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USS Tern, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


U.S.S. TERN (cn) 

Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 15, 1941 


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet.
Subject: December 7, 1941 Raid - report on.  
Reference: (a) CinCPAC desp. 102102 of December 1941.  


  1. In compliance with reference (a), the following is submitted.

    "U.S.S. Tern alongside north end Ten Ten dock undergoing upkeep by U.S.S. Argonne, all machinery dead, receiving steam, water and electricity from dock. Upkeep to be completed at close of working hours December 9, 1941.

    "0753 notified of attack and made preparation for getting underway.

    "0805 opened fire with .30 caliber Lewis machine guns. Could not get 3" guns to bear as ship was heading East, our 3" guns were blanked off by U.S.S. Argonne. Plane this ship was firing at was seen to go down by Officers' Club. Shifted fire.

    "0943 underway from alongside dock to pick up survivors in harbor. Received 47 survivors.

    "1050 proceeded to put of fire on U.S.S. Arizona. Shifted over to U.S.S. West Virginia by orders from U.S.S. Maryland. Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Tern put in charge of fire fighting of U.S.S. West Virginia by Commander Hamilton. Acting on orders from U.S.S. Maryland.

    "1430, Monday, 8 December, fire out on U.S.S. West Virginia and shifted to alongside U.S.S. Arizona to fight fire.

    "1235, Tuesday, 9 December, fire out on U.S.S. Arizona, proceeded alongside U.S.S. Ramapo for fuel. Filled to 95% capacity and proceeded to U.S.S. Nevada on orders from Commander Base Force. Tied up alongside U.S.S. Nevada.

    "1228, Wednesday, 10 December, left U.S.S. Nevada and proceeded to Coal Docks by orders from Commander Base Force as services not required by U.S.S. Nevada.

    "2040, Wednesday, 10 December, proceeded from Coal Dock to U.S.S. California.

    "2110, Wednesday, 10 December, released from U.S.S. California and proceeded to Coal Docks with U.S.S. Turkey alongside; U.S.S. Turkey having jammed steering gear and could not proceed independently.

    "Own losses - none; damage - none; casualties - none.

    "Conduct of all personnel outstanding. Conducted their duties as though conducting a drill except all hands acted with much more snap. No confusion; all operations were conducted smoothly. The ship was gotten underway from absolutely dead firerooms in one hour and forty minutes, during which time lights, air, and steam were cut off by yard at 0815 and men worked with the aid of flashlights.

    "Inasmuch as Ensign H.J. PERRY, USNR, has only been serving in the U.S. Navy a comparatively short time, his conduct and quick action in this particular situation was very commendable.

    "There was a noticeable lack of confusion under constant strafing from the enemy; both officers and men executed their duties efficiently and smoothly. Especially commendable were the following men.

    WATERS, H.E., 163 04 21, CWT(PA), USN

    HAISLETT, J.A., 371 71 01, WT1c, USN

    SCHOEL, H.R., 371 37 42, MM1c, USN

    McKINNEY, H.R., 375 67 58, MM1c, USN

    POTENZA, A.J., 222 79 88, BM1c, USN

    WILSON, W.O., 268 11 57, SM1c, USN

    MILLER, C.M., 258 11 88, Cox., USN

    MILLER, F.H., 321 16 44, Cox., USN

    WARD, R., 258 26 31, MAtt2c, USN

    GROVE, H., 272 12 98, Off.Ck.3c, USN 


    "Also to be especially commended were the actions of Boatswain J.A. HEIN, USN, who had the deck at the time of the attack, and who moved the ship from the dock into the stream in record time."


Copy to:

Commander Base Force.

Commander Train Squadron SIX. 

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


Published: Tue Mar 13 16:21:10 EDT 2018