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Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30

Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30

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Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30

Attack on Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30

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The Military Airfields on Oahu

Hangar 6 Ford Island NAS

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a devastating event that had far-reaching consequences. Over 2,000 American servicemen were killed during the surprise Japanese attack. December 7th, 1941 became known as a “Date which will live in infamy”—one of the most important in all of American history. While we remember the naval base at Pearl Harbor as the primary focus of the attack, it wasn’t the only place that came under fire that fateful Sunday morning. For the Japanese assault to be successful, the Americans would need to be deprived of any means of striking back. For the men aboard the battleships being attacked, operating the anti-aircraft guns became next to impossible. That left one other source for a potential counter-strike – the military airfields on Oahu.

Wheeler Field in flames December 7, 1941

Multiple airfields were scattered around Oahu, many of them part of the US Army Air Corps. A fleet of aircraft was present on the ground at each base, and while most planes weren’t prepped or even remotely ready for combat, the potential was still there, and needed to be taken out of the equation.

While the bulk of the Japanese aircraft struck the battleships and other vessels at Pearl Harbor, some focused their efforts on the military airfields on Oahu. Hickam Field, which housed American bombers Wheeler Field and its fighter squadron and Ford Island’s Naval Air Station served as the strike force’s primary targets, while Bellows Field, near Kanoehe on Oahu’s Windward side, and the Ewa Marine Corps Station were marked as secondary.

Japan’s bombers focused their efforts on taking out hangers and unprotected aircraft on the ground, making any American counterattack much more difficult. Zero fighters’ armor-piercing and incendiary bullets tore through the American assets, rendering many of them completely useless, if not completely destroyed.

At Hickam Airfield were fifty P-40 Warhawks, all in operational status. P-36 fighters were also present, 20 of which were also in operational status. Multiple Japanese planes were shot down, but that had little effect on the damage to the American aircraft on the ground.

By the time the Japanese had pulled back and the attack ended almost two hours later, the US Army Air Corps lost approximately 77 planes with another 128 damaged. The Navy, which was also reeling from the losses of its vital battleships, also lost around 90 aircraft with another 33 damaged.

Though the active military airbases are off-limits to civilians today, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument offers a collection of exhibits, galleries, and museums that detail the involvement of the military airfields on Oahu in the December 7, 1941 attack. The Pacific Aviation Museum even has aircraft from the attack on display, including a Japanese Zero fighter.

American Losses at Pearl Harbor

Of course, the United States suffered by far the greatest losses during the Pearl Harbor raid. The number of American casualties far surpassed the damage felt by the Japanese. As the smoke started to clear, the death toll continued to climb. Relief efforts discovered that the sunken battleships were graves for hundreds of men.

In total, 2,403 Americans were killed during the attack. Of that figure, 2,008 of them were enlisted with the Navy, 218 were members of the US Army, 109 were Marines, and 68 were civilians.

This loss of life was felt to an unimaginable degree that day, but the material damage was enormous as well. In total, over 160 aircraft were destroyed as Japanese fighters targeted nearby airfields, and two of the eight battleships moored at Battleship Row—and another one on the other side of Ford Island—proved to be unsalvageable.

Hawaii Aviation

One of the Hawaiian Department’s new mobile radar “listening posts” was situated atop Kahuku Point on Oahu’s northernmost tip, called Opana. It had been in operation only two weeks, manned by the 515th Army Aircraft Warning Service. The key item of equipment was the SCR-270B Radio Direction Finder, a primitive form of radar. According to its operators, the oscilloscope at Opana offered the clearest picture of all six Oahu units. Two men had been on duty in the trailer since noon of December 6, off and on. Having started at 4 a.m., the men on duty were scheduled to go off shift at 7 a.m., the same time as the others. They were Private George E. Elliott Jr., who functioned as plotter and Private (3rd Class Specialist) Joseph L. Lockard, operator. It would have been interesting to them had the B-17s come from the mainland, because they would have caused a large blip on the scope but the tour of duty had been dull and uneventful.

At 7 a.m., Lockard and Elliott decided not to go home right at quitting time, feeling it would be a good opportunity for Elliot to operate the set for awhile. Being new in the line of work, the training would be useful to him and to the organization. Elliott was eager to get into the operator’s seat. It was only two minutes after seven o’clock when ”something out of the ordinary” appeared to him on the screen. Lockard also saw it, looking over the other’s shoulders. Puzzled, the operator plunked into his regular position, for he had never before seen such a large blip. There were two blips, at close inspection. Lockard suspected a faulty set and began setting adjustments. At this he became convinced what he was seeing was the radar echo of two large groups of airplanes.

Elliott rushed back to his aircraft warning plotting board and in less than a minute determined the blips to be at three degrees east or north and 137 miles north of Opana.

Elliott suggested the Information Center at Fort Shafter should be told of the findings. Lockard, at first unsure, allowed Elliott to place a telephone call. This was seven minutes after the blip first appeared. Raising only the male telephone operator to whom he revealed the unusual blip, the anxious soldier was told nobody was available. The operator called back a few moments later, with Lieutenant Kermit A. Tyler on the line. A new assignee, on the 4-8 a.m. shift as pursuit officer, the young officer talked with Lockard about the matter then speculated the blips depicted B-17s from Hamilton or Navy planes on patrol duty. Told to forget about it, for at least the next 30 minutes the two men nevertheless continued to plot what they saw as a “fine problem.” Then they made off to deliver the unique overlaid map to superiors and partake of a meal. At this point, the on-going Japanese warplanes were about 30 miles from Oahu, soon to fade from the scope due to a back wave from the mountains.


Now over Kahuku Point, Commander Fuchida fired his flare pistol and propelled a “black dragon” into the sky. His position as aerial commander was made clear by the distinctive red and yellow strip around his plane’s tail. This was the order to attack. As pre-arranged, at this signal the 183 planes of the first wave broke formation. Dive bombers headed upward for the 12,000 foot mark, horizontal bombers to 3,500 and torpedo bombers plunged to sea level then into mountain passes to avoid detection as they headed for Honolulu military targets. A second flare confused the attackers, who nonetheless formed a cloud of fire power on a deadly mission.

The second wave had taken off 45 minutes after the leading element. Consisting of 50 horizontal bombers, 80 dive bombers and 40 fighters, they varied course on signal and made for their targets.

At 7:55 a.m. the first Japanese planes were seen southeast of Hickam Field, fighters soon joined by 28 bombers. They made three separate attacks in a savage 10-minute assault on the flight line, shops and buildings. Seven fighters later strafed aircraft taxiing on the field for defense after a lull of 15 minutes, then pounded the base a third time at 9 a.m. In all, Hickam suffered 42 planes totally destroyed and many more damaged extensively.

Marine Air Group 21 at Ewa, located adjacent to Pearl Harbor, was hit. Situated there, also wing-tip to wing-tip per instructions, were 11 Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters (the newest of USMC fighter planes), 32 Scout dive bombers and six utility planes. Breaking the sabbatical calm, the approaching roar of strange airplanes, enticed the Officer of the Day away from his breakfast. He stepped out to see hordes of airplanes in the sky. Looking at his watch, he read 7:55 a.m. As the craft drew closer he made the planes out to be Japanese and sprinted toward the guard house to sound the alarm. They came in low over the mountains, skimming smoothly past Barber’s Point and, at 7:57, swooped down on the base with blazing armaments. There was no chance, and now no need, for sounding the alarm. Flying as low as 20 feet from the ground, 21 “Zekes” spewed armor piercing shells into the airplanes on the flight line. Pass after pass was made, during the 30-minute attack. Marines rushed out and valiantly began firing at the warplanes with the red-insignias, armed only with rifles and pistols. Destroyed were nine Wildcats, 18 Scouts and all but one utility plane. A second wave of “Zekes” was followed by “Vals” which had joined the first group about 15 minutes after the attack began, concentrating on buildings, installations, hospital tents and personnel. The third attack was by 15 “Zekes.” But this time, Marines had put into action some spare machine guns. Joining them were ground crewmen manning rear-cockpit guns in some of the riddled dive-bombers. They shot down one fighter plane, and damaged several others. Four Marines were killed, 33 of their planes devastated and 16 left too badly damaged to fly.

At one minute after 8, Pearl Harbor and Ford Island were overrun by attacking planes. Japanese bombers destroyed 33 of the 70 planes on Ford Island. Seconds later, dive bombers and torpedo planes struck at warships in the harbor on a sustained basis. Within 30 minutes, torpedo planes made four attacks, dive bombers eight and after a 15-minute lull, another half hour of vicious bombing and torpedo attacks was started, finally ending at 9:45 a.m. Most of the attacking planes approached Pearl Harbor from the south. Some came from the north over the Koolau Range, where they had been hidden en route by large cumulus clouds. The Pacific Fleet’s in-place 94 vessels were pummeled. Most heavily hit was the battleship force. Within a short span of time, all seven battleships had been hit at least once.

The ARIZONA took five hits with large armor-piercing bombs and sank in less than nine minutes. CALIFORNIA and WEST VIRGINIA had been sunk, the OKLAHOMA capsized with four shells in her hull, the NEVADA was severely damaged and beached to prevent sinking the TENNESSEE received additional damage, as did the PENNSYLVANIA. In all, six ships were sunk, 12 considerably damaged, others suffered minor hits. Naval facilities had been seriously damaged, others suffered minor hits. Fortunately, at the time of the attack the Pacific Fleet’s carrier force was not in Pearl Harbor. The SARATOGA, just out of overhaul, was moored at San Diego. The LEXINGTON was at sea about 425 miles southeast of Midway toward which she was headed to deliver a Marine Scout Bombing Squadron. The ENTERPRISE was also at sea about 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor, returning from Wake Island after delivering a Marine Fighter Squadron there.

Wheeler Field’s turf now held wartime planes, P-26, P-36 and liquid-engine P-40s, where pioneer aircraft once tread. Of the flock, six planes from the 47th Pursuit Squadron (P-36s and P-40s) were positioned at Haleiwa. The 44th Pursuit Squadron was also away, at little Bellows Field on the opposite side of the island. Rows of planes were neatly lined up on Wheeler’s wide cement apron, wing-tips practically touching one another. On alert for days with guns loaded, this Sunday morning they were without ammunition, cleaned up for the weekend to prevent mishap. Four-hour alerts prevailed, plenty of time to install armor piercing shells and tracers before heading off to help the Philippine protectors, if needed.


Of the many from Wheeler who were to perform heroically, there and later in Air Force careers, Lieutenants George S. Welch, Kenneth A. Taylor, and a quite new second lieutenant by the name of Francis S. Gabreski, stand out.

