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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

USS Jarvis, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
DD393/A9-8/(454) U.S.S. Jarvis  
 
     
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 12, 1941.

From: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Jarvis.  
To: Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet.  
   
Subject: Narrative of Air Raid Morning December 7, 1941, as Seen by Officers on Board U.S.S. Jarvis.
   
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations Article 712.
   
Enclosures: (A) Statement of Lieutenant J.C. FORD, U.S. Navy.
(B) Statement of Ensign W.F. GREENE, U.S. Navy.
(C) Statement of Ensign R.V. FLEEGE, D-V(G), USNR.
(D) Statement of Ensign J.A. CHILES, E-V(G), USNR.

  1. The U.S.S. Jarvis was moored port side to U.S.S. Mugford at berth six Navy Yard Pearl Harbor, in restricted availability status. The ship was receiving light and water from the navy yard and steam from U.S.S. Mugford. Two boilers had water side open for cleaning. Port main reduction gear was out of commission due to renewal of gauges, thermometers and lubricating oil fittings to permit cleaning of evaporators. Certain valves were out in all systems except main steam lines.
  2. The following officers attached to U.S.S. Jarvis were on board when air raid began: – Lieutenant J.C. FORD - Engineer Officer – Ensign W.F. GREENE - Communication and Torpedo Officer – Ensign R.V. FLEEGE D-V(G), U.S.N.R. - Assistant Gunnery Officer – Ensign J.A. CHILES, E-V(G), U.S.N.R. - Assistant Engineer Officer – also Lieutenant G.N. JOHANSEN - Communication Officer Staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron Four. The individual statements of the ship's officers are included in Enclosures (A), (B), (C), (D). The Captain of the U.S.S. Jarvis reported on board at approximately 0915. All preparations were being made to get the ship underway. No firing took place after his arrival on board. All officers attached to the ship were on board by 0945, as well as officers attached to Staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron Four. At 1018 the U.S.S. Jarvis cast all lines loose from U.S.S. Mugford and stood out of harbor.
  3. From my personal investigation after coming on board I found all action taken was timely and correct. Plans were being expeditiously carried out to get ship underway. Firing had ceased but all guns were manned ready for action. Morale was at highest pitch. Action taken appeared to be well thought out and deliberate. The action of all on board were commendable. It is the considered opinion of the Captain that the following officer and men are deserving of special commendation.

[signed]
J.R. TOPPER.


ENCLOSURE (A)

NARRATIVE OF AIR RAID DECEMBER 7, 1941.

0757 - Ensign CHILES called me – said "Someone is bombing us."
0758 - General Quarters was sounded by SIMONIN (S.M.1c.). Ford Island bombed.
0759 - I reached bridge followed closely by Lieutenant JOHANSEN. Japanese torpedo planes were coming in at 30 to 60 second intervals, approaching from Merry Point direction and attacking Battleships.
0800 - Ensign GREENE, Officer-of-the-Deck, came to bridge. I had seen him directing activities around the quarterdeck up to this time. On finding me on bridge he asked what I wanted him to do. I sent him aft to get the after battery firing. Ensign CHILES was actively organizing the forward battery without orders. Ensign FLEEGE was on the director prior my arrival on bridge. I gave him orders to open fire on any enemy planes within range as soon as possible. He relayed that order to guns and machine guns, put forward 5" battery in automatic with director control, after battery in local control.
0804 - (About) Machine guns opened fire.
0805 - (About) 5" opened fire. 33 gun believed to have fired the first shot of any 5" gun in harbor.
0810 - Counted 6 or 6 torpedoes in Oklahoma. Nevada, West Virginia and Arizona also torpedoed. Arizona forward magazine exploded (apparently). Oglala torpedoed alongside Helena at 10-10 dock. Exact time not noted.
0815 - All guns and machine guns in action in Jarvis. Mugford also delivering high volume of fire.
0840 - (About) Nevada underway standing out. Dive bombed shortly after, hit several times and beached. During this attack Shaw was hit and caught on fire in floating drydock. Two destroyers in big dock with Pennsylvania hit.
900 - (About) Oglala capsized alongside 10-10 dock.

Condition "AFIRM" was set immediately after General Quarters and preparations were started for getting underway. machine gun fire appeared quite accurate. Considerable ammunition was fired at planes beyond Machine Gun Range, but fire was not checked due to its effect on morale. 5" fire against horizontal bombers appeared short at first but later on seemed to be more accurate. It is believed that Jarvis brought down at least 4 planes (two by Machine Gun, two by 5") and damaged others.

