Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

A surprise attack...
A view of Battleship Row from a high altitude Japanese level bomber

A vicious attack...
The USS Shaw explodes

The damage was immense...

Wreckage of the USS Arizona
Wreckage of the USS Shaw

Rebuilding would be long and hard...
The USS Cassin and USS Downes partially sunk in drydock after the attackThe USS Oklahoma capsized

But necessary if we were to strike back...

And strike back we would...One last story from the day worth pondering, especially those of you who are set to commission in a matter of months...think that your learning curve will be gradual? Think that your first few months (or even years) in service will be simple, easy ones?

Think again (emphasis mine):

Serial 077
U.S.S. Aylwin
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 12, 1941

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander, Destroyers, Battle Force.
Subject: Action Taken During Enemy Air Raid – Report of.
Reference: (a) CINCPAC Despatch 102102 of December 1941.

  1. In accordance with reference (a), subject report is hereby submitted.
  2. The enemy attack commenced at 0755 with the Utah being torpedoed by planes. At 0758 this vessel and the other vessels in Desdiv. 2, berthed at buoy X-18, opened fire with main batteries and machine guns on dive bombers as they came in over Ford Island. This vessel with her main battery assisted in destroying about three planes. At 0800 preparations were made for getting underway. Fires were lighted under boilers #1 and 2 and cut in on the main steam line in 15 minutes. At 0828 received orders from Commander Destroyers Battle Force to get underway. About 0845 Monaghan was underway followed by the Dale and the Farragut. At 0850 a bomb exploded about 75 yards off the starboard bow. The Monaghan rammed a submarine 500 yards off the starboard quarter of the Curtiss. This vessel left anchor chain and stern wire at the buoys, stripped ship and got underway at about 0858. The Ralph Talbot, Henley and Patterson commenced sortie at this time. This vessel kept continuous fire while proceeding out of the channel. The combination of all machine guns got at least three planes.
  3. Ensign S. CAPLAN, senior officer aboard was in command. However Ensign ANDERSON is responsible for much of the vessel's successful operation. He made some very important decisions and showed remarkable ability as a ship handler. Ensigns CAPLAN and ANDERSON were on the bridge throughout the entire operation. Ensign REORDEN and SUTEROWSKI, CFC did excellent work on the directors. Ensign BRITTON was excellent as acting JOOD.
  4. The conduct of the personnel was magnificent. Because of missing men, the engineers with COCHRANE, CMM in charge stood their watches without any reliefs until 0700, Monday when the damage control party was sent below to help them. Every man did more than his job and was eager to fight.

    The following men besides those mentioned deserve special commendation: WILCOX, QM3c, ASHMAN, SM1c, COOK, GM2c, MIELZIEWSKI, GM2c, DAUBENSPECK, SM3c and TUCKER, EM1c, U.S. Navy.

  5. The conduct of Ensign S. CAPLAN, USNR, who has been at sea a total of eight months in superbly taking command for 36 hours during war operations of the severest type is a most amazing and outstanding achievement.


Copy to:

    Comdr., L.P. LOVETTE, USN

Eight months from commission to wartime command...not too shabby. As the CDR would say, fullbore.