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USS Solace, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack

AH5/A16 U.S.S. Solace (AH5)
Pearl Harbor, T.H.,
December 12, 1941.


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Action during air raid December 7, 1941; Report of.
Reference: (a) Cincpac desp. 102102 of Dec., 1941.
  1. The following report is submitted of action taken by the ship during the air raid on December 7, 1941.
  2. The ship, being a hospital ship, took no offensive measures.
  3. It was not subjected to attack, and suffered no losses or damage.
  4. As soon as it was realized that air raid was on, steps were immediately taken to close all watertight doors and ports, and cargo ports except the two at the gangways, to call away rescue parties, and to prepare all hospital facilities and supplies for maximum service. The emergency ward of 50 beds was put together, and as many patients then in wards returned to duty or moved as possible. Two motor launches were immediately dispatched with rescue parties to the Arizona, and other boats lowered and sent on similar duty. Aboout 0820 boat loads of casualties began to arrive, and were immediately taken care of by the medical personnel, assisted by available men from the deck divisions. At 0900 the ship got underway, having slipped its forward and after moorings, and shifted from berth X4, near Dobbin and destroyers to berth X13 in the clear.
  5. All hands worked most energetically to handle the casualty cases. Too much praise cannot be given to the doctors, nurses, and corpsmen of the ship.
  6. Special mention is made of the heroic action in the face of grave danger in the case of the first two boat crews, #2 motor launch and #1 motor launch, and their stretcher parties. They boarded the burning Arizona, while its crew was abandoning ship, and they rescued the burned and injured casualties found on its deck, some very close to the flames, and three casualties on a camel and one man swimming in oily water that was aflame. After unloading at the Solace, #2 motor launch made two trips to the West Virginia and brought back casualties to the Solace; then another trip to West Virginia, where an officer took charge to carry men abandoning ship; and then patrolling duty until about 1100, #1 motor launch on its second trip rescued several more men from the stern of the Arizona and more casualties from the West Virginia. On its third trip it received casualties from the West Virginia. On its fourth trip, having on board the West Virginia executive officer, it picked up some men in the water and transferred them to a gig. Shortly thereafter, when many men had jumped into the water after an explosion on board that ship the boat picked up over three dozen. The surface was covered with flames. LEY, F.C., F2c, USNR, the boat engineer, jumped into the water to rescue an Ensign. The Coxswain had to get into the water to quench his own smoldering jumper. With this boat load delivered to the Solace and a quick change of clothes for its crew, the boat took Carpenter M.G. Bowman, USN, and salvage party to the Oklahoma where it remained until about midnight.
  7. Though all the boat crews and stretcher parties deserve great credit, outstanding were the Coxswains, GALLOS, S.J., Sea 1c, USNR, and SACCAVINO, J.V., Sea 1c, USNR, LEY, F.C., F2c, USNR, and CUNNINGHAM, J.A., CPhM, USN. The crews and stretcher parties were as follows:



    FIRST BOAT (#2 Motor Launch)   SECOND BOAT (#1 Motor Launch)
    GALLOS, S.J. S1c (coxswain)   SACCAVINO, J.V. S1c (coxswain)
    RAAB, J. S2c   ROBERT, F.C. S2c
    JOHANN, E.A. AS   STROUB, J.L. S2c
    ALLEN, C.R. F1c   LEY, F.C. F2c
    CUNNINGHAM, J.A. CPHM, inchg.   KEEFER, J.A. Acting Pay Clerk in chg.
    TIPTON, A.K. PhM1c   GAGE, A.E. PhM2c
    BALLANCE, E.M. PhM2c   OWENS, H.T. PhM2c
    BATEMAN, RL.L PhM2c   AULT, F.M. PhM3c
    POWLES, J.M. PhM2c   FARO, R. PhM3c
    AVERY, W.V. PhM3c   GREGG, R.M. PhM3c
    BATES, M. PhM3c   LANE, A.L. PhM3c
    DODSON, J.F. PhM3c   URSEN, R.J. PhM3c
    GENOLA, J.B. PhM3c      
    RUHL, R.F. PhM3c      


  8. Assisting the ship during the most difficult time were about six medical officers from other ships, one civilian doctor (U.S.P.H.S.), five volunteer nurses part of first day and eleven part of second day. In addition to the ship's chaplain, Protestant, two Catholic chaplains, from Nevada and Tangier, were aboard most of the first two days.


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    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 Mar 13 15:13:06 EDT 2018