Damage to ship was superficial. Shock of gunfire broke lens on #1 - 24" searchlight. A fragment hit and imbedded in remote control box of 36" light, but mechanism was not damaged. LANTRIP, Lelon Howard, Sea.1c., #376 20 26, U.S. Navy, was wounded in thigh by fragment of machine gun bullet. Minor burns and ear shock were experienced by a few men since fire was opened and continued without time being taken to insert cotton in ears.

The behavior of the crew and the junior officers was a source of great pride to me. Organization of makeshift crews and the pursuance of the action were swift and efficient. There was no confusion. The entire performance was carried out as though it were an accustomed routine. My orders were few and general. Detail of execution were left to initiative of officers and petty officers at stations and results were gratifying.

It is believed that the entire crew deserves considerable credit for the performance. All hands were on the guns except those engineers engaged in getting the ship ready to stream. My job of coordinating the ship's effort was made easy by all hands. Among those deserving special commendation are the following who came under my personal observation.

There are undoubtedly many others whom I did not personally see who are equally deserving of credit. Ammunition supply was effectively kept up by inexperienced personnel.

There was no sign of cowardice or fear, and the natural nervousness of the part of some individuals disappeared as soon as fire was opened.

[signed]
J.C. FORD,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy.


ENCLOSURE (B)

NARRATIVE OF AIR RAID DECEMBER 7, 1941.

At 0745, Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Jarvis was moored outboard the Mugford and Sacramento at berth 6, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H. I was on the quarterdeck of the U.S.S. Jarvis, taking a turn about the ship. All was quiet, weather fair but cloudy, little wind and in general all was orderly and entirely normal about the harbor and ship. I had returned to the wardroom when at 0758, simultaneously with a dull explosion, I was summoned to the quarterdeck by five boat-gongs. As I ran aft, I observed a low-winged monoplane, silver, with a large red stripe or spot on fuselage, flying southward over Ford Island at not more than 3 or 400 feet, releasing a bomb. I shouted for General Quarters to be sounded at the quarterdeck and ran to the bridge to get the director manned, after calling the engine room for power. The director was being manned so I returned to the bridge. Ensign FLEEGE went to the director at that time and bridge stations were already manned. Lieutenant FORD and Lieutenant JOHANSEN were coming to the bridge so I went to the forward machine gun station where guns and ammunition were being made ready. About this time, the after machine guns opened up at dive bombers and a few second later, at torpedo planes coming in from eastward over Merry point at about 50 feet. Shortly thereafter, the forward machine guns opened up at dive bombers coming in from the southward. Instructing those crews to shoot at anything with a red spot, I dropped to the main deck and ordered two or three men in guns No. 1 to lay aft to 3 and 4. 1 and 2 did not appear sufficiently manned at the time to work them effectively. The Mugford machine guns forward were shooting by this time. I ran aft to guns 3 and 4 and on the way, ordered some engineers at engineering space openings to check and set condition "AFIRM" so far as they could. Back at guns 3 and 4, the crews had loaded and opened fire as I arrived. Al this occurred in a space of not more than twelve or fifteen minutes. Thereafter, I remained at gun 3 except for one trip forward about an hour later. Absent officers had returned by then and most of the crew. Guns 1 and 2 had been manned and had been firing.

Guns were in automatic for the most part except when swinging on diving planes not already covered by the director or when director was engaging planes from ahead. About halfway through the engagement, a stoppage in hoist three occurred and powder and projectiles were passed up by hand. Upon notification, central sent excess bridge and radio personnel to assist in passing. During occasional lulls, ready boxes were filled and at no time was there lack of ammunition when there was a target to shoot at. So far as I could see, no stoppage occurred at the machine guns. After the first attack, I ordered fire hoses run out on deck. No fires occurred and except for a few machine gun hits, the Jarvis was not struck. The first attack seemed to be an almost simultaneous dive attack from the north on Ford Island and a torpedo attack from eastward on the battleships at "F" docks. I saw one bomb dropped on Ford Island at the beginning and as I ran aft, saw one torpedo released at, I think, the Oklahoma. I saw one other battleship hit by torpedoes. Thereafter, except for an occasional glance, I was too occupied picking up targets to observe closely what happened at Ford Island. I did see one large explosion in the Arizona followed by fire from amidships. later, burning oil was carried by a light northerly wind down the line of ships from the Arizona. Whenever I looked that way, all A.A., and Machine gun batteries were keeping up rapid and steady fire from all battleships.

