December 7, 1941
"A date which will live in infamy . . "
- As is true of most catastophic events, people of that time remember precisely where they were and what they were doing on that day. -
"Sunday afternoon, I was working at KBST radio station in Big Spring, Texas. We had moved our studios from the hotel downtown to up on Johnson Street and this was the formal opening of our new studios. We had put ads in the newspaper and had people invited from all over the country and we had a lot of people there. In our reception room we were serving coffee and cake, and all that sort of thing, and we'd hired a live band, the Ray Maddox Orchestra from Abilene, to come out to play and they were in Studio A. My brother Guy was playing tenor sax with him and Ray Maddox and I had been in the high school band together at Abilene High School years ago.
"I recall that shortly after Pearl Harbor, 5 of us from Ko Sari felt the call to duty and drove to Dallas to enlist in the Naval Air Corps. Guy was the only one accepted. I was 8 pounds under weight, and never ate bananas (but did) before returning for reweighing as instructed. I later joined the Army Air Corps. As I recall there were 2 Naval programs, V-7 and V-12. Don't recall the difference or which one Guy was in. Don't recall specifically why we chose the Navy. Probably, there were several reasons. First, the Navy just seemed more glamorous than the Army, particularly as we had Camp Barkley near Abilene and we were tired of the dog faces chasing our girls. And, the V7 & V12 programs were appealing to college students for some reason. And, scuttlebutt had it that the Navy physical was easier than the Army but the GCT, I Q, or mental test was tougher than the Army. We later heard that Guy & I had scored the highest on the test in the history of that recruiting office, up to that time. Ironically, when I joined the Army, I aced the physical, but didn't set any records on the GCT. I was in the service for only a year and when I returned I heard that Guy had graduated from Naval Air training with honors thus qualifying him for the Marine Air Corps."
- Sonny Bentley
I was in Studio A announcing the band, they were playing, and the reception room was full. We had soldiers from Camp Barkley in Abilene and a lot of other people there. We were putting on quite a show!
The new KBST studio in Big Spring, Texas, 1941
Andy Jones, the engineer, was sitting behind the control board and he's one of those slow-moving guys who never gets upset about anything. I saw him pick up the telephone, then grab a piece of paper and write on it. He got up and held it to the glass where I could see it. It said, 'Japs attack Pearl Harbor'. I made a quick turn out of Studio A, went through the sound lock into the control room and said, 'What is this?' He said, 'Well, old Travis Flatt out at the radio station transmitter is a ham radio operator, you know, and he was talking to a guy in Hawaii who was describing what was happening.'
I said, 'Well, let's call Dallas.' On Sunday we didn't get any news wire service until late in the afternoon because we didn't pay for any Sunday morning news service from Associated Press in Dallas. So I grabbed the phone, dialed their number real quick and said, 'Hey, this is KBST Big Spring put our news machines on right now! We understand that the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor.' And he said, 'That's correct.'
I went back in and said, 'I've got to make some kind of announcement.' So I walked back in the studio and when they finished that number, I said, 'I regret to inform you that we have just been advised, though it has not been confirmed by our official news source, that the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor at this time. We have our news service coming in with the latest reports and we'll be putting a newscast on the air shortly.' You would have thought I threw a bucket of cold water on everybody in the reception room with their cake and their coffee and they're all looking around.
But I must say, that the thing that got me was when I turned around, looked, and saw Guy sitting there playing that tenor sax. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, that's going to involve him.'"
Howard Kemper, announcer
Andy Jones, engineer
How was it that Guy came to be accepted into the Navy's flight program wearing glasses?
Grandmother told a story about Guy's vision being not quite 20/20 and how he remedied that. Knowing his vision would be the major obstacle to becoming a pilot, Guy devised his own training regimen consisting of running, lifting weights, and consuming large quantities of carrot juice. In time, the vitamin A indeed corrected his vision, however, the carotene turned his skin color bright orange.