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USS Ontario (AT-13), Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


Serial 187


U.S.S. Ontario

Pearl Harbor, T.H.,

December 8, 1941.


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Via: The Commander Base Force.
Subject: Report of Battle Action
Reference: (a) Article 712 USNR, 1920.
  1. Pursuant to reference (a), the following report of the attack by Japanese air squadrons on Pearl Harbor at 0755, Sunday, December 7, 1941 is submitted:



    At the time the attack occurred this vessel was moored in berth 18, Repair Basin, Pearl Harbor outboard of the U.S.S. Sicard undergoing navy yard overhaul. All services were being received from the dock. There was no ammunition on board and the ship's one 3"A.A. gun had been previously removed from the ship.

    No fuel (coal) was onboard the ship. The boilers, auxiliary machinery and main engine, anchor engine and fantail capstan were all disabled.

    Due to the above facts this vessel had no offensive or defensive power at the beginning of the attack except for some 30 caliber ammunition in the Abandon Ship Locker.



    1. At the time the attack occurred, this vessel's allowance of small arms (12 Springfield rifles and 6 .45 cal. colt automatic pistols) were served out and the ammunition from the Abandon Ship Locker was broken out and issued. Members of the deck force were given all rifles and opened fire on all low flying enemy planes. No hits were observed. Ammunition for the pistols was borrowed from the U.S.S. Sicard.
    2. The ship's one (1) Lewis machine gun was mounted and as soon as ammunition for it could be borrowed from the U.S.S. Sicard (inboard of this vessel), pans were filled and fire was opened on low flying enemy planes.
    3. As this vessel has no steel helmets, none having been sent to Samoa, from whence this vessel has recently arrived, all personnel not actually engaged in firing upon enemy aircraft were ordered to take shelter as numerous bomb and shrapnel fragments were falling all about.
    4. All fire hoses were lead out and the ship was placed in material readiness for battle.



    1. The conduct of the crew was, without exception, exemplary and praiseworthy. All hands were calm and collected and carried out all orders smartly. Those who manned the small arms and remained exposed, firing upon low flying aircraft, exhibited willing personal bravery.
    2. "J." "C." HALE, 380 60 84, CBM (AA), USN is deserving of praise. HALE is the Executive Officer of this vessel (there being only one officer the signer, attached to the vessel), and was the commanding officer at the time the air attack started. On his own initiative he initiated all the offensive and defensive action listed above until the writer was able to make his way back to the ship. He displayed a high degree of brave and calm leadership.



    This vessel suffered no casualties to either personnel or material.

[signed] E.C. MAYER

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: Wed Feb 21 10:42:48 EST 2018