After the torpedo attacks, horizontal bombers, in Vees of five planes, came in from southward at 12 to 15,000 feet, in close formation and unhindered except for A.A. fire. Horizontal attacks were regularly spaced at rather long intervals, though I cannot be sure of the exact time, at about 10–15 minute intervals. Dive bombing attacks were made steadily, the first from northward, one from northwestward, and mostly from southeastward over Hickam. The sun was not very high at that time and afforded only moderate concealment to the planes. Low wispy clouds added to the glare and were the greatest of the morning's hindrances to good shooting. Except for a few planes, all dives observed were about 45° dives. After the first attack, principal objective of dive bombers seemed to be the two CL's and one CA in the single slip next to berth 12. Planes were fast and flying appeared good, planes being well handled at low altitudes to avoid machine gun fire. The one aircraft torpedo observed launched was considerably longer than our own aircraft torpedoes and about the same diameter. All planes were land planes with retractable landing gear. Only single-engined planes were observed. All were aluminum colored, with large, solid, red, disks painted on undersurface of wings. I saw three planes hit, two of which began to smoke, but I was unable to observe any crash.

The conduct of the crew in their first shooting engagement was exemplary. It is difficult to single out any one man. Despite the steady attacks and deafness caused by adjoining ship's gun blast at low flying planes, all hands remained alert for servicing of guns, picking up targets, and for signalled orders of gun captains and officers. One man, LANTRIP, L.H., Sea.1c., was struck in the thigh on the main deck by a machine gun bullet but bound up the wound and remained at his station passing ammunition to the guns aft. No man flinched or hesitated at any time in the performance of his duties. I am almost certain one plane shot down can be claimed by Jarvis machine gunners and one more can be claimed as hit by the A.A. battery. The ship can fight.

[signed]
W.F. GREENE,
Ensign, U.S. Navy.


ENCLOSURE (C)

NARRATIVE OF AIR RAID DECEMBER 7, 1941.

Shortly before 0800 I heard and felt the shock of bombs bursting in the near vicinity. I immediately went up on deck, very soon thereafter General Quarters was sounded. I then saw planes dropping torpedoes about 200 yards from the Battleships. I immediately ran up to the director which was immediately manned and began tracking on high altitude planes and opened fire when guns would bear. The elevation of horizontal bombers were about 12,000 feet flying in V formation. The forward two guns were put in automatic, the after two guns in local control. Ensign GREENE had charge of secondary aft. The machine guns opened fire about seven (7) minutes after General Quarters had sounded and the 5" battery about 10 minutes after General Quarters. The machine guns kept up a continuous fire when targets were within range. I noted that most of the planes that were flying low came in from the direction of the Recreation Center where the sun was very bright.

I was spotting with binoculars and did not see all the action taking place at the lower levels but it did seem to me that every time a plane was in sight there were many bursts in the near vicinity. I did note that even though the Oglala was fast sinking and with a bad list her machine gun crews were firing until they had to jump overboard as the ship turned over. I saw the Nevada get underway ad a very short time afterwards she was bombed by planes coming in from both sides. During the first few minutes of the bombing I was quite excited and lost all track of time but as the engagement continued I rapidly found myself and completely free of any fear.

My highest respect goes to the enlisted men who even though destruction seemed imminent performed with no more excitement than is noted at a regular scheduled practice. Every man on board did his best and I cannot name anyone other that WATERS, F.C.1c., who deserves any more praise and commendation than the others. This man's performance was the most outstanding of any one in the fire control party.

[signed]
Ralph V. FLEEGE,
Ensign, D-V(G), U.S.N.R.


ENCLOSURE (D)

NARRATIVE OF AIR RAID DECEMBER 7, 1941.

Shortly before 0800 Sunday I was in the wardroom when I heard an explosion. I ran up to the forecastle where I saw a plane that I recognized as Japanese pulling out of a dive over Ford Island, dropping bombs. General Quarters sounded and I immediately informed Lieutenant FORD and Lieutenant JOHANSEN who were asleep that we were being bombed. I ran back out on deck and saw the torpedo planes begin to come in on the battleships. Lieutenant FORD and Lieutenant JOHANSEN went to the bridge, Ensign GREENE to #3, Ensign FLEEGE to the director and I between guns 1 and 2 and forward machine guns. The fireroom force began to light off and engineroom force had to put valves in lines and warm up engines. I believe our #3 gun was first A.A. gun to go into action shortly followed by machine guns and guns 1, 4 and 2. All of our men carried out their duties with utmost dispatch and vigor and showed great initiative in performing their duties. While action was going on I lost all conception of time so cannot detail time of actions. The Mugford and Argonne were both giving a good account of themselves. Especially commendable work of LLEWLYN, A.M., M.M.2c., in taking on water without instructions as tanks were low and evaporators apart; SHIPLEY, A.K., CMM, and LANE, J.M., CMM, did extraordinarily fine work in getting engines in operation.

I am extremely proud and consider it an honor and privilege to be a member of such a ships company as we had aboard this ship Sunday.

[signed]
J.A. CHILES,
Ensign, E-V(G), USNR.


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.

09/03/2003