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US Ships in Pear Harbor December 7, 1941 - History


US Ships in Pear Harbor December 7, 1941

The U.S. Navy ships in the list below are sorted by type and hull number, for example New Orleans (CA-32) is found in hull number order under heavy cruisers. For the purposes of this list, yard craft assigned to the Fourteenth Naval District and other small non-commissioned craft are not included. In addition, Pearl Harbor is defined as the area inside the nets guarding the harbor entrance.

Ships marked with an asterisk (*) were within twelve miles of the island of Oahu but were not actually within Pearl Harbor as defined above. Locations of these ships are indicated. Ships marked with a number symbol (#) were sunk or destroyed during the Pearl Harbor attack. All of these were later raised and rebuilt except for Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah. Oklahoma was raised but not rebuilt.
Battleships
(BB) Pennsylvania (BB-38) (in drydock)
# Arizona (BB-39)
Nevada (BB-36)
# Oklahoma (BB-37)
Tennessee (BB-43)
# California (BB-44)
Maryland (BB-46)
# West Virginia (BB-48)

Heavy Cruisers (CA)
New Orleans (CA-32)
San Francisco (CA-38)

Light Cruisers (CL)
Raleigh (CL-7)
Detroit (CL-8)
Phoenix (CL-46)
Honolulu (CL-48)
St. Louis (CL-49)
Helena (CL-50

Destroyers (DD)
Allen (DD-66)
Schley (DD-103)
Chew (DD-106)
* Ward (DD-139) (patrolling Channel entrance to
Pearl Harbor)
Dewey (DD-349)
Farragut (DD-348)
Hull (DD-350)
MacDonough (DD-351)
Worden (DD-352)
Dale (DD-353)
Monaghan (DD-354)
Aylwin (DD-355)
Selfridge (DD-357)
Phelps (DD-360)
Cummings (DD-365)
Reid (DD-369)
Case (DD-370)
Conyngham (DD-371)
Cassin (DD-372) (in drydock)
Shaw (DD-373) (in floating drydock)
Tucker (DD-374)
Downes (DD-375) (in drydock)
Bagley (DD-386)
Blue (DD-387)
Helm (DD-388)
Mugford (DD-389)
Ralph Talbot (DD-390)
Henley (DD-391)
Patterson (DD-392)
Jarvis (DD-393)

Submarines
(SS)
Narwhal (SS-167)
Dolphin (SS-169)
Cachalot (SS-170)
Tautog (SS-199)

Minelayer (CM) # Oglala (CM-4)

Minesweeper (AM) Turkey (AM-13)
Bobolink (AM-20)
Rail (AM-26)
Tern (AM-31)
Grebe (AM-43)
Vireo (AM-52)

Coastal Minesweeper (Amc)
Cockatoo (Amc-8)
Crossbill (Amc-9)
Condor (Amc-14)
Reedbird (Amc-30)

Destroyer Minelayer (DM)
Gamble (DM-15)
Ramsay (DM-16)
Montgomery (DM-17)
Breese (DM-18)
Tracy (DM-19)
Preble (DM-20)
Sicard (DM-21)
Pruitt (DM-22)

Destroyer Minesweeper (DMS)
Zane (DMS-14)
Wasmuth (DMS-15)
Trever (DMS-16)
Perry (DMS-17)

Patrol Gunboat (PG) Sacramento (PG-19)

Destroyer Tender (AD) Dobbin (AD-3)
Whitney (AD-4)

Seaplane Tender (AV) Curtiss (AV-4)
Tangier (AV-8)

Small Seaplane Tender (AVP)
Avocet (AVP-4)
Swan (AVP-7) (on marine railway
dock)

Seaplane Tender, Destroyer (AVD)
Hulbert (AVD-6)
Thornton (AVD-11)

Ammunition Ship (AE) Pyro (AE-1)

Oiler (AO) Ramapo (AO-12)
Neosho (AO-23)

Repair Ship (AR) Medusa (AR-1)
Vestal (AR-4)
Rigel (AR-11)

Submarine Tender (AS) Pelias (AS-14)

Submarine Rescue Ship (ASR) Widgeon (ASR-1)

Hospital Ship (AH) Solace (AH-5)

Cargo Ship (AK) * Vega (AK-17) (at Honolulu)

Stores Issue Ship (AKS) Castor (AKS-1)
* Antares (AKS-3) (at Pearl Harbor entrance)

Ocean Tug (AT) Ontario (AT-13)
Sunnadin (AT-28)
* Keosanqua (AT-38) (at Pearl Harbor entrance)
* Navajo (AT-64) (12 miles outside Pearl Harbor entrance)

Miscellaneous Auxiliary (AG)
# Utah (AG-16)
Argonne (AG-31)
Sumner (AG-32)


Indiana brothers who died in Pearl Harbor attack finally laid to rest, with honors, 80 years later

US Navy brothers killed during Pearl Harbor attack laid to rest

Harold and William Trapp identified, now buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu with full military honors.

Two recently identified Indiana brothers who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor were finally laid to rest with gravestones after nearly 80 years as "unknown" soldiers.

Brothers Harold and William Trapp were buried with full military honors at Punchbowl Cemetery in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on Tuesday. The brothers share a plot, one casket atop the other.

Born in Chicago but raised in La Porte, Ind., the brothers did everything together – even joining the U.S. Navy in 1939.

"When they joined and enlisted, they enlisted on the same day ― together," Carol Sowar, their niece, told Hawaii News Now. Sowar said her mother, Irene, had been bothered for years that her brothers were not buried in a "dignified" manner.

The brothers served together on the USS Oklahoma, which Japanese fighter pilots torpedoed on Dec. 7, 1941 – the event that led the U.S. to enter World War II. The ship sank, and 429 crewmen died in the battle.

Since then, the brothers remained unidentified, along with the hundreds of other casualties from the attack.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has worked for decades to identify the remains and bring closure to families of the deceased. In November 2020, the agency was able to identify the Trapp brothers – at the same time, again – thanks to dental and genetic evidence.

