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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Patrol Wing One Report for Pearl Harbor Attack

A16-3(1)/ UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
AIRCRAFT, SCOUTING FORCE
PATROL WING ONE
 
O2    
    FLEET AIR DETACHMENT
Naval Air Station
Kaneohe Bay, T.H.
1 January 1942.

From: Commander Patrol Wing ONE.  
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
   
Subject: Report of Japanese Air Attack on Kaneohe Bay, T.H., - December 7, 1941.
   
Reference: (a) Cincpac desp. 102102 of December 1941.
(b) USS Hulbert Conf. ltr. A16-3/P15 (C-47) of December 8, 1941
(c) USS Avocet Conf. ltr. A16-3 (039) of December 12, 1941
(d) VP-11 Conf. ltr. of December 13, 1941.
(e) VP-12 Conf. ltr. A16-3 (0100) of December 14, 1941.
(f) VP-14 Conf. ltr. A16-3 of December 1941.

  1. The following report is submitted as the happenings on Sunday, December 7, 1941, in compliance with reference (a). References (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f), were the reports of Unit Commanders of this Wing.
  2. The first intimation had that anything was wrong was when a message was received from a patrol plane on the Dawn Patrol stating that they had dropped a depth bomb on and had sunk an enemy submarine one mile off Pearl Harbor entrance. (It was later discovered that a destroyer had attacked this submarine from close aboard and the patrol plane had added his bomb in assistance). Evidence seemed conclusive that the submarine was destroyed. When this message was received it seemed so impossible that the first reaction was that it was a case of mistaken identity as we had some of our submarines due to enter that morning. While investigating to insure that the information concerning our own submarines was in the hands of the patrolling aircraft, about nine (9) enemy fighters circled at low altitude over Kaneohe and attacked with machine guns the control tower located on hill at Naval Air Station and the four patrol planes moored in the bay.
  3. This was followed by an attack on the planes on the ramp. This attack lasted for some fifteen minutes. The very first plane to attack attacked the Wing Commander's OS2U-1 on the landing mat. At the time a chief petty officer was turning over the propeller by hand and it was apparently thought to be a fighter preparing to take off. This plane was thoroughly riddled. After the first wave there was a few minutes' lull and then another attack by an estimated six to nine fighters. All attacks were directed at the planes on the ground, in the water, and at the hangar. But there was some straffing of cars and quarters incident to the main attack. The first attack set on fire all planes on the water and some of those on the beach. The second attack hit additional planes, setting them on fire. At the very beginning of the first attack there was immediate action on the part of the personnel to get machine guns in action against the attacking planes. This was done before the completion of the first attack and on the first attack at least two enemy planes had their gas tanks punctured. Immediate action was taken to save the planes not then on fire and those not too far gone. Personnel attempting this were severely straffed. During both of the above attacks, personnel were straffed on the road in automobiles attempting to get to the hangar area. After the two above attacks all efforts were directed at getting all planes that could be possibly saved clear from the area of the burning planes.
  4. About 0930 a formation of nine, 2 seater bombers, came in formation over the Bay, more or less following the coast line from Kahuka Point, at an altitude of about 1000 to 1500 feet and dropped bombs on the hangar occupied by Patrol Squadrons ELEVEN and TWELVE. This attack caused the loss of the greatest number of personnel as considerable men were in the hangar getting replenishment ammunition. Two bombs hit in the hangar, two close alongside, and one dud hit in the hangar in which Lieutenant Commander Buckley was supervising the obtaining of ammunition. He miraculously escaped other than minor injuries. Immediately behind this wave of bombers were nine additional bombers and it is uncertain whether or not they dropped bombs -- so much smoke was in the area and people stunned by the first wave that this point is uncertain. If they did not, it is certain that an additional drop was made by the first wave of bombers, aimed at the other hangar, but which fell between the hangar and the water, some falling in the water and did very little damage, except for holes in the parking area. This part is not a tribute to the bombing accuracy of the attacking planes as they were only a 1000 or 15000 feet high and did not drop, that both drops were by the first formation. These same observers contribute the belief that they did not drop the bombs because the central bomber in the leading plane had been killed, as the volume of machine gun fire was directed at the leading plane and tracers indicated that the nose of this plane was receiving severe punishment.
  5. The conduct of all personnel throughout the entire attack was magnificent, in fact, too much so. Had they not, with no protection, deliberately set themselves up with machine guns right in line with the drop of the attacking and straffing planes and near the object of their attack, we would have lost less men. It was, however, due to this reckless resistance that two enemy planes were destroyed and six or more were sent away with heavy gas leaks. Several of these planes that were damaged in this respect departed at high speeds to the north west, all in the same direction. One of the two planes definitely brought down was seen to land in the ocean, smoking before it landed. The other one (a fighter) was brought down within the limits of the station.
  6. After the bombing attack there was a third straffing attack at 10 o'clock. The two fighters destroyed, mentioned above, were on this last attack. There were no further attacks after this one just mentioned.
  7. A survey at this time reveals that all planes actually at the base were put out of commission (33 patrol planes, 1 OS2U-1 and the J2F-1 belonging to the Air Station). The three patrol planes not destroyed were the ones on the Dawn Patrol. One of these was attacked by a number of enemy fighters in the air, receiving considerable bullet holes, but was not stopped and has been operating ever since. These planes had to be considerably patched up. The hangar occupied by squadrons ELEVEN and TWELVE was destroyed. All records of those two squadrons were destroyed except the service records of the enlisted men of ELEVEN. All records of Patrol Squadron FOURTEEN are intact. No other buildings or equipment at this base was attacked. Although there were some straffing of quarters and cars incident to the main attack.
  8. The fire truck was destroyed by the bombing attack. All bombsights have been accounted for and are in good condition because they were stored in the Bombsight Vault which was not attacked. A large number of SBAE were destroyed, considerable number of machine guns, both .50 and .30 caliber, were destroyed in the planes.
  9. The conduct of all the personnel was magnificent. After careful consideration it is urgently recommended that the following persons should receive special recognition for their meritorious conduct in the face of enemy fire because their performance was courageous and outstanding:

