Indiana community gives key to city to Pearl Harbor survivor from Indianapolis

BRAZIL, Ind. – An Indiana assisted living center honored a hero from Indianapolis on Pearl Harbor Day.

94-year-old Tom Hill was just 16 when he fibbed about his age to join the Navy. Thursday, the Hoosier veteran was honored with a special ceremony at Towne Park Assisted Living to showcase his heroic efforts on-board the USS Sacramento.

The mayor of Brazil declared today “Tom Hill Day” in the community. Born in 1923, Hill enrolled in the U.S. reserves when he was 16 and just 18 on that day that will forever live in infamy. Hill was given a key to the city, plaque and certificate by Mayor Brian Wyndham.

Tom and his wife, Vi, married in 1947 and recently celebrated 70 years of marriage. They recently moved into the center a few months ago.

Hill left the U.S. Navy in 1945 to pursue other options, including working 28 years at U.S. Naval Avionics. For years, he belonged to a Pearl Harbor Survivor Club in Indianapolis that met monthly.

Last year, Hill told a local newspaper the details of his morning on Dec. 7, 1941.

When the alarm rang, he was the only one in the cafeteria eating breakfast. While he thought the alarm was just a drill, he went topside and saw the planes and heard the bombs going off.

“Everyone ran to battle stations. I ran up to the bridge and helped them get out the ammunition,” recounted Hill.

Enlisted five years and eight months in the U.S. Navy, Hill recalls most men on the USS Sacramento were from Indiana, like him.

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