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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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USS Bobolink, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


[Note: In the original, "Bobolink" in consistently misspelled as "Boblink" -- that has been corrected here.
AM20/A16/A9/(0221)    
  U.S.S. Bobolink (AM20)  
    Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 10, 1941

From: The Commanding Officer.  
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
   
Subject: Offensive Measure Taken by the USS Bobolink Against Japanese Air Attack of December 7, 1941.
Reference: Cincpac Despatch 102102 of December, 1941.  

  1. In accordance with reference (a), the following report of the offensive action of the USS Bobolink against the Japanese air raid of December 7, 1941, is submitted herewith:

    On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the USS Bobolink, and a Ready Duty status, was moored in a nest at the westerly end of the Coal Docks with three other auxiliary minesweepers, the USS Vireo and USS Turkey inboard, and the USS Rail outboard.

    WILLIAMS, J.E. S.M.2c, U.S. Navy, the ship's gangway watch at that time, informed me in my cabin at 0756 that "Japanese Planes are bombing us". Hearing this, I stepped out on deck to immediately see a low flying plane with a red circle insignia clearly visible on its wings. I at once issued orders to sound ":General Quarters" and to break out live ammunition. At that time, I was the Senior Officer Present of the four minesweepers at the Coal Docks, and the three other ships followed the Bobolink promptly in the execution of these orders. Ammunition was quickly brought up from the magazine and at about 0806 this vessel and the USS Turkey commenced firing. This firing was directed at all enemy planes that were within range. During this time, the Officers-of-the-Deck of the other three vessels present asked me about spreading for [sic: our] four ships out, both in order to eliminate the larger, more inviting target of four minesweepers by replacing it with four smaller individual targets and to give our guns a larger scope for training. I told them to tie up to the destroyer buoys adjacent to the battlerafts. The Bobolink slipped out of the nest at 0835 and moved to the first buoy at 0845. During the firing the pointers of #1 gun, MC CARTNEY, J.W. Sea.1c, U.S. Navy, and WILLIAMS, D.J. Sea.1c, U.S. Navy, shouted that smoke had commenced streaming from the tail of the enemy plane that they had been aiming at, and that it had lost altitude and crashed at or near Hickham Field. The firing was heavy at this time and, although most of the bridge personnel saw the plane crashing, no confirmation can be given as to who downed this enemy plane, but it was definitely was the result of the firing of one of the minesweepers in the vicinity of the Coal Docks. At approximately, 0900, after the word had been received to beware of Japanese submarines, a disturbance was noted at Waipio Point, and three shots were fired immediately at slick and mud that had been stirred up there. No ships were within a thousand yards of this point at the time, and it is believed by this command that a submerged enemy submarine brushed the left bank of the channel on its way to open sea after an attack in Pearl Harbor. The Bobolink immediately signaled two destroyers that were coming out of the channel to drop depth charges off the point, but the signal was apparently not seen. This command received orders at 1200 from the Commander Base Force to sweep Pearl harbor with the USS Turkey. At 1225 this vessel moored alongside the Coal Docks in order to take sweep wire aboard. The Bobolink prepared to sweep Pearl Harbor at 1300. At approximately 1330 these orders were changed and this vessel and the Turkey were ordered to sweep the approaches to Pearl Harbor and Honolulu harbor. Arriving off the Pearl Harbor entrance buoys, it appeared that all ships engaged in sweeping operations were off the entrance to Pearl Harbor and that no ships were sweeping off Honolulu harbor. At 1426 this vessel passed sweep wire to the USS Turkey and commenced sweeping off Honolulu harbor. At 1549 the Bobolink received orders from the Commander Base Force to report to 10-10 Dock immediately. This vessel ceased sweeping operations and proceeded to Pearl harbor. While off 10-10 Dock the Bobolink received orders at 1640 to render assistance to the USS Nevada. We proceeded towards the USS Nevada as ordered when a change of orders came to go alongside the California. The USS Bobolink moored alongside of the USS Widgeon, next to the USS California, at 1730. While on the way into Pearl Harbor, this command rigged suction hoses, and the wrecking pumps were warmed up in preparation for salvage work. The hoses were put over into the USS California, at 1740, and pumping commenced in the forward section of that vessel. This pumping continued throughout the night.

  2. This vessel suffered no losses or damages during or after the subject attack.
  3. No person or persons can be singled out for distinguished conduct or bravery during this raid. However, the Commanding Officer wishes to state that the attitude and behavior of the officers and crew of the USS Bobolink during and after the attack was exemplary and that their one idea and desire is to strike many blows at the enemy, each more telling than that dealt us by the Japanese on the first day of hostilities.

[signed]
J.L. FOLEY

Copies to:


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