Returning to Pearl Harbor

Returning to Pearl Harbor

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Hawaiian Oysters Return to Pearl Harbor

Scientists at the University of Hawaii–Manoa, the United States Navy, and Oahu Waterkeeper have joined forces in an effort to clean up Pearl Harbor. Not the memorials and exhibits that thousands of people visit daily, preserving the memory of December 7, 1941, but the waters ton which the naval base sits. Keeping the waters of the harbor from becoming polluted beyond repair, the trio of organizations has turned to using oysters to help with the cleanup.

Return to Sea – Missouri Veteran Returns to Naval Service in the Months After Pearl Harbor

Spending the latter years of the Great Depression serving in the U.S. Navy, Fred Hoechst Jr. returned to St. Louis following his discharge in March of 1940 to embark upon life as a civilian.

Although the previous four years had granted him a worldwide adventure aboard the battleship USS Colorado, little did Hoechst realize he would again don a sailor’s uniform after the country was drawn into war.

In the months after leaving the service, the veteran began working for Laclede Gas and used some of the money he saved to purchase a 1940 Chevrolet.

The following year he and his fiancée, Ruth Gieson, were married before a justice of the peace in Imperial, Missouri on February 19, 1941. Weeks later, he went to work for the National Lead Company in south St. Louis.

Prior to enlisting in the Navy during World War II, Hoechst married the former Ruth Gieson at Imperial, Missouri, in February 1941. Courtesy of Judy Thompson

“The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands on December 7, 1941 marked the official entrance of the United States into World War II,” noted the Atomic Heritage Foundation. “The attack caught American military personnel by surprise and was certainly costly, but it did not cripple the U.S. Navy as the Japanese had anticipated.”

Hoechst was caught up in the patriotic furor gripping the nation and made the decision to return to the U.S. Navy to apply his peacetime naval skills in potential combat. Enlisting on March 25, 1942, he was assigned to the engine room of a ship that would enter service several weeks later—the USS Meade (DD-602).

After serving four years in the Navy aboard the USS Colorado, Hoechst received his discharge in March 1940 and returned to St. Louis to begin life as a civilian. Weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack, he re-enlisted and went on to serve in WWII aboard the USS Meade.

A Benson-class destroyer with a complement of 208 sailors, Meade was commissioned on June 22, 1942 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. According to a keepsake book given to members of the crew after the war, the ship “then had a shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay until 22 August.”

With the war fully underway, the book goes on to explain that there was little delay in deploying Meade afterward. The ship soon passed through the Panama Canal and “reported for duty to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet on 28 August (1942).”

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Meade (DD-602) off New York City, 1942.

Hoechst ascended the enlisted ranks, eventually becoming one of only fourteen chief petty officers assigned to the ship.

In the early weeks after their arrival in the Pacific, he and his fellow sailors kept the engines in optimal condition through the Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942, during which Meade destroyed four Japanese transports and rescued 285 American sailors whose ships were sunk.

“A rapid change in locale followed,” explained a small pamphlet maintained by Hoechst after the war. “After a brief period in Sydney, Australia, the Meade steamed to the Aleutian Islands to participate in the bombardment and occupation of Kiska and Attu. Finally in September 1943, a respite from duty was given the ship with a short overhaul on the West Coast.”

U.S. Marines debark from LCP(L)s onto Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942.

Naval records reveal that the Meade received only a momentary break from the action as she again sailed for the South Pacific, arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on October 29, 1943.

The ship escorted U.S. Marines of the V Amphibious Force to the Battle of Tarawa the following month and again engaged in shore bombardments.

Danger abounded for the crew when contact with a submarine “was made on 22 November,” noted the souvenir booklet printed for sailors of the Meade. “With the assistance of the USS Frazier the sub was brought to the surface with depth charges, shelled and sunk,” resulting in the capture of one Japanese sailor.

USS Frazier (DD-607)

Meade then sailed for Pearl Harbor to prepare for a return to the West Coast to undergo a major overhaul, but was rerouted to provide close fire support for the Battle of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands in early 1944.

Throughout the next several weeks, Hoechst and the crew of the Meade became part of Task Force 58 and were engaged in attacks against Pacific locations such as Palau, Yap, Hollandia, Truk and Ponape (Pohnpei). They were detached from the task force in April 1944 and began patrolling islands controlled by the Japanese.

USS Meade (DD-602) in San Francisco Bay, California, 11 September 1944.

“During a shore bombardment ‘practice’ on Milli [Atoll], the Meade came the closest in her Pacific career to being hit,” recorded the Meade souvenir booklet. “The [Japanese] returned fire for the first time. However, no damage or casualties were received.”

The closing of Hoechst’s combat service approached when Meade received orders to report to the West Coast for a much needed overhaul in July 1944. Months later, they completed a shakedown and were sent to provide shore fire support during the liberation of the Philippines in the waning weeks of the war.

USS Meade (DD 602) at Mare Island on 7 Sep 1944.

The Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945, and Hoechst received his discharge the following month on October 25, 1945. During his naval career, he completed nearly 7.5 years of active service and earned an at Asiic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 9 stars, which represented his participation in 9 campaigns of the war.

Asiic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

After coming home to St. Louis, Hoechst returned to the National Lead Company, from which he would retire decades later. He and his wife raised one son, Jerry, and in their retirement years enjoyed bowling and traveling. Upon his passing in 1995, he was laid to rest in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Hoechst is pictured while in basic training in the summer of 1936 at the recently re-opened Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Courtesy of Judy Thompson.

A famed painter once explained that men like Hoechst were a dedicated type of individual. Through his actions, he demonstrated that sailors and those who embraced a life on the sea possessed a uniquely brave perspective. Despite being faced with the hardships of a life on the water, they never made excuses to avoid embarking upon a nautical journey.

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible,” wrote the late Vincent Van Gogh, “but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.

A Guide to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor National Memorial

by Bill Fink, AARP, May 19, 2021 | Comments: 0

Ralf Broskvar / Alamy Stock Photo

U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor

En español | COVID-19 Update: The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center's museums are open, but the theater is closed. Advance reservations are recommended (via for the boat ride to the memorial due to limited capacity for social distancing. Masks are required on the boat (and on Hawaii public buses), but not at any of the sites. All sites have modified their tours and limited their food options and programs. Check the websites for updates.

As I stand inside the stark white USS Arizona Memorial on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, a somber feeling overtakes me, particularly amid the beauty of the blue sea and green mountains. Here in Pearl Harbor, in northwest Honolulu, I realize I'm literally perched atop a sunken battleship in which 1,000 U.S. sailors are still entombed in a shattered-steel grave. They perished in these waters during that infamous surprise Japanese air attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

An eerie silence surrounds me, with a few other visitors even wiping away tears. The shockingly long list of those sailors’ names etched in black on the white marble of the memorial's interior is a simple but powerful reminder that this isn't just a history lesson and a World War II commemoration, but a sad memorial to young lives cut short.

Vaclav Schindler / Alamy Stock Photo

Plan Your Trip

Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu (12 miles northwest of Waikiki and 17 miles east of the Ko Olina resort areas). Oahu traffic can be surprisingly congested, so allow extra time to reach Pearl Harbor.

Getting there: When driving, take Highway H-1 to exit 15A “Arizona Mem/Stadium” — not the “Hickam AFB/Pearl Harbor” exit, which will take you to the active military base. You can also take public buses Nos. 20 and 42 (from Waikiki) and No. 40 (from Ko Olina). Many private operators run guided tours of Pearl Harbor that include transit to and from hotels.

Visit: The Pearl Harbor National Memorial (PHNM) and the Bowfin Museum are open daily. The Missouri is open Wednesday to Saturday the Aviation Museum, Wednesday to Sunday. All are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Two or three hours should be enough for the PHNM but plan on a full day to cover all the sites. All bags must be checked in a locker (for a $5-7 fee) or left in your car.

Admission: The PHNM is free the Missouri, $29.99 the Bowfin, $15 the Aviation Museum, $25 (no senior discounts at any).

Best times to visit: Remembrance Day on Dec. 7 is Pearl Harbor's major annual event, with a week of activities that include band performances, ceremonial sailings, jet flyovers and memorial services. Arrive early to beat the crowds.

Accessibility: You'll find handicapped spaces near the entrance in the Visitor Center parking lot. The PHNM is ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible throughout, including on the boat ride, but the facility has no wheelchairs to loan out. The Bowfin isn't wheelchair accessible, but the museum portion is ADA Compliant. The Aviation museum is wheelchair accessible and ADA Compliant, as is the Missouri in certain parts (some tours require climbing steep stairs and ladders). Both have limited wheelchairs available at no charge (first come, first served).