Welch and Taylor, on the early morning of December 7, had begun to feel sleepy after being awake all night. The Wheeler Officers’ Club dance was enjoyable, but an ensuing poker game dragged through the entire night. Swimming was excellent at Haleiwa, where their planes were, but the Bachelor Officers Quarters beds sounded more appealing to the tired pair. Gabreski had been out, too. He was at nearby Schofield Barracks’ Officers’ Club, dining and dancing with an attractive young lady visiting her Schofield-based uncle. He was back in his BOQ, a two story wooden building located next to the permanent housing area near the main gate, just rolling over in bed from a deep sleep. Looking at his watch, Gabreski saw it wasn’t yet 8 a.m., and immediately thought about getting up to go to church. He rolled over lazily for another few moments, but then a whining noise followed by a terrific explosion gave him a start. Recalling the incident, Gabreski said: “At first I thought it was one of the Navy patrol planes on maneuvers but then there was another hit, this time pretty close. I heard an airplane flying over the rooftops so I ran out to look. I just barely caught a glimpse of a big red circle on the plane. The rear gunner was spraying the buildings with bullets.”

At that, Gabreski ran up and down the BOQ hall alerting everyone to the fact they were being bombed and strafed. Rushing to the front door, he and some of the other pilots looked toward the flight line. “It dawned on me and the other dumb-founded men,” Gabreski went on, “that this was an actual bombing and our airplanes and hangars were being hit. Our second thought was, what we could do to help save the planes.”

In follow-the-leader fashion, approximately 25 Japanese dive bombers came onto the field from about 5,000 feet altitude, unloading their bombs on the exposed rows of airplanes. The attacked lasted 15 minutes.

Welch and Taylor, back in the club, also had the idea the Navy was out on maneuvers until they saw live bombs being dropped, explosions and fire. Running up to the closest telephone, Welch placed a rush call to Haleiwa where the outfit’s P-40s were sitting unarmed. The reply was long in coming, but when someone answered he was promptly directed to load several of the P-40s, particular “mine and Taylor’s.” Then five officers hopped into vehicles and sped for the airfield 10 miles away. They were Lieutenants Harry M. Brown, Robert J. Rogers, John J. Webster, Welch and Taylor. Crewmen worked fast putting in ammunition and carrying out last minute servicing. The pilots raced down the winding road past pineapple and sugar plantations for the normally placid beach playgrounds of Haleiwa.

In the meantime, Gabreski and his mates looked out across the sky for signs of more enemy aircraft. “Suddenly out of nowhere four planes came through Kolekole Pass and leveled out to strafe the flight line. They set up more fires. We got a good look at what was going on and identified the attackers as Japanese. We decided to rush down and try to salvage what planes we could. Only partly dressed, we ran toward the flight line when a couple of pursuits came down on us with blazing guns. We hit the dirt until they’d passed over, got to the line and physically began pushing and shoving planes away from burning aircraft and buildings. Altogether, we managed to salvage about 30 planes. One hangar that was set afire held 30-caliber ammunition. Inside the heat was so intense that cartridges exploded, sending tracers around men and planes. The last hangar held all the refueling trucks, completely filled with gasoline. We tried to move them but found no keys. So we had to leave them to the mercy of whatever set them off first, planes or fire.”

Arriving at Haleiwa’s flight line, the five pilots climbed into their pursuits after checking to make sure they were armed. Without knowledge of type or number of attacking enemy planes, they proceeded on their own initiative against the heat of the attack, in the vicinity of Barber’s Point. They were airborne by 8:15 a.m. Welch and Taylor observed a formation of 12 planes over Ewa, about 1,000 feet below and 10 miles away. The two paired off. Beginning to fire at one of the enemy, Welch discovered one of his guns had become jammed. Quickly, he pulled into the clearing above the clouds, checked his craft then returned to the scene of action over Barber’s Point. Seeing a Japanese plane heading for the sea, he pursued and shot at it until it fell into the ocean. Taylor shot down two planes. No more in sight, the pair proceeded to Wheeler Field for fueling, more ammunition and back into battle. Arriving at home base, Welch laughed at his uniform. He was still wearing Tuxedo trousers. Lieutenant Brown, caught amongst a host of enemy planes, began to shoot his way out. He sent one plane careening into the ocean just off Kahuku Point.

Four P-40s and two P-36s got off from Wheeler 35 minutes after the initial attack and during the next hour flew 25 sorties.

While Taylor and Welch watched their planes being refueled and the one gun cleared, another wave of planes came in from a low altitude. Three headed straight for Welch, who managed to take off before being hit. Taylor got off, too. A chandelle maneuver permitted him to escape the accumulated force of eight to 10 planes. One got on his tail but Welch out-turned him and, his guns blazing at the pursuer, sent him to a fiery death between Wahiawa and Haleiwa. His plane was hit, but Welch headed for Ewa where he saw another plane heading for the open sea. He shot it down about five miles off shore, and then returned to Haleiwa. All told, Welch claimed four planes, Taylor two with two probables (later confirmed), and Brown one. Lieutenant John L. Dains used both a P-36 and P-40 in sorties but was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from Schofield Barracks. Haleiwa gave the enemy the most resistance that day and was neglected entirely by Japanese bombers and strafers because it was not on their maps.

Bellows Field received light damage. At about 8:30 a.m. one pursuit strafed the tents then nine more arrived to attack the flight line. Preparing to take off in armed P-40s assigned to the 44th Pursuit Squadron were Lieutenants Hans C. Christensen, George A. Whiteman, and Samuel W. Bishop. Christensen was killed climbing into his airplane. Whiteman and Bishop managed to get airborne. Whiteman barely cleared the runway when he was shot down. Bishop’s P-40 was attacked, sending it crashing into the sea. Bullet in leg, Bishop swam to shore. At 8:50 a.m., four P-36s from the 46th Pursuit Squadron left Wheeler to give Bellows a hand. Included in this group were Lieutenants Philip M. Rasmussen, Lewis M. Sanders and Gordon H. Sterling. Greatly outnumbered, they nonetheless attacked the nine planes. Rasmussen shot an enemy from the sky, so did Sanders. Sterling was downed. All together, five people from Bellows were killed and nine injured.

Close to 12 o’clock noon, Wheeler’s 45th Fighter Squadron was ordered into the air. Gabreski and 11 other pilots got airborne in a mixture of P-36s and P-40s heading for Pearl Harbor where they were to receive further instructions upon arrival. “One objective of the exercise, it turned out, was to look for a carrier. But we couldn’t do anything until we received orders in the air,” Gabreski explained. “We never got them. Arriving over Pearl, we were shocked by gunfire from the ground, both from Hickam and Pearl Harbor. We were flying about 5,000 feet altitude and none of us were hit, but seeing the explosions from confused Americans below us, we broke formation and headed for home. One officer, Lieutenant Fred Schifflet, dove his P-40 down to make an identification pass over Hickam so they could see we were not Japanese. He received a heavy volley of fire from many directions, was hit profusely but not knocked down. Recovering, he made tracks for Wheeler and just managed to land when his engines froze up. The plane was full of holes, but Fred climbed out unhurt.” Wheeler lost 42 combat planes, and others were damaged. Army planes made a total of 81 take-offs that day.


During the attack, 25 Navy planes were in the air. Included in this total were three PBYs from Patrol 14 of Patwing 2 carrying live depth charges. They were under orders to sink any submerged submarines unescorted and outside the submarine sanctuary, four more PBYs cooperating in training exercises off Kaneohe, seven Midway-stationed PBYs, and, from Vice Admiral William F. Halsey’s Task Force 8, (launched off the ENTERPRISE 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor) 18 scout bombers with instructions to scout a distance of 150 miles and proceed to Ewa Marine Base. Unaware what was taking place, they inadvertently joined the fight but were armed and so could be useful. About half were lost in battle one fled to the island of Kauai and the remaining managed to land on Oahu. Thereafter, no Navy planes were to get into the air.

In the midst of the attack, from Hamilton Field came 11 B-17s belonging to the 38th and 88thReconnaissance Squadrons, on the first leg of their flight to the Philippines. Surprised by heavy pursuit attack, the large bombers were forced to take evasive action and seek a landing place. Two came in at Haleiwa, two at Wheeler, and one on a golf course at Kahuku. The rest landed at Hickam one was destroyed in the process and three badly damaged.


Kaneohe Naval Air Station was strafed twice and then bombed 25 minutes later. Twenty-seven of the 33 planes on base were destroyed and six damaged. (Three were on patrol at the time.) One hangar was burned to the ground, another severely damaged.


At Honolulu’s John Rodgers Airport, a Douglas DC-3 operated by Hawaiian Airlines was preparing to admit passengers for a regular inter-island flight. Suddenly, from out of the sky came a Japanese pursuit plane, guns blazing. The time was 7:55 a.m. Robert Tyce, pilot of the K-5 Flying Service, was struck in the head by a machine gun bullet and killed, but no one else was hurt. No bombs were dropped on the airport, all damage being caused by aircraft cannon and machine gun fire. Shot at in the air around the field was a privately owned Aeronca. Another Aeronca, with Oahu legislator Roy Vitousek at the controls, was pursued and shot at by two Japanese planes near Kahuku Point, as the task force headed for Pearl Harbor. Both planes came down safely but with confused pilots and passengers. Marguerite Gambo was flying with a student on a cross-country trip at the time. Seeing what was occurring, she went through a seldom-used pass and landed safely. Four Gambo planes were in the air that day, two failed to return.


The air war extended to Niihau, another Hawaiian island on December 7, 1941. One Japanese plane departing the battle arena came to land on the tiny island of Niihau. Except for two Japanese employees, Niihau’s residents were all Hawaiians. The island was privately owned (still is) by the Robinson family, dating back to when King Kamehameha IV persuaded Elizabeth Sinclair to purchase and occupy it. Niihau had no communication with the other islands, except by boat or ship, therefore residents had no knowledge Oahu was being attacked.

The bullet-riddled plane was one of two which had flown overhead earlier, sighted by Island residents just before going into church for their forenoon services. The planes headed down the Niihau coast in the general direction of Kaula rock. One was smoking badly and seemed to be in difficulty. They were recognized as Japanese. Shortly after church services were over, one was seen coming in low. It crash landed on the heavily furrowed and rocky field, coming to a sudden stop near the house of Hawila Kaleohano. (For a number of years, acting on military request, Niihau Ranch kept all flat lands unusable in this manner for just such a purpose). The plane was considerably damaged. When Hawila came up to the plane he found the Japanese pilot reaching for his pistol and snatched it away from him. The Hawaiian also confiscated a map of Oahu and other papers inside the man’s shirt. Unable to understand what the pilot said, Hawila sent for the Japanese residents In the ensuing conversation, the local employee, Harada, ostensibly could extract no information which hinted of the attack, nor the flyer’s affiliation with it. Recognizing the Japanese insignia on the plane, some of the people suspected the truth. The group assembled around the strange sight agreed it would be best to guard the intruder until Mr. Robinson returned from his visit to Kauai A double guard system was set up for the man and his airplane Four days went by, Kauai’s military authorities held up Robinson’s departure clearance until the Oahu attack situation was somewhat stabilized Harada, one of the pilot’s guards, talked villagers into allowing the stranger to move into his quarter to appease the worried people—still under double guard. Several days later, the pilot admitted participating in the raid on Oahu, explaining that he and the other pilot sighted were heading for their supposed carrier location somewhere north or northwest of Kauai. Unable to find it, they made for the alternate position southwest of Kaula, also without success. It was near Kaula that the other plane crashed into the sea, whereupon the companion flew to Niihau. The man expressed a willingness to remain on the beautiful island after the war. Later he boasted that Oahu’s defenses had been demolished.

