The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor shocked America to the core, killing 2,403 and grievously damaging the Navy’s fleet.
While that carnage occurred thousands of miles from the mainland, what has been called a “second Pearl Harbor” took place quietly, right in Georgia’s backyard.
Days after the U.S. entered World War II, German submarines began firing on American merchant ships on the East Coast, sinking 400 in eight months and killing twice as many Americans as the battle in Hawaii.
Jack Lang remembers the sound of torpedoes hitting the SS Oklahoma and the Esso Baton Rouge less than 10 miles off the coast of Brunswick, Ga. It was early in the morning of April 8, 1942, and it practically bounced him out of bed. “The explosion reverberated through the water and literally shook the town of Brunswick,” said Lang, a retired Coca-Cola executive, who was 13 years old at the time. “It woke everybody up.”
Lang, 88, appears in a new documentary, “The Golden Isles at War,” which, 75 years after Pearl Harbor, recounts the bloody campaign against American ships by German U-boats, and the transformation of Brunswick from a sleepy vacation town to a ship-building powerhouse.
The hourlong film was scheduled to premiere Tuesday in front of an invited audience at the exclusive Cloister resort on Sea Island. The production company, Broadcast Solutions, is negotiating with public television to air the documentary sometime this month.
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