Founded in 1962, the U.S. National Park Service-run Pearl Harbor National Memorial (PHNM) encompasses both the USS Arizona Memorial in the harbor as well as the waterfront Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, with a two-part museum and theater. Visit this moving memorial in the Pacific and you can expect your emotions to be similarly stirred. It's an emotional journey through history made all the more vivid because this is the place where the Day of Infamy actually happened — it's where the war began for the U.S., with the death of more than 2,400 Americans. Look at the waters beside the Arizona, and you can often still see oil leaking from the ship, making the attack seem as fresh as if it happened only yesterday.

The PHNM is part of the Pearl Harbor Historical Sites, a collection of attractions that also includes the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial (the latter three run by a nonprofit, not the park service). If you have the time, exploring these additional sites makes for a compelling full-day journey that takes you from the start of World War II to the finish.

Where it all began

Begin your visit with the 75-minute Arizona Memorial program, which includes a ranger orientation, a 23-minute documentary film in the theater, and a boat ride to the Arizona Memorial in the harbor, where you disembark for the quiet reflection described above. Back on shore, for context, don't skip the must-see Visitor Center, where the museum's galleries housed in two buildings bring history alive with a bombardment of interactive personal information that pulls you back to the past and inspires you to reexamine your perspectives.

In the Road to War building, get a good overview of the geopolitics behind the Japanese attack, with news reports from the era that create an increasing sense of dread of what we now know turned into a horrible war. The gallery also showcases what life was like on the Hawaiian islands in 1941, a curious combination of large-scale agribusiness, a major military presence and Hawaiian traditions. The stories told by native islanders challenge commonly held assumptions about Pearl Harbor. Since Hawaii was not yet a U.S. state at the time of the attack, from a local point of view, the battle was between two imperialists over an island that truly belonged to neither of them. “For us, the visitor is sovereign. We want to present all the data, every viewpoint, and let people decide what it all means on their own,” says Eileen Martinez, the Memorial's former chief of interpretation.

Among the most compelling exhibits in the Attack and Aftermath building: video stations playing individuals’ accounts of the attack. The shaky voices you hear giving graphic details may leave you a bit shaky. The sailors’ accounts pair gruesome descriptions of their attempts to save compatriots from bomb wounds, burning oil-covered water and sinking ships with tearful video memories of their friends who gave their lives to save others. Civilians reveal fears of falling bombs, friendly fire and a possible land attack.

A bit jarringly, you hear from the other side, as well. A Japanese pilot describes his nerves flying into combat, calming himself by focusing on the beauty of Oahu's scenic pineapple fields. I gave a small fist pump when the same pilot described his shock three years later when he saw the “sunken” Pearl Harbor battleship USS West Virginia restored with guns blazing to help defeat the Japanese at Okinawa.

Upon exiting the museum, take some time to reflect at the Contemplation Circle, a quiet space on the waterfront with seating and a view out over the solemn scene. “Being able to see the Arizona, the Missouri and the whole harbor, it's kind of powerful to take a step back and think about it here,” says Hanako Wakatuski-Chong, the acting chief of interpretation.

Stroll over to the nearby Remembrance Circle, too, which memorializes the civilian lives lost that day and pays tribute to the Medal of Honor recipients from the battle.

Claudine Klodien / Alamy Stock Photo

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

More history to take in

Now, continue your immersion into Pearl Harbor history at the other three sites in the PHNM. Merely walk across the plaza to the Bowfin, and hop on shuttle buses to the other two, both on nearby Ford Island.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park: At this memorial to those sailors on “eternal patrol,” get a vivid look into submariner experience in World War II. Touring the restored, 311-foot-long submarine — nicknamed the Pearl Harbor Avenger — reveals claustrophobic quarters (a head-banging experience if you're tall) amid tiny bunks and too-close torpedo tubes, making you appreciate the sailors’ wartime risk and sacrifice. Audio-tour commentary brings alive the crew's day-to-day duties. Note: Currently closed for renovations, the museum is expected to reopen mid-2021 the submarine itself is still open to tour.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum: Here (a 10-minute shuttle bus ride from the Bowfin), restored bomber, fighter and support aircraft from the 1940s to 1990s fill the floors of large hangars, hang above dioramas, and stand guard on the tarmac. It's startling to see how small and fragile the World War II planes that helped win the war seem in comparison to the modern jets. High above the exhibits, windows still have bullet holes from the Dec. 7 attack. Imagine you have nerves of steel and try your hand at fighter combat in the museum's flight simulators.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial: This 887-foot long, four-story-high battleship looming over the Arizona Memorial presents a massive bookend for the end of the war that began at the same spot. Look for the plaque on deck marking the very place where the Japanese signed surrender documents to end the war in 1945.

As you explore the ship (a five-minute shuttle ride from the Bowfin), you'll discover it's much more than just a platform for its imposing 16-inch guns — it's a complete floating city. Guided and self-directed (with headphones) tours take visitors on four decks (note: some tours require climbing steep stairways and ladders). You'll see gunnery stations, sleeping quarters, command centers and even a dentist office, post office and game rooms.

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For more military history on Oahu, visit these two additional attractions.

An army museum near Schofield Barracks (well known to From Here to Eternity fans), the Tropic Lightning Museum honors the 25th Infantry Division, tracing its history from the Dec. 7 attack through World War II and beyond. It's about 15 miles inland from Pearl Harbor, via H1 and H2.

Diamond Head State Monument, the dormant volcano overlooking Waikiki about two miles away, has a notable military connection, with bunkers dug out of the strategic cliffsides. A steep, challenging trail leads to the summit's amazing views, but the ADA-compliant park facilities at the base serve up good sightseeing, too.

Where to Stay

Waikiki, where hotels line the beach, is the closest resort area to Pearl Harbor, though it's at least a 30-minute drive northwest in Oahu traffic. Hotels in the Ko Olina resort, about 30 to 40 minutes west of the harbor, are another option. Many hotels in both these popular areas offer package tours to the site.

Where to Dine

All the Pearl Harbor attractions have snack shops or cafes, but opt for Hawaiian fare nearby.

The Alley at Aiea Bowl: Don't let the bowling alley scare you away from this friendly diner that serves island favorites such as loco moco (burger topped with gravy and egg) and short ribs. Its specialty: oxtail soup. About a mile from the Memorial off H1.

Restaurant 604: Local military families frequent this stylish waterfront dining spot less than a half-mile from the Arizona. Try the mahi-mahi sandwiches or seared ahi.

A Day at Pearl Harbor from Maui

$459.99 per Adult, $449.99 per Child (2-12) (plus 4.167% Hawaii sales tax)

If you want to immerse yourself in the Hawaii's historic and pivotal role in World War II, this tour is your chance to experience everything you could possibly do in a single day. You get yourself to the Kahului airport … and meet up with your tour guide in Honolulu. The rest of your day is guided, with all admissions to all the Pearl Harbor sites prearranged. There is nothing else for you to do but enjoy your time at Pearl Harbor worry and hassle-free. Your day will include the museums and memorials of Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship, USS Bowfin Submarine, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Drive through historic Honolulu including Punchbowl Memorial. Other sites on the tour include downtown Honolulu City, Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, King Kamehameha the Great Statue, Ali'Iolani Hale & Hawaii State Capitol. If you are a history enthusiast, this tour is perfect for you. At the conclusion of the guided tour, guests are given free time in Waikiki for shopping or to enjoy an early dinner prior to the transfer back to the airport. The exact length of free time can vary depending on the tour length and timing of your return flight.

Meals: There will be a No-Host Lunch Stop at Laniakea Cafe Inside Pacific Aviation Museum, and additional meal opportunities at Visitor Center and USS Missouri Entrance. Dinner available during free time in Waikiki or at the airport while awaiting yor return flight.

Billing Policy: Tours involving interisland airfare are charged in full at the time the reservation is finalized, are not cancellable, and are completely non-refundable. They should also be considered non-changeable as ANY itinerary changes will incur significant airline change fees plus the difference in the cost of the airfare.

Tour Times: Departure flight approx. 6:15am with arrival back on Maui around 8:00pm.

Check In: Kahului Airport 1-hour prior to departure

Tour includes: Includes all admissions and round-trip airfare, expert World War II tour guide, a driving tour of Honolulu's historic sites & preferred ticketing to the USS Arizona Memorial!