On Friday, Harada stole a shotgun from his employer’s household. He armed the pilot then they shut up the other guard long enough to escape. Then they set out in armed search for Hawila, the coveted papers and map. The other Japanese resident, Shintani (a Robinson employee of long standing), was sent after Hawila with an offer of a large payment of money for the papers. The Hawaiian refused. At this point, Shintani joined the Hawaiians and had nothing more to do with the pilot. After Shintani’s visit, Hawila saw the pilot and Harada heading his way. He alerted the villagers and then joined a group of people preparing to go by boat for help. The people moved their families out of harm’s way.

Unable to find the elusive Hawaiian, the pair removed one of the plane’s guns and took it along to force cooperation from villagers. Friday night, the pistol and map were uncovered in Hawila’s house but not the papers or the man. Infuriated, they proceeded to burn down the house and set fire to the plane. Then the search continued. People captured were uncooperative.

In the meantime, Benekakaka Kanahele and his cousin, Kaahakila Kalimahuluhulu, confiscated the machine gun’s ammunition. They carried it off boldly, with the Japanese only a short distance off. Several men rowed away in a whale boat for Kauai. Included in the party were boat captain Kekuhina Kaohelaulii and Hawila Kaleohano.

Upon receiving word of the incident, Robinson notified the military. Army Lieutenant Jack Mizuha, a squad of infantrymen, and the Niihau party, sped for Niihau aboard the lighthouse tender, KUKUI. When they put in to shore, one week after the attack, the need for them had been eliminated. Saturday morning, Kanahele and his wife were captured. Sending the Hawaiian in search of Hawila, the Japanese held the wife as hostage. Concerned with her safety, Kanahele returned and waited for an opportunity to disarm the two men.

The couple were forced to walk back to the village at gunpoint. The desperate men announced their intention to kill Kanahele and his wife as an example, and continue killing until the vital papers were revealed. The Hawaiian saw an opportunity and quickly attacked the pilot. His wife was seized by Harada. The Hawaiian barked out orders not to harm her, as he struggled with the armed man. Suddenly, three bullets were pumped into Kanahele’s body from the pilot’s pistol. The bleeding Hawila, however, picked up the startled invader and smashed his head against a stone wall. The blow killed him. Seeing this, Harada made use of the shotgun as a suicide weapon.

In a statement to Mr. Robinson later, Kanahele said he was sorry to have to kill the flyer. Being shot and bleeding freely he was unsure how long he would be useful to his wife, children and the others on his beloved Niihau. The brave Hawaiian survived and was later cited by the President of the United States.

Niihau went on to serve the war effort. In the early stages, it was only a station for telephone communication with Kauai. Later, material from sunken ships, such as gasoline and oil that drifted in, was collected and turned over to the Army on Kauai. Army supplies and personnel were moved about by the Ranch’s sampan. Navy ships were given help whenever they landed. Later in the war, the Coast Guard established a station on the island after the Army discontinued its post. Much beef and mutton were supplied to Kauai wool and honey as well.


From the first wave attack, 29 Japanese planes failed to report back to their carriers. Then a roughened sea caused about 50 planes to smash on carrier landings.

Of the 169 Naval aircraft on Oahu, 87 had been destroyed. Only 79 out of 231 Army planes remained flyable. At Hickam, 163 people were killed, 43 missing and 336 wounded. All told, the December 7 disaster resulted in a loss to the Untied States of 2,008 Navy men and 109 Marines (more than half of which are entombed in the USS ARIZONA), and 218 Army personnel. On the injured list were 710 from the Navy, 69 Marines, and 364 soldiers. The total casualty rate was 3,478. For Japan, less than 100 men were lost. Outright, the United States lost 188 planes, Japan 29 plus 50 damaged. The U.S. suffered severe damage to 18 ships and minor damage to a number of others Japan lost one full-size submarine and five midget submarines.


The story of all the tragedies emanating from this momentous “day of infamy” has been told many times, and continues to be explored. Written in history is the performance of free peoples everywhere in reaction to a dastardly deed by a misled nation. The men and women who survived the attack, and others who felt its effects, went on to varying degrees of contribution to the war effort, later to a short period of peaceful preparation, followed by an international conflict in Korea. The subsequent deeds of one man in combat are noteworthy.

Second Lieutenant Gabreski was confused and dazed, as were other men, when Army airplanes were being torn to blazing shreds during the most effective—but awakening—attack against the United States in history. Acting as a modern Paul Revere, later under fire he helped safeguard planes from fiery devastation. Not until the attackers were gone did he get into position of possible engagement with the enemy, the job for which he was trained and dedicated then he was shot at by members of his own forces, made to go quietly back to home base. There was an unanswered question in his mind. He felt great admiration, and probably even envy for Welch and Taylor, who, between them, managed to shoot eight of the enemy out of the sky, Gabreski wondered how well he would have done in combat. Unknown was the feeling of one who tastes victory in the air. His coveted silver pilot’s wings were untested in combat, in the very place, and on the crucial day, when the Untied States was attacked.

Things were dull in Hawaii, so Gabreski talked his way to being transferred in a few months to the more active “and better supported” European Theater of Operations. He went to England as an intelligence officer, but soon arranged to fly B-24s, P-38s and P-39s, delivering the aircraft to operational units, with the Ferry Command. This lasted a tame three months, but at least he was an active pilot. Then he managed to fly combat missions with Polish Air Force fighter pilots, in Spitfire 9s escorting medium bombers then later GB-17s. Gabreski fired his guns at the enemy only once. The question was still unanswered when the 56th Fighter Group arrived in England. Gabreski joined it as operations officer of the 61st Fighter Squadron. Prior to getting shot down and taken prisoner, the amazingly accurate Gabreski compiled a record of 28 victories in the air plus three on the ground. During the Korean Conflict, he got 6 ½ more in the air. Today, he is the U.S.’ greatest living ace. The question was answered.

Related content

A Handful of Pilots Article from the Journal of American Aviation Historical Society, Winter 1982.

Hickam Field December 7, 1941 An article from the Aerospace Historian, December 1986.

Brief Summary of December 7, 1941 Summary of Japanese attack on Air Force Installations on Oahu by L. R. Arakaki, 15th Air Base Wing Historian, July 8, 1991.

Attack at Bellows Field Report by Lt. Col. Clyde K. Rich.

Cloak of Darkness Article from the Aerospace Historian, December 1988.

George J. Gabik Memories December 7, 1941 memories of George J. Gabik.

Enterprise Air Group Report on December 7, 1941

Photographic Journal of the Day Photos of the December 7, 1941 attack on Hawaii.

Eye Witness Accounts of the Bombing of Hickam AFB The stories of a number of survivors of the December 7, 1941 bombing of Hickam Air Force Base.

“Happy Pearl Harbor Day” is a Family Tradition

Every year since I left home when I was 19 years old in 1968 to attend the United States Naval Academy, I called my Dad on December 7th to wish him “Happy Pearl Harbor Day,” no matter where I happened to be in the world. One year I was deployed in the Western Pacific and in the Philippines at the proverbial “tip of the sword.” We talked about Pearl Harbor and where he and Mom were that day, and what they were doing. I loved to hear my Dad retell the story, year after year. I know it made him feel good to tell it.

I keep this story alive to honor all of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, and the most important Pearl Harbor Survivors in my life, my Mom and Dad, and their Shipmates and their families. December 7th has always been a day of remembrance in the Marcus and Lani Klein family.

The following is our family version of the events of December 7, 1941 and the thoughts and sharings of some of those who were there that day. December 7, 1941 was the start of much more hardship to come…for our country, our citizens, and our Armed Forces.

Each year I review and add to this story of my family’s memories of December 7th, 1941. These memories were related to me and my sister Debbie by Mom and Dad, not only on December 7 each year, but often over the years, in different places and at different times, and in different company, as many of Mom and Dad’s good friends were also Pearl Harbor Survivors, Submariners, and Survivors of the War.

This is my memory of others’ memories, and expressing it each year is my way of keeping Pearl Harbor Day alive for me. Perhaps it will stimulate your own thoughts, memories, and imagination…and your own Pearl Harbor Story. There was once so many to tell.

My mother and father were both, always proud to say that they survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the aftermath…Sub school in New London, and Submarine war patrols in the South Pacific…and the rest of the World War II.

We lost Pop in 2005, and Mom passed away in August of 2013. December 7th, 1941 was a defining moment in their young lives, and a significant influence in mine, even though it took place almost 8 years before I was born.

Mom and Pop were members of the “Greatest Generation,” and I was fortunate to be raised in the constant company of many who understood that the price of freedom is commitment and personal sacrifice. And they were all willing and anxious to pass the importance of these values on to me and my sister.

Part of Mom and Pop and all of their friends and shipmate’s enduring legacy and gift to me/us is the preservation of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and a national identity…which may seem quaint today, but something I believe helped make freedom the way we know it today, possible.

Today, it seems, that many aspects of these freedoms are taken for granted by many, not understood by many, not valued by many. If we do not remain forever vigilant, and diligent…many of our freedoms will be lost by many. Each day I become less confident that there is the ability to save these freedoms for future generations. We are rapidly losing history’s important lessons.

The passing time, for me, brings a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices of those who came before us. They conveyed their virtues and values by words…and, more importantly, by their acts and deeds…unlike much of what we see in our society and culture today.

That powerful national identity began to come into focus for many on December 7, 1941.

Pop Volunteered for submarine duty and graduated from Sub School in New London, and spent the rest of the war on the USS Balao in the South Pacific.

My Mom was almost 89 when I visited her on December 7, 2012, her last Pearl Harbor Day, at the nursing home. We “talked story” about December 7, 1941 and about Pop, and about how I would call him and wish him a “Happy Pearl Harbor Day” every year. As usual, she brought up “the day I was born story.” This was the end of an almost lifelong ritual for me…except to continue to write about it.

Happy Pearl Harbor Day?

Happy to have survived. And happy to live in the United States of America.

Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30 - History

Kanoehe Bay, on the east coast of Oahu, was the site of a major Navy patrol seaplane base. A new facility, with some of its buildings still under construction, this Naval Air Station was home to three Patrol Squadrons. It had 33 PBYs on the ground or floating just offshore when the Japanese arrived. Of those planes, all but six were destroyed, and the survivors were damaged. Only the three Kaneohe Bay PBYs then out on patrol were fit for service at the end of the raid.

This page features views related to 7 December 1941 Japanese air attacks on Kanoehe Bay Naval Air Station

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

PBY patrol bomber burning at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu, during the Japanese attack.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Burning PBY at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, during or soon after the Japanese air attack.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Sailors attempt to save a burning PBY at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, during the Japanese air raid.
This plane was set afire by strafing in the the initial phase of the attack and was sunk in a later strike.
Note dog observing the work.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Hangar # 2 burning at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, during or soon after the Japanese air attack.
Note disrupted pavement in the foreground, possibly the result of a bomb explosion.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Wrecked automobiles, some still burning, beside a damaged hangar at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, during or soon after the Japanese air attack.
The coupe in center bears a lower license plane marked "NAS Kanoehe # 3 1941".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Aircraft wreckage and a badly damaged hangar at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, shortly after the Japanese air attack.
Plane in the foreground is a PBY of Patrol Squadron 12, marked "12-P-3".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, T.H.

