The former President of Hughes Aircraft Company witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor when he was just a boy.
The Santa Barbara County resident said, “It was a scary time.”
Ken Richardson and his family lived five miles from Pearl Harbor and could see Zeros flying overhead.
He was 10, his brothers, 12 and 13. On December 7,1941, they grabbed their childhood weapons; a bb gun, a bow and arrow and a slingshot.
“I was terrific with a slingshot, so I gathered all the pebbles I could, we lined up on the second floor and looked as ferocious as we could,” said Richardson.
His mother was at home with them, but his father was at work as a radio operator.
“I had never seen anyone get killed, I got to see a neighbor be killed by an exploding artillery shell. “
He said he grew up during the experience.
Richardson’s family survived and he went on to study engineering at Tufts, USC and UCLA.
As President of Hughes Aircraft Company he worked to make sure the United States had the best aviation equipment.
Richardson will turn 86 in January and believes young people can learn from Pearl Harbor and the generation that came together during World War II.
Find a way to unite us together doing something that may be difficult but requires perseverance, education and dedication is what is missing,” said Richardson.
He attended a public remembrance ceremony at the Santa Barbara Airport Tuesday morning. Richardson said he is not part of the program, but he might as well be. He witnessed history and remembers it like yesterday.