Curtze, Charles, RADM

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
510X-Civil Engineer Corps
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1961-1965, Pearl Harbor Naval Ship Yard
Service Years
1933 - 1965
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1911
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Curtze, Charles, RADM.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Erie
Last Address
Millcreek Township,
Pennsylvania

Date of Passing
Dec 26, 2007
 
Location of Interment
Erie Cemetery - Erie, Pennsylvania
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 3, Lot 14, Grave 6

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 

Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion US Navy Honorable Discharge


 Military Association Memberships
Pearl Harbor Survivor's AssociationNavy League of the United States
  1941, Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association [Verified]
  1955, Navy League of the United States [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Rear Admiral Charles August Curtze
Pearl Harbor Survivor

 

Curtze graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933 and later earned a master's degree in naval construction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

An accomplished gymnast, he qualified for the 1936 Olympics in Munich, Germany, but security concerns over Adolf Hitler caused the State Department to prevent his participation.

He eventually was commander of the San Francisco Naval Yard, becoming rear admiral.

His naval career ended in 1965 when he retired from his position of Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., in a disagreement over the handling of the Vietnam War.

 

.oOo.


Rear Admiral Charles August Curtze, who died at 96, had a hand in some major events in American history. He played a key role in salvaging a major ship during the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. That achievement is highlighted in a tribute to Curtze at the Admiral Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall at Erie History Museum. Curtze was working as a fleet safety officer on the light cruiser USS St. Louis when the attack began. He helped guide the cruiser out of the harbor. It was the only major ship to escape that day, and it became the stalwart as the Pacific Fleet was reconstructed after the bombing.

At the pinnacle of his naval career, serving as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., growing frustration over the political abuses during the Vietnam years, led to his retirement in protest with the Chief of the Bureau. He served as commander of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard Curtze when he and  his commanding officer, Rear Admiral William A. Brockett, Chief of the Bureau of Ships, resigned their posts in 1965 to protest Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's centralization of the Pentagon.

 

   
Other Comments:
Museum of Erie County - Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall
 

Housed in the Erie County History Center at 419 State Street, is the Museum of Erie County which offers a look into the development of the City of Erie and the surrounding area.

The Museum offers a variety of exhibits. The Voices from Erie County History, an exhibit focusing on Erie County rich heritage from pre-settlement to present day, is located in the primary exhibit gallery. Voices is designed to reflect an Erie County history timeline, and includes Erie’s settlement history, industrial history, ethnic history and contemporary history.

Also exhibited in the Museum of Erie County History is the interactive Admiral Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall. Named in honor of distinguished naval officer Admiral Curtze, the Maritime Hall enables visitors to trace Erie’s roots as a naval town, shipbuilding leader and freshwater fishing capital of the world.

 

   
 Photo Album   (More...


  Accounts of the USS Saint Louis, Dec 7, 1941
   
Date
Not Specified

Last Updated:
Apr 9, 2010
   
Comments

December 7th, 1941

Department of the Navy

Official Reports from Ships Log -- Eyewitness interviews



OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

WASHINGTON. D.C. 20350 IN REPLY REFER To

OP-09B92/alp

Ser 4211P09B9

7 OCT 1966

Dear Chief Hudgins:

In reply to your interesting letter of 18 September, I am sending the action report of SAINT LOUIS for 7 December 1941.

There is still some uncertainty on the precise fate of the five midget submarines that attacked Pearl Harbor. It is generally agreed that WARD and MONAGHAN were each responsible for sinking a midget. In addition, a third submarine surrendered to American forces near Bellows Field. As for the other two, their destruction is accounted for by the leading American naval historian (S.E. Morison) in these words:'"...probably they were finished off in one or more of the anti-submarine attacks reported by USS St. Louis, Blue, Ramsay and Breese.

I hope this information is useful.
Sincerely yours,

(F. Kent Loomis) (Signature, Asst. Director of Naval History}

EMC R. C. Huggins, USNR
1110 Alpha Drive
Pasadena, Texas 77502

Encl:

(1) USS SAINT LOUIS

Report of Offensive Measures Taken During Air Raid, December 7 , 1941

(2) United States Naval History: A Bibliography

(3) Naval History Division Publications List

Transcribed from original copy,
Relating observations and action reports, and journalized by Electrician??s Mate R. O. Hudgins, this Navy bridge reports does relate battle action taken and observed on bridge of the:

USS St. Louis CL-49 ?? December 7th, 1941
"My Journal"

"R.O. Hudgins, USN
12-7-41 to 12-10-41
DECEMBER 7, 1941 ----- PEARL HARBOR, T. H.

PEARL HARBOR RECEIVED SURPRISE ATTACK AT 0800. OUTLINE OF ACTION AND TIME AS RECORDED BY QUARTERMASTER ON TOPSIDE AND IN CENTRAL STATION.

