December 7, 2011 by staff
USS Arizona, Chester Slider wasn’t stationed on the USS Arizona or even at the naval base in Pearl Harbor. He was just supposed to be there for a few days, but was there when the attack took place and became one of the American casualties, Martha Mahon said.
Mahon, a 92-year-old North Naples resident, was married to Slider for about six months in 1941. Slider, who was in the Navy, was on the USS Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Mahon and Slider “ran off and got married” in Goshen, Ky., on April 15, 1941, with one of Mahon’s cousins presiding at the service.
Mahon said her new father-in-law bought a boat and the couple spent their honeymoon on a trans-Atlantic trip, leaving England and eventually arriving in Chicago, where Slider was scheduled to go through Naval training.
“I think about that … very few people would have done that,” she said.
Mahon said Slider decided to join the Navy because of his background with boating and being on the water.
Slider was stationed in California, and Mahon said he was sent to Hawaii for two days to “help out on the ship.” That’s how he ended up there when the attack occurred.
She had spoken to Slider on Dec. 6 and he told her they were getting ready to move the ship. He couldn’t tell her where they were going. It was the last time they spoke.
Japanese forces attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor by air on the morning of Dec. 7, and about 2,400 Americans were killed during the attack. Twelve ships sank or were beached, nine were damaged and the United States lost 164 aircraft during the attack.
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