US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS California (1)

Editor's Note: The following content is a transcription of a period document or a collection of period statistics. It may be incomplete, inaccurate, or biased. The reader may not wish to take the content as factual.

13 Dec 1941

U.S.S. California

Pearl Harbor, T.H.,
December 13, 1941

From: Commanding Officer.
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Report of Raid, December 7, 1941.
Reference: (a) CincPac despatch 102131 of December 1941.

In accordance with reference (a) the following information is furnished herewith.


0750 Sounded General Quarters and manned all battle stations, started setting Condition ZED.
0803 Commenced firing with M.G.s 1 & 2 (Ready Guns) on Torpedo Planes.
0810 Opened fire with 5" A.A. Guns #2 (Ready Gun) and #4 on Dive Bombers
0825 Opened fire on dive bombers with 5" A.A. and fwd. machine guns, and continued intermittent fire until end of attacks about 0915.


At 0830, shot down one enemy dive bomber with fwd. machine guns which crashed in flames.

At 0832, one enemy plane shot down over Ford Island by either own fire or that of another ship.


Five (5) officers killed.

Three (3) officers wounded.

Enlisted men - estimated 125 killed and 100 wounded. 37 dead and wounded have been positively identified. There are still 116 men missing.

0805 Two torpedoes struck port side, frame 100, making a hole about 40' long, extending from the first seam below the armor belt to the bilge keel.
0820 A torpedo struck port side, frame 47, making an irregular hole covering an area about 27' X 32', the top of which is some 6' below the bottom of the armor belt.
0840 Ship shaken by four (4) near bomb hits and splintered considerably by fragments.
0900 One (1) bomb (possibly a 15" A.P. projectile with tail vanes) struck abreast of Casemate #1, frame 59, penetrated to the second deck where it exploded in A-611, rupturing the forward and after bulkheads of the compartment, and the overhead into compartment A-705. The armored hatch leading into the Machine Shop was also badly sprung and could not be closed. A serious fire started about 0905 below main deck as a result.
0925 Plane 2-0-5 capsized and was sunk while removing from ship to remove gasoline fire hazard.
0930 Fire broke out on main deck, starboard side, "F" Division compartment and Casemates #'s 3, 5, & 7.
1002 Oil fire on surface of water enveloped ship, starting many fires and became intense on forecastle.


KEENER, J.C., S.K.1c, PEARSON, G., CSK(PA), and NEWMAN, J. CSK(PA) were outstanding in their work during battle in the ammunition supply and endangering themselves in pulling wounded to safety.

CELESTEIME, B., M.Att.1c., BACOT, J.D., M.Att.1c., and WALLACE, H., Jr., M.Att.2c. were outstanding in their work assisting the Medical Officer with wounded.

REEVES, T.J., CRM(PA), deceased, was outstanding in his conduct in that upon being forced to abandon Main Radio, at request of Gunner PHARRIS, he assisted in a burning ammunition passageway, attempted to continue the flow of ammunition until overcome by smoke and fire.

Gunner J.C. PHARRIS, although injured, was outstanding in his work to continue ammunition supply in spite of fire and other hazards, during which he organized and reorganized able personnel and personally provided ammunition while men were dying in fuel oil and in rescuing many men from oil and vapors.

Pay Clerk H.A. APPELGATE and PAVLIN, B.F., E.M.3c. went beyond their required duties in taking a boat and obtaining ammunition from other ships while under fire.

Boatswain S. OSMON, who, although injured, did outstanding work in directing repairs and the rescue of injured.

Ensigns W.W. WALKER, S.C. HALL, C.H. HALL, E.M. FAIN, R.D. KIRKPATRICK, R.B. GANFIELD, R.L. SETTLE, C.W. GUNNELS, Jr., C.J. LYDEN, A.T. NICHOLSON, Jr., T.P. MC GRATH, and T.J. RUDDEN, Jr., for exceptional work in fighting fires and rescuing many trapped personnel. They displayed outstanding qualities of leadership, bravery, and coolness.

Commander J.D. JEWELL (MC), although burned about the face and arms from fires nearby his station, continued to administer effectively first aid without interruption.

BALDWIN, R.M., CY(PA) for his outstanding work in performing duties of Damage Control Officer in a very efficient manner while the First Lieutenant commanded the ship.

Ensign H.C. JONES and Ensign I.W. JEFFERY (both deceased) who organized a party and were attempting to get ammunition up by hand when killed.

FLEMING, W.S., B.M.1c., Gun Captain of 5"/25 gun #4, who, although wounded, continued to direct his gun crew and by his
coolness and example under fire instilled confidence in the men about him.

WARD, D.E., B.M.2c. for bravery and coolness in action and in fighting fires and rescuing trapped personnel.

GARY, T.J., Sea.2c., (deceased) was killed while carrying out rescue work of men, after having rescued three or four.

The following officers and men conducted themselves in a distinguished manner in effecting the rescue of personnel trapped below decks in the Center Thrust Block Room, Forward Battery locker and Forward Distribution Room:

Ensign C.H. CHAMPION Ensign W.A.J. LEWIS
Ensign C.A. LABARRE Ensign L.S. TAYLOR
Ch.Elect. R.W. MILLER *BLY, C.L. MM1c

An additional report of Distinguished Conduct may be made later when more facts are obtained.


At the time of the raid, Lieutenant Commander M.N. LITTLE, First Lieutenant, was senior officer present on board. He immediately took command and ordered battery manned and preparations made for getting underway. Lieutenant Commander F.J. ECKHOFF, Navigator, relieved the Officer-of-the-Deck and assisted Commanding Officer. Lieutenant Commander H.E. BERNSTEIN, Communication Officer, had the head of department duty aboard ship, rushed immediately to insure the keys for the magazines were broken out and ammunition supply started promptly and then took his station in the Conning Tower. The senior Gunnery Officer was Lieutenant G. FRITSCHMANN who manned Control and took charge of all batteries. All other officers aboard went to their battle stations and performed their assigned duties.

At 0845 Commander E.E. STONE, Executive Officer, returned to the ship and assumed command of the ship, and Commander Battle Force returned aboard.

At 0915 Captain J.W. BUNELEY, Commanding U.S.S. California returned to ship and assumed command.

At 1015 the order to abandon ship was cancelled, flames from the water having cleared the ship and battle stations topside were manned and a large number of men returned from the beach to resume work. The fire aboard ship was fought with all available fire equipment on board and much that was obtained from Ford Island - and extensive salvage operations were started. The ship was listing about 8° to port and the engineering plant was disabled. There was no light or power on board, and no water service, fresh or salt.

The conduct of all California officers and men during the attack and subsequent fire was excellent and cool and they performed their duties in the manner fitting the best traditions of the Naval Service.


Copy to:

United States National Archives, Modern Military Branch

Added By:
C. Peter Chen

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