tv Pearl Harbor Deck Logs CSPAN December 11, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm EST
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>> yesterday, 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. >> 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 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 be 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 look at the uss chew, a destroyer at the time of the battle.
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. the uss chew after the attack was primarily used 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, 0757, "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. 2 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 were 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? >> 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, typically the one who is 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 4 officers were ensigns, roughly the equivalent of the second lieutenant in the army.
and the most experienced of them had only 8 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 came back in the harbor. one fun thing about the deck log is it mentions the captain was trying to catch up to the ship as it set sail. according to the orders of the commander of the destroyer squadron, they were not to pick up any passengers when setting sail. he ended up board another ship and attempted to board his vessel, but ultimately was not able to until a day or two later. one entry of note 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." 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 mentions of the attack? >> at 0903, they opened fire with the main battery and machine guns. 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 will mention, they will mention the arizona burning or blowing up. 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. 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, which proceeded to ram the submarine and drop 2 depth charges to sink the submarine. >> where were they located physically? >> 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
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 ford elements of the pacific fleet stationed in pearl harbor itself. so the main portion of the fleet. 8 battleships and three aircraft carriers were based in pearl harbor at the time. unfortunately 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. here we have the deck log at 8:39. "sighted conning tower of enemy submarine." at 8:40, "passed over submarine, dropped 2 depth charges which exploded at 30 feet depth. observed one torpedo track passing about 50 yards on starboard beam." unfortunately for them, at 8:43, 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. another destroyer stationed at pearl harbor to protect against any possible submarine attack. most entries are arranged in four-hour time blocks. each officer who is in charge of the watch of the time block would sign the entry they wrote on. 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 succumbed to a typhoon in 1944 and unfortunately sunk somewhere in the pacific ocean. the other 2 ships, the uss chew -- that had been used for convoy action. the aylwin was also used in the pacific ocean, but as more of 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. 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 2 battleships we ultimately lost over the course of the battle, because the oklahoma ended up capsizing. 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 and arizona --
>> unfortunately, we do not have the deck logs for the uss oklahoma or arizona. they were considered sunk at the time of the battle. for the arizona, most likely blew up or burned up at the time 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 concerned with saving as many men as they could. it is actually the same thing with the west virginia as well. west virginia, even though we ultimately raised the ship from the bottom, at the time of the attack, since it was docked next to the uss arizona, a lot of the
oil 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 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 to do next -- lends itself from the deck log itself. at 1201, it is recorded that "parachute troops were reported landing at barbers point. enemy tankers 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 knock out the naval base. as we know, that wasn't the case. another entry of note is at 1143, 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 know they were attacking, we knew what they dressed alike. 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. unfortunately, the japanese made sure to destroy as many of the planes as they could. ultimately, when we did think we figured out where the japanese carriers were, we ended up going 100 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, they were to the southeast. we sent one of our carriers that way 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? >> let's see here. according to this deck log, at 0750, "japanese planes commence attack on yard by dive bombers." at 0752, uss maryland sounded general quarters. shortly thereafter, the maryland records that "oklahoma was hit by unknown number of torpedoes." as i mentioned, they arrange the deck logs in four-hour time chunks. the next time chunk is 0400 to 0800. the next time chunk is when the main attack itself is located. 0800-1200 chunk. commanding officer is restored.
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 to 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 the various weapons they had on board. at 8:40, "receive report that an enemy submarine was inside pearl harbor." presumably that was the submarine that the monaghan saw and ultimately depth charged. 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. 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 2 bomb hits on forecastle midship line." at 9:10, "detail of report of damage to be given later. three near-misses on each side and ahead of the bow." at 9:14, "receive report of large number of enemy bombers over pearl." at 9:24, "torpedo air compressor out of commission. lost pressure on fort 5 and 25-caliber battery. 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." 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 water." at 9:45, "received report that enemy planes amassing south of pearl harbor." at 9:47, "received command that all ships remain until further orders." at 9:49, "patrol bombers taking off." at 9:50, "one of the ships sinking alongside the 1010 dock." at 9:55, "fire under control along 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." "parachute troops reported near barbers point." at 10:25, you can see the confusion already started, as "parachute troops reported near barber's 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 -- >> 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 look at the uss nevada, the only battleship 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 -- 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, the only large vessel underway, 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 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 make 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." ship 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 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 it were to occur, they were expecting it to happen in the philippines. it was closer to japan and more of a threat. as we know, unfortunately, that didn't happen. they ended up attacking the philippines 7 or 8 hours later and securing that in 1942. notable thing about the uss nevada is at the time of the attack, they were raising morning colors.
as this was one of the larger ships, they had a whole band playing the national anthem. 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 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 u.s. pacific fleet, pearl harbor." nevada was slightly submerged so it took time to get to it. in february 1942, repair crews 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 antiaircraft batteries, things of that nature. it was ultimately stationed in the atlantic ocean to serve a 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 in land. >> how many ship logs do we have from pearl harbor? >> approximately 90. i believe there are around 90 ships at the time, including combat and auxiliaries. 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 destroyed at the time of the attack. >> from your point of view, what is the value of preserving documents like this? >> 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 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 the last word they have for that day. >> can you tell us how they were saved and where you find them? >> of course. they are located in one of our stacks. they are arranged in 5- or 10-year chunks. they are under by month come here to our reference staff 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 find it for you. >> how far back in history do these things go, and do they still do them now?
>> the deck logs we have here at the national archives in college park, we have 1941 deck logs on it. currently we have 1941 to 1983 deck logs. downtown washington, d.c., we have the deck logs prior to 1941. the navy is currently creating deck logs for the foreseeable future. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] communicators, the proposed acquisition of yahoo! and a massive buildout.
a program being pursued by president-elect trump. we are building the wireless signals to travel shorter distances. i mentioned the internet of things. we need a massive fiber infrastructure. next, on american history tv, the associate director at the national history center discusses her book "from empire to humanity." she talks about the motivations and charity work of mid-18th-century north american and british philanthropists and humanitarian spirit this was cosponsored by the woodrow wilson center and national history center. it is just under 90 minutes. >>