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USS Cummings, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


Serial 254

U.S.S. Cummings,

Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 18, 1941.

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Pearl Harbor Action of Sunday December 7, 1941 -- Report of.
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.
(b) CinCPac Conf. desp. 102102, December 1941.
Enclosure: (A) Sketch showing location of ship during Pearl Harbor Action. (not attached)
(B) Casualties occurring during Pearl Harbor Action of December 7, 1941 – Report of.
  1. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, this ship, acting as squadron leader for the Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE, was at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, in a restricted availability status undergoing preliminary radar installation work. The ship was nested at berth B-15; order of the ships from the pier outboard – U.S.S. Tracy, U.S.S. Preble, U.S.S. Cummings. (See enclosure (A)). The direction of the ship's heads was to the southward. Auxiliary services, steam, electrical power, fresh and flushing water, were being received from the Yard mains.
  2. The status of yard and ship's force work affecting the material readiness for war was as follows:
    1. Installation of modified foremast for radar was about sixty percent completed, the stays and shrouds not having been installed.
    2. Yard engineering work in connection with overhaul had been completed. Ship's force installation of equipment, auxiliaries, and piping was sufficiently advanced to enable plans to be made for holding a dock trial on Monday.
    3. Ship's force overhaul of caliber .50 AA machine guns was in progress. After machine guns were installed and ready. Forward machine guns were assembled and installed during action. Main battery was ready for action.
  3. The action occurring in this ship and observations made therefrom are tabulated below in chronological order:


    0758- Air raid. Japanese planes observed making torpedo attack on battleships moored to berths along east side of Ford Island. Approach made over Sub Base and down channel from Fleet Landing. Went to General Quarters.
    0803- After machine guns opened fire on Japanese torpedo planes retiring in a southerly direction along Southeast channel.
    0808- Opened fire on horizontal bombers approaching over Navy Yard from south-southwesterly direction.
    0810- Commenced making preparations for getting underway in accordance with general signal flying on the signal tower.
    0811- Opened fire with main battery on dive bombers over battleships.
    0820- Lull in air attack. Ceased firing. During the period from commencement of the action until about 0830, lack of D.C. power prevented use of the director. Guns were employed in local control. Control officer transmitted sight angle, sight deflection and fuze setting over sound-powered telephones.
    0840- Opened fire to repel strafing attacks, being made from various directions, predominantly from astern.
    0842- Following machine gun fire from after machine guns, a glide bomber was observed to veer away from ship with smoke trailing from it; it passed over the New Boiler Shop, Building No. 11, and disappeared in smoke issuing from the area to southwest of ship.
    0900- Sighted twelve scattered planes over Ford Island.
    0903- Air raid resumed. Opened fire with main battery at horizontal bombers approaching from over Navy Yard Industrial Section.
    0910- Dive bombers attacked ships at Pier 19. Opposed with fire from main and machine gun batteries. Bombs fell in water ahead and astern within twenty-five (25) yards of ship. As a result of bomb fragments three minor casualties to personnel occurred. Report of these casualties is contained in Enclosure (B).
    0920- Fired on a light bomber plane, with forward machine guns. Plane was observed smoking heavily as it flew out of sight to southwestward, behind yard buildings.
    1000- Opened fire to repel horizontal bombing attack from the southward. During this phase of the action a horizontal bomber was observed to lose its wing. The gun captain and crew of gun four claimed that the hit was made by their gun.
    1026- Completed preparations for getting underway, with all engineering machinery ready for use except auxiliary feed check valves in the after fireroom, #2 fire and bilge pump, #2 main generator. Repair and reassembly for the foregoing items was completed by Sunday night.
    1040- Underway in accordance with signal from signal tower and the oral orders of the Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE. Proceeded out of channel without incident and joined the anti-submarine patrol operating off Pearl Harbor entrance.
  4. While operating with the anti-submarine patrol off the Pearl Harbor entrance two sound contacts with submerged objects were made. Depth charge attacks were made, three and two charges being dropped on the first and second attacks respectively. The times and locations of attacks were as follows:

      1127 Lat. 21-15.2N Long. 157-59.5W Depth 220 Fathoms.
      1139 Lat. 21-15.15N Long. 157-59.3W Depth 225 Fathoms.

    Following the attacks the disturbed areas were carefully examined for evidences of oil, wreckage, etc. After the second depth charge attack large splotches of oil were observed on the surface in the way of the explosion, but no conclusive evidence of destruction of a submarine was observed.

