Pearl Harbor survivor recalls attack

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An undamaged light cruiser steams out past the burning USS Arizona and takes to sea with the rest of the fleet during the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

Gerard Barbosa remembers the date that will live in infamy: December 7, 1941. He was 17 and volunteered as gunner's mate aboard the U.S.S. Raleigh, which was docked at the Pearl Harbor naval base when it was attacked by the Japanese.

He still remembers the announcement on the ship that followed a lunge and two explosions: "This is not a drill; man your battle stations."

He manned his anti-aircraft gun and fired from the ship. He tried to stay calm.

Today, Barbosa, 93, is one of the last known Long Islanders to have survived the attack at Pearl Harbor that claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Americans and sent the country into World War II. 

He still has his cap, shells from a 20mm gun, and pictures from his time in the Navy.

Barbosa and other crew members fired thousands of rounds of for more than two hours. Nearly 20 American ships and more than 300 airplanes were damaged or destroyed.

Seventy-five years later, Barbosa still stops short of calling himself a hero. "We're not heroes. We were volunteers," he says.

He was a volunteer who was just doing his job to protect his country on a day that history will not forget.