museum has a detailed exhibit of the attack on Pearl Harbor and more on the role of Montanans during World War II.

One hundred commissioned warships and service auxiliary ships were present at Pearl Harbor during the attack, including the USS Helena.

Damaged by a torpedo, the crew of the Helena were able to restore power to their guns and are credited with shooting down 6 of the 29 Japanese aircraft downed during the raid.

America immediately entered WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 57,000 Montanans served in the war; roughly 10 percent of the state's total population at the time. 1,500 would not return home.