Aerial view of the hangar area, 9 December 1941, two days after the Japanese air attack destroyed nearly all of the station's patrol planes.
Note wrecked hangar in center. There are at least six PBY "Catalina" flying boats on the ramp and around the hangars.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Aerial view of the hangar area at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, on 9 December 1941, showing effects of the Japanese air attack two days earlier. View looks southeast.
The most distant hangar appears to have suffered significant damage and has a pile of aircraft wreckage immediately to its left.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 122KB 740 x 600 pixels

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Sailor killed by Japanese air attack at Naval Air Station Kanoehe Bay. Photographed on 7 December 1941.
Note PBY aircraft wreckage in the right distance.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

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Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

A Marine rifle squad fires a volley over the bodies of fifteen officers and men killed at Naval Air Station Kanoehe Bay during the Pearl Harbor raid. These burial ceremonies took place on 8 December 1941, the day after the attack.
Note sandbagged emplacement atop the small hill in the right middle distance.
See Photo # K-13328 for another view of this location.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 127KB 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Following Hawaiian tradition, Sailors honor men killed during the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu. The casualties had been buried on 8 December. This ceremony took place sometime during the following months, possibly on Memorial Day, 31 May 1942.
See Photo # 80-G-32854 for a photograph of the 8 December 1941 burial ceremonies.

Bombing Oahu

Striking these additional targets was essential to Japan’s success. Without the ability to counterattack with its own air fleet, the United States was forced to remain almost completely on the defensive, and with just stationary anti-aircraft guns and rifles, downing Japan’s fast-moving and agile Mitsubishi Zero fighters would prove to be nearly impossible.

Hangar 6 Ford Island NAS December 7, 1941

Though the naval base tends to be the focus of discussions, a map of the December 7th attack shows that disabling Wheeler Field, Hickam Field, Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, and Ford Island and Kaneohe Naval Air Stations were vital in pulling off the attack on the harbor.

Before any of the other Oahu targets were hit, however, Japan used the element of surprise to successfully use its slower-moving torpedo bombers to strike the battleships present at the harbor. Their reasoning was that this preemptive hit would send the Pearl Harbor into a panic and rescue mode, allowing additional waves of bombers to swoop in with little resistance.

While chaos erupted in Pearl Harbor, groups of fighters and bombers shifted focus to the airfields, in order to prevent a potential aerial counterattack. Though a few American pilots got off the ground, the plan to attack the air bases was largely a success.

Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30 - History

Between 1939 and 1941 Pearl Harbor had been fortunate in receiving unusual attention from the Surgeon General and the officers who assisted him at the Bureau of medicine and Surgery in making plans for the Medical Department. When the facilities of the Pearl harbor hospital had become overcrowded in 1940, every effort had been made to add to the bed capacity, equipment, supplies, and personnel of the Hawaiian area. Although the U.S. Naval Hospital at pearl Harbor had a normal bed capacity of approximately 250 beds and was one of the best equipped and staffed of the eighteen hospitals then in commission, a new hospital that would be removed further from military installations and be less subject to destruction in case of air attack had been planned and was actually under construction at the time of the Japanese attack.

Because of the great concentration of naval personnel and the activities of the Fleet in the Hawaiian area, the Surgeon General requested and secured permission to send out to Pearl Harbor the Navy's second Mobile Base Hospital, a type of transportable facility which was the most significant institutional organization developed by the Navy Medical Department during the pre-war emergency. To add further to the hospital facilities in the Hawaiian area, the hospital ship USS Solace arrived at Pearl harbor shortly after the Mobile Hospital and was in port when the Japanese struck.

The casualties at Pearl Harbor were cared for at a variety of facilities: at the battle dressing stations and sick bays of the war ships aboard the hospital ship Solace at first-aid stations at the dispensaries of the two naval air stations the Marine Corps Air Station at Ewa the Defense Battalions of the Fleet Marine Force the Navy Yard, and the Section Base at Bishop's Point at a "field hospital" which was set up in the Officers' Club of the Navy Yard and at the Mobile Base Hospital and the U.S. Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor.

Medical Service Aboard Ships

Most of the wounded and burned men from the ships and those rescued from the water were evacuated to the hospital ship Solace to the dock where the USS Argonne, flagship of the Base Force, was moored or to landing C near the U.S. Naval Hospital. [2]

The Solace, which was unharmed by the attacking force, received its first patients at about 0825. By this time, preparations had already been begun to receive a large number of casualties. Bed patients were moved into upper beds so that the lower beds could be used for casualties. Supplies were broken out and preparations of sterile morphine solution, tannic acid solution, and saline solution were made. Special serums, plasma, and other supplies were issued to dressing stations and wards. One hundred and forty-one convalescent patients were discharged to duty in order to make room for additional casualties in case of repeated air attacks. After casualties began to come aboard the ship at a rapid rate, twenty-three patients were taken care of in the 50-bed emergency ward compartment. [2]

A total of 132 patients were admitted aboard the Solace on 7 December. [4] About 80 men were given first-aid treatment only. Twenty-eight patients, 26 of whom were not identified, died. The final census on 7 December showed 177 beds occupied and 253 unoccupied. [5]

After the first air attack the main battle dressing station of the Argonne was moved to the secondary battle dressing station, where the injured men from the ship were treated. later, the medical department of the Argonne, aided by medical personnel from other ships, received a large number of wounded and burned men at the dock where the ship was moored. [6]

In the open and under fire, about 150 cots were set up on the dock to take care of the injured men evacuated from ships or rescued from the water. Subsequently, under the direction of the Base Force Surgeon, the cots and medical material were moved to the Officers' Club in the Navy Yard, which was less exposed to enemy fire. By 1030, a "field hospital", supplied and equipped by the Argonne, was set up. The dock continued to be used as a clearing station for the wounded. The most severely injured were sent to the Naval Hospital less severe cases were sent to the Mobile Base Hospital or to the field hospital in the Officers' Club. [7]

Aboard the USS Nevada 116 men were injured severely enough to require hospitalization 33 were know to be dead, and 18 were missing. After the first lull in the attack, about 65 casualties received emergency treatment at the forward, amidship, and after dressing stations until these stations were perforce evacuated to the sick bay. In the ship's sick bay between twenty and thirty cases were treated. Throughout the ship, patrol party corpsmen were busy administering first-aid. Two of these corpsmen were recommended for citations by the senior medical officer for their bravery and performance beyond the call of duty. Men of the crew, too, who had previously received first-aid instruction, gave valuable assistance to the medical department in rendering emergency treatment to the injured and burned men. The dead were collected astern. Attempts were made to identify each body before it was tagged and transferred to the Pearl Harbor Hospital. Immediately after the attack there was neither time nor facilities for keeping paper records on either the living or the dead transferred to the hospital. [8]

After the battle was over, the sick bay of the Nevada had to be moved to the mess room of the chief petty officers. When this area flooded the next day, the medical department was again shifted. A first-aid station was established under the overhang of #4 turret on the main deck aft. On the beach, about fifty yards off the starboard quarter, two tents were set up and supplied and equipped. Health records from the Nevada were sent to the Receiving Barracks "for separation and forwarding." [9]

The USS Pennsylvania had four dressing stations. During 1941, partly as a consequence of lessons learned from British experiences in handling casualties in air raids, a station had been established in a part of the ship that was accessible to the crews of the anti-aircraft and broadside guns. This new station, located in the warrant officers' mess room, was "reasonably well protected," had ample space for working, and was near the fixed bunks, toilet facilities, and a supply of fresh water. Ironically, the only bomb that hit the Pennsylvania "detonated in the casemate of the #9 broadside gun on the deck above and just outboard of this space." Among twenty-seven men killed were the junior medical officer and one corpsman stationed in the battle dressing station. Thus the advantages of the location of the station were nullified, and the loss of the doctor and corpsman seriously delayed the care of the wounded. [10]

Neither the action reports nor the annual sanitary reports for 1941 gave much information on the care of casualties aboard ships. The few sanitary reports from ships which mentioned the Pearl Harbor attack, except for the Nevada, Pennsylvania, Argonne, and Solace, gave no descriptions of the arrangements made to take care of the casualties.

The sanitary report from the USS Helena, which had about 100 casualties, devoted a paragraph to the types of wounds and burns and explained how the lack of clothing on the men was responsible for such a large number of flash burns. The report estimated that about sixty of the casualties were permanently lost to the ship because of either death or disability. Of these casualties, 26 died before they could be evacuated and 13 died subsequently in the hospital. The supply of tannic acid jelly, dressings, and surettes was adequate for the casualties sustained by the Helena. The four Stokes litters allotted to the Helena were insufficient, and the Army stretchers were useless below decks. There were not enough hospital corpsmen aboard, and, according to the report, if the casualties had occurred at sea, the medical department would have been sadly handicapped." [11]

Sanitary reports from the Enterprise, Curtiss, and Honolulu gave casualty figures for their ships. Aboard the USS Enterprise ten officers and men were lost in action the bodies of only three officers and two men were recovered or identified. Aboard the USS Curtiss, fifteen were killed and sixty-four were injured. The USS Honolulu had no personnel casualties.

Several sanitary reports commented upon the value of clothing in preventing or reducing the extent of flash burns. The USS Raleigh reported that partial protection against burns caused by burning powder and bomb blast could be gained "through the use of proper clothing." The USS Detroit, the USS Minneapolis, and the Enterprise, reported that the wearing of long trousers and shirts with long sleeves was required because the attack had demonstrated that such additional clothing provided protection against flash burns.

Medical Service at Shore Stations

The sanitary report from the Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, estimated that about 200 injured and burned men from the station and ships were given first aid at the station dispensary before they were sent back to duty or to a hospital. About 130 patients were transferred to the Pearl harbor Naval Hospital and the Aeia Plantation Hospital. Evacuation of patients started at about 1045. An effort was made to move critical cases first, and by 1430 all of the most seriously injured were transferred. Seven men who died before they could be evacuated and a dead Japanese aviator were sent to the morgue at the Naval Hospital.

