Pearl Harbor veteran recalls service

POSTED: 9:09 PM Sep 27 2012   UPDATED: 5:23 PM Sep 28 2012
PEARL HARBOR VET

Our region is filled with veterans from all wars, but one man joined the Navy more than 70 years ago.

He's still talking about his time serving our country. He's a member of an elite club, one where the number of members are dwindling.

92-year-old Gerard Carriera, a World War II veteran, was at Pearl Harbor as a member of the Navy. Carriera's job was to draw maps.

"We'd go over to Japan, photograph, come back and then call the Air Force in. We'd draw a map the size of this sheet," he explained. "It's the bombing map and we'd have a code name, so when they'd come back they'd call you by code. 'Keep up the good work, you're getting it on target.'"

Carriera joined the military in 1941. Decades later, he uses notes, letters and pictures to tell us his story.

"It's the mapping group," he says while showing a photograph. "Here's the group I was in charge of. This was taken in Okinawa."

Carriera tells us nearly five years ago he suffered a stroke. It took away his mapping skills, but he says he still has memories from serving our country.

He continues to tell stories of his days at sea. "Mayday calls a U.S. Navy bomber shot down, so we scatter all over looking to see if we could rescue them. We're a minute late and an American submarine picks up who? George Bush, 18 years old, and I knew him from Connecticut."

The walls of Carriera's home are lined with photos and letters from presidents and politicians. He shows us some of the honors he's received over the years.

We've learned this October Carriera will travel to Washington, D.C., where he'll visit the World War II memorial he helped build and gather with other veterans from his generation.

It's a trip he says he's looking forward to, as well as a chance for him to stand in the capitol of the nation he fought so hard to protect.

Gerard Carriera tells us only about three men from his unit remain. He's hoping they'll have a chance to meet up in October at the World War II veterans conference in D.C.