SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) - A World War II veteran who survived the attack at Pearl Harbor was laid to rest Tuesday.
Louie Luther "Pete" Underwood, 89, of Scott City, passed away Friday, January 18, 2013 at his son's home.
"Oh, I'm very proud of my grandfather," Matt Underwood, his grandson, said. "He served his country."
He reported for duty on the USS Utah on July 29, 1941.
Underwood was serving on board the USS Utah on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His ship was the first one hit.
"I just can't imagine having to go through that," Bob Underwood, his grandson, said.
He was in the living compartment when the attack began. An officer came through and told them to "Stay below, the Japs are bombing us!" They stayed there for a short while until the ship began to shift over. He ran topside, made for the high side of the ship and slid down and into the water.
"Having a torpedo hit that ship, at 18 years old. He basically just ran for his life," said Bob Underwood.
He swam ashore about 50 yards and got into a pipeline ditch. From there he watched as the attack continued.
It happened so fast, Underwood didn't even have time to get dressed.
"It was early in the morning so they still have t-shirts and underwear on. So they actually broke in to the officers' barracks there on the Navy base and had to put officer uniforms on and coats," said Bob Underwood.
After the attack, Underwood was assigned to the USS Detroit (CL-8), performing convoy escort duty from the mainland to the Pearl. After that, he saw action during the New Guinea and Philippine landing campaigns in the Amphibious forces. He survived two more ship attacks. He retired from the Navy in July 1961 having achieved a Gunner's Mate First Class rank.
"I just don't think any of us could imagine going through that ourselves," Bob Underwood said.
He also retired from Todd Uniform Company of Cape Girardeau.
Underwood is survived by a son and daughter, 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a son.
Underwood flew an American flag in his front yard.
Family members say Underwood was a hero in every sense of the word.