The number of casualties at the Kaneohe Naval Air Station, as ascertained the day after the attack, was seventeen dead and sixty-seven wounded. As quickly as the injured men could be brought to the station dispensary, they were given emergency treatment. [13] The dispensary was "inadequate to care for the 75 or 80 wounded who required hospitalization," and a large number of the seriously wounded had to be sent elsewhere. Since evacuation to the Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital was "out of the question," about forty men were sent to the Kaneohe Territorial Hospital for the Insane. Subsequently these men were transferred either to the Pearl Harbor Hospital or back to the station. [14]

At the Marine Corps Station at Ewa, the hospital tents that housed the sick bay and dispensary were "set on fire by incendiary ammunition," and "a large quantity of equipment and medical supplies" were "damaged by enemy gunfire." Under the direction of the medical officer of Marine Aircraft Group Twenty-one, the fire was extinguished and a burning canvas which covered the medical stores was removed. Despite the fire, casualties were taken from the field between attacks and given prompt treatment by the medical officer and his assistants, who continued to work with their damaged equipment while exposed to enemy machine-gun fire. The most seriously wounded men were evacuated to the Ewa Plantation Hospital. Compared with the other stations subjected to attack, the number of casualties suffered at the Marine Corps Air Station was small. Thirteen men were wounded, three were killed during the attack, and a fatally wounded man died five days later. [15]

The medical departments of the First and Third Defense Battalions jointly set up three dressing stations one w in the dispensary and one was in each of the recreation rooms used by the two battalions. After 1100, a collecting and casualty dressing station which was established in the barracks was receiving slightly injured men from the Fleet units. On the morning after the attack, the first floor of the building where Company A was quartered was made available to the medical department for the care of casualties who required hospitalization. [16] The annual sanitary reports from the First and Third Defense Battalions for 1941 reported that 136 patients were treated between the day of the attack and 10 December, when most of the patients were transferred to the Pearl Harbor Hospital.

Very little information on the Pearl Harbor attack is available in the sanitary reports from other dispensaries in the Pearl Harbor area. The reports for 1941 from the Fourth Defense Battalion, the Section Base at Bishop's Point, and the Naval Ammunition Depot made no mention of the Pearl Harbor casualties. The report from the navy yard had no information on the methods employed for the care and treatment of the casualties, but described briefly the feeding and housing of a large number of survivors and the issuance of unusual quantities of first-aid supplies on 7 December.

Mobile Base Hospital Number Two

As a result of experiences with Mobile Base Hospital Number One, the packing and marking of equipment and the arrangements for unloading of Mobile Two were improved in such a way as to speed up the process of assembling materials and supplies. When the emergency of 7 December occurred, it was possible to break out the supplies and to care for the casualties who were received and placed in the crew quarters, the only buildings then available for patients. Arrangements were made by the Mobile Hospital to care for 125 patients, and 110 casualties were actually received for treatment. Four medical officers from the Mobile Hospital were sent to help at other stations - two went to the Pearl harbor Naval Hospital, one to the air station, and one to an "emergency station." [18]

U.S. Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor

The first wave of Japanese planes came over the Naval Hospital At about 0745 about twenty planes, which presumably came either up the channel or low over Hickam Field, passed immediately over and to the channel side of the hospital buildings. The planes travelled at a high speed and at an elevation of less than 150 feet. None of the planes fired upon the hospital or made any attempt to bomb it. The planes moved so rapidly that the men who saw them, and who were at first uncertain of their identity, were unable to give warning to the intended victims of the attack. [20]

Members of the hospital staff were notified immediately to report to the hospital. As it was Sunday morning, many of the medical officers were at home. The commanding officer, the executive officer, and the other men who lived on the reservation were the first to arrive. Medical officers who were not on the reservation were longer in reporting, but by 0915 the entire staff of the hospital was on duty. Medical officers and corpsmen from ships which had suffered damage during the attack reported intermittently throughout the morning. The two surgeons from the Mobile Hospital were assigned to one of the surgical teams of the hospital. A doctor of the Medical Corps who was convalescing after a major operation voluntarily returned to duty and worked until he became exhausted at the end of the third day. A large number of civilian women who had nursing or first-aid training volunteered to assist the twenty-nine Navy nurses. A total of 1114 registered nurses were supplied through the local Red Cross and as many as 26 of these were on duty at one time. About eight or ten nurses who were wives of enlisted men were of "valuable assistance." [21]

Soon after the first attack, special measures were taken to protect the hospital, and arrangements for receiving a large number of casualties were made. At about 0800, stations for air attack were manned. Ambulances and fire-fighting equipment were dispersed so as to avoid total destruction in case of a hit. All battle dressing stations in the wards and the operating suite were set up by 0815. Medical officers, as they arrived, were sent to various dressing stations. Four operating teams were assigned to the main operating suite. A station for minor injuries was established in a vacant building formerly used as nurses' quarters. Patients in the brig and the locked ward were released. To make more room for casualties, ambulatory patients were transferred to two old frame buildings and five hospital tents in the rear of the hospital. Convalescent patients who "requested that they be returned to duty" were permitted to return as best they could to their commands. [22]

The three hospital ambulances, ambulances from other stations, military and civilian trucks, personal cars, and delivery wagons were used to transport casualties to the hospital. Motor transportation was managed by the navy yard garage, where a pool of all vehicles was formed. The device of the pool enabled cars to be sent out in an orderly way to places that needed and could effectively utilize ambulance service.

Civilian as well as military personnel assisted in the transportation of casualties. Under fire and "with no thought of possible injury to themselves or their automobiles," civilians "spontaneously cooperated in bringing casualties to the hospital promptly." [23]

The first casualties arrived at the hospital within ten minutes after the first attack, and by 0900 they were coming into the hospital in a steady stream. [24] Under the supervision of the commanding and executive officers, casualties were distributed to the main operating suite or to any one of the twelve wards where empty beds were available. [25] A receiving ward would have caused a "hopeless bottleneck," and was not used. [26] Although an effort was made to send acute surgical cases to the surgical wards and fracture cases to the orthopedic wards every ward received a variety of cases. [28] The great majority of patients with burns were sent to the medical wards. [29] A regrouping of cases according to type of injury was not attempted during the day of the attack. [30]

Accurate records for the patients admitted to the hospital could not be kept. The rate was much too rapid at first for the men to be properly tagged and for information such as the name, next of kin, and religion to be recorded. Not until the afternoon was it possible to begin recording admission data. Even then the necessary information could not always be obtained. none of the patients wore metal identification tags and the service, health, and pay records of men were frequently missing. Furthermore, many patients who were unconscious when admitted to the hospital died before they could be identified. [31]

A total of 546 battle casualties and 313 dead were brought to the hospital on 7 December. [32] Approximately 452 casualties were admitted to the hospital in less than three hours. [33] Of the total admissions, 93 came from battle stations aboard ships, temporary first-aid stations ashore, and several plantation hospitals in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor. [34] A record was not kept of more than 200 men who received first-aid for slight injuries and were returned to duty immediately without being admitted to the hospital. [35] The census of patients in the naval hospital at midnight, 7 December, was 960. [36]

Identification of the dead and preparation of bodies for burial began at about 1100 of the day of attack. This "most unpleasant" work was done by a detail under the supervision of a hospital pathologist of the Medical Corps, who was assisted by an officer of the Dental Corps, and an officer of the Hospital Corps. Identification was slow, difficult, and sometimes impossible. None of the men wore metal identification tags, and the clothing of some of the men was marked with several different names. Some of the bodies were so badly charred or mutilated that they could not be identified from physical features fingerprints could not be taken from some of the men because their fingers were missing or badly mangled and only portions of some bodies were brought in. [37]

A systematic procedure for keeping record on the dead was followed. On the Navy form for reporting deaths all available data, including fingerprints and names if possible, were recorded. Each body, whether identified or not, was tagged with a serial number. This serial number was also placed on the Navy form for reporting deaths, the grave marker, the casket, and on the canvas wrapping, if used. [38]

All bodies, except those of identified officers, were placed in plain wooden caskets. "Bodies of officers were placed in standard Navy caskets in order that they might later be disinterred and shipped home if desired." [39] Burials began on 8 December in Oahu Cemetery, Honolulu. [40] Two officers of the Chaplain Corps and two civilian priests from Honolulu rendered proper religious rites at the hospital and at the funeral ceremonies held each afternoon in the Oahu and Halawa Cemeteries. The brief military ceremony held at the burial grounds included a salute fired by a Marine guard and the blowing of taps by a Marine bugler. [41]

Supplies at the Naval Hospital were, in general, sufficient to take care of the unprecedented demands created by the Pearl Harbor disaster. Shortages of dried plasma and tannic acid developed because of the great number of burn cases. Additional wet plasma was obtained from the blood bank established at the Queen's Hospital, Honolulu and other supplies were requested by dispatch and flown from the West Coast by plane. [42]

Medical Supplies

Types of Injuries and Their Treatment

About sixty percent of the casualties were burn cases. [48] Over seventy percent of the cases admitted to the Solace were burn cases, [49] and about forty-seven percent of those admitted to the Naval Hospital were burn cases. [50] According to one source of information, 254 burn cases were admitted to the Naval Hospital [51] another source stated that "approximately 350 patients were admitted with body burns." [52]

Some of the burns were caused by burning fuel oil and many were "flash burns" caused by "temporary but intense heat from exploding bombs." Although superficial, the flash burns were quite extensive some of the men had as much as eighty percent of the body surface burned. Patients who were admitted to the hospital while still living suffered from first and second degree burns. Most of the deeply burned died before they could be hospitalized. of the men whose faces were burned, the eyes of only four were "damaged". Many of the cases were "complicated by multiple shrapnel wounds. [53]

The extent of the burns suffered by the men was determined by the amount of clothes they happened to have on at the time of the attack. Of the men who were burned, those with the least amount of clothing suffered the most extensive burns. Indeed, the correlation between the amount of uncovered body surface and the amount of body surface affected was strikingly high. Often times the burns simply followed the line of clothing. All the doctors who reported on the Pearl harbor burn cases remarked upon the protection that clothing offered against the so-called flash burns. Even skivvy shirts, shorts and other thin apparel served as protection against flash burns. Men who were wearing undershirts had no burns on the chest or abdomen men who were wearing undershirts and shorts only, had burns on the face, arms, and legs men who were completely dressed usually had only their faces and hands burned. [54]

Most of the burned patients who had been overboard in water, when they came to the hospital or hospital ship, were covered from head to foot with fuel oil. There was no time to attempt preliminary cleansing of these patients and comparatively scant cleansing of wounds and burns could be done at first. Consequently the body surface was treated a though no oil were there, and local treatment for burns was applied over the oil. The efficacy of treatment was apparently unaffected by this unusual procedure. [55] According to "Fleet Medical New Letter 10-41," the removal of fuel oil from casualties, described as a "tedious" and "painful" process, was accomplished by "washing with large quantities of water and soap." Two medical officers from the Solace reported that they "found that the most effective method was the use of tincture of green soap with water." [56]

The treatment of burns was left to the discretion of the ward officers and varied a great deal. All patients were subjected to some type of tanning process as rapidly as possible. Tannic acid jelly and solution, picric acid, gentian violet, and the triple dye, with or without silver nitrate, were the main substances applied to the burns. Sulfanilamide powder was mixed with these substances in some instances. Morphine was administered to men with severe and painful burns. [57]

Because of the large number of burn cases, means of applying the substances to a great number of men in a short time had to be improvised. At the Naval Hospital, ordinary flit guns were used to spray tannic acid solution upon the burned surfaces. Aboard the Solace, dressing which were soaked in tannic acid solution were placed on the burned areas. Dressings were also dipped in a mixture of mineral oil and the sulfa drugs and applied to the burns. These liquid applications were "more easily applicable and more practical" than the tannic acid jelly which was pressed from the tube containers and smeared on the burn. [58]