What to Bring & Wear: Wear comfortable clothes & shoes, and dress appropriately and respectfully for the Arizona Memorial (no beachwear permitted there). Bring sunscreen and a Government Photo Identification (Required for Ford Island Access and airline boarding). No bags of any type allowed at Pearl Harbor. Bags must be checked at Pearl Harbor entrance for $3.00 per bag

Tickets: All admissions are included in the tour price and tickets are prearranged for you.

Airfare Cost: This tour includes airfare and rate quoted is the advanced booking price valid on most dates. Last minute bookings and holiday dates may have more expensive airfare. If there is a premium cost for airfare on your date we will contact you prior to charging your credit card.

Sites and attractions listed for this tour are those visited on a typical day on the vast majority of tours. Partial refunds are not given in cases where flight delays, weather conditions, or unscheduled closure prevents the tour from visiting a listed attraction. If the airline delays your flight to Oahu by more than two hours (extremely rare) the tour operator will cancel the tour and you will receive a full refund.

A slightly shorter version of this tour is available from the West Maui (Kapalua) Airport. While this saves the drive to Kahului for those staying in the Kaanapali / Lahaina area, the flight times give you a shorter day on Oahu and not as many Pearl Harbor sites are visited (the priorities are the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri). The aircraft is MUCH smaller … typically a 12 seat turboprop, and the price is $469.99 per adult and $459.99 per child. Click here to reserve the West Maui departure option

Pearl Harbor provides visiting tips due to increased admittance

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Rangers at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial provided tips for visiting the memorial park on Friday, March 19, after seeing an increase in visitation due to the return of tourism to Hawaii.

Park staff said, they want to make sure everyone’s visit is special and memorable.

Here are some tips from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial:

  • Plan Ahead
    • March is always a season of increased visitation at the Pearl Harbor Visitation Center.
    • The walk-in first-come-first-served ticket system has been replaced by a touchless ticketing system.
    • U.S. Navy vessel capacity is limited to 50 people per program time to ticketed guests only. to reserve tickets ahead of time.
    • Arrive Early
      • Road construction is ongoing and visitors are advised to allow for additional time to account for detours.
      • Visitors are advised to arrive at the Visitor Center one hour before their program time.
      • Check-in at the Ticket Validation Desk at the Park Theater no later than 10 minutes before the program.
      • Individuals who miss the last call risk forfeiting their seats.
      • Available unoccupied seats will be filled by individuals waiting on standby.
      • Have a Backup Plan
        • Visit the museums, watch the 23-minute park film on the open-air lanai or take in the shoreline views.
        • Participate in the Pacific Historic Parks-managed Audio Tour, become a Jr. Ranger (sold in the bookstore) or visit the Virtual Reality Center.
        • Visit the neighboring Pacific Historic Site Partners like the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial and Pearl Harbor Aviation museum
        • Do Your Homework
          • Check the Pearl Harbor website for up-to-date information on tips for planning trips.
          • Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the Visitor Center, grounds, museums and USS Arizona Memorial Program participation are free. to view basic information from the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) or click here to visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Facebook page.

          Officials are asking the public to wash their hands, watch their distance and wear their masks. Face masks are required in every NPS building and facility.

          Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

          Returning to Pearl Harbor - HISTORY

          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.

          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

          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.

          U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

          Online Image: 57KB 740 x 540 pixels

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          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.

          U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

          Online Image: 144KB 740 x 545 pixels

          Capsizing off Ford Island, during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 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, now in the collections of the National Archives.

          Online Image: 83KB 740 x 605 pixels

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

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          The forward magazines of USS Arizona (BB-39) explode after she was hit by a Japanese bomb, 7 December 1941.
          Frame clipped from a color motion picture taken from on board USS Solace (AH-5).

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

          Online Image: 55KB 740 x 610 pixels

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

          Note: The motion picture from which this image is taken has been, and continues to be, shown backwards, with the fireball oriented to the left. The image is correctly oriented as shown here.

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          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, now in the collections of the National Archives.

          Online Image: 115KB 740 x 610 pixels

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

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          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 air raid on Pearl Harbor.
          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, now in the collections of the National Archives.

          Online Image: 119KB 740 x 620 pixels

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

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          USS Maryland (BB-46) alongside the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37).
          USS West Virginia (BB-48) is burning in the background.

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

          Online Image: 88KB 740 x 605 pixels

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

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          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.

          U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

          Online Image: 99KB 740 x 605 pixels

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

          The wrecked destroyers USS Downes (DD-375) and USS Cassin (DD-372) in Drydock One at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, soon after the end of the Japanese air attack. Cassin has capsized against Downes .
          USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) is astern, occupying the rest of the drydock. The torpedo-damaged cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) is in the right distance, beyond the crane. Visible in the center distance is the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37), with USS Maryland (BB-46) alongside. Smoke is from the sunken and burning USS Arizona (BB-39), out of view behind Pennsylvania . USS California (BB-44) is partially visible at the extreme left.
          This image has been attributed to Navy Photographer's Mate Harold Fawcett.

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

          Online Image: 158KB 610 x 765 pixels

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

          Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

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

          The Ships of the Japanese Striking Force

          The success of pulling off the attack on the Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 wasn’t a miracle. The Imperial Japanese Navy employed vessels that made up the well-oiled task force that crossed the Pacific to launch the two waves of Japanese fighters and bombers to.

          Pearl Harbor: Your History Book Forgot the Underwater Attack

          Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki failed as a midget submarine commander at Pearl Harbor but lived to tell the tale.

          During the early hours of December 7, 1941, five midget submarinesof the Imperial Japanese Navy waited to enter Pearl Harbor, the anchorage of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Their mission was to complement the attack of naval aircraft in dealing a crippling blow to the American naval presence in the Pacific. This ambitious plan failed. Only one craft survived, HA-19, along with one member of its two-man crew, Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, who became “Prisoner No. 1” of the United States in World War II.

          The Midget Submarines

          Sakamaki grew up in a tradition-bound Japanese culture that showed deep reverence for family, teachers, and Emperor Hirohito. He later explained, “We were taught, and we came to believe, that the most important thing for us was to die manfully on the battlefield—as the petals of the cherry blossoms fall to the ground—and that in war there is only victory and no retreat.” So, he applied for admission to the Japanese Naval Academy at Etajima and became one of 300 chosen from 6,000 applicants. After graduation, he spent a year at sea, then was promoted to ensign and ordered in April 1941 to report to the Chiyoda, a converted seaplane tender, at the Kure naval shipyard.

          Sakamaki had been chosen to take part in the development of a secret weapon, the midget submarine, and would join an elite group called the Special Attack Naval Unit. Cadets received training on the island of Ohurazaki, along with a theoretical education at the Torpedo Experimental Division of the Kure Navy Yard. Classes were also held on the tug Kure Maru and seaplane tenders Chiyoda and Nisshin. This intense training program, which was observed and monitored, caused some cadets to drop out and others to commit suicide. Only the finest survived.

          Sakamaki and his fellow crewman, Warrant Officer Kiyoshi Inagaki, learned the ins and outs of their special craft. Each sub held two crewmen because of cramped space. The only entrance was through a 16-inch hatch in the conning tower. The Imperial Japanese Navy called these minisubs Ko-Hyoteki, but those attached to units used the mother sub’s name, such as I-24’s midget. Paul J. Kemp says in Midget Submarines that these were “perhaps the most advanced midget submarines in service with any navy during the Second World War.”

          Built in 1938, these cigar-shaped minisubs stretched nearly 80 feet with batteries arranged along each side. They could travel at a speed of 23 knots surfaced and 19 knots submerged, but battery charges lasted only 55 minutes. None of the craft carried generators, so they required recharging by a tender or mother submarine. The torpedo room housed two 18-inch torpedoes, each with around 1,000 pounds of explosives in the warhead. The Japan Optical Manufacturing Company perfected a specialized 10-foot-long miniaturized periscope in secrecy.

          In fact, great secrecy shrouded the entire project. The Japanese eventually produced over 400 vessels of four types in a special factory near Kure. Of these, around 60 Type A submarines, the type commanded by Sakamaki, were built. Only key commanders knew details. Dispatches called the craft Special Submarine Boats Koryu (dragon with scales) and other creative names to avoid revealing the true nature of the machines.

