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1. At or about 0755 on 7 December, I had just gotten up and had not started to dress when I heard about four detonations in a westerly direction that sounded too loud for blasting. Almost immediately I was called by the Duty officer, who said, "There is an air raid on Ford Island, and it is not a drill." I then said, "Sound Air Raid Alarm" but I found he had hung up and when I immediately tried to call him back I got a busy signal. In a few minutes I heard the Yard whistle and assumed it to be the alarm since I could not make out the signal. I dressed immediately and prodeeced to my office where general control was exercised over all activities under the Captain of the Yard.
2. A summary of events as gathered from personnel under the Captain of the Yard is as follows:
0755 Japanese planes observed dropping bombs on planes and hangars on South end of Ford Island.
0758 Japanese torpedo planes attacked HELENA, OGLALA, RALEIGH, UTAH, CALIFORNIA, MARYLAND, OKLAHOMA, TENNESSEE, WEST VIRGINIA, ARIZONA, VESTAL. A violent explosion was observed at the bow of the Arizona, and a few minutes after the attack, the OKLAHOMA took a decided list to port and capsized abount 0810.
0840 Sighted periscope in North Channel near Beckoning Point.
0842 Submarine sunk by a combination of gunfire from the CURTISS and ramming and depth charges from the MONAGHAN.
0855 NEVADA got underway and stood down South Channel.
0910 Enemy dive bombers attacked Hickam Field, the PENNSYLVANIA, CASSIN, DOWNS, SHAW, and the NEVADA, the last named ship bing in the South Channel opposite YFD-2. The three destroyers were set on fire and minor damage was inflicted on the PENNSYLVANIA. The NEVADA was badly damaged and lost way and with the assistance of tugs was grounded on Waipio Penninsula southeast of Beckoning point.
0920 Raid finished and no more enemy planes in site.
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3. The Navy Yard Fire Department was first called to Building 367 at about 0805 to extinguish a fire caused by the crash of an enemy plane. By about 0815 the fire had been extinguished. The second call for the fire department was at about 0830 to extinguish a fire in Drydock #1 where the DOWNES and CASSIN were on fire. Every effort was made to prevent the spread of fire to the PENNSYLVANIA and hoses were passed from the dock to the PENNSYLVANIA and manned by the personnel of that vessel, and this action effectively prevented the spread of the fire to the PENNSYLVANIA. Owing to the importance of keeping the fire under control the major part of the fire fighting apparatus was used in fighting it. Owing to this fact, even the explosion of the CASSIN and DOWNES did not set the PENNSYLVANIA on fire. After the last raid by enemy planes was over (about 0920) the SHAW and the SOTOYOMO (YT-9) were on fire in YFD-2. A small amount of equipment from Drydock #1 was diverted to YFD-2, and this equipment was augmented by two 350-gallon pumpers sent by the contractors from Honolulu, and by Pan American Airways's fire boat. This fire was fought until YFD-2 sank. Lieutennant E. B. Erly, USN., of the CASSIN assisted materially in fire fighting both at Drydock #1 and YFD-2. This officer is to be commended for his cool-headed handling of a most difficult situation. At 1300 all fires wer eout and the equipment secured.
4. During and after the air raid, the employment of the various units attached to the Yard Craft was as follows:
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This vessel was assisting ANTARES with a tow during the raid and did not enter Pearl. Was attacked by planes with machine guns but fortunately suffered no casualties to personnel or material.
5. All personnel under the command of the Captain of the Yard performed their assigned duties in the manner expected of American men o'warsmen. The men on watch on the signal tower although exposed to fire from enemy planes carried on their routine work without concern, and without exception the morale of every man was at a high point.
6. Although, as stated in the preceding paragraph, all personnel under the command of the Captain of the Yard performed their duties in accordance with the best Nay traditions, there are several officers and men whose performance of duty during the crisis was outstanding. A list of these officers and men to be especially commended, and the reason for this commendation follows:
Commander H. R. Hayes, U. S. Navy (Ret), Assistant Captain of the Yard. Immediately on his arrival in the office at about 0820, he went up into the signal tower to handle, insofar as possible, the movements of ships and other craft in the harbor. His performance of duty was outstanding and he is deserving of special comendation.
Lieutenant W. R. Spear, U. S. Navy (Ret). THis officer deserves special commendation for his outstanding performance of duty in fighting fire in Drydock #1 under conditions of imminent danger from explosions. He was present when the explosion on the DOWNES occured.
ABBOTT, H. F. Sergeant, U.S.M.C. Directed work of entire Fire Department, supervised the distribution of its various units in teh interest of maximum efficiency and coordinated the activities of the Fire Department with those of colunteer fire fighters. His work in a supervisory capacity was outstanding.
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MILBRANDT, M. M., PFC, U.S.M.C. In charge of 1,000 gallon pumper, with civilian assistance, broght the fire at the Naval Hospital under control and finally put it out, and then moved his equipment and personnel to the YFD-2 where he assisted until all fires were out.
FEMMER, D. O., PFC, U.S.M.C. In charge of 750 gallon pumper at drydock caisson, who, when his equipment broke down, effected temporary repairs and kept his equipment in operation under most difficult conditions.
HILL, O. E., PFC, U.S.M.C. In charge of 500 gallon pumper at southwest end of Drydock #1 who kept this engine running by holding a rag in the broken circulating water line while spare parts were being obtained.
DALLMAN, M. D., Pvt., U.S.M.C. In charge of 500 gallon pumper at head of drydock, who remained steadily at his post although at times enveloped in suffocating oil smoke.
The following personnel in the signal tower performed their duties in a most exemplary manner under very trying and dangerous conditions. They insured fast and accurate information from the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, to all forces afloat in assisting the ships clear the harbor.
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MERRIT, J. D., S.M.3c.
7. There are undoubtedly many cases deserving of special commendation who have not been specifically mentioned. The personnel as a whole performed heroic service to the utmost of their ability and there are no reported case of delinquency. There was no hesitation on th epart of any tug master to eithe rplace his tug where told or where he felt it would do the greatest good. In fighting the fires in Drydock #1, all those present in either the Fire Department or other sent to assist deserve the highest praise. The officers and men at the receiving station under Commander E. B. Peterson, USN, handeled all calls for personnel and assistance in an outstanding manner.
C. C. BAUGHMAN
National Archives & Records Administration, San Bruno / San Francisco Branch
Record Group 181, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard General Correspondence 1941-45
Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.
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