Tommy Tomerlin

26 year old Guy Nathan “Tommy” Tomberlin was a part-time flight instructor for both K-T Flying Service and the Hui Lele Flying Club. He learned to fly from Bob Tyce in 1938, and after being discharged from the Navy, was hired by Tyce. On the morning of December 7, 1941, he was giving a lesson to a Hui Lele Club student named James Duncan. He was flying a bright orange Aeronca 65TC (NC-33838) that the club rented from Marguerite Gambo. He was the first of the civilian pilots to realize that the war had come to Hawaii. He noted in his logbook that at 7:52, two streams of red tracers converged on their Aeronca from behind, punching holes right through the fabric covering the rear fuselage. Tomberlin took control of the aircraft and avoided two Japanese aircraft firing at them, eventually making his way back to John Rodgers Airport.