          When the subs first arrived, one seaman recalled, “After we secured, a barge came alongside each submarine. The barges were carrying strange objects heavily screened by black cloth and guarded by armed sailors and police. The objects were hoisted onto the casing and secured in the cradles—still wreathed in their coverings. We, the ship’s company, were not informed what the objects were. It was only when we proceeded to sea for trials in the Sea of Aki that we learned what we were carrying. The morale on the submarine was incredible.”

          Piggy-Backing to Pearl Harbor

          In mid-October 1941, maneuvers around islands in the Inland Sea shifted from mid-ocean strategies to invading narrow inlets at night. “When Captain Harada told us to pay particular attention to Pearl Harbor and Singapore,” Sakamaki recalled, “we thought that one group would probably be used against Pearl Harbor and another group against Singapore.” After crewmen graduated and received a 10-day leave, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, spoke to them aboard the battleship Nagato and emphasized the importance of their secret mission against Pearl Harbor.

          Five submarines, I-16, I-18, I-20, I-22, and I-24, were to carry midget submarines behind their coming towers. Each minisub would travel piggybacked to the large submarine’s pressure hull with steel belts and was to be released while the mother ship was submerged, enabling it to avoid exposure to the enemy. Some officers opposed the daring plan to use midget submarines to attack American ships in the narrow confines of Pearl Harbor. Captain Hanku Sasaki, commander of the First Submarine Division, wondered if the big submarines could handle so much weight. “There was too much hurry, hurry, hurry,” he criticized after the war.

          Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the air attack against Pearl Harbor, scoffed at the entire plan. Others thought the midget submarines rolled and pitched too much. Their conning towers were exposed, and they depended on mother ships for equipment and maintenance. Besides, the element of surprise, which was essential to the success of the air attack, might be compromised if the midget submarines were discovered.

          Sakamaki’s minisub was strapped to submarine I-24, which was a long-range reconnaissance type, 348 feet long with a 30-foot beam. Nine thousand horsepower enabled them to reach a surface speed of 22 knots. A telephone line from HA-19’s conning tower connected the two craft, and an attached cylinder between the boats allowed crewmen to stock supplies and make periodic equipment checks en route. On November 18, 1941, Sakamaki wrote home, “I am now leaving. I owe you, my parents, a debt I shall never be able to repay. Whatever may happen to me, it is in the service of our country that I go. Words cannot express my gratitude for the privilege of fighting for the cause of peace and justice.”

          The five I-class mother ships and their Special Attack Force minisubs left Kure and headed across the North Pacific to Pearl Harbor on a moonless night. They traveled slowly because of cargo and rough weather, running submerged during the day to avoid detection and surfaced during the evening, maintaining a distance of about 20 miles from each other. Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto, skipper of I-24, remembered many troubles during the ocean trip to Hawaii, including clogged pumps, defective valves, and gear malfunctions.

          Once I-24 nearly sank because of a stuck blow-valve, which was freed at the last moment. After surfacing, the crew found a crushed torpedo on Sakamaki’s midget sub and worked all night to replace it with a spare. Hashimoto later said, “This operation may sound easy enough, but in fact, it was far from simple. The lack of space on the narrow upper deck made transporting something weighing over a ton to the after-end of the boat no mean task, say nothing of having to dispose of the damaged torpedo quietly over the side.”

          “We were Members of a Suicide Squadron”

          The five midget submarines were to be launched off the coast of Oahu where they were to quietly enter Pearl Harbor, navigate around Ford Island counterclockwise, and strike the U.S. battleships moored in the shallow water of the harbor. The minisubs were initially expected to attack between the first and second waves of the air attack. When the American battleships attempted to get underway and escape to the open sea, they might be crippled and clog the mouth of the harbor. “I was astonished and felt as if suddenly petrified,” Sakamaki remembered of the moment the details of the plan were revealed to him. “The effect was like a sudden magic blow.”

          Although the plan called for the midget submariners to rendezvous with their mother subs to be recovered on December 8, 1941, about eight miles west of the island of Lanai, Sakamaki realized that the mission was suicidal. The midget submarines lacked battery power to travel such a distance after the assault.

          Sakamaki said, “We were members of a suicide squadron. We did not know how we could ever come back.” Rear Admiral Hisashi Mito, who commanded a division of submarine tenders, also remarked after the war that all minisub crewmen “were prepared for death and not expected to return alive.” The name “Special Naval Attack Unit” was a euphemism for suicide attack in the Japanese language. These submariners predated later kamikaze attack units.

          By the night of December 6, the mother ships neared Hawaii, and the flickering lights along Oahu’s Waikiki Beach were visible. Landing lights at Hickam Field on Ford Island blazed. Jazz music floated from radios and bars. Everything appeared calm. The large subs fanned out within 10 nautical miles of Pearl Harbor’s mouth and waited for the moment to launch their midget submarines.

          “On to Pearl Harbor!”

          Shortly before the launch, Sakamaki wrote a farewell note to his father, made a will, and cut the traditional fingernail clippings and lock of hair for the family altar. Then, he put on his uniform, a cotton fundishi (breech-cloth), leather jacket, and a white hachimaki headband. He and Inagaki also sprayed themselves with perfume of cherry blossoms, and both were now ready to die honorably according to the Bushido code of conduct for Japanese warriors.

          Returning to Pearl Harbor - HISTORY

          By Mike McLaughlin

          The Pearl Harbor aftermath presented the U.S. Navy with a sobering question: how to recover? More than 2,000 men had died. Nearly half as many were wounded. Eighteen ships were damaged or sunk.

          “… None Of the Ships Sunk Would Ever Fight Again.”

          “The scene to the newcomer was foreboding indeed. There was a general feeling of depression throughout the Pearl Harbor area when it was seen and firmly believed that none of the ships sunk would ever fight again.” This was a haunting sentiment from Captain Homer Wallin, the man who would lead the salvage effort.

          Admiral Chester Nimitz, named Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) days after the attack, flew to Hawaii to take command. He landed in Pearl Harbor on Christmas Day. His briefings had prepared him, or so he thought. Awestruck, he remarked, “This is terrible seeing all these ships down.” The ceremony installing Nimitz as CINCPAC was held on the deck of the Grayling, a submarine he had once commanded. Cynics commented that it was the only deck fit for the ceremony.

          The days of the Battleship Navy were over. The Japanese made the point again on December 10, sinking the British battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse off Singapore. In the Pearl Harbor aftermath, Nimitz’s aircraft carriers had to become the heart of his new strategy. Yet with proper escort, the battleships could still be effective weapons. If they could be saved, Nimitz would give them work.

          The Immediate Pearl Harbor Aftermath: No Time Was Wasted for the Salvage Effort

          The salvage effort began on December 7, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, when crews manned hoses to fight the fires while the attack was still under way. These firefighters were aided by boats, tugs, and even a garbage hauler. Men from the fleet’s base force brought pumps to battle the flooding. Rescue teams searched for sailors trapped in the capsized battleships Oklahoma and Utah.

          On January 9, 1942, Captain Wallin took charge of the Salvage Division, itself a new branch of the Navy Yard. A native of Washburn, ND, Homer Wallin had spent half his life training for this. Like many men raised far from the sea, he sought a naval career. He went to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1913, then served aboard the battleship New Jersey during World War I. He joined the Navy’s Construction Corps in 1918, and studied naval architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After completing his master of science degree in 1921, he spent the next 20 years in the New York, Philadelphia, and Mare Island Navy Yards, as well as at the Bureau of Construction and Repair in Washington, DC.

          How Salvage Triage Was Handled

          Wallin’s Salvage Division had three clear goals: Rescue the men who were trapped aboard the ships, assess the damage to each ship, and repair as many as possible. The task was to fix each enough to be able to travel to the larger yards on the West Coast for complete restoration.

          The Japanese would come to regret leaving two vital areas of the harbor intact. The first was the fleet’s fuel supply—over 4.5 million gallons. The other was the Navy Yard, whose shops had a vast capacity to fix or build almost anything. “They built liberty boats, 25-foot motor whaleboats, any kind of harbor craft,” recalled Walter Bayer. “They could overhaul a 14- or 16-inch gun. Just pull them around on those big cranes, and handle them like they were toothpicks in those big buildings. They were enormous buildings. They still are.”

          Bayer grew up on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. In 1940, he became a civil service employee and went to work in the compressed gases plant in the Navy Yard. He was an assistant supervisor by December 1941. After the attack, demand for his services soared. “When they organized to cut through the bottom of the Oklahoma—she had a double hull—the welders came to us to get acetylene and oxygen for their cutting torches. And they’d use it like water. It would just go in no time.”

