tv Pearl Harbor Deck Logs CSPAN December 18, 2016 12:30pm-1:01pm EST
to have to look at that kind of policy --a fine defined policy we need to deal with that. policyelop the defense to confront that world. >> thursday, a look at the career of vice president-elect mike pence. apologyve stood without for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage, and the freedom of religion. night, farewell speeches and tributes to several outgoing senators, including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte. this week in primetime on c-span. ♪ , december 7, 1941,
a date which will live in infamy. >> to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor, we visited the national archives in college park, maryland, to see a selection of five u.s. navy deck logs from that day. the logs are routine written records of activities and observations on naval ships, but they were anything but routine on the day of infamy. chris: i am chris carter. i am an archivist at the national archives in college park, maryland. today we are going to look at the deck logs of various ships that were located at pearl harbor during the attack. a deck log is a recording of all the activities that occurred on a ship in a 24-hour period. this could include injuries to sailors, sailors coming on and off the ship. anything occurring on the ship
at the time, so in this instance, the attack on pearl harbor. we will first look at the uss chew, a destroyer at the time of the battle. one of the older destroyers we had. it is a world war i-era destroyer, meaning that it had 4 smokestacks and was a little slower than the contemporary destroyers of the time. we will look at some of those. the uss chew after the attack was used primarily in an escort role for convoys, things of that nature. this is what the officers on board wrote on december 7. starting at around 6:00 in the morning, they actually received 10 gallons of milk and 4.5 gallons of ice cream, which was recorded on board, and they brought this on board. interestingly enough, the next entry located on this deck log, is at 7:57, which states,
"suffered surprise attack by japanese torpedo and bombing planes. sounded general quarters and manned antiaircraft battery." kind of a nice juxtaposition between peacetime and war breaking out. at 8:11, they mention the continued attack by japanese bombers and dive bombers. for instance, what ended up happening, "3-inch antiaircraft guns scored a direct hit on a dive bomber, demolishing the plane in midair. the hit was observed by the executive officer and various members of the crew." they also state two other probable hits were scored, one on the tail assembly of the dive bomber. >> would they have written this that day? >> most likely not. most likely a lot of those recollections occurred after the fight. at the time, they would have been recording some of the incidents that were occurring. but they were a little preoccupied at the time trying
to fight back and things like that. for a lot of these records, a lot of these were recorded after the fact. some deck logs -- this one not included -- will write down the number of casualties, who was killed, who was wounded. those would not be collected until the end of the attack. >> do you know whose job it was to write these things down? chris: yes. the officer on watch is typically the one who does this. it is not the executive officer or the captain, in this case lieutenant commander. typically it is an ensign or lieutenant, junior grade, depending on the type of ship, was the one typically responsible for writing the entries in the deck log. this is the uss aylwin, one of the more modern destroyers at the time of the attack. this ship is notable because it set sail with only four officers on board.
all four officers were ensigns, roughly the equivalent of the second lieutenant in the army. and the most experienced of them had only eight months of experience. they set sail without any tugs, any pilots on board to set sail, and they managed to make it out of the harbor, and were patrolling for a day or two until they finally came back in the harbor and picked up everyone else, including the captain. one fun thing about the deck log is it mentions the captain was trying to catch up to the ship as it was setting sail. but according to the orders of the commander of the destroyer squadron, they were not to pick up any passengers as they were setting sail. he ended up boarding another ship to attempt to try to board his vessel, but ultimately was not able to until a day or two later.
