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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
USS Rigel, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 9, 1911.
Commander Train Squadron SIX.
Report of particulars after battle of Sunday, December 7, 1941.
(a) Articles 712 and 874 U.S.N.R., 1920.
(A) List of wounded.
- This vessel was moored in berth 13, U.S. Navy Yard, Pearl
Harbor, T.H. on December 7, 1941, undergoing major repairs and
conversion. No motive power or other power available from own
plant due to work in progress of replacing power units, boilers,
generators, etc. All essential services of steam, electricity,
fresh and salt water and compressed air were being supplied from
the Navy Yard. Approximately half the officers, including the
Captain and Executive Officer and one third of the crew were
on shore on authorized leave or liberty.
- At about 0815, December 7, 1941 an air attack by Japanese
aircraft began on ships moored in Pearl Harbor and other military
objectives on the Island of Oahu. This vessel has no armament
installed hence could take no offensive or defensive action.
The attack developed rapidly and due to existing conditions heavy
damage was inflicted by the attackers with little loss to themselves
- This command concerned itself with rescue efforts with ship's
boats available. Ensign Charles R. Hake, U.S.N.R. volunteered
as a boat officer and was put in charge of Rigel's #1
motor launch with a volunteer crew consisting of MILLER, Keith
M., S1c., USN, Coxswain, WINEBARGER, Eugene, F1c., USN Engineer,
SHEPHERD, Robert H., S2c., USN Bow Hook and BLAIR, William E.,
S2c USN Stern hook. This boat proceeded to rescue survivors from
the U.S.S. West Virginia and succeeded in saving between
50 and 100 men who were injured or blown overboard and were in
imminent danger of drowning or death from suffocation or burning
due to flaming oil which covered the surface of the surrounding
water. The work of this boat was stopped by a fouled screw in
such a position that it was in imminent danger of destruction
by burning. Ensign Hake and the crew succeeded in saving the
boat. The attack on the West Virginia consisting of torpedo,
bomb and machine gun assaults by waves of planes was at its height
during the rescue operations above mentioned. It is considered
that Ensign Hake and the crew of #1 motor launch as enumerated
above are deserving of special commendation for the initiative,
resourcefulness, devotion to duty and personal bravery displayed
on this occasion.
- Ensign James P. Bienia U.S.N.R. was detailed as boat officer
of #2 motor whaleboat, the crew of which consisting of DZIBUCH,
Stanley J., S1c. USN, coxswain, STOCKER, Robert F., F1c., USN
engineer and ROGERS, Robert E., S2c., USN bow hook, and directed
to proceed and assist in rescue work. This boat was manned and
in the act of getting underway from its berth under the starboard
bow of this ship when an enemy plane dropped light bomb which
struck the port quarter of the boat and cut all planking from
capping to keel in two. This bomb exploded after passing through
the boat and underwater, throwing Ensign Bienia and his crew
into the water. STOCKER, Robert F. F1c., USN and ROGERS, Robert
E., S2c., USN sustained serious injuries and have been hospitalized.
From the above it is believed this was an armor piercing bomb
with a delayed fuse setting.
- The captain returned on board about 0830 when the attack
was at its height.
- Shortly after the bomb referred to in paragraph 4 fell another
bomb dropped near USS Rigel stern and approximately midway
between piers 13 and 14, this bomb exploded on contact with water
and fragmentation appears to have been most complete. Approximately
one hundred fifty holes, varying from 2½ to ¼
inch in diameter, were blown in port quarter of Rigel
between frames 120 and the stern. All above the waterline. This
damage is being repaired by ship's force. Flying splinters and
fragments injured WIGGAM, Richard E., SK3c, USN, CRAWFORD, Lawrence
E., F3c., USN, TALEVICK, William D., F3c., USN, JOHNSON, Henry
E., MM2c., USN and GOODMAN, Eldon W. Bmkr1c., USN, who have been
- The Executive Officer returned to the ship about 0900 and
other officers and crew members returned as soon as possible,
all being more or less delayed due to traffic congestion on main
highways. There is one exception to the above, viz: Lieutenant
Harry E. Morgan, U.S. Navy, who resides at 3239 Oahu Ave., Honolulu,
T.H. did not return on board until about 0800, December 8, 1941.
When questioned as to why he had not returned as soon as possible
after the hostile air raid began he stated in effect, to the
Executive Officer, Commander William E. McClendon, U.S. Navy
that he was unaware that a hostile raid had been made on Pearl
Harbor and other military objectives, or that any material damage
or personnel casualties had been inflicted on United States forces.
He appeared at that time to have been drinking but was not considered
intoxicated or drunk.
- Two officers from this vessel Ch. Elect. W.H. Moore,
U.S. Navy and Machinist H.H. Vanaman, U.S. Navy left the ship
about 0615 for a hike through the hills back of the town of Aiea.
At about 0800 they had reached a point at such elevation that
they were able to witness the attack on the ships and Hickam
Field which were apparently the initial objectives. They stated
that three separate flights of planes at three levels, viz: low,
medium and high passed over them from the north heading in for
the attack. The attack on ships appeared to them to be made only
by torpedo planes and dive bombers. The attack on Hickam Field
was made by high level bombers according to these officers and
the bombs were dropped in rows similar to planting potatoes.
Three different plantings were observed and it appeared that
the attack was well planned, coordinated and executed.
- Lieutenant Commander Loar Mansbach, U.S. Navy, was acting
commanding officer at the beginning of the attack and until the
captain (Roy Dudly) returned on board. This officer had taken
immediate action to assist in fire fighting and rescue on damaged
vessels and had assembled repair parties, tools and equipment
ready for dispatch to any point where they could be of service.
His prompt action in this and his general conduct of this command
period are considered deserving of special mention.
- Chief Boatswain Ashley D. Holland, U.S. Navy was officer-of-the-deck
at the beginning of and during the attack. He performed all of
his duties in a highly satisfactory manner and deserves special
mention for his zeal and efficient performance of duty.
- The commanding officer has no complaint to make concerning
the conduct of any officer or man who was on board during and
immediately following this action, but on the contrary feels
that every one of these officers and men conducted themselves
in a highly creditable manner.
UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
TRAIN SQUADRON SIX
U.S.S. Rigel, Flagship
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 11, 1911.
FIRST ENDORSEMENT to
Rigel conf. ltr. ARb-1/
A9-8/(016) of 12/9/41.
The Commander Train Squadron SIX
The Commander in Chief, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET..
U.S.S. Rigel -- Report of particulars after battle of
Sunday, December 7, 1941.
- The Squadron Commander was aware through personal observation
of the actions of the officers and men named in basic letter
and concurs in the remarks of the Commanding Officer concerning
- With reference to paragraph 7 above (re. Lieutenant Morgan),
Lieutenant Morgan has been confined on the Rigel pending
investigation of his behaviour and action thereon.
Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC
action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II
the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration,
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.