Three old vets and a table full of memories. A trio of World War II veterans, Navy men who\u2019d fought in the Pacific, now in their 90s, gathered for lunch at the Ancient Mariner on Thursday, Dec.7 \u2014 Pearl Harbor Day. \u201cLooking back 76 years, today \u2014 that\u2019s the day they bombed Pearl Harbor \u2014 I keep thinking of what General and President Eisenhower said about war,\u201d said Wally Goodman, a veteran of Amphibious Corps landings. \u201cHe described war as \u2018a stupid process.\u2019 Unfortunately, we\u2019ve made little progress in solving this, the problem of wars.\u201d Goodman was joined by George Ventres, a pharmacist\u2019s mate on a destroyer, and Chuck Baldwin, who flew in B-24 bombers. Goodman had arranged the event with Ancient Mariner owner Jessica Wilmot. \u201cAfter dining at this place \u2014 I\u2019m crazy about the cheeseburgers \u2014 I told Jessica that she really had three \u2018ancient mariners\u2019 in this community,\u201d he said. They were joined by a few friends and relatives: Monnie Newman, Walter Goodman\u2019s daughter; Tad Ventres, George Ventres\u2019 son; Debra Baldwin-Hammock, Chuck Baldwin\u2019s daughter; and Nancy Baldaserini, whose dad, \u201cJinx\u201d Baldaserini, 100 now, wasn\u2019t up for a lunch. Japan\u2019s surprise bombing of the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii Dec. 7, 1941, immediately drew the United States into the war. \u201cI was in high school,\u201d said Goodman, 92. \u201cThe day after I took my last test, I was on my way to Sampson Naval Base for basic training.\u201d He recalled three \u201coperations\u201d in the Pacific he was involved in. \u201cFor the first operation I was attached to the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions and I landed with them at Saipan,\u201d said Goodman. \u201cThe second operation I was in was Iwo Jima. I did not land there. I was in reserve. That was probably the worst island invasion in the Pacific as far as killed and wounded numbers.\u201d The third operation was at Okinawa. \u201cIt\u2019s a big, beautiful island, and shortly after that they dropped the bombs,\u201d he said. He heard the news at Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines. \u201cIt was like a gigantic yoke lifted off all our shoulders, because they surrendered a few days later,\u201d Goodman said. Pharmacist\u2019s mate George Ventres, 96, was in the service three months when the Japanese attacked. \u201cI joined the Navy in September of \u201941, the day after I was 18,\u201d he said. \u201cI was with a girl and we were bowling and everybody in uniform \u2014 you couldn\u2019t even bowl, these people would tell you, \u2018You gotta report, sailor.\u2019 I was as low as you could get in the Navy. They could do without me for a few hours,\u201d Ventres said. A pharmacist\u2019s mate, he served at two hospitals, in New Zealand, then on Espiritu Santo \u2014 the setting for the musical South Pacific. \u201cI went from there to a destroyer,\u201d Ventres said. \u201cTo take care of patients aboard a ship, they had a doctor, a chief pharmacist\u2019s mate, and me \u2014 I was a 1st class pharmacist\u2019s mate \u2014 and there was a 3rd class pharmacist\u2019s mate.\u201d He did not envy pharmacist\u2019s mates assigned to submarines. \u201cThey don\u2019t have doctors on a sub,\u201d Ventres said. \u201cWhat they said is, you\u2019re qualified for independent duty in the absence of a medical officer.\u201d He recalled treating an enemy combatant. \u201cWe picked up a Japanese pilot that got shot down,\u201d Ventres said. \u201cHis leg was broken and I gave him a shot of morphine and we cut his leg off \u2014 there was no saving it. \u201cHe ate as well as we did, we treated him good,\u201d Ventres said. \u201dHell, he was just a young kid.\u201d Shore leaves were welcome. \u201cEvery nine months we went to Sydney, Australia. We\u2019d have a nine-day drunk,\u201d Ventres said. \u201cWe went down there like this\u201d \u2014 he held out his hands, shaking \u2014 \u201cafter a nine-day drunk, no problem at all. \u201cThey\u2019ve got a beautiful country, down there,\u201d he added. Bombing runs Chuck Baldwin, 99, flew bombers. \u201cIt was the Navy\u2019s version of B-24,\u201d he said. \u201cI was in long enough to have my own plane,\u201d he said. Bomber crews included gunners, and mechanics for repairs. \u201cB-24s could absorb quite a hit,\u201d Baldwin said. \u201cWe did lose the occasional.\u201d He took part in the Pacific island-hopping campaign. \u201cJust getting rid of the enemy,\u201d he said. \u201cWe just kept advancing until Japan surrendered.\u201d Groups of bombers would take off, all go in different directions and fly different routes to the target area, drop their bombs, and take different routes back. \u201cThis was all enemy territory,\u201d he said. \u201cThey never did expect us.\u201d A pilot could run into Japanese planes. \u201cWhat happened, a lot of bullets went back and forth,\u201d he said. Baldwin earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for \u201cheroism or extraordinary achievement\u201d flying. He flew his huge bomber extraordinarily low over the water \u2014 a defensive maneuver. Most Japanese planes\u2019 guns could only shoot forward. They\u2019d attack from above, then fly under to get in position for another pass. \u201cIf you stayed high, they could make a run on you, and go make another run,\u201d Baldwin said. \u201cWe tried to get down as low as we could. Some of them would get so involved in getting us, they would go underneath. \u2026\u201d \u201cThey\u2019d hit the water, and that would be the end of them,\u201d said Debra Baldwin-Hammock, finishing her dad\u2019s story. How low? \u201cWe would get as low as that ceiling,\u201d Baldwin said, pointing up. \u201cWow!\u201d said Tad Ventres. \u201cLike 10 feet!\u201d \u201cJust ease it down,\u201d said Baldwin.