"When I got the call, I broke down and cried and cried and cried," Sowar said.

Twelve family members were present at the ceremony Tuesday, along with 75 uniformed service members, including around 55 sailors, Stars and Stripes reported.

Each brother received a rifle salute and a rendition of "Taps." Sailors folded an American flag over each casket, one of which was presented to Sowar and the other given to her son, Matthew.

"We all know that on Dec. 7 we were attacked. The USS Oklahoma was attacked viciously, and it sank, " chaplain Navy Cmdr. Randal Potter said during the service. "Four hundred twenty-nine crewmen died on that day — among them, these two brothers."

Sowar called the service "beautiful" and expressed her gratitude that her uncles finally received the respect they deserved after so many years.

"It was something that bothered my mother the whole time," Sowar said. "This was very hard on my mother, and the fact that they were not buried the way that you'd want them to be buried, with dignity and a service, always bothered her."


US Ships in Pear Harbor December 7, 1941 - History

US Ships in Pear Harbor December 7, 1941

The U.S. Navy ships in the list below are sorted by type and hull number, for example New Orleans (CA-32) is found in hull number order under heavy cruisers. For the purposes of this list, yard craft assigned to the Fourteenth Naval District and other small non-commissioned craft are not included. In addition, Pearl Harbor is defined as the area inside the nets guarding the harbor entrance.

Ships marked with an asterisk (*) were within twelve miles of the island of Oahu but were not actually within Pearl Harbor as defined above. Locations of these ships are indicated. Ships marked with a number symbol (#) were sunk or destroyed during the Pearl Harbor attack. All of these were later raised and rebuilt except for Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah. Oklahoma was raised but not rebuilt.
Battleships
(BB) Pennsylvania (BB-38) (in drydock)
# Arizona (BB-39)
Nevada (BB-36)
# Oklahoma (BB-37)
Tennessee (BB-43)
# California (BB-44)
Maryland (BB-46)
# West Virginia (BB-48)

Minesweeper (AM) Turkey (AM-13)
Bobolink (AM-20)
Rail (AM-26)
Tern (AM-31)
Grebe (AM-43)
Vireo (AM-52)

Coastal Minesweeper (Amc)
Cockatoo (Amc-8)
Crossbill (Amc-9)
Condor (Amc-14)
Reedbird (Amc-30)

Destroyer Minelayer (DM)
Gamble (DM-15)
Ramsay (DM-16)
Montgomery (DM-17)
Breese (DM-18)
Tracy (DM-19)
Preble (DM-20)
Sicard (DM-21)
Pruitt (DM-22)

Destroyer Minesweeper (DMS)
Zane (DMS-14)
Wasmuth (DMS-15)
Trever (DMS-16)
Perry (DMS-17)

Patrol Gunboat (PG) Sacramento (PG-19)

Destroyer Tender (AD) Dobbin (AD-3)
Whitney (AD-4)

Seaplane Tender (AV) Curtiss (AV-4)
Tangier (AV-8)

Small Seaplane Tender (AVP)
Avocet (AVP-4)
Swan (AVP-7) (on marine railway
dock)

Seaplane Tender, Destroyer (AVD)
Hulbert (AVD-6)
Thornton (AVD-11)

Ammunition Ship (AE) Pyro (AE-1)

Oiler (AO) Ramapo (AO-12)
Neosho (AO-23)

Repair Ship (AR) Medusa (AR-1)
Vestal (AR-4)
Rigel (AR-11)

Submarine Tender (AS) Pelias (AS-14)

Submarine Rescue Ship (ASR) Widgeon (ASR-1)

Hospital Ship (AH) Solace (AH-5)

Cargo Ship (AK) * Vega (AK-17) (at Honolulu)

Stores Issue Ship (AKS) Castor (AKS-1)
* Antares (AKS-3) (at Pearl Harbor entrance)

Ocean Tug (AT) Ontario (AT-13)
Sunnadin (AT-28)
* Keosanqua (AT-38) (at Pearl Harbor entrance)
* Navajo (AT-64) (12 miles outside Pearl Harbor entrance)

Miscellaneous Auxiliary (AG)
# Utah (AG-16)
Argonne (AG-31)
Sumner (AG-32)


Remains of 3 sailors killed during attack on Pearl Harbor identified

The remains of three crewmates who were killed in the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified, officials said. Authorities used DNA as well as dental and anthropological analysis to identify Navy Seaman Second Class Floyd D. Helton, 18, of Somerset, Kentucky, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.

Navy Seaman Second Class Floyd D. Helton DPAA

Officials also identified Navy Fireman First Class Walter S. Belt Jr. and Navy Seaman First Class David F. Tidball. Belt was 25 and Tidball was 20 when they were killed.

All three sailors were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on December 7, 1941, and capsized, resulting in 429 deaths.

A majority of the remains recovered from the ship weren't identified and were buried in 1949 in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Officials began exhuming the remains in 2015 in an effort to identify them.

Helton's remains will be buried July 31 in Burnside, Kentucky, officials said.

In March, another sailor who was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, William Eugene Blanchard, was identified through DNA testing.

In this May 24, 1943, file photo, the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma is lifted out of the water at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. AP

In 2020, two other Pearl Harbor sailors' remains were identified and returned home &mdash 23-year-old Navy Fireman First Class Hadley Heavin and 20-year-old Navy Coxswain Layton T. Banks, who was also assigned to the USS Oklahoma.


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Beached and burning after being hit by Japanese bombs and torpedoes the Nevada would be rebuilt, modernized serving as a fire-support ship in the invasions of Normandy, Southern France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. (National Archives)

Lieutenant Lawrence Ruff, USS Nevada‘s communications officer, rose early that Sunday. He had turned in after the ship’s movie the night before, planning to attend church services on the hospital ship Solace. Since his transfer to Nevada, he had lived on board as a “geographical bachelor,'” leaving his wife back on the West Coast. They had both decided that life in the islands, while idyllic, was too uncertain and potentially dangerous for a family household. Emerging on deck, Ruff stepped into another day in paradise. High clouds lingered over the Koolau Mountain Range to the east, but the sun had already burned off most of the early morning overcast. Lieutenant Ruff joined Father Drinnan in the boat headed for Solace. Chugging in leisurely fashion across Pearl Harbor, the launch deposited the two officers at Solace‘s accommodation ladder shortly before 7 a.m. Ruff waited in the officers’ lounge while Father Drinnan assisted in the preparation for services.

