Click here to ride along with the #GMQCRoadTrip

‘We just were not ready to start fighting,’ remembers 100-year-old Iowa Pearl Harbor survivor

CLINTON, Iowa-- This is Daniel Kramer and his wife Mary Jane.

"Well, I came from the middle west, and I'd never seen the ocean," says Dan.

He was healthy and 25 years young when he enlisted in the US Navy.

On December 7, 1941 Dan was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the USS California.

"My battle station was up on the bridge where the captain was ready to go to sea, and so that's where we were when general quarters sounded," says Dan.

On that calm Sunday morning, Dan recalls thinking that sound was just a drill. But that sound meant Dan's naval base was under attack by the Japanese.

"Ammunition was locked up, guns were covered. We just were not ready to start fighting," says Dan.

Thousands of Americans lost their lives that day.

"It just depends on where you were on the ship when a bomb went off. It's sort of luck of the draw, actually," says Dan.

Just feet away from death, Dan walked away a survivor and a hero.

"You think about how lucky you were and why some people didn't make it, and that's the part you never figure out, who's here and isn't here," says Dan.

Dan and Mary Jane are proud to have three children and six grandchildren with strong ties to Iowa.

Dan is 100 years old, and Mary Jane is 99.