During the day of the attack, the observation of sterile precautions was generally not attempted. Applications were made to all parts of the body that were burned the face, hands, and feet were treated like any other part of the body. The eyes were protected while the face was being sprayed. Patients who came on board the Solace with tannic acid dressings already applied were not treated except to keep them wet during the next twenty-four hours. [59]

on the second and third day after the attack, men with severe burns were placed under heat cradles. Numerous improvised bed cradles were used. These heat treatments were continued night and day for about a week. [60]

Early debridement of the burned areas was not attempted. On the third day after the attack, when eschars were removed, different forms of local treatment, including tannic acid solution, gentian violet spray, sulfanilamide in mineral oil, wet dressings, and open exposure under a heat cradle, were used with no apparent difference in the results. On the fourth day and thereafter the treatment continued substantially unchanged. Patients were cleaned in the morning, debridement was carried out, applications were made, and plasma and other intravenous fluids were administered. [61]

After the second and third days, sulfathiazole and sulfanilamide were administered to patients with burns that became infected. Patients with elevated temperatures, when caused by local infection, were given one gram of sulfanilamide every four hours until their temperatures became normal. After the fourth and fifth day, sulfanilamide in powder form or suspended in petrolatum was applied locally to infected parts of the burned surfaces. [62]

Shock treatment for the burn cases started as rapidly as possible. Heat, plasma, normal saline and saline solution with five percent glucose were given. For the first forty-eight to seventy-two hours. when only small amounts of plasma were available, normal or saline with glucose solutions were given. By the third day, wet plasma was available to supplant the saline solution and dried plasma. Doctors and nurses, assisted by hospital corpsmen, administered the plasma. Drs. I.S. Ravdin and P.H. Long reported that medical officers at the Naval Hospital were "exceedingly skillful in getting into veins which could not be seen or felt." [63]

Administration of plasma and other intravenous therapy for burn cases was extremely difficult because of the edema which many patients with burns suffered. The location of constricting or collapsing veins was especially difficult at night during the first week or ten days, when, because of blackout precautions, only the dim blue light from flashlights was available. [64]

Many of the injured men had compound fractures. These patients were given tetanus toxoid or prophylactic antitoxin until the supply was exhausted. procaine anesthesia was given to most of the men who were in shock. Plasma, when it because available, was given to the men who were in severe shock. The skin surrounding the injured part was cleaned with soap and water. A partial debridement was done for almost all the wounds. After debridement and reduction, crystalline sulfanilamide was placed in the wound and the surface was covered with sterile vaseline gauze. Over this dressing a case of plaster of paris was applied as soon as possible. The part was then X-rayed and the position of the fragments outlined with indelible pencil on the cast. This method of marking the cast proved to be a useful way of providing desirable information to medical officers who treated the men after their evacuation. For from four to ten days after the initial treatment, patients with the compound fractures were given sulfanilamide or sulfathiazole by mouth. [65]

This method of treating the compound fractures proved quite satisfactory. Drs. Long and Ravdin, who saw these patients during their investigation, reported that they had done amazingly well. "The patients (December 17th) looked well, there were no excessive febrile reactions, and their morale was excellent." [66] The same to doctors stated in an article in the Naval Medical Bulletin:

Because of lack of time and insufficient medical personnel, surgical operations could not always be performed upon men within six hours after they were wounded. [68] Excision of wounds could not be attempted in some cases until the third or fourth day. [69] While the supply lasted, these patients were given tetanus toxoid or antitoxin. [70] While awaiting definitive treatment, wounds were treated by infiltration of novacaine, excision of the worst torn skin and muscle, application of sulfanilamide powder, and dressing with vaseline or plain sterile gauze. [71] Absence of infection in most of these wounds indicated that with the aid of sulfa drugs, the time between injury and definitive treatment could be extended safely, when necessary, beyond the six-hour "golden period" of therapy. [72]

The Success of Navy Medicine at Pearl Harbor


2. Annual sanitary report from the Base Force, Pacific Fleet, for 1941.

3. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Solace.

4. This figure, given in the annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Solace, is in conflict with the following statement from an article by Eckert and Mader in the Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, p. 552: "Approximately 141 patients were received on board, the majority coming during the attack. This figure is in all probability much less than the actual numbers because many slightly wounded men were given emergency first-aid treatment and returned later on in the day to their stations, subsequent treatment being carried out by their own medical officers."

5. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Solace.

6. Annual sanitary reports for 1941 from the Base Force, Pacific Fleet, and the USS Argonne.

7. Annual sanitary reports for 1941 from the Base Force and the USS Argonne.

8. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Nevada.

9. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Nevada.

10. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Pennsylvania.

11. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Helena.

12. Elphege A.M. Gendreau, fleet medical officer, to Rear Admiral Ross T. McIntire (MC) USN, Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 11 Dec. 1941.

13. Commanding officer of the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, to the commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District, 8 Dec. 1941.

14. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay.

15. "The Japanese Attack of 7 Dec. 1941 on the Marine Corps Air Station, Ewa, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii" (mimeographed monograph prepared by the Historical Division of the Marine Corps).

16. Annual sanitary reports for 1941 from the First and Third Defense Battalions.

17. medical officer in command of Mobile Base Hospital Two to the Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 13 Dec. and 21 Dec. 1941.

18. Howard Chambers to Captain Melhorn (MC) USN, 13 Dec. 1941 Gendreau to McIntire, 11 Dec. 1941 Medical Officer in command of Mobile Base Hospital Number Two to the Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 13 and 21 Dec. 1941.

19. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 1-5 annual sanitary report for 1041 from the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor Medical Officer in command to the Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District.

20. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 1-5 Medical Officer in Command to the Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District.

21. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 1-5 annual sanitary report from the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor Ravdin-Long report Medical Officer in Command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor 19 Dec. 1941.

22. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 1-5 annual sanitary report for 1941 from the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor the Medical Officer in Command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942 Medical Officer in Command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941.

23. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor medical officer in command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942 medical officer in command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941.

24. Medical officer in command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the commandant of the Fourteenth naval District 19 Dec. 1941.

25. Medical officer in command of the U.S. naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941 Ravdin-Long report.

26. Oman, Doctors Aweigh medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, earl Harbor, to the commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942.

28. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

29. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942.

30. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942.

31. Gendreau to McIntire 11 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, pearl Harbor, to the commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941.

32. The figures given in the text are derived from letter of medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor 19 Dec. 1941. The Ravdin-Long report stated: "At least 490 men were treated during the day of December 7th in the wards and from 200-300 received first-aid treatment but were not admitted. There are records of 482 men dead upon admission to the wards." Gendreau to McIntire 11 Dec. 1941, stated: "The Hospital at Pearl Harbor had admitted, by 1750, a total of 705 wounded and received 124 dead on December 7th."

33. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942.

34. Medical officer in command of the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to commandant of Fourteenth Naval District, 19 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

35. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to the commandant of Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941 Ravdin-Long report.

36. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, p. 4 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, to Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District 19 Dec. 1941 annual sanitary report for 1941 from Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor.

37. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Commandant of Fourteenth Naval District, 19 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Gendreau to McIntire, 11 Dec. 1941.

38. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor to Commandant of Fourteenth Naval District, 19 Dec. 1941 Gendreau to McIntire, 11 Dec. 1941.

39. Medical officer command of Naval Hospital, Fourteenth Naval District to the Commandant of Fourteenth Naval District, 19 Dec. 1941.

40. Although additional land for the naval plot in the Oahu Cemetery was acquired, it soon became apparent that enough land could not be obtained there. Consequently a site for a new cemetery on the naval reservation in the Red Hill area was authorized by the district commandant, selected by the public Works Department, and approved by the district medical officer.

41. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Commandant of Fourteenth Naval District, 19 Dec. 1941 Gendreau to McIntire, 11 Dec. 1941.

42. Annual sanitary report for 1941 from Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor Ravdin-Long report.

43. George A Eckert and James W. Mader, "The Solace in Action," Naval medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1942), pp. 5452-557 annual sanitary report for 1941 from the Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor annual sanitary report from 1941 from the Base Force, Pacific Fleet Fleet Medical News Letter, No. 10-41 (mimeographed copy) medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942.

44. George A. Eckert and James W. Mader, "The Solace in Action," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1942), pp. 552-557 I.S> Ravdin and Perrin H. Long, "Some Observations on the Casualties at Pearl Harbor," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2 (April 1942), pp. 353-358 annual sanitary report for 1941 from Base Force, Pacific Fleet "Fleet Medical News Letter," No. 10-41 (mimeographed copy).

45. "Some Observations on the Casualties at Pearl Harbor," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Navigation, 22 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

46. "Some Observations on the Casualties at Pearl Harbor," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 Ravdin-Long report.

47. D.C. Emerson, memorandum on Dental Corps at Pearl Harbor, 7 Dec. 1941 15 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

48. Hygeia, vol. 20 (May 1942), pp. 342-358 annual sanitary report for 1941 from the USS Raleigh "Fleet Medical news Letter," No. 10-41.

49. "The Solace in Action," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1942), pp. 552-557.

50. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942.

51. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 9-11.

52. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Navigation, 22 Dec. 1941.

53. Oman, Doctors Aweigh, pp. 9-10 "The Solace in Action," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 "Some Observations n the Casualties at Pearl Harbor," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 annual sanitary reports from 1941 from the Naval Air Station, Pearl harbor, and the Base Force, Pacific Fleet.

54. "Some Observations on the Casualties at Pearl Harbor," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 "The Solace in Action," Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 annual sanitary report for 1941 from the Base Force, Pacific Fleet medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Navigation, 22 Dec. 1941 Ravdin-Long report.

55. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Navigation, 22 Dec. 1941.

56. Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557.

57. Hygeia, vol. 20, pp. 342-358 Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353 358 and vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 annual sanitary report for 1941 from Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor Gendreau to McIntire, 11 Dec. 1941 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

58. Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 "Fleet Medical News Letter" 10-41 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, 16 Jan. 1942.

59. Naval medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 Ravdin-Long report.

60. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942.

61. Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 552-557 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, 16 Jan. 1942.

62. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942.

64. Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

65. Medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358.

68. Medical officer in command of Naval hospital, Pearl Harbor, t Chief of Bureau of medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358.

71. Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, to Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 16 Jan. 1942 Ravdin-Long report.

72 Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 353-358 Ravdin-Long report.

Source: Administrative History Section, Administrative Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "The United States Navy Medical Department at War, 1941-1945," vol. 1, parts 1-2. (Washington: The Bureau, 1946): 1-31. [This manuscript, identified as United States Naval Administrative History of World War II #68-A, is located in Navy Department Library's Rare Book Room.]

The heroes of Pearl Harbor included more than just the sailors aboard the vessels that took the brunt of the attack, or the servicemen who scrambled to fight back with little more than their rifles. They weren’t just the local nurses who dropped everything to assist.

When most servicemen stationed at Pearl Harbor and around Oahu woke up on the morning of December 7th, 1941, they did so expecting a quiet Sunday. Those who were just ending their shifts were eager to start a little rest and relaxation with their loved ones, or just.

The Japanese Strike

At 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, the first wave of Japanese fighter planes struck the second wave of attackers would come 45 minutes later. In a little under two hours, 2,335 U.S. servicemen were killed and 1,143 were wounded. Sixty-eight civilians were also killed and 35 were wounded. The Japanese lost 65 men, with an additional soldier being captured.