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC), had most of his ships in port that Sunday. While his aircraft carriers were at sea delivering planes to some of America’s outlying Pacific islands, he felt it would be prudent to keep his remaining ships under the protective cover of land-based aircraft. Nests of destroyers bobbed together, tethered to mooring buoys about the harbor. The larger cruisers and auxiliaries rode alone or occupied the limited berthing space at the naval station. The heart of the fleet, seven battleships, rode at their moorings east of Ford Island. An eighth battleship, Pennsylvania, rested on blocks in dry dock No. 1.

While the smaller ships swayed gently in the wind, the broad-beamed, immense battleships were unaffected by the lapping water. In the atmosphere of rising tensions with Japan, Admiral Kimmel wanted to keep his fleet concentrated for any eventuality. For the officers and men, Sunday in port meant holiday routine, with liberty for most of the men and reduced work schedules for those standing watch. As the tropical heat rose and the clouds retreated, December 7, 1941, promised to be an excellent day for relaxation.

Nevada occupied berth Fox 8 alone at the northeast end of the line of battleships. At 583 feet long and 29,000 tons, Nevada and its sister ship Oklahoma were the smallest and oldest. Nevertheless, each possessed a powerful main battery of 10 14-inch guns. Twelve five-inch guns, four six-pounder antiaircraft guns and eight .50-caliber machine guns provided antiaircraft protection. Six Bureau Express oil-fired boilers powered a pair of Parsons turbines generating 25,000 shaft horsepower for a top speed of 20.5 knots.

While Lieutenant Ruff waited for services to start, the reveille watch on Nevada polished brass, piped away breakfast and woke the forenoon watch. The assistant quartermaster of the watch woke Ensign Joseph K. Taussig, Jr., the forenoon officer of the deck, at 7 a.m. Taussig was the junior gunnery officer in charge of the starboard antiaircraft batteries. He did not have to relieve the watch until 7:45 and had ample time to dress and eat breakfast.

Ensign Taussig was descended from a proud naval family. His father and namesake had led the first American warships to Europe in World War I. Destroyer Squadron 8’s six ships had barely arrived in Ireland following a rough North Atlantic passage when British Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly asked when they would be available. Commander Taussig answered confidently, “We are ready now, sir.” Truly a fine example for the young Taussig to live up to.

Taussig relieved the watch promptly at 7:45. His first duty of the day was to execute colors at 8 a.m. A 23-member band and color guard, with proper holiday colors for Sunday, stood ready. Taussig had to precisely follow the lead of the senior officer present afloat, Rear Admiral William R. Furlong on the minesweeper Oglala. At the proper signal, they would raise the national ensign aft and the blue, white-starred jack forward and play the national anthem, simultaneously. Taussig was determined to execute this ceremony in precise military fashion. The rest of the watch was easy in comparison. First call to colors sounded at 7:55. Few on deck noticed the planes buzzing around the harbor. The watch piped colors at 8 a.m., the flags went up and the band played. Only what they thought to be an inconsiderate Army aviator roaring low over Battleship Row marred the ceremony.

But this was no ill-timed Army drill. At 7:40 a.m. Japanese naval aircraft, led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, approached Kahuku Point, the northernmost tip of the island of Oahu. There, the main force broke into smaller attack groups, each proceeding to its primary target. Fuchida, in a Nakajima B5N torpedo bomber, accompanied the high-level bombers. Nevada was his plane’s target. Torpedo bombers, dive-bombers and high-level bombers formed up northwest of Kaena Point at 7:50. Five minutes later, the first bombs began to fall on both ships and Oahu’s shore installations. Midway through the “Star-Spangled Banner” on Nevada, the first bomb exploded on Ford Island’s seaplane ramp.

Hard on the heels of the first blast came several more. A torpedo struck USS Arizona, just ahead of Nevada. As the B5N torpedo bomber (later given the Allied code name of Kate) pulled up over Nevada, its rear gunner sprayed the fantail, shredding the flag but, amazingly, missing the tight ranks of bandsmen. Through shock, discipline or habit, the band members finished the anthem before rushing to their battle stations. Ships’ klaxons sounded all over the harbor, mixed with the wail of air-raid sirens from the nearby airfields. Smoke from fires and spray from near-misses obscured the sights of gunners bringing their mounts into action.

Ensign Taussig rushed through the press of men to his battle station in the starboard antiaircraft director. From there, he took charge of Nevada‘s defensive fire. The regularly manned fore and aft .50-caliber machine guns chattered, and a single five-inch gun barked. Taussig plugged his sound-powered phones into the net, linking him with the other antiaircraft stations. He found many of them already on the line. One five-inch mount had been manned at the beginning of the raid for its daily systems check. Taussig calmly passed orders while guiding his director from target to target, but the system was inadequate to handle so many attackers. Surprised men scrambled up from below, struggling into their clothes. Shortly after 8 o’clock, most of the guns were manned and firing but lacked good overall coordination. Despite the confusion, Nevada‘s gunners had already claimed a couple of enemy planes shot down, including a torpedo bomber off the port quarter. Marine Private Peyton McDaniel paused to watch a torpedo bear down on the ship. Though he expected it to break the ship in two, Nevada only shuddered and listed somewhat to port.

Then a projectile crashed into Taussig’s gun director, passed through his thigh and smashed the ballistics computer. In shock, the ensign felt no pain. His leg was shattered, and his left foot was lodged up under his armpit. Taussig commented absently, “That’s a hell of a place for a foot to be.”

Ignoring his injury and refusing evacuation, Taussig tried to regain control of the gun mounts. While the guns could still fire in local control, Taussig knew that they would be much more effective in directed mode. Most of the connections between his director and the starboard guns were cut, but the wounded ensign continued to give visual spotting reports over his sound-powered phones.