          An Admiral Without a Flag Ship Made Yard Commandant

          The new commandant of the yard was Admiral William Furlong. He and Nimitz were in the same class at Annapolis. Until December 25, 1941, Furlong had been Commander Minecraft, Battle Force. His flagship, the mine layer Oglala, had been sunk off the yard’s main pier, 1010 Dock. Furlong gave Wallin everything he needed: personnel, equipment, and waterfront work space. With a fleet of small vessels roaming the harbor, Wallin could send men and machinery wherever he needed them. He had experts to remove ammunition and ordnance materiel. He had divers trained to operate inside sunken ships. Plus he had the Pacific Bridge Company, whose men were contracted to build Navy facilities across the Pacific.

          One Navy diver was Metalsmith First Class Edward Raymer. He had joined the service to escape the quiet life in Riverside, Calif. In 1940, he trained at the diving school in San Diego. His work clothes were rubberized coveralls with gloves, a lead-weighted belt (84 pounds), lead-weighted shoes (36 pounds each), and a copper Helmet attached to a breastplate. Above water, the suit was awkward. Submerged, the weights counteracted the suit’s buoyancy, permitting the diver to move fairly easily. An air hose ran from the Helmet to a compressor monitored by men on the surface. The diver carefully moved the hose with him while working within sunken ships. He often worked in total darkness. He took directions from the surface via telephone cable and needed heightened senses of touch and balance to work with welding torches and suction hoses.

          One Day into the Pearl Harbor Aftermath: “Welcome To the Salvage Unit.”

          On December 8, 1941, Raymer’s team flew to Pearl. “Welcome to the Salvage Unit,” a tired warrant officer told them. “You will be attached to this command on temporary additional duty, which may not be temporary from the amount of diving work you see before you.”

          The team’s first assignment was to determine if men were trapped below the water level in the battleship Nevada. “To accomplish this,” Raymer remembered, “we lowered a diver from the sampan to a depth of 20 feet. Swinging a five-pound hammer, he rapped on the hull three times, then stopped and listened for an answering signal. We took turns for hours. No answering signal was ever heard.” Frustrating as this was, other search parties successfully freed men from the Oklahoma and Utah. The last of them were brought out by December 10.

          “Lesser damaged” was the term applied to the condition of the battleships Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Tennessee the cruisers Honolulu, Helena, and Raleigh the repair ship Vestal the seaplane tender Curtiss and the destroyer Helm.

          USS Pennsylvania Returned To Duty

          Pennsylvania was in Dry Dock Number One during the attack, behind the destroyers Downes and Cassin. One bomb hit the battleship, damaging a 5-inch gun and passing through two decks before exploding. The blast wrecked bulkheads, hatches, pipes, and wiring. Her hull and power plant were sound, though. On December 12, she went to the Navy Yard. The damaged gun was replaced with one from the West Virginia, whose decks were awash after she settled into the mud on the bottom of Battleship Row, the victim of several Japanese torpedoes. On December 20, the Pennsylvania sailed for Puget Sound, Wash.

          A bomb had struck the pier beside Honolulu. The blast bent in 40 feet of hull on the port side, causing shrapnel damage and flooding. Yard workers began patching the hull, while Honolulu’s crew worked within.

          With them was Seaman First Class Stephen Young from Methuen, Mass. Young had just transferred from the Oklahoma. He had endured 25 hours trapped in the battleship. Having survived that, he was impressed by his new job, helping to remove damaged powder cases from the cruiser’s magazine. Shrapnel had punctured many of them, spilling explosive powder on the decks. “Why they never went off, I don’t know,” Young recalled.

          USS Honolulu and Helena Next Up

          Honolulu moved to Dry Dock Number One on December 13. On January 2, she went to the yard for further work. Ten days later, she returned to service.

          USS Helena took a torpedo on her starboard side, flooding an engine room and a boiler room. On December 10, she entered Dry Dock Number Two, which was still under construction. Pacific Bridge personnel borrowed wooden blocks from the yard for the ship to rest upon. After 11 days, she moved to the yard. On January 5, Helena left for the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco.

          Maryland was moored inboard of Oklahoma and had escaped torpedoes, but one bomb hit her forecastle. Another struck her port side at water level. No dry dock was available, so repairs were performed at the quays. ­The yard’s workshops built a wood and metal patch for the rupture in the hull. A barge-mounted crane lowered the patch into the water, and divers fitted it in place. The water was pumped away, and repairs continued inside the ship. On December 20, she left for Puget Sound. Her final repairs were completed there on February 26, 1942.

          Months into the Pearl Harbor Aftermath: A Stricken Arizona Inflicts Damage On Sisters

          USS Tennessee was inboard of West Virginia Multiple torpedo hits had sunk the outer ship, trapping Tennessee against the concrete mooring quays. A direct hit to the battleship USS Arizona’s magazines had sunk that vessel and thrown burning debris on the Tennessee’s decks. Arizona’s burning oil spread across the water, engulfing Tennessee’s stern. Crewmen fought with hoses to keep the fires away. Her forward magazines were flooded to keep them from exploding. The ship’s propellers were turned at speeds up to 10 knots in an effort to keep flaming oil away. The crew was forced to abandon her.

          Men from the yard and the repair ship USS Medusa welded Tennessee’s heat-warped stern plates. A total of 650,000 gallons of oil was pumped from the ship. Divers placed explosive charges on the quays. These were detonated on December 16, finally freeing Tennessee from her trap. She spent two months at Puget Sound and eventually returned to duty on February 29, 1942.

          Outboard of Arizona was Vestal. Two bombs found her, falling from a thousand feet or higher, smashing straight through her, and exploding underwater. The flooding made her list to port and settle heavily at the stern. To escape the burning Arizona, the Vestal’s captain backed his ship away. Vestal was 33 years old, and her watertight integrity was not enough to keep her afloat. Two tugboats guided her east to shallow water, beaching her at Aiea Shoal.

          Vestal Gets Second Lease On Life

          Being a repair ship, USS Vestal had the resources for crew to begin mending her, but she had to wait her turn for dry-docking. It came two months later. Vestal returned to duty on February 18.

          A torpedo flooded Raleigh’s engine room. A bomb ripped through three decks and out her side. It exploded uncomfortably close to a compartment storing aviation fuel. When the cruiser’s captain ordered counterflooding to balance the ship, several doors failed. The tugboat Sunnadin and a barge were tied to her port side to save her from sinking.

          Men from repair vessels helped the crew rebuild the decks and transfer fuel and water from the Raleigh. She went into Dry Dock Number One on January 3. Running on one engine, she sailed for Mare Island on February 14. After receiving a new engine and electrical parts, she returned to duty on July 23.

          Pacific Fleet Slowly Resurrected

          Curtiss had no armor and suffered for it. One bomb hit. Three missed, but not by enough. A damaged Japanese plane struck her starboard crane and exploded. Smoke from burning cork insulation made it more difficult for the crew to fight the fires.
          Dry-docked from December 19 to 27, USS Curtiss had to vacate early, making way for higher priority jobs. She could not return until April 26, and was substantially repaired by May 28.

          Helm had escaped the harbor, but while searching for submarines she was bracketed by two bombs. The shock caused flooding forward and tripped circuit breakers. With the dry docks full, Helm went to the yard’s marine railway on January 15. There she was hauled out of the water for welding and patching. At the end of the month, she left for San Diego.

          Each accomplishment brought another part of the Pacific Fleet to life. But these successes were modest compared to what lay ahead. Six battleships, one cruiser, three destroyers, and a mine-laying ship had received severe attention from the Japanese.

          Much Work Still Left To Be Done

          Destroyers were desperately needed to protect Allied merchant shipping from enemy submarines. Commander John Alden, himself a submariner, wrote, “In addition to the mere urgency of obtaining ASW [antisubmarine warfare] vessels, other factors added weight to the balance. One was the fact that of all the material needed to build new destroyers, most critical and hard to obtain were main propulsion plants. In the effort to break the bottleneck, DE’s [destroyer escorts] and frigates were designed around every conceivable type of power plant … but there was no substitute for the steam turbine in destroyers.”

          In addition to the catastrophic loss of the Arizona, one of the most spectacular of the December 7 victims was the destroyer Shaw. She had been on blocks in Floating Dry Dock Number Two. Three bombs struck the ship, rupturing fuel tanks. Fire swept through the ship to her magazines. A tremendous blast wrecked her entire forward section. Twenty-five men died, and 15 more were injured. Five bombs hit the dry dock. To protect it, workers submerged the dock, and the tugboat Sotoyomo sank with it.

