Saved 19 Times: Pearl Harbor Survivor Thanks His Guardian Angel
Adolph Kuhn joined the U.S. Navy in May 1940 shortly after turning 18. One of 12 children, the young man grew up in Kansas during the Great Depression, and he wanted to see the world as part of the Navy. While serving at Ford Island Naval Air Station in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Kuhn witnessed a miracle amid the bombs and bullets raining from the sky from Japanese planes.
Kuhn remembered what happened Dec. 7, 1941, as if it had occurred yesterday. He was getting ready for church in his barracks on a Sunday when bullets came down from the sky. Kuhn hitched a ride with two other sailors in a Model A Ford, and the three men tried to get to the naval base. Bullets littered the road, but not one of them hit the car on the way to its destination, Kuhn said in an interview. The Japanese planes were so close they could almost touch the top of the palm trees.
Those palm trees figured prominently into the next part of Kuhn’s story. As he ran across the officer’s golf course in a bright white uniform, strafing runs missed the fortunate sailor as he ran in between trees for cover. The Marine running in front of him was decapitated by bullets. When he got to the boat landing across the harbor from the naval air station, there were no boats to get sailors to the island.
Finally, Kuhn and 10 others waded out to a small fishing boat to try to get to the naval air station in the middle of the chaos. Bullets, bombs and torpedoes continued to come down around Kuhn. Bullets splintered the fishing boat, and it started sinking, but miraculously no one on the fishing boat was hit. The sailor had to dog paddle the rest of the way to Ford Island among debris, sailor’s hats and human limbs.
Once on the island, Kuhn managed to get to a hangar and underneath a welding table. A bomb came down through the roof but failed to detonate. Kuhn then jumped on a tractor to try to pull a plane out of the line of fire, but a Japanese pilot tried to stop him. Kuhn unhitched the plane and started moving in the opposite direction. He got out of range of the explosion just in time.
All in all, Kuhn recounted 19 times Japanese planes missed him that day. At the 70th anniversary of the attack, Kuhn regaled a huge crowd with his amazing story. After a moderator finally had to cut the sailor’s story short, Kuhn said the end of the story is chronicled in his memoir. Kuhn may not have survived Pearl Harbor had it not been for divine intervention and God’s intervention. Read about more miracles such as this story of an amazing rescue