Far above, Commander Fuchida guided his bombers down Battleship Row. Although antiaircraft fire increased steadily, most of the shells burst well below his planes. The gunfire and lingering high clouds frustrated the attackers, and Fuchida’s bombardier reported that he could not see Nevada. Other planes reported similar difficulties, though some managed to drop their bombs. With resistance still largely ineffective, Fuchida did not want to rush the attacks, so he led his charges in a wide circle over Honolulu to make another run. This took only a few minutes, but on the second pass the northern end of Battleship Row was still obscured, this time by the blaze and thick, oily smoke from Arizona. Despairing of a clear shot at Nevada, Fuchida directed his pilot to try for another ship.

Lieutenant Ruff remembered saying to himself, “Uh oh, some fool pilot has gone wild,” as he heard the first explosion from Solace. A short time later, he heard a roar and rushed to the starboard porthole in time to see Arizona erupt in a ball of flame. Leaving Father Drinnan behind, he commandeered one of Solace‘s launches, directing the coxswain back to Nevada. The small boat labored across the smoky harbor, strafed but unhit. Shouting above the din, Ruff guided the coxswain under Nevada‘s stern for protection from low-flying attackers. Moments later, he scrambled up the accommodation ladder to the quarterdeck.

Ruff found himself in the midst of a full-blown shooting war. Minutes after Arizona had been torpedoed, a speeding Kate launched one into Nevada, tearing a 45-by-30-foot gash in its bow. The gunners labored to maintain a high volume of fire, but the Japanese aircraft seemed to attack with impunity. Fuses set for too low an altitude caused five-inch shells to explode below many of the attackers. Lack of coordination reduced overall effectiveness. Ruff saw only a glimpse of this as he headed below to his general quarters station in radio central. On the way he passed Ensign “Pops” Jenkins at his damage control station near the galley, but they exchanged little more than a glance. Ruff trotted down the passageway, ducking through watertight doors. He reasoned that with Captain Francis Scanland and the executive officer ashore, Lt. Cmdr. Francis Thomas, the command duty officer, would need all the help he could get. Though unsure of Thomas’ location, Ruff realized that radio central would not play much of a role under the current circumstances. He changed direction and headed up to the navigation bridge. There, higher and more exposed, Ruff could feel the intense heat and smoke from Arizona.

Upon reaching the bridge, Ruff found Quartermaster Chief Robert Sedberry on station. When the attack began, Chief Sedberry, on his own initiative, had ordered engineering to prepare to get underway. Since Nevada always kept one boiler steaming, it could sortie when most of the other large ships were resting at “cold iron” and could not. Ruff joined Sedberry in preparing the bridge, laying out charts and identifying navigable landmarks for a run to sea. Admiral Furlong had already signaled the fleet to sortie as soon as possible. None of the larger ships had yet attempted to do so.

Establishing communications with Commander Thomas in Nevada‘s internal control station, deep in the bowels of the ship, Ruff detailed the conditions topside. He filled Thomas in on the sortie signal and his readiness on the bridge. Thomas had his hands full below, counterflooding to correct Nevada‘s port list, dispatching firefighting teams around the ship and supervising engineering’s preparations to get underway. Ruff suggested that Thomas handle things belowdecks while he handled topside. Battling damage and a shortage of manpower, Thomas readily agreed.

Time was running out for a sortie. A sheet of flames from Arizona rode a slick of fuel oil toward Nevada‘s bow. Despite the spirited defense organized by Taussig, assisted by Ensign T.H. Taylor in the port director, two or three bombs struck Nevada around 8:25. Inside the bridge, Lieutenant Ruff heard a faint voice calling, “Let me in, let me in.”

Ruff opened the hatch leading to the bridge wing but found no one. Returning puzzled, he heard the voice again. After casting about for the location of the voice, Ruff and Sedberry traced it to the deck. They lifted the deck gratings and opened the access hatch—and found Thomas, who had climbed the 80-foot access trunk from his control station. Mounting damage had convinced him that Nevada must attempt the sortie soon or be pounded under the water. Thomas had stabilized the ship’s damage to the best extent possible, so it was now or never. Ruff and Sedberry quickly briefed him, and within 15 minutes Nevada pulled away from Fox 8.

By sheer luck, Thomas timed his departure perfectly. Between 8:25 and 8:40 there was a lull between the first and second strikes. With steam to the engines and the steering tested, Thomas directed that Nevada get underway. Chief Boatswain Edwin Hill, led a few sailors to the moorings ashore to cast off the lines. Although hindered by Arizona‘s spreading fire, strafing planes and spent antiaircraft shells falling around them, Chief Hill and his party quickly freed Nevada. They then dove into the treacherous waters and swam back to the ship.

Thomas, Ruff and Sedberry now began the difficult maneuvers involved in getting the 29,000-ton battleship out of Pearl Harbor unassisted. As Ruff remembered, it usually took two hours to build steam in all boilers, and required several tugs, a civilian harbor pilot, the navigator and the captain to get underway. The three of them would attempt the channel passage alone, under attack, their ship damaged by both flooding and fires. Ruff found the prospect daunting. With Thomas conning, Ruff navigating and Sedberry manning the helm, Nevada eased back from her berth. Ruff aligned his landmarks on Ford Island and fed Thomas positions and recommended courses to steer.

As Nevada headed fair into the South Channel, Ruff gazed in shock at the destruction of Battleship Row. Arizona blazed fiercely, forcing Nevada‘s sailors manning the starboard antiaircraft batteries to shield the shells from the heat with their bodies. The deck crew still managed to throw a line to three sailors in the water. Wet and oily, they promptly joined the crew of the nearest five-inch battery. Several of Ruff’s U.S. Naval Academy classmates had been serving on Arizona, and he could only wonder if any had survived its destruction.

