The 24-year-old seasick sailor is 61 now but "on that particular morning I relieved the watch before eight o'clock" and at five minutes of the hour he tapped out "with my own two little paddies" the news to America. Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Buzz Boyer, reached yesterday amid his duties as parts manager of the Ford tractor plant at Greenville, Ohio, remembered that day.
On the morning of Pearl Harbor he had planned to breakfast on the battleship "Arizona" as the guest of a friend on that ship soon to be sent to the bottom with tremendous loss of life.
But he was an operator of the automatic radion keyer that sent messages to America from NPM, a Navy radio station six miles east of Pearl Harbor. He was standing duty that day for a friend. His machine started its usual clackety and a fellow at the Marine Air Station was saying, "We're being bombed and strafed."
Boyer himself did not roar around Honolulu getting into mischief on Saturday nights, but he had heard it said that some did, and wired right back:
"Go to bed and sober up."
But the Marine Air Statioin said this was the real thing.
Boyer hollered for his superior, who said send the message instantly to the States (NPG in California and NSS here in Washington were the regular receivers), and Boyer did not stop to set the message in code but in plain English wired:
"Air raid, this is no drill."
Boyer has got to thinking lately whatever became of his 20 buddies of Comm Hawaiian Sea Frontier, 14th Naval District , Communications Activities. The outfit, when you write its name down, does not sound like the hectic radion shack the day of Pearl Harbor, but Boyer, of course, can still hear it in his head.
He lives at 1169 North Middle Drive, Greenville, Ohio 45331. Maybe some of the old gang could get together yet for a drink, or a coffee better than the lousy stuff they drank all day and night on that day. It stained the cups.
"Well that was war and that was 37 years ago. A lot of guys had their hour. General Pattion had his. Like that. And I had mine, the message was my contribution. Hell, some dummy had to send it." CAPTION: Picture, Buzz Boyer in 1975, by Bill Garlow