one entry of note in here, it does mention that there was some damage because of the attack. at 0900, according to the deck log, "bomb exploded on port quarter, throwing the stern against a buoy." in their brevity, that is all they mention unfortunately. obviously, there wasn't enough damage for them to not be able to set sail because they were outside patrolling, looking for any japanese submarines that might've attacked. >> do they have any other mention of the attack? chris: at 9:03, they opened fire with the main battery and machine guns on dive bombers. according to the deck log, they "shot down one plane in flames, which fell on the uss curtis." one thing a lot of the deck logs at the time will mention, they will mention either the arizona burning or blowing up. that was a notable occurrence at the time. for instance, in here, it mentions that "the arizona seen
burning from stem to stern following the explosion." this was shortly after the start of the attack. so the next ship we will look at is the uss monaghan. it is another destroyer, similar to the aylwin. the monaghan is notable because during the time of the attack, one of the japanese midget submarines was able to successfully penetrate pearl harbor. it was sighted by the monaghan, who then proceeded to ram the submarine and drop two depth charges to sink the submarine. >> where were they located physically? chris: the destroyers we've mentioned so far were located in the northeastern portion of the harbor itself, because that is
where they stored or docked most of the destroyers. the battleships were, as most people know, along ford island. they were on the southeastern section of the harbor itself. >> and in general, why were all these ships in hawaii? chris: all these ships were in hawaii itself because there had been warnings recently. we were aware that more likely than not we were going to end up fighting the japanese. as a way to convince them not to attack us, we had our forward elements of the pacific fleet stationed in pearl harbor itself. so the main portion of the fleet. eight battleships and three aircraft carriers were based in pearl harbor at the time. unfortunately for us, our -- fortunately for us, our aircraft carriers were out and about doing various missions at the time of the attack and were not present during the time of
the attack. they were relatively unscathed. here we have the deck log at 8:39. the deck log is reported as saying, "sighted conning tower of enemy submarine." at 8:40, "passed over submarine, dropped two depth charges which exploded at 30 feet depth. observed one torpedo track passing about 50 yards on the starboard beam." and then unfortunately for them, at 8:43, they backed engines emergency as they struck the dredge on the other side of the harbor. and they do record a little bit of the damage that occurred to the ship. they were, in spite of the damage, able to get out of the way. they were another one of the destroyers stationed outside pearl harbor to protect against any possible submarine attack. most entries are arranged in four-hour time blocks. each officer who was in charge
of the watch at that time block would sign the entry they wrote up. the one we were just reading from is j.w. gilden, an ensign in the u.s. navy. with the monaghan, unfortunately, it did not make it to the end of the war. it was not sunk in enemy action. it actually succumbed to a typhoon in december of 1944 and unfortunately sunk somewhere in the pacific ocean. the other two ships, the uss chew -- that had been used for convoy action. the aylwin was also used in the pacific ocean, but as more of a kind of -- they were stationed with the fleet itself and served as protection from submarines and aircraft attack. so next, we will move to the uss maryland. a battleship located at pearl harbor at the time of the attack. the maryland was lucky in that it did not suffer a lot of
damage during the attack. part of the reason for that is they were in board of the uss oklahoma, meaning the only way the japanese could hit the uss maryland was via aerial bombs, whereas oklahoma suffered aerial bombardment and torpedo attack. so, luckily for the maryland, the oklahoma soaked up most of the torpedoes and was actually one of the two battleships we ultimately lost over the course of the battle, because the oklahoma ended up capsizing. completely flipped over. if you see any images of the hull of the ship during pearl harbor, that is the ship. >> if people are watching this and wondering why aren't we reading the deck logs from the oklahoma or arizona? chris: unfortunately, we do not have the deck logs from the uss
oklahoma or arizona. both were considered sunk at the time of the battle. for the arizona, most likely blew up or burned up at the time -- beginning of the attack. whereas the oklahoma, as it flipped over, they were not able to recover the deck log itself, because at the time they were more concerned with saving as many men as they could. it was actually the same thing with the west virginia as well. the west virginia, even though we ultimately raised the ship from the bottom, at the time of the attack, since it was docked right next to the uss arizona, a lost of the oil from the arizona floated down and there was a lot of flame rising up around the west virginia, which led to it being abandoned until we were able to quench the flames and go back and re-float the ship. the notable thing about the deck log for the uss maryland is at
the time, it appears a lot of these radio transmissions went through the uss maryland, meaning a lot of these radio transmissions were recorded in the deck log itself. what that ultimately means is a lot of the confusion that was occurring at the time of the attack -- notably, we have no idea where the japanese were at the time or what they were planning on doing next, kind of lends itself from the deck log itself. at 12:01, it is recorded that "parachute troops were reported landing at barbers point. enemy tankers were reported four miles off coast of oahu." as most people know, that was not the case. but at the time, they weren't sure if this air attack was a prelude to something bigger, if they were going to launch an invasion of oahu itself and completely knock out the naval base. but again as we know, that wasn't the case.
another entry of note is at 11:43, as part of further continuation of the confusion, the maryland writes, "report received, enemy troops wearing blue coveralls with red emblems." not only did we think they were attacking, we knew what they dressed like. confusion at the time, they had no idea what was going on. they were trying to send out planes to find out where the enemy carriers were. but unfortunately, the japanese made sure to destroy as many of the planes as they could before we could have them take off and we did not have many search planes available at the time. ultimately, when we did think we figured out where the japanese carriers were, we ended up going 180 degrees in the wrong direction, because apparently with radio contacts, when you receive it, it is either one way or the exact opposite.
