Sister remembers brother lost in Pearl Harbor attack - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Sister remembers brother lost in Pearl Harbor attack

Jay Edgar Alley was killed at Pearl Harbor (Source: Mary Gibson) Jay Edgar Alley was killed at Pearl Harbor (Source: Mary Gibson)

CHERAW, SC (WIS) - After 71 years, there's one thing about Jay Edgar Alley that's clear.

"He was a good lookin' hunk of a man," said Mary Gibson. "He had 500 girlfriends. I don't know how he kept them all separated! hahahaha"

Along with his looks,  Gibson remembers her older brother's kindness, and patriotism.

It's been years since she's looked through the pictures he sent back from his six years aboard the USS Arizona.  Until now, she's never talked publicly about Pearl Harbor.

"I try to forget it's the 7th," she said. 

Like many others, Gibson learned about the attack from the radio. She was only 6, but remembers her family's disbelief.

"My mother was one of the stoutest women I know," she said. "But she just got up and walked around and around and around the house."

Gibson said her mother never accepted it. While other sailors' bodies were sent home, Alley's was not.

"They never found my brother's body," she said. 

Years later, a historian working on a book wrote Gibson to let her know what happened.     

"She said in that letter that he could've gotten off, but he didn't."

"He loved the Arizona," said Gibson. "He'd been on her for six years and was going to re-up for three more years."

Alley is one of more than a thousand Americans entombed in the waters of Pearl Harbor. More than 2,300 Americans lost their lives that day.

He went down manning a gun turret, fighting back from a ship he'd never leave.

"People saw him there and that's about like him," said Gibson. "He would've stayed and let someone else get off."

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