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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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USS Blue, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
FIRST ENDORSEMENT to ltr of Ens. N.F. Asher, USN, to Cincpac, dated Dec. 11, 1941.   
DD387/A16
Serial 062
U.S.S. Blue (DD387)
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 12, 1941

From: Commanding Officer.  
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
   
Subject: U.S.S. Blue – Action during December 7 Air Raid, Report of.
   
Reference: (a) Cincpac despatch 102102 of Dec., 1941.

  1. Forwarded with great pride in the excellent and efficient manner in which all officers and men in the Blue at the time conducted themselves.
  2. Summarizing the basic letter to accord with reference (a) and clarify certain items, the following is submitted.
    1. Offensive measures.
      1. Fired .50 caliber machine gun and 5"/38 AA batteries at enemy planes presented as targets while moored at Berth X-7 from 0805 to 0847, and during sortie via South Channel to entrance buoys from 0847 to 0910.
      2. Dropped 4 and 2 600-pound depth charges in two successive attacks about 0950 on underwater sound contacts approximately 4 miles, bearing 190°, from Diamond Head Light. Dropped 2 600-pound depth charges in attack on third underwater sound contact approximately 6 miles, bearing 200°, from Diamond Head Light about 1020.
    2. Damage to enemy.
      1. 4 planes under fire by 5" battery and 1 under fire by .50 caliber were observed to crash in the following places: 2 near Pearl City, 1 on stern of U.S.S. Curtiss in West Channel, 1 in Middle Loch near P.A.A. Landing, 1 in cane field on Waipio Peninsula.
      2. One submarine either sunk or severely damaged by depth charging in approximate location 4 miles, bearing 190° true, from Diamond Head Light.
    3. Own losses and damages – none.
      1. Three men received minor injuries, two of them a burst eardrum and the third a bruised foot.
      2. The material casualties mentioned under the citations of Millard and Shaw in the basic letter were a gun stoppage due to loading a grommeted projectile, and a torpedo running in its tube after being struck by a second torpedo inadvertently partially ejected from an opposite tube.
      3. Attention is invited to paragraph 3 of the basic letter, to which should be added Ensign N.F. Asher, U.S.N., who, as acting commanding officer from the commencement of the raid until the ship returned to Pearl Harbor the following evening, performed most commendably and efficiently in assuming prompt offensive action, conducting emergency sortie under existing trying conditions, attacking submarine contacts in offshore area, screening heavy ship proceeding to attack a reportedly greatly superior force off Barber's Point, and subsequently standing watch and watch as O.O.D. for a period of 30 hours at sea.
      4. All personnel conducted themselves in an eminently satisfactory manner, and the commanding officer has not heard of a single adverse criticism.
    4. To date there have been found no evidence of any hits of any sort on this vessel, although several shrapnel or bomb case fragments, and two spent .50 caliber projectiles have been picked up about the decks. Enemy planes made several attempts to bomb this or nearby vessels during sortie in an apparent attempt to block the channel; the nearest miss from such bombs was about 100 yards.

[signed]
H.N. WILLIAMS

Copy to:


DD387/
Serial
   
  U.S.S. Blue DD 387
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 11, 1941

From: N.F. ASHER, Ensign, U.S. Navy.  
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
   
Via: Commanding Officer
   
Subject: Air Raid on Pearl Harbor, T.H. December 7, 1941 – report of action by U.S.S. Blue (DD387)

  1. Summary of actions:

    0800

    U.S.S. Utah torpedoed.
    Ensign N.F. ASHER, U.S.N., Ensign M.I. MOLDAFSKY, U.S.N.R., Ensign J.P. WOLFE, U.S.N.R., and Ensign R.S. SCOTT, U.S.N.R., while seated in the wardroom, received word from the bridge that the U.S.S. Utah had been torpedoed by Japanese airplanes. The general alarm was sounded, and word passed throughout the ship to man battle stations and prepare to get underway immediately. Stations were taken immediately as follows:

      Ensign ASHER -- on the bridge -- in command.
      Ensign MOLDAFSKY -- forward machine guns -- in charge.
      Ensign WOLFE -- control -- in charge.
      Ensign SCOTT -- repair party -- in charge.

