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USS Rigel (ARb-1), Report of Pearl Harbor Attack

U.S.S. Rigel


Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 9, 1941


From: Commanding Officer.
To: Commander Train Squadron SIX.
Subject: Report of particulars after battle of Sunday, December 7, 1941.
Reference: (a) Articles 712 and 874 U.S.N.R., 1920.
Enclosure: (A) List of wounded.
  1. This vessel was moored in berth 13, U.S. Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H. on December 7, 1941, undergoing major repairs and conversion. No motive power or other power available from own plant due to work in progress of replacing power units, boilers, generators, etc. All essential services of steam, electricity, fresh and salt water and compressed air were being supplied from the Navy Yard. Approximately half the officers, including the Captain and Executive Officer and one third of the crew were on shore on authorized leave or liberty.
  2. At about 0815, December 7, 1941 an air attack by Japanese aircraft began on ships moored in Pearl Harbor and other military objectives on the Island of Oahu. This vessel has no armament installed hence could take no offensive or defensive action. The attack developed rapidly and due to existing conditions heavy damage was inflicted by the attackers with little loss to themselves or opposition.
  3. This command concerned itself with rescue efforts with ship's boats available. Ensign Charles R. Hake, U.S.N.R. volunteered as a boat officer and was put in charge of Rigel's #1 motor launch with a volunteer crew consisting of MILLER, Keith M., S1c., USN, Coxswain, WINEBARGER, Eugene, F1c., USN Engineer, SHEPHERD, Robert H., S2c., USN Bow Hook and BLAIR, William E., S2c USN Stern hook. This boat proceeded to rescue survivors from the U.S.S. West Virginia and succeeded in saving between 50 and 100 men who were injured or blown overboard and were in imminent danger of drowning or death from suffocation or burning due to flaming oil which covered the surface of the surrounding water. The work of this boat was stopped by a fouled screw in such a position that it was in imminent danger of destruction by burning. Ensign Hake and the crew succeeded in saving the boat. The attack on the West Virginia consisting of torpedo, bomb and machine gun assaults by waves of planes was at its height during the rescue operations above mentioned. It is considered that Ensign Hake and the crew of #1 motor launch as enumerated above are deserving of special commendation for the initiative, resourcefulness, devotion to duty and personal bravery displayed on this occasion.
  4. Ensign James P. Bienia U.S.N.R. was detailed as boat officer of #2 motor whaleboat, the crew of which consisting of DZIBUCH, Stanley J., S1c. USN, coxswain, STOCKER, Robert F., F1c., USN engineer and ROGERS, Robert E., S2c., USN bow hook, and directed to proceed and assist in rescue work. This boat was manned and in the act of getting underway from its berth under the starboard bow of this ship when an enemy plane dropped light bomb which struck the port quarter of the boat and cut all planking from capping to keel in two. This bomb exploded after passing through the boat and underwater, throwing Ensign Bienia and his crew into the water. STOCKER, Robert F. F1c., USN and ROGERS, Robert E., S2c., USN sustained serious injuries and have been hospitalized. From the above it is believed this was an armor piercing bomb with a delayed fuse setting.
  5. The captain returned on board about 0830 when the attack was at its height.
  6. Shortly after the bomb referred to in paragraph 4 fell another bomb dropped near USS Rigel stern and approximately midway between piers 13 and 14, this bomb exploded on contact with water and fragmentation appears to have been most complete. Approximately one hundred fifty holes, varying from 2½ to ¼ inch in diameter, were blown in port quarter of Rigel between frames 120 and the stern. All above the waterline. This damage is being repaired by ship's force. Flying splinters and fragments injured WIGGAM, Richard E., SK3c, USN, CRAWFORD, Lawrence E., F3c., USN, TALEVICK, William D., F3c., USN, JOHNSON, Henry E., MM2c., USN and GOODMAN, Eldon W. Bmkr1c., USN, who have been hospitalized.
  7. The Executive Officer returned to the ship about 0900 and other officers and crew members returned as soon as possible, all being more or less delayed due to traffic congestion on main highways. There is one exception to the above, viz: Lieutenant Harry E. Morgan, U.S. Navy, who resides at 3239 Oahu Ave., Honolulu, T.H. did not return on board until about 0800, December 8, 1941. When questioned as to why he had not returned as soon as possible after the hostile air raid began he stated in effect, to the Executive Officer, Commander William E. McClendon, U.S. Navy that he was unaware that a hostile raid had been made on Pearl Harbor and other military objectives, or that any material damage or personnel casualties had been inflicted on United States forces. He appeared at that time to have been drinking but was not considered intoxicated or drunk.
  8. Two officers from this vessel – Ch. Elect. W.H. Moore, U.S. Navy and Machinist H.H. Vanaman, U.S. Navy left the ship about 0615 for a hike through the hills back of the town of Aiea. At about 0800 they had reached a point at such elevation that they were able to witness the attack on the ships and Hickam Field which were apparently the initial objectives. They stated that three separate flights of planes at three levels, viz: low, medium and high passed over them from the north heading in for the attack. The attack on ships appeared to them to be made only by torpedo planes and dive bombers. The attack on Hickam Field was made by high level bombers according to these officers and the bombs were dropped in rows similar to planting potatoes. Three different plantings were observed and it appeared that the attack was well planned, coordinated and executed.
  9. Lieutenant Commander Loar Mansbach, U.S. Navy, was acting commanding officer at the beginning of the attack and until the captain (Roy Dudly) returned on board. This officer had taken immediate action to assist in fire fighting and rescue on damaged vessels and had assembled repair parties, tools and equipment ready for dispatch to any point where they could be of service. His prompt action in this and his general conduct of this command period are considered deserving of special mention.
  10. Chief Boatswain Ashley D. Holland, U.S. Navy was officer-of-the-deck at the beginning of and during the attack. He performed all of his duties in a highly satisfactory manner and deserves special mention for his zeal and efficient performance of duty.
  11. The commanding officer has no complaint to make concerning the conduct of any officer or man who was on board during and immediately following this action, but on the contrary feels that every one of these officers and men conducted themselves in a highly creditable manner.







Serial 0301




U.S.S. Rigel, Flagship

Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 11, 1941

From: The Commander Train Squadron SIX
To: The Commander in Chief, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET
Subject: U.S.S. Rigel -- Report of particulars after battle of Sunday, December 7, 1941.

Rigel conf. ltr. ARb-1/
A9-8/(016) of 12/9/41.


  1. Forwarded.
  2. The Squadron Commander was aware through personal observation of the actions of the officers and men named in basic letter and concurs in the remarks of the Commanding Officer concerning their behaviour.
  3. With reference to paragraph 7 above (re. Lieutenant Morgan), Lieutenant Morgan has been confined on the Rigel pending investigation of his behaviour and action thereon.


Copy to:

    CombaseFor (Complete)
    CO Rigel

    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 15:17:10 EST 2018