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At Sea
June 14, 1942





From: Commanding Officer, Naval Armed Guard Detachment
To: The Chief of Naval Operations
Via: The Port Director, Seattle, Washington
Subject: Air Raids on Dutch Harbor
)A) (SIC) Copy of Letter of Commendation from Commanding Officer, Fort Mears, Alaska
(B) Certification as to Destroying of Japanese Bomber
(C) (D) (E) Certification as to Destruction of Japanese Fighter Planes
(F) Letter from Commanding Officer, Battery G, 260th CA (AA)
(G) Enlisted Personnel Under My Command.

1. The ship arrived at Dutch Harbor at 2030 June 2. Some eight hours later it was greeted with gunfire.

2. At approximately 0550 on the morning of June 3 we were speedily awakened by gunfire from shore batteries. At first it was thought that the Army was holding AA Target practice. The reason for this was that no air raid alert was sounded. Then we realized the Japs were attacking.

3. At 0557 General Quarters were sounded. All men including the Naval personnel attached to the ship, Naval personnel in transit, officers and men of Battery G, 260th CA (AA), and officers and men of the Merchant Marine crew rushed to battle stations without confusion, just as if they were veterans. At 0600 all guns reported manned and ready. I directed fire of all guns from the flying bridge by means of the telephone system.

4. Enemy planes were sited. Visibility was excellent, inasmuch as at the hour in the Land of the Midnight Sun we were favored with a clear Arctic Sky. "Tojo" came over in formations of three and four planes, totalling nineteen bombers and fighters, and generally followed the same tactics used that he used at Pearl Harbor; i.e., squadrons approaching from the south and west simultaneously, flying straight and level, crossing, turning and coming back from the north and east.


Copies to: Armed Guard Center, Brooklyn, N.Y. & San Francisco.



5. At 0602 the order was given to commence fire. All guns which could bear on target opened fire. The ship's battery consisted of: two 3" 50 cal. AA guns, two .50 cal. Browning machine guns, and two .30 cal. Lewis machine guns. One 3" was located forward and one aft. The .30 cal were on the flying bridge. The .50's were located on the boat deck just abaft the stack. Battery G'S (SIC) armament consisted of: Eight 37 Millimeter cannons and four .50 cal. Browning machine guns. Two of the .50's were on the forecastle and the other two on the poop deck. Four of the 37's were located on A deck forward; the other four on A deck aft. The field of fire of G Battery's eight 37's and four .50's was limited by the boom cables and superstructure. The 3" batteries opened fire with fuse 6 settings. No. 1 3" gun had a hangfire on the first salvo and the gun was out of action for the remainder of the raid. Since the ship was loaded with detonators, torpedos, and all types of high explosives, I thought it best to wait at least fifteen minutes before giving the order to unload. The gun was finally unloaded and the shell was examined and thrown overboard. You could see where the firing pin struck home. I came to the conclusion that it contained a faulty primer.

6. The planes flew at an altitude ranging between 14,000 and 18,000 feet, with frequent attempts to "peel off" for low altitude bombing. The bombers made one trial run before dropping their cargo. After the bombing started, they kept it up until their mission was completed.

7. One shell from the after 3" gun exploded just ahead of the second formation of bombers, causing the starboard plane to shake and fall out of formation, as evidenced by enclosures (B) and (F). Apparently we damaged the plane, but she later rejoined the formation.

8. One plane in the last formation of bombers was hit by a shell from teh after 3" gun, as evidenced by enclosures (B) and (F) and was last seen smoking and in flames falling in the mountains behind Unalaska.

9. A japanese fighter plane broke through the barrage of fire and commenced to machine gun a destroyer in the harbor. My .30 cal. machine guns opened fire. Some of the .25 cal. bullets used by the fighter plane landed on the deck, almost cutting in half ropes and cables suspended from the booms.

10. The ship, a survivor of five sustained attacks at Suez, is apparently "charmed," for a "dud" landed on the dock about 15 feet from the ship near the stern. The "dud" broke in half and was kicked into the water by a sailor.

11. At 0614 the order was given to cease fire. A few minute slater we were ordered to leave the dock. The ship maneuvered and stood out of the harbor, and commenced to circle clockwise just five miles northwest of Priest Rock. At 1708 the ship reentered the harbor and moored starboard side to the Dutch Harbor dock. There were four alerts that day, but only one attack.

- 2 -

12. There were mingled feelings among the men during the attach(SIC) . All during the attack, the morale and spirits were high. The majority of them remarked that it was the most exciting period of their life so far. They seemed fascinated as the bombs fell. One could not catch his breath until the missiles exploded. Hardly a man escaped a feeling of fright but it was a serene sort of fright where each man's only thought was doing his duty.

