Title: Hat Ribbon, USS Panay (PR-5)
Accession #: NHHC 2016.006.004
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One black silk hat ribbon with gold lettering from the ship USS Panay (PR-5). This hat ribbon would have adorned the cap of an enlisted seaman serving aboard the USS Panay. The Panay was built in Shanghai, China and commissioned as a riverine gun ship in 1928. As part of the Yangtze River Patrol, she patrolled the river to provide protection for American shipping and personnel.
Japan’s invasion of China in the summer of 1937 prompted the removal of American personnel from the US embassy in Nanking throughout November 1937. The last of the Americans boarded the Panay on 11 December. The next day, the Panay came under attack by Japanese aircraft. The attack resulted in the sinking of the Panay and the death of three men, with forty-three sailors and five civilians wounded. While several US Flags were present and visible on the ship, the Japanese maintained that the attack was unintentional and they did not know they were attacking a US Navy ship. The Japanese government paid a large indemnity and issued a formal apology. Though no outright hostilities existed between Japan and the United States, this incident was one of several that began to turn American favor against the Japanese.