Al Rodrigues was born on February 7, 1920 in Kapa'a Territory of Hawai'i. He moved to Honolulu after graduating from Kaua'i High School. He worked at the Royal Hawaian Hotel and did a lot of surfing in Waikiki during his time off. He joined the Navy Reserves and was called to active duty for one year in November of 1940. In November of 1941, his reserve unit was extended for an indefinite period of time.
The Morning of December 7, 1941
Al was stationed at the Section Base Bishop's Point, Pearl Harbor. This base was located at the entrance to Pearl Harbor and just across the street from the Hickam Army Air Field. The purpose of the base was to provide logistics for the small craft that docked alongside and also to furnish men to maintain the submarine nets that spanned the entrace to the harbor.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Al had watch and was on duty when he heard about the USS Ward dropping depth charges on an unidentified submarine opening in the definive zone located about a mile outside of the harbor entrance. He was just about to eat breakfast when the general quarters alarm sounded. While everyone raced from the galley to the armonry, they could see the red "Rising Sun" on the wings of the incoming planes, and they instantly knew that the planes were Japanese. Al was issued a .30 caliber rifle and started shooting at the planes as they passed overhead. They were low enough that you could actually see the faces of the Japanese pilots. The attack lasted for a few hours and then quickly calmed down. Being near Hickam Field, Al witnessed Japanese fighter aircraft shooting at American B-17 bombers that were arriving from California. Al laughingly recalls, "I never had the opportunity to finish my ham and eggs that morning!"
In 1943, Al was transferred to the battleship USS Washington (BB-56) operating in the Pacific area. The USS Washington was the only naval ship that sank a Japanese battleship, the IMS Kirishima. In early 1945, Al was transferred to new construction and was eventually assigned to the District Material Redistribution Office located in the Third Navel District in New York City. When the war ended, he returned to Hawai'i and joined the Regular Navy and retired after twenty-four years of service.
Al would later work for the General Services Administration for thirty years and again retire as the Manager of the GSA Customer Supply Center located on Hickam Air Force Base, Hickam Field, Hawaii.
Al now spends his time playing golf. He loved to do yard work with his wife, Louise Elenora, until she passed away in July 2008. He dearly misses her, but yet he continues to "just enjoy life, and isn't that the way it is supposed to be?"