Pearl Harbor survivors honor Bosse with plaque

Pearl Harbor survivors honor Bosse with plaque by M. Jill Karolevitz Bob Bosse, a producer at South Dakota Public Television in Vermillion, received a special award Feb. 28 from the South Dakota Pearl Harbor Survivors Association for his work on Pearl Harbor Survivors: South Dakota Stories.

The documentary was aired last Dec. 7, on the 59th anniversary of the attack and featured the stories on nine South Dakota men who survived the surprise Japanese assault that catapulted the United States into World War II.

Darrel Christopherson of Vermillion, president of the association, and David Smith, Colman, secretary, presented the award which noted the survivors� appreciation of Bosse �for diligent efforts during the making of the South Dakota Pearl Harbor Survivors film.� Both Christopherson and Smith are among the men interviewed in the hour-long program.

Christopherson was aboard the USS Vestal, a repair ship, which was moored to the battleship USS Arizona. The Vestal was hit twice by armor piercing bombs and began taking on water. The crew was ordered by the camptain to run the ship aground near Ford Island to keep it from sinking. They cut the lines to the Arizona, which was under heavy bombardment, ultimately sinking with 1,117 sailors on board. Most were killed when the ship�s ammunition stores were exploded by a bomb.

The Vestal, however, with its 650-man crew, was not attacked further after it was run aground.

Smith remembers crawling up the deck of his ship as the torpedoed vessel rolled over. Then he slid down the side into the water.

Today, only 19 members remain in the South Dakota Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Bosse said it was time to tell their stories.

�This was truly a group effort of South Dakota Public Television,� he said. �It�s significant historically, and there isn�t a lot of time left. The youngest of the group is 77 years old. We thought it was a good idea to get their story down on tape for posterity.�

Pearl Harbor Survivors: South Dakota Stories was taped last year.

�The attack is so far in the past,� Bosse said. �But talking to these men really brought it home to me � they were there. It gave me a greater appreciation for what some of them went through. So many people don�t think about the guy next door, if he is a veteran, what he really went through, what he lived through, how he risked his life.�

Bosse has been with South Dakota Public Television for two years. He has also been involved in a documentary about Joe Foss and Lost Bird of Wounded Knee.

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