West Virginia came into sight next. It had taken several torpedo hits, and was settling into the mud on an even keel, thanks to rapid counterflooding. Oklahoma had turned turtle, trapping many sailors inside. Tennessee and Maryland were moored inboard and had escaped torpedo damage. Still, smoke rose from both of them. Finally, Nevada steamed past California, the flagship of the battle force. Flames surrounded it and it, too, was settling on an even keel.

Nevada cleared the end of Battleship Row just before 9 a.m. Ahead lay the dredge Turbine and its pipeline attached to Ford Island. Maneuvering through the narrow space between the dredge and 1010 Dock would be challenging on a normal day. Now time was running out the second wave of Japanese planes began to arrive in force. Attacks on Nevada intensified, and Chief Sedberry did “some real twisting and turning” to make Nevada a difficult target and avoid the dredge.

Planes destined for Pennsylvania dove on Nevada instead. If they could sink it, they could bottle up the South Channel or, better yet, the main channel off Hospital Point, for months. Nevada‘s gun crews threw up the stiffest barrage they could, but Aichi D3A1 dive-bombers scored numerous hits and near-misses.

Casualties mounted in the gun crews. Flying splinters raked the decks, and fires set off ready ammunition. Boatswain’s Mate A. Solar, who had taken charge of his mount until its officers arrived, fell to shrapnel. Seaman 1st Class W. F. Neundorf, gun captain of No. 6 gun, also died at his post. Most of the bombs struck forward, making a shambles of the forecastle. Ruff, Thomas and Sedberry hung on. “Their bombs jolted all Hell out of the ship,” Ruff remembered. “My legs were literally black and blue from being knocked around by the explosions.”

Still, the officers on the bridge hoped that they might make it to open water. Then, a signal from Vice Admiral W.S. Pye, the battle force commander, ordered Nevada not to exit the harbor because of reported enemy submarines. Committed to their present course and continuing to absorb heavy punishment, Thomas and Ruff decided to nose the ship into the mud off Hospital Point so that it would not be sunk in the channel. Hits to the forecastle had wrecked the anchor windlass and killed many in the deck crew, including Chief Hill, who was blown over the side. Once aground, securing the ship there might prove impossible.

Fortunately, Ruff could still talk to the boatswain’s mate standing by the stern anchor on the fantail. Fires raged around the conning tower, threatening to cut him off, so Ruff relayed the plan as quickly as possible. Heedless of the danger on the open fantail, the young sailor promised to wait for Ruff to wave his hat, the signal to let go the anchor. Passing out of the channel between buoy No. 24 and floating dry dock YFD-2, Ruff backed the engines full, then hastened to the bridge wing, waving his hat out over the side. With a clatter and a cloud of rust, the stern anchor plunged into the water and took hold. At 9:10, Nevada came to rest at Hospital Point.

Thomas then turned his full attention to damage control, while Ruff headed aft to assess conditions topside. Five minutes later, he met Captain Scanland boarding at the quarterdeck. The captain had left his home in Honolulu as the first bombs fell, fighting his way through the chaos in the streets to commandeer a launch and chase down his command.

With the second-wave attacks nearly spent, firefighting and flood control became paramount. Tugboats sent by Admiral Furlong arrived alongside, bringing their hoses into action against the fires that raged from stem to almost amidships. For a time, only the tugs could fight the fires because most of Nevada‘s fire mains had been ruptured. Thomas directed his damage-control parties to splice or patch the critical ones forward.

After directing Ruff to report Nevada‘s status to Admiral Kimmel, Scanland headed forward to find Thomas, and Ruff boarded the launch that had brought Scanland. As the coxswain picked his way through smoking debris, Ruff saw Arizona, still blazing as fiercely as when they had passed it half an hour before. California also burned steadily. Shaw, the destroyer perched in YFD-2, added to the pall. Its forward magazine had exploded shortly after Nevada had grounded. Finally, great columns of smoke billowed skyward from the major airfields surrounding Pearl. Even from lowly sea level, the destruction appeared complete.

Back on Nevada, as the attacks ceased, the gun crews joined in the battle to save the ship. Sweating, smoke-grimed sailors gradually gained the upper hand over the fires. Individually, officers and sailors secured their immediate areas. Ensign Taylor climbed down from his gun director to lead the firefighting on the port gun deck. Hindered by shattered eardrums, Taylor directed hose teams to spray red-hot ready ammunition boxes before they exploded.

Escape proved considerably more difficult for Taussig. His men finally convinced him to relinquish his post, where he had fought on despite his serious wounds. Now fires licked up and around the upper works, blocking the ladders to the starboard director. Eager sailors rigged a line to lower Taussig’s stretcher directly to the deck. The young ensign remained conscious and coherent as pharmacist’s mates worked to stabilize his injuries.

With no bow anchors to hold it fast, Nevada might still slide back and block the South Channel. At 10:35, with the damage situation under control, Scanland prepared to move Nevada to a safer haven well clear of the shipping channels. Two tugs pushed her stern around until its bow slid free, then accompanied it across the channel to Waipio Point, where it grounded itself stern first at 10:45. Nevada rested there until February 1942, when it was floated for repairs. Later, the ship returned to service.

Meanwhile, Ruff had arrived at CINCPAC headquarters to find a somber staff sorting out the details of the attack and grasping for some means of retaliation. Admiral Kimmel questioned Ruff personally, his calm demeanor barely masking the anguish he obviously felt. Ruff had hardly returned to Nevada when Scanland sent him back to report the grim initial damage assessment. At least one torpedo and five bombs had hit Nevada, mostly forward. Numerous near-misses had added to the hull damage. Engineering was flooded, salting the boilers and much of the steam piping. Though it had sortied, Nevada was now neither battle-worthy nor seaworthy. Some stubborn fires burned on and would not be completely extinguished until 6:30 p.m.

Ruff made several more trips between headquarters and Nevada. He acted as Captain Scanland’s pointman ashore, organizing necessary services for the ship and crew. Most important, the crew needed shelter and sustenance. The wounded received top priority, evacuating to Solace or the base hospital. Ensign Taussig was on one of the first boats. He would lose his left leg and spend the remainder of the war in the hospital.