          Shaw a Total Loss?

          To casual observers, Shaw seemed a total loss. Her bridge was destroyed, and her bow was literally gone. But her engineering machinery was intact. She was towed to the marine railway on December 19. Hull repair experts took measurements and set to building a temporary bow.

          Navy divers sealed over 150 holes in the hull of the dock. It was raised on January 9, and ready for service on January 25. Six months later, so was Sotoyomo. Shaw was the first ship back into the dry dock. The next day, her new bow was attached along with a new mast and a temporary bridge. This made her look more like an overgrown PT boat than a destroyer, but it worked. On February 4, Shaw left the harbor for power trials. Five days later, with cheers shouted from all over Pearl, she left for Mare Island. A permanent bow awaited her there. Of the badly wounded ships, Shaw was the first to return to sea.

          The destroyers Helm and Henley escorted Shaw eastward. Seaman First Class Arthur Schreier from Watertown, Conn., was on Henley’s No. 4 gun mount. He spent many hours watching Shaw plow through the waves. “I felt so sorry for those guys,” Schreier recalled, “because without a bow, you know—they had this little stubby thing welded on. Boom. Boom. Boom. Every wave, for six days.”

          A Makeshift Bow for the USS Shaw

          Fireman First Class Alfred Bulpitt from Centerdale, RI, was aboard the Shaw. Manning the port engine throttle, he knew she was traveling at only a third of her top speed. “It took us quite a while. We only had one fire room and one screw working. And we had a reduced crew. But I don’t remember anyone saying we wouldn’t make it.”

          They did make it, arriving at Mare Island on February 15. Waiting for Shaw was another dry dock and her new bow. She was ready by July, returning to duty as an escort for convoys to Pearl. By the fall, she headed west to join the fight for Guadalcanal.

          Destroyers Downes and Cassin had similar troubles. “They had gone through every kind of ordeal which ships could be subjected to,” Wallin wrote. “From bomb hits to severe fires, to explosions, to fragmentation damage, etc. These vessels were the only ones of the Pearl Harbor group that suffered all the kinds of damage enumerated.”

          Every Type Of Damage That Could Be Done

          A bomb had ripped through the USS Cassin to explode on the floor of Dry Dock Number One. Two more hit the dock, one on each side of the ships. A fourth blasted Cassin again. A fifth destroyed Downes’ bridge. Fragments punctured fuel tanks on both ships. Fire spread through the dock, detonating fuel and ammunition on Downes. Part of a torpedo landed 75 feet away.

          Without power or water, no one could fight the fires, which now threatened the neighboring Pennsylvania. Her captain ordered the dock flooded, but as the water rose, so did the flames. Cassin came afloat at her stern and finally collapsed onto Downes.

          Both destroyers remained in the dock for two months. Other ships came in for repairs. Each flooding and draining made the destroyers sway and roll, hurting them more. On February 5, Cassin was carefully reset on her blocks. The next day, Downes was towed to the Navy Yard. Cassin followed 20 days later.

          The destroyers’ hulls were ruined, but their propulsion machinery was sound. Nimitz, the Bureau of Ships, and the Chief of Naval Operations debated the question: repair them or scrap them? On May 7, the Bureau of Ships found the solution. “Recommend new hulls be built at Mare Island. The Bureau considers that sufficient of the original Cassin and Downes material can be worked into the [new] hulls to thoroughly justify the retention of the original names for the new ships.”

          Like a Bride Being Led Down the Aisle a Second Time

          Through the spring and summer, nearly 1,000 tons of useful equipment was removed, carefully catalogued, and shipped to Mare Island. By August, what remained of Downes was scrapped. The Cassin followed suit by October, but the hearts of both vessels, including the 37-ton stern sections bearing their names, were saved. On May 20, 1943, Downes was “relaunched.” So was Cassin on June 21. There was no precedent for this in Navy history. Never had a ship been launched twice. “In both cases there was a minimum of fanfare,” Alden wrote. “Like a quiet ceremony with discreet minimized publicity for a bride being led to the altar for the second time.”

          Of the battleships, only Nevada had been able to run for the sea. However, she took hits from a torpedo and at least seven bombs. One smashed her forecastle, blowing a 25-foot triangular hole on the port side. Another crashed through the ship—including a gasoline tank without igniting it—and detonated beneath her. Flooding was too heavy to be stopped.

          Nevada Beached At Harbor Entrance During Attack

          Watching from Oglala, Admiral Furlong ordered two tugboats to move the USS Nevada to the shallows at Waipio Point above the harbor entrance, where she was beached. Her bow settled until the deck was nearly awash.

          Admiral Nimitz’s inspection of Nevada was a grim one. The ship had been wrecked by blasts and fire and fouled with oil and polluted water, but her men were determined to win. Nimitz consented.

          Using measurements from Nevada’s sister ship, Oklahoma, yard shipwrights built a patch to cover the holes. It was a huge piece of craftsmanship, 55 feet long, 32 feet deep, and curved to fit the ship’s bilge.

          The divers had a frustrating time securing the patch. The explosions had warped the hull, and it was impossible to seal the patch completely. It had to be discarded. The alternative was to gamble on the strength of Nevada’s bulkheads. Divers tightened every door and hatch in the ruptured compartments and bolted patches over smaller holes in the hull.

          The Battle To Drain Nevada

          Removing water from the ship was a headache, too, given the number and types of pumps available. The strongest could pump 4,000 gallons a minute, but there were not enough of them. Some could draw water up about 15 feet, but no higher. To compensate, engineers arranged them so that the smaller ones brought water to areas where the stronger pumps could move the water up and out of the ship. This was done with care. If one section drained much faster than others, Nevada could list or capsize. Although the pumps gradually moved water out faster than it came in, the ship remained in danger until dry-docked.

          The drying compartments sobered the most hardened men. The filth was appalling. A mixture of oil, mud, paper, clothes, and rotting food filled every part of the ship. And there were the bodies of men who had died in the attack. They were taken to the naval hospital for identification and burial. Then work parties brought in hoses and sprayed every object and surface with sea water, followed with Tectyl, a cleaning chemical that absorbed water from anything it touched.

          To increase buoyancy, Nevada’s crew transferred the remaining stored oil from the ship. Wreckage was cleaned away. Guns, ammunition, electric motors, and auxiliary equipment were brought out. Much of it was salvable, despite being submerged for nearly three months.

          Two Months into the Pearl Harbor Aftermath: Deadly Gas Slows the Salvage Effort

          The optimism of the salvage crew was tempered by the discovery of hydrogen sulfide, an odorless toxic gas created when oil and polluted sea water are mixed under pressure. On February 7, one man opened a gas-filled compartment and collapsed from a fatal dose. While trying to rescue him, five more sailors were also overcome. Only four recovered. Increased ventilation became top priority. No man was permitted on the ship without a gas mask and a litmus paper badge to indicate if the gas was present.

          One week later, Nevada was afloat. A last inspection was made of every bulkhead and hatch. Any serious leak would send the battered battleship to the bottom. On February 14, two tugs brought the Nevada to Dry Dock Number Two. Nimitz and Furlong were with the cheering crowd that welcomed her. On April 22, 1942, she left Pearl Harbor for Puget Sound Navy Yard for final repairs and modernization.

          California posed greater problems. She had been hit by two torpedoes and one bomb and jarred by several near misses. Arizona’s burning oil had forced California’s crew to abandon her. She took three days to sink to the bottom, settling with a list to port. Her main deck was 17 feet beneath the surface.

          Complex Plan Devised To Raise the USS California

          The Yard Design Section feared that patching and pumping out the ship would fail. As she regained buoyancy, the weight of the water above her decks might collapse them. One option was to build a cofferdam around the ship. A barrier of pilings driven into the harbor bottom would permit men to drain the water within and effect repairs. It was a good plan, but expensive and complicated.

          An alternative was found: build two cofferdams attached to the ship to enclose her forecastle and quarterdeck. Barge cranes lowered huge wooden planks along the ship’s sides. Pacific Bridge divers bolted them to the hull and sealed them with lengths of hose filled with sawdust and oakum (hemp mixed with tar). The planks were 30 feet high and varied in width and thickness. They were weighted down with sandbags and reinforced to endure external water pressure as the interior was pumped out.

