CONFIDENTIAL   Hawaiian Area,
    December 11, 1941.

From: The Senior Surviving Officer, U.S.S. WEST VIRGINIA.
To: The Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
Via: The Commander Battleships, Battle Force.
Subject: Action of December 7, 1941 -- Report of.
Reference: (a) Article 712, U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.
Enclosures: (A) Statement of Lt.Comdr., J.S. Harper, U.S. Navy.
  (B) Statement of Lt.Comdr., T.T. Beattie, U.S. Navy.
  (C) Statement of Lt.Comdr., E.E. Berthold, U.S. Navy.
  (D) Statement of Lt.Comdr., D.C. Johnson, U.S. Navy.
  (E) Statement of Lieut., L.J. Knight, jr., U.S. Navy.
  (F) Statement of Lieut., C.V. Ricketts, U.S. Navy.
  (G) Statement of Lieut.,(jg) H.B. Stark, U.S. Navy.
  (H) Statement of Lieut.,(jg) F.H. White, U.S.N.R.

1. In accordance with the instructions contained in reference (a), the following report of the action of December 7, 1941, is submitted:


2. Throughout the entire action, and through all the arduous labors which followed, there was never the slightest sign of faltering or of cowardice. The actions of the officers and men were all wholly commendable; their spirit was marvelous; there was no panic, no shirking nor flinching, and words fail in attempting to describe the truly magnificent display of courage, discipline, and devotion to duty of all officers and men. Some examples of outstanding performance of duty are:

Lieutenant Commander J.S. Harper, U.S. Navy, the First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer, who by prompt action in counter-flooding prevented the WEST VIRGINIA From capsizing. He continued at his post in Central Station until forced to abandon it by the entrance of water, then abandoned it through the Conning Tower escape hatch and even then made a search through the ship before abandoning it.

Lieutenant Commander T.T. Beattie, U.S. Navy, the Navigator, who remained at his post alongside the Captain throughout all the action and made extreme and strenuous efforts to get the Captain, wounded, to a place of safety and to a first-aid station. Lieutenant Commander Beattie then returned aboard and continued in attempts to extinguish the fire on board.

Lieutenant Commander D.C. Johnson, U.S. Navy, the Communication Officer, who remained on the bridge, under fire, aided the Captain when the latter was wounded, and was untiring in the work afterward.

Lieutenant W. White, U.S. Navy, the Assistant Damage Control Officer, who was ashore at the beginning of the action, but returned aboard and performed prodigies in the attempt to extinguish the fire. His untiring and intelligent efforts were an essential aid to getting the fire finally under control.

Lieutenant C.V. Ricketts, the Senior Gunnery Officer aboard, and regular Secondary Battery Control Officer, who, as his battery was not firing, busied himself with aiding the Damage Control Officer in counter-flooding, in caring for the Captain when wounded, in attempting to get additional ammunition to the Anti-Aircraft battery, and was unsparing of himself in his efforts during the action and during the fire-fighting which followed.

Lieutenant F.H. White, D-V(G), U.S.N.R., who aided by MILLER, Doris, Mess Attendant second class, U.S. Navy, was instrumental in hauling people along through oil and water to the quarterdeck, thereby unquestionably saving the lives of a number of people who might otherwise have been lost.

Ensign H.W. Sears, D-V(G), U.S.N.R., who was ashore when the attack started, made his way back to the Navy Yard, but could only get aboard the U.S.S. PHOENIX. As that vessel started out, Ensign Sears asked the Commanding Officer if he needed a turret officer. The answer being in the negative, Sears, as the PHOENIX passed near the U.S.S. WEST VIRGINIA, dove over the side and swam to the WEST VIRGINIA.

Boatswain E.R. Weaver, U.S. Navy, who made himself unusually valuable in effecting repairs and fighting fires during the action, and then continued untiringly afterwards.

Because the above named people are particularly mentioned, it must not be construed that the actions and work of their shipmates and associates was any less valuable or less courageous. The entire ship's company is deserving of the highest commendation, both for their work on December 7th and on the days following. All the ship's company, officers and men, ask is another chance at the enemy. Their devotion to duty and their performance of duty have given new meanings to those phrases.

3. Statements of various officers are enclosed herewith.


Back to the Main Menu