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USS Castor, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


U.S.S. Castor   

Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 11, 1941. 


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander, BASE FORCE.
Via: The Commander Training Squadron EIGHT.
Subject: December 7th Raid -- Report on.
Reference: (a) Combasefor despatch 102102.
  1. In accordance with reference (a) the following report on the enemy raid of December 7, 1941 is submitted:
    1. Offensive Measures Taken:

      0755 Executive Officer, Lt-Comdr. H.B. HERTY, USN, after ordering general quarters informed Commanding Officer that Fleet was being bombed. This vessel was berthed at Merry Point.

      0800 3"/23 caliber AA battery and .30 caliber machine guns in action against enemy planes flying low and close aboard presumably torpedo planes, and against dive bombers. Ready ammunition boxes kept full and fuzes set. Fire maintained as targets present themselves. Topside personnel not in guns crews, armed with springfields.

      0845 Steam up ready to get underway.

      0930 (Approximate) Detailed men to handle Neosho's lines, berthing astern of Castor. During this operation enemy plane strafed Castor and Neosho.

      1030 Transferred 284 rounds 3"/23 caliber ammunition to Neosho. Remained at general quarters throughout day. Observed several flights high level bombers over head but they were well out of range of ship's battery.

      1930 Set condition II.

    2. Damage to Enemy:

      Number 3 (after) 3"/23 caliber gun in action against enemy torpedo plane, at range of about 500–700 yards altitude about 500 feet bearing due aft heading across toward Ford Island observed tail assembly and about two feet of fuselage shot away. The Commanding Officer observed this damage to the plane. Cannot definitely state damage caused by Castor, due to number of guns in action. Plane was observed to lose altitude and appeared to ground either on Ford Island or beyond.

    3. Own Losses:
      1. Personnel - None.
      2. Material -- Several machine gun bullet hits on #3 AA gun, which gouged out recoil cylinder nut and barrel of gun. Gun in commission.
    4. The majority of the crew and all officers except the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer are reservists. Their steadiness and fortitude in their first action, their fine discipline and battle spirit were superb. In addition to the credit which they well deserve for this the Commanding Officer wishes particularly to state that the careful and thorough program of training laid out by the Executive Officer in addition to his steadiness, resourcefulness and cheerfulness in action contributed greatly to a performance of which veterans might well be proud.
    5. The presence of mind shown by the Gunnery Officer, Ensign J.E. Kendall, D-M, USNR, is in the opinion of the Commanding Officer noteworthy. A covered lighter loaded with 450 aerial depth charges was secured alongside the Castor. Ensign Kendall, upon going to his station on the bridge as the attack commenced, directed the removal of the powder flag which identified the nature of the lighter's cargo. Schwerdtfeger, R.A., S1c, USN, climbed over the ship's side and removed the powder flag. The lighter was removed from ship's side to a location across the slip by ship's personnel and ship's boat.


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



Published: Tue Feb 20 09:07:36 EST 2018