    PATROL SQUADRON ELEVEN
    FOSS, R.S., Ensign, D-V(G), U.S.N.R. (Deceased)
    SMARTT, J.G., Ensign, A-V(N), U.S.N.R. (Deceased)
    FORMOE, C.M., AMM1c., U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    MANNING, M.A., AMM3c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    WEAVER, L.D., Sea1c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    BUCKLEY, J.D., AOM3c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    ROBINSON, J.H., Sea2c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    NASH, K. (n), Y1c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    BYRON, H.G., ACMM(PA), U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    CROWNOVER, J.T., RM1c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
     
    PATROL SQUADRON TWELVE
    FOX, L. Jr., Ensign, A-V(N), U.S.N.R. (Deceased)
    UHLMANN, R.W., Ensign, D-V(G), U.S.N.R. (Deceased)
    INGRAM, G.W., Sea2c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    LAWRENCE, C. (n) AMM2c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    OTTERSTETTER, C.W., Sea2c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    PORTERFIELD, R.K., AMM3c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    WATSON, R.A., AMM1c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    BROWN, W.S., AMM2c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    GRIFFIN, D.T., AMM1c(NAP), U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    McCORMACK, J.J., Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    WALLANCE, M.R., Ensign, A-V(N), U.S.N.R. (Seriously Injured)
    HELM, T.W., III, RM1c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    LLEWELLYN, F.N., RM2c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    GRISHAM, L.A., ACOM(PA), U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    LYONS, D.S., AMM1c(NAP), U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
     
    PATROL SQUADRON FOURTEEN
    NEWMAN, L.G., AMM3c, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
    WALTERS, J.E., AOM3c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)
    JONES, E.L., Sea2c, U.S. Navy (Seriously Injured)

[signed]
K. McGINNIS



Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II action reports,
the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.
15 May 2001