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USS MacDonough, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack

In Reply

Refer To:


Serial 516     


Pearl Harbor, T.H.,

December 14, 1941. 


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: Commander Destroyers, Battle Force.
Subject: Engagement Report.
Reference: (a) Art. 712, 874(6), USNR.


  1. Enclosed is report of Ensign R.W. Clark, USN., officer with duty on December 7, 1941 and only officer on board at time of attack.
  2. Ensign Clark and all under him performed their duties in a highly commendable manner.
  3. I arrived aboard at 0912. At this time the attack was over.





At Sea,

December 12, 1941

From: Ensign R.W. CLARK, U.S. Navy.
To: The Commanding Officer.
Subject: Report of Japanese Attack, December 7, 1941.


  1. On Sunday December 7, 1941 I was Officer-of-the-Deck, and Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Macdonough. This vessel was undergoing scheduled overhaul in company with Destroyer Division One and the U.S.S. Phelps alongside the U.S.S. Dobbin at Berth X-2, Pearl Harbor, T.H. The Macdonough was outboard ship in the nest, the port side being clear. I was the only officer on board ship. Since all machinery was disabled, all services were being received from the U.S.S. Dobbin.


  2. At 0758 this date the General Alarm sounded, and the word passed "Man your battle stations". The gangway watch informed me that the U.S.S. Raleigh had been bombed, and that unidentified planes were attacking the harbor. All guns were manned immediately, but difficulty was experienced in getting ammunition to the guns because the power tripped out. Ammunition was passed by hand through the hatches.


  3. About 0801 the port machine guns opened fire on various planes, now identified as Japanese, as they flew across Ford Island, and came close aboard this vessel. At 0806 the main battery was ordered to commence firing by Local Control on any Japanese planes on which they could bring the guns to bear. It is well to repeat here that there was no power throughout the ship, and all guns, therefore, had to be loaded, trained, and elevated by hand. From my station on the bridge I endeavored to make my orders heard above the noise of gunfire by using a megaphone.


  4. I believe that the gun crews of the Macdonough were responsible for the destruction of at least two enemy planes, one by the main battery, and one by machine gun fire. Both planes when hit were flying about 800 yards on the port beam of this vessel. The plane hit by the 5"/38 gun broke up in mid air, and the other, hit by machine gun fire, flew off toward nearby cane fields.


  5. The performance of the crew of the Macdonough throughout the entire attack was highly commendable. I have the greatest pride and admiration for every member of the crew. All hands were calm, and determined to maintain a rapid rate of fire even though enemy planes came close aboard.


Source: World War II action reports, Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. 



Published: Wed Feb 21 15:21:11 EST 2018