Thursday, December 07, 2006


[posted by Callimachus]

It wasn't the politicians. It wasn't the hardware (though the sailors will tell you the ships had a will of their own). It wasn't the sociological context of Japanese-American competition. It was the men:

Most of the men who were burned were unrecognizable.

U.S.S. Arizona

About 0830 the Pennsylvania called by semaphore and sent a message "Senior destroyer officer report aboard". This message was interrupted by signalmen having to lie down due to terrific gun fire from enemy and own ship and came in two attempts.

U.S.S. Cassin

Had not a single order been issued – and very few had to be, in fact, – it is believed that every job would have been carried out by someone who saw the need for the task.

U.S.S. Helena

Chief Boatswain E. J. Hill, U.S. Navy, killed in action, is deserving of the highest commendation possible to be given for his skill, leadership and courage. At the height of the attack he led his line handling details to the quays, cast off the lines under fire, and then swam back to the ship. Later, while on the forecastle attempting to let go the anchors, he was blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs. His performance of duty and devotion to duty was outstanding.

U.S.S. Nevada

Ensign H.W. Sears, D-V(G), U.S.N.R., who was ashore when the attack started, made his way back to the Navy Yard, but could only get aboard the U.S.S. Phoenix. As that vessel started out, Ensign Sears asked the Commanding Officer if he needed a turret officer. The answer being in the negative, Sears, as the Phoenix passed near the U.S.S. West Virginia, dove over the side and swam to the West Virginia.

U.S.S. West Virginia

REEVES, T.J., CRM(PA), deceased, was outstanding in his conduct in that upon being forced to abandon Main Radio, at request of Gunner PHARRIS, he assisted in a burning ammunition passageway, attempted to continue the flow of ammunition until overcome by smoke and fire.

U.S.S. California

[from a collection of offciers' action reports submitted in the days after the attack, found here]