13. Results of the June 3rd raid:  Forty-four rounds of 3" 50 cal. AA shells fired and one hangfire; 737 rounds of 37mm shells fired; 982 rounds of .50 cal. cartridge fired and 350 rounds of .30 cal. cartridges fired; one bomber destroyed, one bomber damaged; no casualties aboard ship.

14. One Thursday afternoon, June 4, the alert sounded. The ship followed its usual procedure of heading for the straits to drift around. A half-hour later the "all-clear" was sounded. At 1640 the second alarm sounded and all men rushed to their battle stations. Twenty-three Jap planes in formations of three, four and five appeared at 1750, coming from the south and west. They circled the m ountains and attacked Dutch Harbor. The Japs used dive-bombing tactics against what seemed to be pre-determined targets.

15. They split up as if they knew exactly where they were going, picking such targets as the oil tanks, the 3" guns, the dock and "hotel ship," the Northwestern. They bombed Dutch Harbor for about an hour.

16. First the Jap fighters would appear and attract the attention of the AA batteries, then the dive bombers would zoom in and bomb their objectives and sneak off before anyone realized what was happening. In the midst of all this the bombers would drop their loads from above.

17. About two of the oil tanks were hit. One hit was registered on the dock, and one bomb from the stick hit the Northwestern, which the Japs apparently had mistaken for the President Fillmore.

18. In the midst of all this, three Jap fighters dived on and strafed the ship; the attacks coming during an interval of fifteen minutes. They came in at a range of about 250 yards and a height of 200 feet, with a speed of close to 250 knots. The planes resembled the Nakajima "97's". They were instantly fired upon by the .30 and .50 cal. machine guns and 37 milimeter cannons.

19. Two of the three fighters were riddled with machine gun bullets and when last seen were smoking and afire, and with props dead fell out of sight. The destroyer U.S.S. Gillis, which was about four miles away from the Fillmore, saw the planes crash as evidenced by enclosure (E). Several of the men aboard saw the planes fall, as evidenced by enclosures (C) and (D).

20. After the bombers had emptied their loads on Dutch Harbor they joined in flights of five. One formation of bombers flew over the ship but did not drop any bombs. The 3" AA immediately opened fire.


- 3 -

21. 1955--Ceased fire. The "all clear" sounded at 2048, and ship returned to dock. There were several more alerts during the day. Up until the ship left Dutch Harbor, there were at least two alerts daily.

22. Results of the June 4 attack: Twenty-one rounds of 3" 50 cal AA shells fired; 467 rounds of 37 millimeter shells fired; 1268 rounds of .50 cal. cartridges fired and 478 rounds of .30 cal. cartridges fired; two fighter planes destroyed; no casualties aboard ship.

23. To summarize Jap tactics: the squadrons come in perpendicular to each other, flying high, crossing, turning and coming back in opposite directions. THe fighters would break through the barrage to attract attention, then th ehigh-altitude bombers would drop their bombs without being molested.

24. It is highly recommended that the enlisted men under my command, as shown by enclosure (G), be elevated to the next highest rating. The courage shown by them during those tense moments is an excellent example of how men react under fire. In a letter from the Commanding General, Fort Mears, Alaska, as evidenced by enclosure (A), the men were congratulated for doing their part to repel the attackers.

25. Battery G, 260th CA (AA), together with the officers and men of the Merchant Marine crew, certainly deserve commendations as their services were invaluable during the raids.









- 4 -




Fort Mears, Alaska



June 9, 1942



SUBJECT:       Commendation

TO:            Commanding Officer, Navy Detachment, President Fillmore.

I want to congratulate you on the fine work and courage shown by members of your command during the recent air attacks here.

Promptness in taking under fire enemy planes and continuous operation of their guns, was a great factor in repelling the attack.




Brigadier General, U.S. Army,







Certified to be a true copy:



W. A. Swift,
  Lieut. Colonel, I. G. D.










Aborad President Fillmore (SIC)


June 3, 1942




I, James S. Shelton, certify that on June 3, 1942, at approximately 6:15 A.M. I was standing on the approach of the dock at Dutch Harbor. I looked up and saw the starboard plane bomber in a formation of Japanese planes fall out of the formation. ALthough it rejoined the formation, it was apparently damaged.

In observing the second formation, I saw one plane, bomber downed by anti-aircraft fire from the Fillmore. It smoked and flamed and fell in the mountains behind Unalaska.



Alaskan Pilot

















Aboard President Fillmore


June 4, 1942




I, Aurthur S. Myers, certify that on June 4, 1942, at approximately 6:15 P.M. a Japanese fighter plane dived on the starboard side of the Fillmore and commenced strafing us. I fired an eight-round clip with a M 1 rifle at the Jap plane. After the plane exceeded the range of the rifle, I focused binoculars on the plane and observed it serve off, lose power, spit flame and smoke, and with prop dead, fall into the sea with a splash of steam and water.