    0805 Opened fire with 50 cal. machine guns on Japanese planes diving on ships in harbor.
    0807 Opened fire with 5"/38 cal. guns on Japanese planes. The engine room was ordered immediately to light off No. 2 boiler (No. 1 already steaming), and made all preparations for getting underway. Repair party cleared the ship for action, and made all preparations for slipping quickly from the mooring.
    0847

    Underway – upon execution of signal to get underway – from Berth X-7, Ensign N.F. ASHER, Commanding. Maintained fire on enemy planes with main battery and machine guns while steaming out of harbor. Four planes fired on with main battery were later seen to go down in smoke. It is claimed that two of these planes were definitely shot down by this vessel. one was seen to crash in field on Waipio Pena., and the second crashed into crane on stern of U.S.S. Curtiss. Two planes that dove over the ship were fired on by the 50 cal. machine guns. It is claimed that one of these planes, seen to crash near Pan American Airways Landing at Pearl City, was shot down by this vessel.

    When abeam of Weaver Field landing, went to twenty five knots, and maintained this speed while steaming out of the channel.

    0910 Passed channel entrance buoys, and set course 120 true. Proceeded to sector three to patrol station. Upon reaching station commenced patrolling at speed 10 knots.
    0950

    Good sound contact on submarine. Maneuvered to attack and dropped four depth charges. Regained sound contact on same submarine. Dropped two depth charges. investigated spot where the second attack was made, and observed a large oil slick on the water, and air bubbles rising to the surface, over a length of about 200 feet. it was first believed that the submarine was surfacing, due to the appearance of the air bubbles, and all guns were ordered to train out to starboard, so as to be ready to open fire. It is felt that this submarine was definitely sunk. Approximate location: 21°-11'-30" N and 157°-49'-45" W.

    Obtained a third sound contack on a submarine that was apparently heading for the U.S.S. St. Louis, which was at the time steaming at high speeds on a course of approximately 150 true. Signal "EMERG. UNIT 210" was hoisted, and attack on submarine made. Two depth charges were dropped. Upon a return to the spot where the attack was made, a large oil slick was noticed on the surface of the water. All contacks were made at about 1400 yards, and the submarine tracked before the charges were dropped.

    It is claimed that one submarine, and possibly two were sunk.

    1030 Upon completion of the attacks, the Blue screened the St. Louis upon orders from that vessel.
    1055 All four boilers on the main steam line.

  2. Ammunition expended during engagement:

    5"/38 caliber 507 rounds.
    50 cal. (machine guns) 4000 rounds.
    Depth charges 8  

    There were no material or personnel casualties.

  3. Special commendation should be given the following officers and men for their extreme heroism, courage, and fine cooperation, during the conduct of the battle, and until the Blue returned to port, on the night of December 8, 1941:

    Ensign J.P. WOLFE, U.S.N.R., – is responsible for the excellent shooting of the Blue during the conduct of the battle. Ensign WOLFE's duties as control and gunnery officer were performed to perfection. Ensign WOLFE also acted as assistant communication officer.

    Ensign R.S. SCOTT, U.S.N.R., – did an excellent job as damage control officer. Ensign SCOTT was detailed to maintain the spirit of the men on battle stations, and to look after things about the ship while the other officers remained at their battle stations from the time that the Blue got underway, till she returned to port.

    HAMMOND, J.P., 233-63-83, CQM, USN, – provided valuable assistance to me, and loyally remained on the bridge till the Blue returned to port. I give HAMMOND great credit in aiding me considerably in the swift and safe manner in which the Blue proceeded out of Pearl Harbor.

    KITZER, H.M., 102-87-19, CMM, USN, – did an excellent job as acting engineer officer of the Blue, for the two days that we were out to sea. KITZER is greatly responsible for the excellent performance of the engineering department.

    KETCHUM, F., 102-39-98, CBM, USN, – performed in an excellent manner with the repair party, and proved invaluable by assisting in general tasks throughout the ship.

    MILLARD, M.L., 355-54-90, CGM, USN, – performed in an excellent manner throughout the conduct of the battle, and whom I give great credit for the fine performance of the firing. He cleared a loading casualty at Gun 2 at great danger to himself, after sending all men from the gun and handling room.

    SHAW, C.H., 200-79-90, CTM, USN, – performed outstandingly both in refilling depth charge racks, and preparing torpedoes for firing while the ship was proceeding in heavy seas at high speeds. During a casualty in which a fired torpedo remained in the tube, and a live warhead fell on the deck, his quick action at personal risk to himself prevented any serious damage to material and personnel.

    MATTHEWS, W.J., 273-82-86, CRM(PA), USN, – who remained on watch continuously manning sound gear and radio equipment. While manning the sound gear, he picked up two submarines, and gave the information leading to the successful submarine attacks. His work on radio equipment as well as on sound gear was extremely well done.

  4. I wish to commend all the men who were aboard the Blue for their courageous and excellent performance during and after the engagement with the enemy.

[signed] N.F. ASHER


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.
16 May 2001