Interview With Mary Swift


From the interview with Mary Swift of Olympia conducted by Rick Martinez at the Fort Worden History Center on October 12, 2002. Mrs. Swift , daughter of Lt. Col. Floyd D. Robbins, lived at Fort Worden from 1940 to 1945. Here she describes what it was like at Fort Worden on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941:

“We were here on Pearl Harbor Day. It was exciting but yet it was scary; because, number one, we did not know where Pearl Harbor was. We’d never heard of Pearl Harbor in those days. My dad always turned on the radio first thing in the morning. We were getting ready to go to church. He was eating his breakfast and the news came over the radio. He immediately jumped up so fast. He ran and put on his battle clothes, his leggings and his boots and all those things. So we knew it was serious. He just dashed out of the house and ran across the parade grounds, and then just disappeared. We stood on the porch crying, ‘What’s goin’ on, what’s happenin.’ We were so scared.

This fort came to life on that day. Sirens started going off and the bugle calls, assembly. Soldiers were running in every direction. We thought the Japanese were still on the way. We had had air raid drills, so we knew what you do. Our basement was our air raid shelter, and they had a main air raid shelter someplace up there by the brig or somewhere in there; and so we all went to our basement thinking they’re still coming.”

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