          The divers plugged more holes. One needed a 15-by-15-foot patch. As with Nevada, the pumps eventually caught up to the leaks, then passed them. Oil was skimmed from the surface and transferred from the bunkers to a barge alongside. Eventually, over 200,000 gallons were recovered.

          Heroic Effort By Welders Save California After Gas Explosion

          By the end of March, California had risen to a nearly even keel, but on April 5 an explosion blew out the hull patch. She began settling at the bow. Gasoline vapors had leaked from a fuel tank and ignited. The patch was ruined, and there was no time to build another. Another battleship was coming in for repairs, and California had to meet the tight schedule for dry dock time. Raymer’s team contained the flooding on the ship’s third deck. The men took turns welding a warped hatch shut. After 12 hours, it was secured and the flooding stopped. Four days later, California entered Dry Dock Number Two. She was on time.

          California’s electric drive engines had suffered heavily from the saltwater. The job of rewrapping miles of wire called for specialists not available at Pearl. A team of engineers flew in from the General Electric Company in Schenectady, NY. Through the summer they concentrated their efforts on one alternator and two motors—just enough to get the ship to Puget Sound. They finished in the autumn. California headed for Puget Sound on October 10, 1942.

          Raising West Virginia Tests Salvage Team To Limit

          West Virginia’s problems were even worse. Two bombs and at least seven torpedoes sank her, killing over a hundred men. She, too, had electric drive. Her steering system was ruined, and her rudder was blown off. Over 200 feet of her port hull was wrecked. Raymer wrote, “Raising West Virginia would be far more difficult than either the Nevada or the California had been. It would test the ingenuity and salvage expertise of every faction involved in the operation.”

          Yard craftsmen came through again, building 14 hull patches in sections 13 feet long and over 50 feet wide. Curved at the bottom to fit the ship’s bilge, they straightened to climb the sides to high above the surface. Like the walls of a fortress, each was made of metal beams and 12-by-14-inch timbers, with four-inch planking beneath. Several had access doors so divers could enter the hull. To counteract its buoyancy, each was weighted with lead. After each section was fitted in place, the lead was removed. Divers filled the seams with 650 tons of underwater concrete. Since this added more weight than the hull could endure after dry-docking, the divers finished by welding steel reinforcing rods to the hull.

          Plugging Every Last Hole

          After the patches were secured, the pumps lowered the water within by a few feet, but no more. “No further headway was made in dewatering,” Raymer recalled. “Most of the leakage was found to occur in the areas contiguous to the patches from leaking seams, shrapnel holes, and loose rivets.” Every hole mattered. Raymer’s men sealed all they could find with smaller patches or wooden plugs.

          Salvage crews moved deeper into the ship, mindful of the hydrogen sulfide threat. A medical officer worked with them, maintaining a bulletin board showing which compartments were safe. They brought out more oil, ammunition, and machinery along with the bodies of 66 men who had died in December.

          The bodies of three sailors were found in a dry storeroom. With them was a calendar. The days from December 7 to December 23 were crossed off. The men had food and drinking water, but their oxygen had run out. “The discovery of these three men in an unflooded compartment caused a profound sense of anguish among our divers,” Raymer said. “Especially shaken were Moon and Tony, who had sounded the West Virginia’s hull on December 12 and reported no response from within the ship.” The men had been in the starboard side, hard against Tennessee’s port side. It had been impossible for divers to reach that area.

          Chipping Away Years Of Paint

          Recalling his part in the salvage, Electrician’s Mate Second Class Claude Miller wrote, “This consisted mainly of endless days of chipping the years of paint coats from the bulkheads. This paint was in many places a full one inch thick or more, and shattered like cement when chiseled by air-driven chipping hammers.” A native of Trenton, Mo., Miller had traveled far with the Navy, with no shortage of work. He had been with the aircraft carrier Yorktown at the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway. After his carrier was sunk, he and many of his friends were reassigned to Pearl to assist with the recovery work there.

          “We worked in very hot and sometimes toxic spaces in half-hour shifts,” he added. “Then we would go up to topside for about half an hour, for fresh air and pineapple juice. Later on I was assigned to clean, rewind, and restore small electric motors, and also manage the engineers’ tool room.”

          On May 17, West Virginia rose from the bottom. Work continued over the next three weeks to reduce her draft. Finally, it was down to the required minimum, 33 feet. She just fit into Dry Dock Number One on June 9. She went to the yard a few days later and stayed for 11 months. In April 1943, as Miller put it, “The old warrior finally was made ready to move on her own, and we sailed to Bremerton Navy Yard for the balance of the restoration.”

          “When Helena Got Hit, Oglala Died Of Fright.”

          The USS Oglala came last. On December 7, a torpedo had passed beneath her to strike the inboard Helena. Since the ships were tied together, the explosion ruptured Oglala’s bilge. Two hours later she capsized to port. Only her starboard side amidships remained above water. This led to the cynical joke that when she saw Helena get hit, Oglala died of fright.

          Originally a coastal steamer, Oglala had joined the Navy in World War I. She was 34 years old, and her compartments were not designed to endure battle damage. The merits of raising her seemed thin. She was blocking valuable pier space, and scrapping seemed the best option. However, since demolition experts and equipment were unavailable, men from the yard and the repair ship Ortolan set out to rescue her, employing three elements.

          The first was a set of 10 submarine salvage pontoons. Each was a giant metal cylinder that could be flooded and sunk, then attached to massive chains placed under the hull by divers. When pumped out, each pontoon would exert nearly 100 tons of lifting power. Second was a barge with winches to haul cables attached to Oglala. The third was compressed air, pumped into the hull to displace some of the water within. This required extreme care, given the hull’s weakened condition.

          Oglala Stubbornly Resists All Efforts To Salvage Her

          On April 11, bridles linking the chains to the pontoons broke. The pontoons floated free. They were resunk and new bridles were attached. Another attempt was made on April 23. Oglala rolled up to rest on her bottom with a 20-degree port list. Further work reduced this to 7 degrees, but her bow remained 6 feet below the surface and the stern was 19 feet deeper.

          Cofferdamming came next, using wood and steel from the California salvage. Divers secured the sections and patched the port bilge, where the worst shock damage was. They cut free the wooden deck house, and a barge crane hoisted it away.

          The cofferdam was completed in June, and pumping began. After the water had dropped seven feet, a section of the dam failed. Captain Wallin dryly noted, “This was not a design failure, but resulted from the action of some ‘practical men.’” The men in question had substituted 12-inch-square timbers for the steel H-beams specified in the designs. The wood was replaced with steel. Pumping above and from within the ship resumed. On June 23, Oglala floated.

          Six Months into the Pearl Harbor Aftermath: The “Jonah Ship”

          On the night of June 25, several pumps became fouled with debris, and Oglala’s bow sank. Her stern followed. The pumps were cleared, and the vessel was refloated once more on June 27. She sank a third time on June 29 when the cofferdam failed again. By then Oglala had earned the nickname “the Jonah ship.” She was returned to the surface again by July 1.

          Fire broke out aboard Oglala that night when a technician spilled gasoline on a pump’s exhaust manifold. He then dropped the burning gas can into the water, igniting the oil on the water’s surface. It took 20 minutes for men from Ortolan and the Navy Yard Fire Department to extinguish the blaze. To their weary relief, the salvage men found that damage to the cofferdam was superficial.

          On July 3, Oglala entered Dry Dock Number Two. To Wallin, the ship looked like Noah’s Ark without a roof. Despite her troubles, her hull was in better shape than expected. She eventually returned to service as a repair ship, aiding many other vessels throughout the war.

          The Vessels Beyond Saving

          The remaining victims of December 7 were beyond saving. Arizona had suffered several bomb hits. She had sunk with the loss of more than 1,100 men. One bomb hit had detonated her forward magazines and broken her back. Her armament and fuel were taken ashore, and Arizona was left where she sank. More than 20 years passed before the famed memorial was built above her.

          Many torpedoes had struck Oklahoma. “I can vouch for five,” Young recalled. The blasts disintegrated much of her port hull. Fifteen minutes after the attack began, she capsized. She stayed that way for nearly six months. When men and resources were finally available, the most spectacular chapter of the Fleet salvage began.

          Months Spent Devising Plan To Raise Oklahoma

          The man responsible for leading the staggering effort to raise the Oklahoma was Commander F.H. Whitaker. Born and raised in Tyler, Tex., Whitaker was a naval construction expert who, like Wallin, had graduated from Annapolis and M.I.T. Whitaker and his staff spent months running tests to determine the most effective method to raise the ship. Experiments with a 1/96 scale model of the battleship in Pacific Bridge’s laboratory in San Francisco demonstrated that the Oklahoma could be gradually rolled into an upright position.