we assumed instead of them being to the northwest, we thought they were to the southeast. we sent one of our carriers that way to scout to try to find their carriers. of course, they weren't there, we didn't find them, which in the long run was a good thing because we would've been outnumbered two carriers to six. that would not have ended well for midway because we needed all the carriers we had to succeed in that battle. >> what is the first indicator on this log that something is going wrong? chris: let's see here. according to this deck log, at 7:50, "japanese planes commence bombing attack on yard by dive bombers." at 7:52, uss maryland sounded general quarters. shortly thereafter, the maryland records that "oklahoma was hit by unknown number of torpedoes." as i mentioned before, they
arranged the deck logs in four-hour time chunks. the first time chunk is 0400 to 0800. the next time chunk is when the main attack itself is located. 0800-1200 chunk. as i mentioned before, the commanding officer is restored. they commenced giving up steam to try to get underway. at 8:05, they opened fire with one one-inch battery and the 50 caliber machine gun. they were trying as hard as they could to get into the attack, as it was a surprise attack, it took a little bit of time. at 8:10, "uss oklahoma lying on starboard side." at 8:15, "conning tower took steering and engine control." at 8:38, "they stood by all lines." at 8:39, "all ready boxes refilled." ready boxes were the boxes they
put the ammunition in. this was considered the ready ammunition they could use for all the various weapons they had on board. 8:40, "received report that an enemy submarine was inside pearl harbor." presumably that was the submarine that the monaghan saw and ultimately depth charged. which is kind of interesting because they must have received that via radio transmission because since they were on the opposite side of ford island, they should not have been able to physically see that. one of the next entries is 8:57, the uss nevada getting underway. it was the first battleship and ultimately the only battleship that got underway during the time of the attack. at 8:58, we have the uss west virginia "settling, fire appearing on or near uss tennessee." at 8:59, "uss california lifting to port." at 0900 we have "open fire with remaining antiaircraft
batteries." at 9:09, "received one and possibly two bomb hits on forecastle midship line." at 9:10, "detail of report of damage to be given later. and about three near-misses on each side and ahead of the bow." at 9:14, "received report of large number of enemy bombers over pearl." at 9:24, "torpedo air compressor reported out of commission. lost air pressure on port 5 inch 25-caliber battery. and at the same time, a burning enemy plane fell on uss curtis." at 9:25, "recommenced firing." at 9:28, "slight fire on forecastle and single bridge broke out. receive report that rear admiral anderson came aboard." 9:30, attack. at 9:36, "japanese submarines
reported inside and outside pearl harbor." at 9:40, "uss west virginia abandoning ship. .50 caliber magazines flooded." at 9:43, "turret three covered with flames from burning oil on the water." at 9:45, "received report that enemy planes amassing south of pearl harbor." at 9:47, "received command that all battleships remain in pearl harbor until further orders." the channel was probably mined. at 9:49, "patrol bombers taking off." at 9:50, "one of the ships sank alongside the 1010 dock." at 9:55, "fire under control around quarterdeck." at 10:05, "uss shaw enveloped in flames."
at 10:09, "commenced firing on enemy aircraft," which probably wasn't the case because all the enemy aircraft at the time were gone. that was probably a phantom sighting. at 10:12, "commenced pumping." at 10:22, "floating dry dock sinking. explosions on uss shaw." at 10:29, "report of casualties, including one officer dead, one enlisted man dead, one enlisted man wounded." at 10:25, you can see an indication confusion had started as "parachute troops reported near barbers point." at 10:34, submarine reported 10 miles south. at 10:39, "uss cummings underway." at 10:40, "explosion on uss west virginia." at 10:51, "enemy submarine sighted." at 10:55, "commence firing on enemy aircraft coming from port
side." next page. at 11:37, "parachute troops reported landing on north shore." at 11:43, "report received that enemy troops wearing blue coveralls with red emblems sighted." at 11:45, "call away fire and rescue party to assist." >> so the parachute was just some -- chris: most likely, what historians believe happened is we were able to get some planes in the air. some of them were shot down and it is presumed that some of those parachutes were reports of our pilots coming down. most likely that is what it was, but for certain no japanese troops landed at the time of the attack. next we will take a look at the uss nevada, the only battleship
at the time of the attack that was able to get underway. part of the reason for that is the officer on watch had ordered a second boiler to come online to make it a little easier to transition between having one boiler online to the next. he was actually just doing it for efficiency's sake. so the uss nevada was one of the older battleships that we had at the time. it had been built initially around world war i, and it had been modernized once or twice in the ensuing period. as i mentioned, the uss nevada had gotten underway, but as the second air attack was coming in, as the only large vessel
underway, the japanese planes tended to focus on that ship in particular. there were a lot of near misses, actual hits, and it looked like the ship could have gone down. the admirals at the time decided instead of having this ship potentially block the entrance to the harbor, thereby preventing other ships from getting out, we will order it to beach itself. we have recorded in here, at 9:05, "receive signal from commander of the battle force not to proceed out of harbor." they made preparations to anchor and they stopped engines. 9:07 was an instance where they recorded "received a bomb hit on forecastle," killing an individual by the name of hill, who was blown overboard. at 9:10, they were recorded as grounding "bow of ship intentionally between floating dry dock and channel buoy 24."