The Japanese had two major objectives: Sink America's aircraft carriers and destroy its fleet of fighter planes. By chance, all three U.S. aircraft carriers were out to sea. Instead, the Japanese focused on the Navy's eight battleships at Pearl Harbor, all of which were named after American states: Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Japan also targeted nearby Army airfields at Hickam Field, Wheeler Field, Bellows Field, Ewa Field, Schoefield Barracks, and Kaneohe Naval Air Station. Many of the U.S. airplanes were lined up outside, along with the airstrips, wingtip to wingtip, in order to avoid sabotage. Unfortunately, that made them easy targets for the Japanese attackers.

Caught unawares, U.S. troops and commanders scrambled to get planes in the air and ships out of the harbor, but they were able to muster only a feeble defense, largely from the ground.

Pearl Harbor: 7 December 1941 - The Naval Base and Naval Air Station at around 07:30 - History

Posted on 12/07/2005 12:50:27 AM PST by bd476

WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941
Overview and Special Image Selection

The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

A Japanese Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Plane ("Kate") takes off from a carrier as the second wave attack is launched. Ship's crewmen are cheering "Banzai"

This ship is either Zuikaku or Shokaku.

Note light tripod mast at the rear of the carrier's island, with Japanese naval ensign.

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

Torpedo planes attack "Battleship Row" at about 0800 on 7 December, seen from a Japanese aircraft.

Ships are, from lower left to right: Nevada (BB-36) with flag raised at stern Arizona (BB-39) with Vestal (AR-4) outboard Tennessee (BB-43) with West Virginia (BB-48) outboard Maryland (BB-46) with Oklahoma (BB-37) outboard Neosho (AO-23) and California (BB-44).

West Virginia, Oklahoma and California have been torpedoed, as marked by ripples and spreading oil, and the first two are listing to port.

Torpedo drop splashes and running tracks are visible at left and center.

White smoke in the distance is from Hickam Field. Grey smoke in the center middle distance is from the torpedoed USS Helena (CL-50), at the Navy Yard's 1010 dock.

Japanese writing in lower right states that the image was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. In 1940, the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the following year, occupied all of Indochina.

The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by these Japanese moves. The U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific, and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan.

Because Japan was poor in natural resources, its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nation's survival. Japan's leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich territories of Southeast Asia, even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States.

The problem with the plan was the danger posed by the U.S. Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet, devised a plan to immobilize the U.S. fleet at the outset of the war with a surprise attack.

The key elements in Yamamoto's plans were meticulous preparation, the achievement of surprise, and the use of aircraft carriers and naval aviation on an unprecedented scale.

In the spring of 1941, Japanese carrier pilots began training in the special tactics called for by the Pearl Harbor attack plan.

In October 1941 the naval general staff gave final approval to Yamamoto's plan, which called for the formation of an attack force commanded by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. It centered around six heavy aircraft carriers accompanied by 24 supporting vessels. A separate group of submarines was to sink any American warships which escaped the Japanese carrier force.

Nagumo's fleet assembled in the remote anchorage of Tankan Bay in the Kurile Islands and departed in strictest secrecy for Hawaii on 26 November 1941. The ships' route crossed the North Pacific and avoided normal shipping lanes.

At dawn 7 December 1941, the Japanese task force had approached undetected to a point slightly more than 200 miles north of Oahu.

At this time the U.S. carriers were not at Pearl Harbor. On 28 November, Admiral Kimmel sent USS Enterprise under Rear Admiral Willliam Halsey to deliver Marine Corps fighter planes to Wake Island. On 4 December Enterprise delivered the aircraft and on December 7 the task force was on its way back to Pearl Harbor. On 5 December, Admiral Kimmel sent the USS Lexington with a task force under Rear Admiral Newton to deliver 25 scout bombers to Midway Island. The last Pacific carrier, USS Saratoga, had left Pearl Harbor for upkeep and repairs on the West Coast.

At 6:00 a.m. on 7 December, the six Japanese carriers launched a first wave of 181 planes composed of torpedo bombers, dive bombers, horizontal bombers and fighters. Even as they winged south, some elements of U.S. forces on Oahu realized there was something different about this Sunday morning.

In the hours before dawn, U.S. Navy vessels spotted an unidentified submarine periscope near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. It was attacked and reported sunk by the destroyer USS Ward (DD-139) and a patrol plane.

At 7:00 a.m., an alert operator of an Army radar station at Opana spotted the approaching first wave of the attack force. The officers to whom those reports were relayed did not consider them significant enough to take action.

The report of the submarine sinking was handled routinely, and the radar sighting was passed off as an approaching group of American planes due to arrive that morning.

The Japanese aircrews achieved complete surprise when they hit American ships and military installations on Oahu shortly before 8:00 a.m. They attacked military airfields at the same time they hit the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor.

The Navy air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airfield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps fields at Bellows, Wheeler and Hickam were all bombed and strafed as other elements of the attacking force began their assaults on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor.

The purpose of the simultaneous attacks was to destroy the American planes before they could rise to intercept the Japanese.

Of the more than 90 ships at anchor in Pearl Harbor, the primary targets were the eight battleships anchored there. seven (Sic)were moored on Battleship Row along the southeast shore of Ford Island while the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) lay in drydock across the channel. Within the first minutes of the attack all the battleships adjacent to Ford Island had taken bomb and or torpedo hits.

The USS West Virginia (BB-48) sank quickly. The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) turned turtle and sank. At about 8:10 a.m., the USS Arizona (BB-39) was mortally wounded by an armorpiercing bomb which ignited the ship's forward ammunition magazine.

The resulting explosion and fire killed 1,177 crewmen, the greatest loss of life on any ship that day and about half the total number of Americans killed. The USS California (BB-44), USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS Nevada (BB-36) also suffered varying degrees of damage in the first half hour of the raid.

There was a short lull in the fury of the attack at about 8:30 a.m. At that time the USS Nevada (BB-36), despite her wounds, managed to get underway and move down the channel toward the open sea. Before she could clear the harbor, a second wave of 170 Japanese planes, launched 30 minutes after the first, appeared over the harbor. They concentrated their attacks on the moving battleship, hoping to sink her in the channel and block the narrow entrance to Pearl Harbor.

On orders from the harbor control tower, the USS Nevada (BB-36) beached herself at Hospital Point and the channel remained clear.

When the attack ended shortly before 10:00 a.m., less than two hours after it began, the American forces has paid a fearful price. Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged: the battleships USS Arizona (BB-39), USS California (BB-44), USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Nevada (BB-36), USS Oklahoma (BB-37), USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS West Virginia (BB-48) cruisers USS Helena (CL-50), USS Honolulu (CL-48) and USS Raleigh (CL-7) the destroyers USS Cassin (DD-372), USS Downes (DD-375), USS Helm (DD-388) and USS Shaw (DD-373) seaplane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4) target ship (ex-battleship) USS Utah (AG-16) repair ship USS Vestal (AR-4) minelayer USS Oglala (CM-4) tug USS Sotoyomo (YT-9) and Floating Drydock Number 2.

Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged, the majority hit before the had a chance to take off. American dead numbered 2,403. That figure included 68 civilians, most of them killed by improperly fused anti-aircraft shells landing in Honolulu. There were 1,178 military and civilian wounded.

Japanese losses were comparatively light. Twenty-nine planes, less than 10 percent of the attacking force, failed to return to their carriers.

The Japanese success was overwhelming, but it was not complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which by a stroke of luck, had been absent from the harbor. They neglected to damage the shoreside facilities at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, which played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II.

American technological skill raised and repaired all but three of the ships sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor (the USS Arizona (BB-39) considered too badly damaged to be salvaged, the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) raised and considered too old to be worth repairing, and the obsolete USS Utah (AG-16) considered not worth the effort).

Most importantly, the shock and anger caused by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor united a divided nation and was translated into a wholehearted commitment to victory in World War II.

Source: Department of Defense. 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemorative Committee. Pearl Harbor: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Chronicle, "A Grateful Nation Remembers" 1941-1991. Washington: The Committee, 1991.

The press, however, questioned American propaganda claims about so-called destruction of the "Japanese air craft carriers" at Midway, leading eventually to American surrender after the overwhelming casualties taken at the botched effort to take Tarawa.

It's obvious you're trying to add on some kind of a dissenting "yes, but. " response to this thread, which is actually about remembering Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.

It's unclear why you would want to try to steer the thread in that direction.

Another day America will never forget.

Only at our own peril will we forget this day.

What they truly neglected to damage was the oil tank farms. Had they achieved that, they would have brought the US Pacific Fleet to a standstill. After the war, when asked why they did not take out the tank farms during the first 2 raids, a former Japanese pilot replied that oil tanks were not selected targets for the first 2 attacks. I believe these were selected targets of a 3rd attack which was cancelled by the Japanese.
Never awaken a sleeping giant powered by dinosaurs (fossil fuel).

From this day to the ending of the world.

But we in it shall be remembered .

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

For he that today sheds his blood for me

May they rest in peace and in God's good grace.

I read it less as a "yes, but" and more as a "yes, and". as in "yes. and look at how different things are today". It's unclear why you would want to try to steer the thread in that direction.

I think (s)he's pointing out that Japan/Germany found few "useful idiots" here in the states to fight their battles for them. but that there is no shortage today.

I don't think it was dissention, I think it was an attempt to frame this historical moment in the terms and mentality of today's press. Would Howard Dean have come out and said that victory over the Japanese is "just plain wrong" and unachievable? I don't see it as steering, just adding another dimension to the discussion and serving as another reminder of what they were fighting and dying for then, as well as today. Hopefully we can rediscover that 'can-do' attitude that made the Greatest Generation so great. God Bless those who died 64yrs ago, as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the WOT. May they never be forgotten.

Reports by Survivors of Pearl Harbor Attack

Source: Wallin, Homer N. Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal. (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1968): 297-327.

Note: Some of these accounts are copies of enclosures attached to the action reports of individual ships.

USS Arizona

Lieutenant Commander S. G. Fuqua wrote as follows:

I was in the ward room eating breakfast about 0755 when a short signal on the ship's air raid alarm was made. I immediately went to the phone and called the Officer-of-the-Deck to sound general quarters and then shortly thereafter ran up to the starboard side of the quarter deck to see if he had received word.

On coming out of the ward room hatch on the port side, I saw a Japanese plane go by, the machine guns firing, at an altitude of about 100 feet.

As I was running forward on the starboard side of the quarter deck, approximately by the starboard gangway, I was apparently knocked out by the blast of a bomb which I learned later had struck the face plate of #4 turret on the starboard side and had glanced off and gone through the deck just forward of the captain's hatch, penetrating the decks and exploding on the third deck.

When I came to and got up off the deck, the ship was a mass of flames amidships on the boat deck and the deck aft was awash to about frame 90. The anti-aircraft battery and machine guns apparently were still firing at this time. Some of the Arizona boats had pulled clear of the oil and were lying off the stern.