          Divers placed pontoons at key points where the superstructure was buried in the mud. They also tested the strength of the mud. It had to be hard enough, or the ship might drag along the bottom as the winches turned. Fortunately, it was. The divers placed an additional 4,500 cubic yards of coral soil along the inshore side of the ship’s bow. Twenty-one concrete foundations were poured near the water’s edge on Ford Island. Seated in them were electric winches. With a system of hauling blocks and pulleys, the winches’ combined strength could exert a titanic 345,000 tons of pulling force. Forty-two miles of one-inch wire ran from the winches, through the blocks, out over a row of 40-foot A-frame towers built on Oklahoma’s hull, and finally to pads welded to the ship.

          “Like Something From Gulliver’s Travels.”

          It looked like something from Gulliver’s Travels, but the objective was to free a giant, not restrain it. The righting began on March 8, 1943. “With a lurch and a groan the Oklahoma started her slow but steady rotation,” Raymer wrote. “Everyone was jubilant. They cheered lustily as they observed the ship’s movements, drowning out for the moment the sounds of metal being crushed and torn.” Inexorably, almost invisibly, the ship began her roll to starboard. Turning at a snail’s pace, the winches reeled in cable for more than three months. Finally, on June 16, the battleship reached an upright position, listing only 3 degrees to port.

          Pacific Bridge divers placed cofferdam patches over 200 feet of the Oklahoma’s hull. They sealed them with 2,000 tons of underwater concrete and added four more pontoons to offset the weight. Tragically, this led to the deaths of two men. Rusting inside one pontoon had removed the oxygen from the air. While working alone inside it, a Navy chief collapsed and died. A Pacific Bridge diver drowned when the wake from a passing boat drove another pontoon against Oklahoma, severing his air hose.

          Dewatering revealed the remains of the sailors who had died a year and a half earlier. Identifying them was impossible. Bringing out what remained of over 400 men was unquestionably the salvage team’s hardest job.

          Salvage Of Oklahoma Symbolized America’s Recovery From Attack

          Oklahoma was refloated on November 3, 1943. On December 28, she entered Dry Dock Number Two. After moving to the yard, she was stripped of every useful piece of equipment.

          Whitaker later wrote a detailed study of the project for The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. Outlining in detail the full extent of this fantastic achievement, he concluded with what it meant for America. “All of us felt, I believe, that aside from the practical aspects, the salvage of the Oklahoma was symbolic of the Navy’s and the country’s recovery from the treacherous Japanese attack.”

          On September 1, 1944, the Oklahoma was decommissioned. The hull was sold for scrap a year later. On May 10, 1947, two tugboats brought her out of Pearl, heading for the West Coast. She sank in a storm the following week. The men who had served in her were pleased. It was a better end than being cut to pieces for scrap.

          Utah Left In Place

          The USS Utah fared no better. She had capsized at her berth on the west side of Ford Island, and 58 men had perished. Over 30 years old, she had been converted to a training vessel for gunnery and aircraft exercises. The Navy deemed her a nonessential ship occupying nonessential space. The effort to right her was delayed until November 1943. The result was a shadow of the work done for the Oklahoma. By March 1944, the Utah had been partly righted, listing 47 degrees to port and almost completely submerged. Further work being too costly, the Navy left her as she was. Utah remains there today, a training site for divers.

          During their time in the West Coast yards, each ship received not only final repairs but modernization. They emerged with sleek superstructures, better armor and armament, especially antiaircraft guns. Some underwent more than one refit and upgrade of their armament and other systems. They had the latest radar and radio equipment. Their power plants were greatly improved. They went on to exact a measure of revenge against the Imperial Japanese Navy.

          Revitalized Ships Went On To Serve With Distinction

          The revitalized ships distinguished themselves in countless ways. Cassin, for instance, earned six battle stars for carrier escort and invasion support duty in the Philippines and at Iwo Jima. Shaw won 11 stars, fighting from the Santa Cruz Islands to the Philippines. On January 7, 1945, Shaw and the destroyers Ausburne, Russell, and Braine sank a Japanese destroyer off Luzon. “It was the last surface action of the war,” Bulpitt noted. “We were there at the beginning, and we were there at the end.”

          Vestal repaired ships in the Solomons. This was incalculably important. By contributing to the repair of other vessels when the future of the Pacific War was still in doubt, she paid many times over for the effort to save her at Pearl.

          Nevada, Tennessee, and Raleigh joined the Aleutian Islands operation of 1943, reclaiming Attu and Kiska from the Japanese. Nevada went east to join the Atlantic Fleet, supporting the invasions of Normandy in June 1944, and then southern France in August.

          Salvage Sisters Turn Tide Of War During Battle For Philippines

          Tennessee joined West Virginia, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to participate in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. The Japanese had summoned the majority of their dwindling naval forces to attempt to disrupt the American landings at Leyte in the Philippines. It was the largest naval campaign in history and marked the end of the Japanese Navy as an effective fighting force.

          In a series of torpedo attacks, American destroyers ambushed a Japanese battleship force on the evening of October 25 at Surigao Strait. Using their new fire-control radar, Tennessee, West Virginia, and California followed up, firing more than 220 rounds from their main batteries. Maryland’s older radar system could track where the rounds fell, and with that she added 48 shots of her own.

          By dawn, two Japanese battleships, Fuso and Yamashiro, had been sunk, along with three destroyers. The badly damaged cruiser Mogami was finished off by American torpedo planes. Surigao Strait was the last surface action fought between opposing battleships. Having waited almost three years for it, the veterans of Pearl Harbor savored the victory to the fullest. “It was a matter of great satisfaction to many Americans,” Wallin wrote. “And it must have been a bitter pill for the Japanese.”

          Helena Fights Gallantly

          Helena fought in the battles of Cape Esperance and Guadalcanal. During a night action, she fought off Japanese warships that were shelling Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. On September 15, 1942, she rescued survivors when the aircraft carrier Wasp was sunk, but her luck did not last. Helena was torpedoed during the Battle of Kula Gulf on July 6, 1943. She broke apart and sank. Approximately 170 men died with her.

          The other ships served to the end of the war. Following the Japanese surrender, California, West Virginia, and Tennessee remained on station in Japan. But by the autumn of 1945, the U.S. Navy was the largest in the world, and the most expensive. Peace meant shrinking military budgets. All but one of the ships that rose from ruin at Pearl Harbor were decommissioned and consigned for scrapping by 1947. Only Curtiss endured. She served in the Korean War. As a science vessel, she took part in nuclear weapons tests in the Central Pacific and research work off Antarctica. She was decommissioned in 1957 and finally broken up in 1972.

          Cruel But Necessary Retirement For Old Warriors

          It all seemed heartless, and still does, to the men who lived and fought on these ships. Still, financial considerations aside, the ships were old. Despite their upgrading, it was becoming difficult for them to keep pace with newer ships coming into service, let alone those on the drawing boards. They had done their work.

          Over 30 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, Ed Raymer retired from the Navy. Looking back, he readily acknowledged that he was part of a tremendous accomplishment. In 1996, Commander Raymer wrote, “Navy divers and Pacific Bridge civilian divers formed one leg of a salvage triad salvage engineers and the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard comprised the other two. One leg needed the assistance and support of the other two to be effective.”

          “We Keep Them Fit To Fight”

          Vice Admiral Homer Wallin retired in 1955, finishing a career spanning 40 years. He had left Hawaii in July 1942 for a new assignment. During an awards ceremony on the deck of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, Admiral Nimitz presented Wallin with the Distinguished Service Medal. As Wallin wrote, “Admiral Nimitz read the citation for the work performed by the Salvage Organization and ended by adding, ‘for being an undying optimist.’ The Medal was accepted by me in the name of the organization which I had the honor to head.”

          Wallin meant it. He knew the value of every man who helped him. “Enough cannot be said in praise of the salvage crew,” he asserted. “They worked hard and earnestly. They soon saw that the results of their efforts exceeded the fondest hopes of their supporters and they were urged on by their successful achievements.”

          Without question, the Pearl Harbor salvage operation was the largest in naval history. The men behind it lived up to their creed: “We keep them fit to fight.”


          Is there a list of Navy and civilian divers who worked the salvage of ships at Pearl Harbor?

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