With the ship in such bad shape, Ruff arranged shore billeting for the crew in the base’s open-air theater. Captain Scanland left a skeleton crew aboard to serve as a reflash watch and to perform critical repairs to keep the ship defensible. Thomas remained aboard, directing much of that work. In fact, Scanland’s after-action report offered high praise of Thomas, a naval reservist, not only for his skillful handling of the ship during the attack but also for his dogged repair efforts. Two days after the attack, Thomas was on the verge of collapse from almost continuous work with no sleep.

As darkness fell, Lieutenant Ruff bedded down with the crew at the theater. Exhausted, he could only gaze into the night sky, pondering the few short hours that had shattered this tropical paradise. Friends had died, Nevada lay aground, and the war he and his wife had feared was upon them with stormlike fury. Reeking, oily smoke hung over Pearl, and the glow of fires was still visible all around. In the darkness, the desperate day finally ended.

Author Mark J. Perry has conducted extensive research on the Pearl Harbor attack and its aftermath. For further reading, try: At Dawn We Slept, by Gordon W. Prange and Day of Infamy, by Walter Lord.

This article originally appeared in the January 󈨦 issue of World War II.


US Ships in Pear Harbor December 7, 1941 - History

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Sunday, December 7, 1941

Aboard a Japanese carrier before the attack on Pearl Harbor, crew members cheer departing pilots. Below: A photo taken from a Japanese plane during the attack shows vulnerable American battleships, and in the distance, smoke rising from Hickam Airfield where 35 men having breakfast in the mess hall were killed after a direct bomb hit.

________________________________________________________

Above: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese air raid. Below Left: The battleship USS Arizona after a bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing massive explosions and killing 1,104 men. Below Right: Dousing the flames on the battleship USS West Virginia, which survived and was rebuilt.

Sequence of Events

Saturday, December 6 - Washington D.C. - U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt makes a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There is no reply. Late this same day, the U.S. code-breaking service begins intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphers the first 13 parts, passing them on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believe a Japanese attack is imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.

Sunday, December 7 - Washington D.C. - The last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be broken off, reaches Washington in the morning and is decoded at approximately 9 a.m. About an hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted. It instructs the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m. The Americans realize this time corresponds with early morning time in Pearl Harbor, which is several hours behind. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert but uses a commercial telegraph because radio contact with Hawaii is temporarily broken. Delays prevent the alert from arriving at headquarters in Oahu until noontime (Hawaii time) four hours after the attack has already begun.

Sunday, December 7 - Islands of Hawaii, near Oahu - The Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Nagumo, consisting of six carriers with 423 planes, is about to attack. At 6 a.m., the first attack wave of 183 Japanese planes takes off from the carriers located 230 miles north of Oahu and heads for the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor - At 7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu's northern shore radar station detect the Japanese air attack approaching and contact a junior officer who disregards their reports, thinking they are American B-17 planes which are expected in from the U.S. west coast.

Near Oahu - At 7:15 a.m., a second attack wave of 167 planes takes off from the Japanese carriers and heads for Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor is not on a state on high alert. Senior commanders have concluded, based on available intelligence, there is no reason to believe an attack is imminent. Aircraft are therefore left parked wingtip to wingtip on airfields, anti-aircraft guns are unmanned with many ammunition boxes kept locked in accordance with peacetime regulations. There are also no torpedo nets protecting the fleet anchorage. And since it is Sunday morning, many officers and crewmen are leisurely ashore.

At 7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave, with 51 'Val' dive bombers, 40 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 'Zero' fighters, commences the attack with flight commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, sounding the battle cry: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).

The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, with five sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes.

Escaping damage from the attack are the prime targets, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga, which were not in the port. Also escaping damage are the base fuel tanks.

The casualty list includes 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, with 1,178 wounded. Included are 1,104 men aboard the B attleship USS Arizona killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.

In Washington, various delays prevent the Japanese diplomats from presenting their war message to Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, until 2:30 p.m. (Washington time) just as the first reports of the air raid at Pearl Harbor are being read by Hull.

News of the "sneak attack" is broadcast to the American public via radio bulletins, with many popular Sunday afternoon entertainment programs being interrupted. The news sends a shockwave across the nation and results in a tremendous influx of young volunteers into the U.S. armed forces. The attack also unites the nation behind the President and effectively ends isolationist sentiment in the country.

Monday, December 8 - The United States and Britain declare war on Japan with President Roosevelt calling December 7, "a date which will live in infamy. "

Thursday, December 11 - Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The European and Southeast Asian wars have now become a global conflict with the Axis powers Japan, Germany and Italy, united against America, Britain, France, and their Allies.

Wednesday, December 17 - Admiral Chester W. Nimitz becomes the new commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Both senior commanders at Pearl Harbor Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, and Army Lt. General Walter C. Short, were relieved of their duties following the attack. Subsequent investigations will fault the men for failing to adopt adequate defense measures.

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(Photo credits: U.S. National Archives)

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December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor Attack in Images

Japanese naval aircraft prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier (reportedly Shokaku) for the Pearl Harbor attack during the morning of 7 December 1941. Plane in the foreground is a “Zero” Fighter. This is probably the launch of the second attack wave. The original photograph was captured on Attu in 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Japanese Navy Type 99 Carrier Bombers (“Val”) prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier during the morning of 7 December 1941. Ship in the background is the carrier Soryu. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

The Commanding Officer of the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku watches as planes take off for the Pearl Harbor attack, during the morning of 7 December 1941. The Kanji inscription at left is an exhortation to pilots to do their duty. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History and Heritage Command.