  5. The following quantities of ammunition were expended:


      5"/38 caliber 160 rounds.
      .50 Caliber machine guns 6000 rounds.
      Depth Charges 6  
  6. At the commencement of the action most of the ship's crew was on board. They performed their duties under fire with coolness and fortitude in keeping with the best traditions of the Navy. Initial bewilderment at the sudden onslaught changed rapidly to an ardent determination to retaliate to the full extent of their abilities and the maximum effectiveness of the armament. No one individual should be singled out for commendation above his fellows. Each fulfilled his function in highly satisfactory and gratifying manner. Only two of the ship's company were unable to return to the ship prior [to] her departure from Pearl Harbor.
  7. During the action, the ammunition supply crews of the ship were augmented by approximately thirty men from the destroyers Preble and Tracy which were moored inboard, undergoing overhaul and whose antiaircraft armament was disabled. Although unfamiliar with the arrangements for ammunition supply these men enthusiastically and creditably participated in the action. They returned to their own ships prior to getting underway.
  8. Following loss of the U.S.S. Cassin, Commander L.P. LOVETTE, U.S. Navy, Commander Destroyer Division FIVE, reported on board to Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE. Upon order of the latter, twelve survivors from the Cassin were brought to the ship for temporary duty. During the period at sea following the action, these men, deprived of all their personal possessions, scantily provided for, turned to with the hearty willingness characterized by the term Navy Spirit.
  9. Three officers from the U.S.S. Case, mistakenly advised that they could not return to their ship, reported on board to Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE during the action. These officers were:

      Ensign F.J. MONKOWSKI, D-V(G), USNR.
      Ensign C.R. BERG, D-V(O), USNR.
      Ensign C. LIVINGSTONE, III, D-V(C), USNR.

    They were assigned duties with the main and machine gun batteries which they performed creditably. These officers remained on board during the ensuing three days, during which time they rendered invaluable service to the ship as members of the coding board.

  10. Only minor damage from bomb fragments was sustained by this ship. Several fragments dented bulkheads of the after deck house and superstructure. Two fragments pierced the superstructure bulkhead on the starboard side at frames 67 and 70; repairs have been effected.


Copy to:



Serial 256
U.S.S. Cummings  
    Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 18, 1941.


From: Commanding Officer.
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Casualties, occurring during Pearl Harbor Action of December 7, 1941 – report of.
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations 1920, Art. 1138.
  1. In accordance with reference (a) the following report of casualties occurring during the Pearl Harbor Action of December 7, 1941 is submitted:

    GROUND, Orla Lester, 372 12 45, F3c, USN.
    DIAGNOSIS: Wound, Gunshot (Bomb Fragment), Left Lower Leg #2576. Condition not serious. Transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, T.H., for treatment.

    MOORE, Grover Cleveland Jr. 256 33 15, Sea1c, USN.
    DIAGNOSIS: Wound, Lacerated, Left Scapular Region, (Bomb Fragment), #2563, Condition not serious. Transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor, T.H., for further treatment.

    SMITH, Fred Albert, 310 84 65, GM1c USN.
    DIAGNOSIS: Wound, Gunshot, (Bomb Fragment), Right Thigh, #2576. Superficial wound. Condition favorable. Retained on board ship and available for duty.


Enclosure (B) to Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Cummings ltr. DD365/A16-3 Serial 254 of December 18, 1941.

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 09:28:02 EST 2018