Ordinary Seaman
U.S. Merchant Marine












Aboard President Fillmore


June 4, 1942




I Charles F. McKim, certify that at approximately 6:15 P.M. on June 4, 1942, I put a burst of .50 caliber machine gun bullets into the wing of a plane identified as a Nakajima 97 fighter that dived on the Fillmore port side. After it passed the bow of the Fillmore, parts of the plane fell into the sea. A few minutes later a plane started in from the starboard side of the ship and I fired one full box of ammunition at and into it. When the plane turned away, smoke was pouring out of it.



Ordinary RM 3/C, U.S.N.












Aboard President Fillmore


June 4, 1942




At 6:05 P.M. on June 4, the President Fillmore sounded battle stations. The ship's crew manned their 3-inch guns and Battery G, 260th Coast Artillery (AA), aboard the Fillmore, manned their automatic weapons.

At varying times throughout the day, the Fillmore was subjected to attacks. At 6:15 P.M., a Japanese pursuit plane dived on the Fillmore's port side at an altitude of 600 and range of 900 feet and strafed the ship. Battery G, 260th Coast Artillery (AA) was observed to pour tracer streams through the plane. It banked out of the AA fire, smoked and fell close to the sea to disappear around Priest Rock.

A few minutes later, a Japanese pursuit ship dived at the Fillmore starboard side at close to the same ranges as above. Battery G, 260th Coast Artillery (AA) poured tracer streams through the plane. It veered and fell into the sea.

I certify that the men and officers aboard the USS Gillis stated that they saw the two pursuit planes crash in flames off Priest Rock. The USS Gillis has not at present returned from sea.
















260th Coast Artillery (AA)
c/o Postmaster, A.P10. 944
Seattle, Washington




SUBJECT:       Air attacks on U.S.A.T. President Fillmore and Dutch Harbor

TO:            Commanding Officer, Naval Armed Guard Detachment

1.  At 5:45 A.M. on June 3, 1942 "battle stations" was sounded aboard the President Fillmore. The ship's crew manned their 3-inch guns and Battery G, 260th Coast Artillery (AA), aboard the Fillmore, manned their automatic weapons.

2.  For two days, repeated waves of four and five Japanese bombers came over at altitudes varying from 12,000 to 20,000 feet. The Fillmore's 3-inch guns threw up a barrage of fire at each formation.

3.  I certify that at approximately 6:00 A.M. the men in my command observed the Fillmore's shell bursts bracketing one bomber flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet and at a range of 12,000 to 15,000 feet. Smoke poured from it and the plane fell out of sight beyord the mountains in back of Dutch Harbor.

4.  At 6:15 P.M. on June 4, 1942, a pursuit ship dived on the port side of the Fillmore and my battery observed the Fillmore's 3-inch anti-aircraft fire, short fuze and .50 caliber machire gun fire burst around the ship which was flying at an altitude of about 600 feet and a range of about 750 feet. With bursts of smoke and flame it staggered and flew lower and lower toward the sea. We then directed our attention to the next attck.

5.  At approximately 6:30 P.M., a pursuit ship dived on the starboard of the Fillmore flying at approximately the same range and altitude as above. It too staggered with bursts of smoke and flame brought about by Fillmore's anti-aircraft fire and disappeared beyond Priest Rock.

James G. Small
1st Lt., 260th CA (AA)


















1. Belew, William Tate S 2/c #616-63-37     U.S.N.R.
2. Blanchette, James Herman      S 2/c  636-20-90 U.S.N.R.
3. Brinkley, Burnley Gayle S 2/c  658-19-14 U.S.N.R.
4. Brock, Busby Franklin S 2/c  604-17-73 U.S.N.R.
5. Purlason, Benjamin O. T. S2/c  616-32-59 U.S.N.R.
6. Cannon, Willie Linwood S 2/c  656-24-96 U.S.N.R.
7. Caskadon, Clyde Beaver S 2/c  656-25-36 U.S.N.R.
8. Conners, Leroy Gilbery S 2/c  256-39-47 U.S.N.
9. Cooper, Robert McCoy S 2/c  266-57-79 U.S.N.
10.   Hardy, John Thomas S 2/c 640 -23-26 U.S.N.R.
11. Kendall, Robert William S 2/c(SM)  413-67-46 U.S.N.
12. Kilburn, Robert Gleason COX  291-53-48 U.S.N.R.
13. McKim, Charles Franklin RM 3/c  387-36-52 U.S.N.
14. Myhre, Jack Ray S 2/c  662-59-34 U.S.N.R.
15. Stouffer, Joseph Kieffer RM 1/c  194-53-87 U.S.N.R.
16. Taylor, Harry Carl S 1/c  258-35-36 U.S.N.











National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch
Record Group 181, Commandant's Office, Central Subject Files, 1942-43.

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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