At this time I attempted, with the assistance of the crews of #2 and #4 turrets to put out the fire which was coming from the boat deck and which had extended to the quarter deck. There was no water on the fire mains. However, about 14 C02s were obtained that were stowed on the port side and held the flames back from the quarter deck enabling us to pick up wounded who were running down the boat deck out of the flames.

I placed about 70 wounded and injured in the boats which had been picked up off the deck aft and landed them at the Ford Island landing. This was completed about 0900 or 0930. Not knowing whether the Captain or the Admiral had ever reached the bridge, I had the Captain's hatch opened up, immediately after I came to, and sent officers Ensign G. B. Lennig, USNR. and Ensign J. D. Miller, USN down to search the Captain's and Admirals cabins to see if they were there.

By this time the Captain's cabin and Admiral's cabin were about waist deep in water. A search of the two cabins revealed that the Admiral and Captain were not there. Knowing that they were on board I assume that they had proceeded to the bridge. All personnel but 3 or 4 men, turrets #3 and #4, were saved.

About 0900, seeing that all guns of the anti-aircraft and secondary battery were out of action and that the ship could not possibly be saved, I ordered all hands to abandon ship.

From information received from other personnel on board, a bomb had struck the forecastle, just about the time the air raid siren sounded at 0755. A short interval thereafter there was a terrific explosion on the forecastle, apparently from the bomb penetrating the magazine.

Approximately 30 seconds later a bomb hit the boat deck, apparently just forward of the stack, one went down the stack, and one hit the face plate of #4 turret indirectly. The commanding officer of the USS. Vestal stated that 2 torpedoes passed under his vessel which was secured alongside the Arizona, and struck the Arizona.

The first attack occurred about 0755. I saw approximately 15 torpedo planes which had come in to the attack from the direction of the Navy Yard. These planes also strafed the ship after releasing their torpedoes.

Shortly thereafter there was a dive bomber and strafing attack of about 30 planes. This attack was very determined, planes diving within 500 feet before releasing bombs, about 0900. There were about twelve planes in flight that I saw.

The personnel of the anti-aircraft and machine gun batteries on the Arizona lived up to the best traditions of the Navy. I could hear guns firing on the ship long after the boat deck was a mass of flames. I can not single out one individual who stood out in acts of heroism above the others as all of the personnel under my supervision conducted themselves with the greatest heroism and bravery.

"Remember Dec. 7th!" Poster by Allen Saalburg, published by the Office of War Information, 1942. The quotation is from the conclusion of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Radioman's Mate Third Class, G. H. Lane wrote as follows:

When the attack started on December 7, 1941, it was just before 0800 and I was on the forecastle of the USS. Arizona. I saw torpedo planes, with the rising sun insignia under their wings, attacking ships ahead of us. General alarm was then sounded and we were all told to seek cover.

I went aft to the aviation workshop and helped wake men who were still sleeping there and closed battle ports in the optical shop. The order came for all hands not assigned to anti-aircraft batteries to go to the third deck. I started for the third deck but just then General Quarters was sounded. I came back and started for my General Quarters station which is a repair station (patrol five).

We were hit aft and also in one or two other places on the ship. Word came, "Fire in the Executive Officer's Office." Hurst, Bruns, Wentzlaff, and I manned a fire hose and went on the quarterdeck to connect it and fight the fire aft on the quarterdeck where the bomb had lilt us.

Lieutenant Commander Fuqua was at his post on the quarterdeck where the bomb had hit us, I was on the nozzle end of the hose and told Hurst and Bruns to turn on the water. They did, but no water came.

I turned around to see if the hose had any kinks in it and at that time there was an explosion which knocked me off the ship. I was taken aboard the Nevada where I was brought to my senses in a casemate (no. 3). I had been in the water because I was soaked with oil.

The Nevada was underway and I helped handle powder for the 5 inch gun. When the Nevada was hit in the dry dock channel, the gun was put out and the ship was afire. I helped get wounded aft and fought fire until I was choked by smoke and fumes. They sent me from the Nevada to the Solace where I was put to bed and cuts and bruises treated.

I couldn't see either until my eyes were washed out and treated. I was released from the Solace December 10, and was sent to Receiving Barracks where Mr. Fuqua told me to rejoin the aviation unit at Ford Island. I saw no signs of fear on the ship. Everyone was surprised and pretty mad.

Corporal B. C. Nightingale of the U.S. Marine Corps wrote as follows:

At approximately eight o'clock on the morning of December 7, 1941, I was leaving the breakfast table when the ship's siren for air defense sounded.

Having no anti-aircraft battle station, I paid little attention to it. Suddenly I heard an explosion. I ran to the port door leading to the quarter deck and saw a bomb strike a barge of some sort alongside the Nevada, or in that vicinity.

The marine color guard came in at this point saying we were being attacked. I could distinctly hear machine gun fire. I believe at this point our anti-aircraft battery opened up. We stood around awaiting orders of some kind. General Quarters sounded and I started for my battle station in secondary aft.

As I passed through casement nine I noted the gun was manned and being trained out. The men seemed extremely calm and collected. I reached the boat deck and our anti-aircraft guns were in full action, firing very rapidly.

I was about three quarters of the way to the first platform on the mast when it seemed as though a bomb struck our quarterdeck. I could hear shrapnel or fragments whistling past me.

As soon as I reached the first platform, I saw Second Lieutenant Simonsen lying on his back with blood on his shirt front. I bent over him and taking him by the shoulders asked if there was anything I could do. He was dead, or so nearly so that speech was impossible. Seeing there was nothing I could do for the Lieutenant, I continued to my battle station.

When I arrived in secondary aft I reported to Major Shapley that Mr. Simonson had been hit and there was nothing to be done for him. There was a lot of talking going on and I shouted for silence which came immediately.

I had only been there a short time when a terrible explosion caused the ship to shake violently. I looked at the boat deck and everything seemed aflame forward of the mainmast. I reported to the Major that the ship was aflame, which was rather needless, and after looking about, the Major ordered us to leave.

I was the last man to leave secondary aft because I looked around and there was no one left. I followed the Major down the port side of the tripod mast. The railings, as we ascended, were very hot and as we reached the boat deck I noted that it was torn up and burned.

The bodies of the dead were thick, and badly burned men were heading for the quarterdeck, only to fall apparently dead or badly wounded.

The Major and I went between No. 3 and No. 4 turret to the starboard side and found Lieutenant Commander Fuqua ordering the men over the side and assisting the wounded. He seemed exceptionally calm and the Major stopped and they talked for a moment. Charred bodies were everywhere.

I made my way to the quay and started to remove my shoes when I suddenly found myself in the water. I think the concussion of a bomb threw me in. I started swimming for the pipe line which was about one hundred and fifty feet away.

I was about half way when my strength gave out entirely. My clothes and shocked condition sapped my strength, and I was about to go under when Major Shapley started to swim by, and seeing my distress, grasped my shirt and told me to hang to his shoulders while be swam in.

We were perhaps twenty-five feet from the pipe line when the Major's strength gave out and I saw he was floundering, so I loosened my grip on him and told him to make it alone.

He stopped and grabbed me by the shirt and refused to let go. I would have drowned but for the Major. We finally reached the beach where a marine directed us to a bomb shelter, where I was given dry clothes and a place to rest.

Sailor's cap from the U.S.S. Arizona

Aviation Machinists Mate, First Class D. A. Graham wrote as follows:

On hearing the explosions and gun reports, Wentzlaff, E., A.O.M.2/c, came in saying we were being attacked and bombed by Jap planes. The air raid siren sounded, followed by the General Quarters alarm. I stepped outside the shop and started to my general quarters station on the quarterdeck, shouting "Let's go."

It seemed as though the magazines forward blew up while we were hooking up the fire hose, as the noise was followed by an awful "swish' and hot air blew out of the compartments, There had been bomb hits at the first start and yellowish smoke was pouring out of the hatches from below deck. There were lots of men coming out on the quarterdeck with every stitch of clothing and shoes blown off, painfully burned and shocked.

Mr. Fuqua was the senior officer on deck and set an example for the men by being unperturbed, calm, cool, and collected, exemplifying the courage and traditions of an officer under fire. It seemed like the men painfully burned, shocked, and dazed, became inspired and took things in stride, seeing Mr. Fuqua, so unconcerned about the bombing and strafing, standing on the quarterdeck.

There was no "going to pieces" or "growing panicky" noticeable, and he directed the moving of the wounded and burned men who were on the quarterdeck to the motor launches and boats. He gave orders to get the life rafts on #3 barbette down, supervised the loading of the wounded and burned casualties, assisted by Ensign J. D. Miller who set a very good example for a younger officer by being cool, calm, and collected.

The signal gang, quartermasters, and all hands on the bridge went up-- as the signal men were trying to put out a fire in the signal rack and grabbing signal flags out to hoist a signal, the whole bridge went up, flames enveloping and obscuring them from view as the flames shot upward twice as high as the tops.

A bomb hit on the starboard side of the after 5 inch guns and anti-aircraft gun, and got most of the marine crew and anti-aircraft crews. It seemed as though one bomb hit the port after the anti-aircraft crew and came down through the casemate and Executive Officer's office.

After the big explosion and "swish," the men painfully burned and wounded, dazed beyond comprehension, came out on the quarterdeck. I had to stop some of them from entering the flames later on and directed them over to the starboard side of the deck to the gangway for embarking, encouraging them to be calm.

The Vestal, tied up alongside the port side, did not seem to get hit hard and started to get underway, so I stood by to cast off lines on the quarterdeck portside and cast off their bow lines as the Lieutenant Commander on her wanted to save the line to tie up to one of the buoys. Assisted by a seaman from #4 turret, we rendered the bow line around and cast her off.

Then getting the small life raft on #3 turret barbette port side off and over the port stern, the water and oil being on deck, and the ship settling fast, we got orders to embark in the motor boat at the starboard stern quarter, Lieutenant Commander Fuqua and a few others still being aboard.

We landed at BOQ landing, Ford Island. Smith, B.M.2c, USN, boat coxswain, made many trips for wounded and burned men being delivered by Lieutenant Commander Fuqua, still on board.

Courage and performance of all hands was of the highest order imaginable, especially being handicapped by adverse conditions and shipmates being blown up alongside them.

There was no disorder nor tendency to run around in confusion. The coolness and calm manner of Lieutenant Commander Fuqua and Ensign J. D. Miller instilled confidence in the surviving crew.

Arizona was the most heavily damaged of all the vessels in Battleship Row, suffering three near-misses and two direct-hits from 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Kates.

The last bomb to strike her penetrated her deck starboard of turret two and detonated within a 14-inch powder magazine. The resulting massive explosion broke the ship in two forward of turret one, collapsed her forecastle decks, and created such a cavity that her forward turrets and conning tower fell thirty feet into her hull.

She was a total loss. Never seriously considered a candidate for salvage, her top-hamper was removed in 1942 and she remains where she sank to this day, a tomb for 1,102 men who died with her.

George Bush is fishing with his kids. He gets out of the boat and walks across the water to shore.

Watch the video: 7 δεκεμβρίου 1941: η ιαπωνική επίθεση στο περλ χάρμπορ (July 2022).


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