By Garland Davis

I live in Hawaii. My house is on the side of a hill and overlooks Pearl Harbor. I can see Ford Island and the Arizona Memorial from my rear patio. An atomic airburst over Pearl harbor would, in all probability, destroy my house and take our lives.

My wife and I have played the what-if game about an atomic attack on Hawaii. It is just an academic exercise playing, “What would happen and what will we do.” The consensus we reached was, very little due to our location overlooking Pearl Harbor.

This morning, shortly after eight, my wife was changing for a trip to the Commissary and I was reading an article on a local news site when my cell phone chimed the urgent alarm tone. I picked up thinking there is a Tsunami warning, I know there is no storm, not a cloud in the sky when I walked the dog barely an hour earlier… I saw this on the phone:

Emergency Alert


Suddenly the “What-Ifs” we had talked about became a horrifying reality. My wife asked, “What can we do,”

“I told her, “If this is real, we have less than ten minutes. We’ve talked about this and have determined there is nothing to do.”

She called the dog into the office. The three of us were together if it happened.

I got on the phone and called a couple of people in the know. Within a couple of minutes, I learned that a friend was in contact with the Pacific Command and had passed the word that it was “Bullshit.”

My wife and I left for the Commissary and were on the freeway when the “False Alarm” message was passed via cellphone. Thirty-eight minutes after the initial alert! How many thousands of the one point three million residents and visitors spent that time in abject terror.

I was under fire a number of times during the Vietnam War but I never felt the sense of helplessness during those times that I did this morning.



  1. Glenn Stang says:

    I was home when I got the alert. Wife was at her job at Arizona Bookstore for the FRA medals table. They locked down the Memorial for a while. After a few moments of raised pulse rate and worry I came to the conclusion as did the wife that nothing would be accomplished by running around. Got some word before the 38 minutes that it was a hoax. Phew. Then I started getting text or fb asking if okay. Of course by that time the whole world knew about the fuck up that caused it. Truth is that a 20 minute flight time means no would be around at the 38 minute point to send or receive the messages. I live in Wai’anae so I reckon we’d be toast if it were real. Easy to say now but there were more than a few minutes of dread. Glad it was a false alarm. CNN was still yapping about it at noon. And that Shipmates is life on the Pacific rim. Thanks to all that called and cared. Aloha.


  2. bud hammond says:

    You live in a liberal world of utter stupidity this is the kind of benefits you reap.Anyone with any smarts would know that if you have a button or switch or whatever that controls that kind of input you have some sort of safety guard on or over it.The military uses this type of protection extensively with success.


  3. I live down the road from a “major unified command” in military speak. I figure that if that message is ever transmitted, I will comply with the old tee shirt I owned about bending over and kissing something goodbye! But I don’t expect the luxury of notification.


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