the ship was recorded as grounding on even keel. at 9:15, they record that the captain actually returned on board. this whole time, the captain was not on board issuing orders, which was actually typical of most ships at the time. most of the senior officers were on leave. it was sunday, a time of peace. the week before had been the main war warning. everyone at the time was expecting nothing to occur, and if anything were to occur, they were expecting it to happen in the philippines. that was significantly closer to japan and more of a threat. but as we know, unfortunately, that didn't happen. they ended up attacking the philippines seven or eight hours later and securing that in 1942.
one notable thing about the uss nevada is at the time of the attack, they were raising colors -- they were raising morning colors. and as this was one of the larger ships, they had a whole band playing the national anthem. and at the time of the attack, japanese planes were coming in trying to strafe the band as they were playing the song, and they played the song throughout the start of the attack, and it wasn't until they were done with the song that they went and manned their stations. some of this is actually kind of reflected in the log itself as at 0800, they made morning colors "with guard of the day and bugle." at 8:01, "japanese aircraft commenced surprise attack on the u.s. pacific fleet, pearl harbor." as the nevada was beached, it was slightly submerged so it took a little while before they
were able to get to it. in february 1942, repair crews actually refloated the ship. they were able to do minor repairs to it, basically enough to have it sail out, and they sent it to the west coast to get finalized repairs and to kind of update the armament, mostly including more antiaircraft batteries, things of that nature. and it was ultimately stationed in the atlantic ocean to serve a fire support role. its most notable role was it served in d-day off the coast of normandy and provided fire support, with some shells sent 17 miles inland. >> how many ship logs do we have from pearl harbor? chris: approximately 90. i believe there are around 90 ships at the time, including combat and auxiliaries. so theoretically, we should have all of their deck logs, unless
of course, the ship was destroyed, and we do not have the deck logs of the uss arizona, oklahoma, west virginia, and several destroyers which were destroyed at the time of the attack. >> from your point of view, what is the value in preserving documents like this? chris: it is valuable just for the firsthand accounts we received. from the uss nevada and especially from the uss maryland, you can see at the time the chaos that was occurring. we kind of get ideas of what some people were thinking at the time, what the ships were doing at the time, how we were responding to the attack, and other things of that nature. so for historians, it is a very useful tool to give an idea of, in this instance, what was happening at the attack on pearl harbor. other folks who might be interested are genealogists, just to see who may have passed
away and things like that. for instance, on here, for the nevada, pretty much the last entry they have is at 11:30 at night, they lighted fires under boiler number six "upon completion of overhaul, warming up slowly." that is pretty much the last word they have on that particular day. >> can you tell us how they were saved and how you know where to find them? chris: of course. they are located in one of our stacks. they are arranged in five or 10-year chunks. they are by month. if you want to come here, talk to her reference that in the research room and ask, we would like a certain month for a certain ship. if we have that log, we will be able to provide it for you. >> how far back in history do these things go, and do they still do them now?
chris: the deck logs we have here at the national archives in college park, we have 1941 deck logs on. currently, we have 1941 to 1983 deck logs. downtown washington, d.c., we have the deck logs prior to 1941. the navy is still currently creating deck logs for the foreseeable future. >> i do think you can learn from failure. i think if the next president wants to aspire to be like somebody, they probably went to aspire to be washington or lincoln. you cannot re-create the country, and you cannot have a civil war. so next, james monroe. i don't know. you can aspire not to be james buchanan. >> tonight, historian robert
strauss talks about james buchanan's presidency in his latest book, "worst presidency ever, the legacy of the least of the lesser>> and the differentif good presidents and best presidents, washington, lincoln, fdr are always the top of the surveys that historians take. they were decisive men. you can't come to the top of the ladder and not be decisive. james polk hated him for being a waffler. that's how he was as president. effect p.m.t eight eastern on c-span's "q&a." up next, national park service ranger lee white talks about confederate army of tennessee's failed assault at the battle of franklin. in november, 1864, after union ge