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. Photo & Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Japanese Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber (“Val”) in action during the attack. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Japanese Type 00 Carrier Fighter (“Zero”) trailing smoke after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire during the attack. The masthead machinegun platform of a battleship is visible in the lower right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on the ships moored on both sides of Ford Island. View looks about southeast, with Honolulu and Diamond Head in the right distance. Torpedoes have just struck USS West Virginia and USS Oklahoma on the far side of Ford Island. On the near side of the island, toward the left, USS Utah and USS Raleigh have already been torpedoed. Fires are burning at the seaplane base, at the right end of Ford Island. Across the channel from the seaplane base, smoke along 1010 Dock indicates that USS Helena has also been torpedoed. Japanese inscriptions at the bottom indicate that this view was published by Osaka University. Photo and Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

View of the Pearl Harbor attack looking southwesterly from the hills to the northward. Taken during the Japanese raid, with anti-aircraft shell bursts overhead. Large column of smoke in lower center is from USS Arizona (BB-39). Smaller smoke columns further to the left are from the destroyers Shaw (DD-373), Cassin (DD-372) and Downes (DD-375), in drydocks at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History and Heritage Command

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. Photo and caption: Naval Heritage & History Command.

Vertical aerial view of “Battleship Row”, beside Ford Island, during the early part of the horizontal bombing attack on the ships moored there. Photographed from a Japanese aircraft. Ships seen are (from left to right): USS Nevada USS Arizona with USS Vestal moored outboard USS Tennessee with USS West Virginia moored outboard USS Maryland with USS Oklahoma moored outboard and USS Neosho, only partially visible at the extreme right. A bomb has just hit Arizona near the stern, but she has not yet received the bomb that detonated her forward magazines. West Virginia and Oklahoma are gushing oil from their many torpedo hits and are listing to port. Oklahoma’s port deck edge is already under water. Nevada has also been torpedoed. Japanese inscription in lower left states that the photograph has been officially released by the Navy Ministry. Photo and caption: National History & Heritage Command.

Vertical aerial view of “Battleship Row”, beside Ford Island, soon after USS Arizona was hit by bombs and her forward magazines exploded. Photographed from a Japanese aircraft. Ships seen are (from left to right): USS Nevada USS Arizona (burning intensely) with USS Vestal moored outboard USS Tennessee with USS West Virginia moored outboard and USS Maryland with USS Oklahoma capsized alongside. Smoke from bomb hits on Vestal and West Virginia is also visible. Japanese inscription in lower left states that the photograph has been reproduced under Navy Ministry authorization. Photo and caption: National History & Heritage Command.

USS Arizona

USS Arizona (BB-39) ablaze, immediately following the explosion of her forward magazines, 7 December 1941. Frame clipped from a color motion picture taken from on board USS Solace (AH-5). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Arizona (BB-39) sunk and burning furiously, 7 December 1941. Her forward magazines had exploded when she was hit by a Japanese bomb. At left, men on the stern of USS Tennessee (BB-43) are playing fire hoses on the water to force burning oil away from their ship Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

The forward superstructure and midships gun positions of the sunken USS Arizona (BB-39), afire after the Japanese raid, 7 December 1941. At right are the ship’s mainmast and boat cranes, which were beyond the areas wrecked by the explosion of her forward magazines. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Arizona (BB-39) sunk and burning, with the National Ensign still flying at her stern. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS California

Crew abandoning the damaged USS California (BB-44) as burning oil drifts down on the ship, at about 1000 hrs on the morning of 7 December 1941, shortly after the end of the Japanese raid. The capsized hull of USS Oklahoma (BB-37) is visible at the right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Curtis and USS Medusa

The damaged USS Curtiss (AV-4), at left, and USS Medusa (AR-1), at right, at their moorings soon after the Japanese raid. Note that Curtiss has been fitted with an air search radar. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Maryland

USS Maryland (BB-46) alongside the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37). USS West Virginia (BB-48) is burning in the background. Photo and caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Nevada

USS Nevada (BB-36) headed down channel past the Navy Yard’s 1010 Dock, under Japanese air attack during her sortie from “Battleship Row”. A camouflage Measure 5 false bow wave is faintly visible painted on the battleship’s forward hull. Photographed from Ford Island. Small ship in the lower right is USS Avocet (AVP-4). Note fuel tank “farm” in the left center distance, beyond the Submarine Base. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Nevada (BB-36) afire and down at the bow, after she was bombed by Japanese planes while attempting to get to sea. Photographed from Ford Island. Note men in Nevada’s main top, manning .50 caliber machine guns. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Nevada (BB-36) beached and burning after being hit forward by Japanese bombs and torpedoes. Her pilothouse area is discolored by fires in that vicinity. The harbor tug Hoga (YT-146) is alongside Nevada’s port bow, helping to fight fires on the battleship’s forecastle. Note channel marker bouy against Nevada’s starboard side. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Oglala

The USS OGLALA capsized after being attacked by Japanese aircraft and submarines in the attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/07/1941. Photo and caption: National Archives.

USS Oklahoma

Rescue teams at work on the capsized hull of USS Oklahoma (BB-37), seeking crew members trapped inside, 7 December 1941. The starboard bilge keel is visible at the top of the upturned hull. Officers’ Motor Boats from Oklahoma and USS Argonne (AG-31) are in the foreground. USS Maryland (BB-46) is in the background. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Raleigh

USS Raleigh (CL-7) being kept afloat by a salvage barge moored to her port side, after she had been torpedoed and damaged by a bomb during the Japanese raid. Photo & Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Shaw

Sailors stand amid wrecked planes at the Ford Island seaplane base, watching as USS Shaw (DD-373) explodes in the center background, 7 December 1941. USS Nevada (BB-36) is also visible in the middle background, with her bow headed toward the left. Planes present include PBY, OS2U and SOC types. Wrecked wing in the foreground is from a PBY. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

The forward magazine of USS Shaw (DD-373) explodes during the second Japanese attack wave. To the left of the explosion, Shaw’s stern is visible, at the end of floating drydock YFD-2. At right is the bow of USS Nevada (BB-36), with a tug alongside fighting fires. Photographed from Ford Island, with a dredging line in the foreground. Photo and caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

The twisted remains of the destroyer USS SHAW burning in floating drydock at Pearl Harbor after the “sneak Japanese attack” on Dec. 7, 1941. Photo and caption: National Archives.

USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia

USS West Virginia (BB-48) afire forward, immediately after the Japanese air attack. USS Tennessee (BB-43) is on the sunken battleship’s opposite side. Photo and Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48) during or shortly after the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack. USS Tennessee (BB-43) is inboard of the sunken battleship. Note extensive distortion of West Virginia’s lower midships superstructure, caused by torpedoes that exploded below that location. Also note 5″/25 gun, still partially covered with canvas, boat crane swung outboard and empty boat cradles near the smokestacks, and base of radar antenna atop West Virginia’s foremast. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Utah and USS Tangier

Capsizing off Ford Island, during the Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941, after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft . Photographed from USS Tangier (AV-8), which was moored astern of Utah. Note colors half-raised over fantail, boats nearby, and sheds covering Utah’s after guns. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Capsized hull of USS Utah (AG-16) off the western side of Ford Island on 12 December 1941, five days after she was sunk by Japanese aerial torpedoes during the Pearl Harbor Attack. View looks toward Ford Island, with Utah’s bow at left. USS Tangier (AV-8) is in the right background. Collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin. NHHC Photograph. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Vestal

USS Vestal (AR-4) after she was beached in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. She had been damaged by Japanese bomb hits during the raid. An Officers’ Motor Boat is alongside her starboard quarter. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Wheeler Airfield

Planes and hangars burning at Wheeler Army Air Field, Oahu, soon after it was attacked in the morning of 7 December 1941, as seen from a Japanese Navy plane. Photo & Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

U.S. Army aircraft destroyed by Japanese raiders at Wheeler Air Field. Photographed later in the day on 7 December 1941, following the end of the attacks. Wreckage includes at least one P-40 and a twin-engine amphibian. Note the wrecked hangar in the background. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Hickam Airfield

A U.S. Army B-17E at Hickam Air Field, after landing safely during the Japanese air raid. In the background is a B-17C (or B-17D). Smoke from burning ships from the Pearl Harbor attack is visible in the distance. The B-17E is probably that piloted by First Lieutenant Karl T. Barthelmess. Photographer may be Staff Sergeant Lee Embree. Photograph from Army Signal Corps Collection, National Archives. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Naval Air Station Ford Island

Sailors at Naval Air Station Ford Island reloading ammunition clips and belts, probably around the time of the attack’s second wave. Note what appears to be a seaplane boarding gangway at top left, and beached motor launches in upper right. Also note variety of uniforms worn by those present. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Naval Air Station Kaneohe

PBY patrol bomber burning at Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu, during the Japanese attack. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection. Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

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 󈫼-P-3”. Photo and Caption: Naval History & Heritage Command.

Bellows Field

A beached two-man Japanese submarine found on the edge of Bellows Field, Hawaii, after the “sneak Jap attack” on Pearl Harbor of Dec. 7, 1941. Photo and caption: National Archives.

CALLIE OETTINGER was Command Posts’ first managing editor. Her interest in military history, policy and fiction took root when she was a kid, traveling and living the life of an Army Brat, and continues today.


World War II and After

With the shift of the US Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor, the anchorage was expanded to accommodate the entire fleet. On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Crippling the US Pacific Fleet, the raid killed 2,368 and sank four battleships and heavily damaged four more.

Forcing the United States into World War II, the attack placed Pearl Harbor on the front lines of the new conflict. While the attack had been devastating to the fleet, it did little damage to the base's infrastructure. These facilities, which continued to grow during the war, proved vital to ensuring that US warships remained in fighting condition throughout the conflict. It was from his headquarters at Pearl Harbor that Admiral Chester Nimitz oversaw the American advance across the Pacific and the ultimate defeat of Japan.

Following the war, Pearl Harbor remained the home port of the US Pacific Fleet. Since that time it has served to support naval operations during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as during the Cold War. Still in full use today, Pearl Harbor is also home to the USS Arizona Memorial as well as the museum ships USS Missouri and USS Bowfin.


The Bond of Brotherhood: Three brothers who died together at Pearl Harbor

USS Oklahoma Brothers Accounted For From World War II (Barber, M., L., & R.)

The remains of three New London Barber brothers who died during Pearl Harbor have been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that brothers, Navy Fireman 1st Class Malcolm J. Barber, 22, Navy Fireman 1st Class Leroy K. Barber, 21, and Navy Fireman 2nd Class Randolph H. Barber, 19, of New London, Wisconsin, killed during World War II, were accounted for on June 10, 2021.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Barber brothers were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including the Barber brothers.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including the Barber brothers.

Between June and November 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese bombs exploded into the hull of the USS Arizona, engulfing the ship in a giantfireballand leaving thousands dead. Amidst the destruction, one thing remained intact—the bond of brotherhood.

Like the waters of the Pacific, family ties ran deep on the Arizona. Serving aboard were
a father and son and 38 sets of brothers. Naturally, they wanted to be together.
Their families back home felt the same, but worried about losing all of their boys when disaster struck. These fears became reality as the sinking of the Arizona killed 23 sets of brothers and the father and son.


Remains of Wisconsin brothers killed during Pearl Harbor recovered

WASHINGTON (CBS 58) -- Three brothers from New London that were killed during World War II were accounted for on June 10.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)_ announced that brothers, Navy Fireman 1st Class Malcolm J. Barber, 22, Navy Fireman 1st Class Leroy K. Barber, 21, and Navy Fireman 2nd Class Randolph H. Barber, 19, were recovered.

The Barber brothers were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Officials say the USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewman, including the Barber brothers.

Navy personnel recovered the remains of deceased crew from Dec. 1941 to June 1944, which were interred in the Halawa and Nu'uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, laboratory staff were only able to confirm the identification of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at the time. Members of the American Graves Registrations Service (AGRS) buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

Officials say in October 1949, a military board classified the unidentified as non-recoverable, including the Barber brothers.

Between June and November of 2015, DPAA personnel exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknowns from the Punchbowl for analysis.

Officials say the Barber brothers' names are recorded at the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to their names to indicate they have been accounted for.

Family and funeral information can be found by contacting the Navy Service Casualty office at 800-443-9298.