Richard Oyler slept in on Dec. 7, 1941. He was only 18, so he didn't go on shore with the other sailors that much.
When the attack on Pearl Harbor started, he was filling in for a chief yeoman on his ship, the USS Curtiss, a seaplane tender. The yeoman had gone ashore on Oahu for dental work.
Oyler was sitting next to an open cargo hatch when he saw something hurtle down onto the deck of the neighboring ship, the USS Utah. When it exploded, he knew he was in for "more excitement than I have ever experienced in my life, or ever have since."
"One thing I remember most of all was the noise," Oyler recalled Wednesday.
He sprang to his station and spent the battle as the captain's "talker," tailing the officer with communications headphones, repeating the man's barked orders to make sure his fellow sailors heard the calls.
Exactly 70 years later, Oyler stood at Park Semper Fi overlooking the San Clemente Pier, addressing fellow veterans and San Clemente residents at a brief Pearl Harbor Memorial set up by and the San Clemente Heritage Foundation that oversees the park.
"Oftentimes, people get the sense that it was a Japanese victory," Oyler told the crowd. "And, in a sense, it was... But all those ships, the fleet, they fought back. The air was full of anti-aircraft ammunition. We took 29 of the aircraft."
San Clemente Villas presented a memorial wreath for the monument, and the crowd heard speeches by retired Brig. Gen. Fred Flo and Frank Denison of the 101st Airborne--both World War II vets.