Damariscotta, ME (NEWS CENTER) -- The attack on Pearl Harbor was a defining moment in the history of the United States. Betsy Noyes of Damariscotta was there, an eight year old girl walking her doll carriage.
"I was having a friend sleepover and she and I got up very early on December 7 and decided that we would take our doll buggies and go out for a walk," she told NEWS CENTER. Attacking airplanes flew right over the girls.
"We had no idea how far they were but we could see the pilots," she said. The girls took appropriate action.
"We turned around and went home," she said. There, she found her father on the phone as he dressed before rushing off to the USS Tennessee. Lt. Commander Kelvin Nutting was serving as a gunnery officer. The Tennessee was the ship of Admiral David Bagley .
Nutting, an Annapolis graduate, served on Bagley's staff for much of the war.
Two bombs struck the Tennessee that day, however neither fully detonated. Parked abeam of the Arizona, the crew fought fires from the burning Arizona and put up what resistance it could.
To little Betsy, another memory of the week was how dirty her father's uniform was when he came home days later. "It was a shambles."
The Nuttings would eventually be shipped back to the United States several months later after the U. S. felt it was safe for our families to travel on escorted ships.
The Nuttings were in China in 1949 when Mao Zedong's forces defeated Chaing Kai-shek. "That was our second evacuation!" laughed Mrs. Noyes.
At 16, she was delighted to be returning to the United States even if it took a month long trip on a Japanese freighter.
She majored in Russian and met her husband Pete Noyes at Middlebury.
The couple had three children as Mr. Noyes served in the Navy and joined the State Department. They served in several interesting locations including Washington during the Camelot days of the Kennedy Administration.
The Noyes' retired to Damariscotta.
Betsy's father, Kelvin L. Nutting was a highly rated Captain when he came down with cancer. He retired from the Navy and took a "low stress" position teaching math at Maine Maritime.
He served as acting Superintendent and the library there is named in his honor.