KANSAS CITY, Kan. - On December 7, 1941, Dorwin Lamkin and Edmund Russell had never met one another, b ut it would be one of the darkest days in U.S. history that would bring both together decades later.
At the time, Russell of Lenexa, Kan., was 24 years old and working as a butcher at the wheeler army airfield in Honolulu. "I had been in the service over a year and never fired a gun, so I wasn't prepared for any attack," Russell said.
19-year-old Lamkin was serving on the U.S.S. Nevada as a corpsman. "The messenger of the deck came running down the ladder and hollered into the sick bay that a Japanese plane was attacking," Lamkin said. That Sunday morning, his day was just starting when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. "We could hear and feel the ricochet bullets off the hull and by that point the bombs started," he said.
Russell vividly recalled that fateful morning. "I opened the window and by that time the third bomb went off, my feet said move," he said.
The two men survived.
After the attack, Lamkin spent another year in the Navy, and then attended the University of Kansas, then eventually returning to serve his country after graduation. He now resides in Mission. Russell continued his service, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Now both are part of the Pearl Harbor survivors group in Johnson County, a group that began with 56 members, but now numbers three.
Jack Carson, 90, from Overland Park, as well as Lamkin and Russell, shared their stories about that day to a group of 160 people at the community center in Mission w ith the hope that future generations can learn about the attacks from eyewitnesses.
"Having lived this long and [I] still remember what happened and I'd like to tell the young people especially what really happened," Russell said.
All three were honored at Sporting Park before the start of Saturday's MLS Cup final.