AT THIS PERIOD USS ST. LOUIS WAS MOORED IN THE PEARL HARBOR NAVY YARD ALONGSIDE USS HONOLULU, FLAGSHIP OF CRUISER DIVISION (10), REAR ADMIRAL HERBERT F. LEARY, "COMCRUBATFORS" (COMMANDER CRUISER, BATTLE FORCE)

0755 ?? JAPANESE DIVE BOMBERS, FIGHTERS, AND TORPEDO BOMBERS WERE OBSERVED SWARMING DOWN AMONG THE SHIPS, WITH BATTLESHIP ROW BEING THE MAIN TARGET.

0801 ?? GENERAL QUARTERS SOUNDED

0805 ?? CONDITION AFFIRM SET

0814 ?? BATTLE II REPORTS EXPLOSIONS AFT

0817 ?? 5" MOUNTS OPEN FIRE

0820 ?? BOILERS #1 & 2 LIT OFF

0823 ?? CAPTAIN NOW CONNING SHIP

0830 ?? PLANE COMING LOW ON PORT QUARTER

0832 ?? SHIP AT GENERAL QUARTERS (COMPLETE)

0833 ?? TWO BOMBERS LOW ON STARBOARD BOW

0834 ?? SHIP IN CONDITION AFFIRM (COMPLETE)

0835 ?? BOMBER ON STARBOARD QUARTER

0840 ?? HOLE STD. FRAME 23-REPAIR PARTY NOTIFIED BRIDGE

0841 ?? BOMBERS COMING LOW

0842 ?? BOMBERS COMING LOW FROM PORT SIDE

0844 ?? UNCOUPLED LINES IN MARINE COMPARTMENT PORT SIDE

0845 ?? JAP PLANES HEADED FOR SUBMARINE BASE

0848 ?? PLANE ON PORT QUARTER

0849 ?? FOUR SEAMEN TO REMOVE RIGGING FROM MAINMAST

0850 ?? FIVE BOMBERS BEARING 145, ELEVEN PLANES OFF STD. QTR.

0851 ?? MANY PLANES OVERHEAD. TWO BOMBERS ON PORT BOW .WE ARE FIRING RAPIDLY NOW. BOMBERS ON PORT BOW AND QTR. DIVE BOMBER DIVING ON US.

0855--ENGINEERING DEPT READY TO GET UNDERWAY

0910--GYROS NOT UP TO SPEED

0914----PLANES COMING IN ON STD. BOW WE HAVE DISCONNECTED WATER FROM DOCK . PLANES DIVING ON STD. QTR. SEVERAL PLANES ARE DIVING OVER BOW

0917 ?? PLANES DEAD AHEAD

0918 ?? FELT LIKE BOMB HIT AFT . HONOLULU HIT ???

0919 ?? STEERING AFT O.K...B0MBER OFF STBD. BOW . CAST OFF. CUT OR PARTED LINES FROM HONOLULU

0922 ?? CAPTAIN WANTS GAS MASKS 0N BRIDGE

0924 ?? PLANES COMING IN LOW ON STBD. SIDE. PLANES ON BEAM TOO. .

0930 ?? CASTING OFF WIRE AFT. REPAIR 1 CHECKING COOLING SYSTEMS OF 1. 1. " GUNS FORWARD

0935 ?? WE ARE DRIFTING TOWARDS THE "USS SAN FRANCISCO" ACROSS THE SLIP

0936 ?? BATTLE II WANTS GAS MASKS. NO CASUALTIES YET

0943 ?? WELL UNDERWAY NOW.. JUST TURNING TO KEEP FROM RAMMING THE NEVADA, WHO IS ALMOST SUNK IN THE :MIDDLE OF THE CHANNEL

0944 ?? COOLING WATER ON 1.1"GUNS. STEAMING TOWARD THE MOUTH OF THE CHANNEL AT 29 KNOTS

0945 ?? PLANES BEARING 105 DEGREES

0946 ?? THREE PLANES ON PORT BOW

0947 ?? TWENTY OR THIRTY U.S. PANES FINALLY IN THE AIR

1001 ?? PLANES OVERHEAD . DO NOT CUT IN MOUNTS ONE & TWO YET . . THE ELECTRICIANS ARE WORKING MADLY TO JUMP CONTACTOR PANELS SO THE MOUNTS CAN USE TRAINING MOTORS. MOUNTS HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY HAND SO FAR

1011 ?? LEAVING HARBOR CHANNEL. SECOND SHIP OUT OF HARBOR. A DESTROYER WAS FIRST

1012 ?? TWO TORPEDOES APPROACHING STBD BOW ... PERISCOPE SIGHTED STBD. SIDE .. 500 YDS .. (TRYING TO SINK US TO BLOCK THE CHANNEL, BUT THE TORPEDOES HIT THE REEF ON OUR STBD. SIDE) WE ARE ZIGZAGGING MADLY. WE LURCH FROM HITTING SIDE OF CHANNEL . WE FIRE ON PARTIALLY SURFACED MIDGET SUB WITH 5" MOUNT. POSSIBLE HIT. A DESTROYER SANK ONE SUB ALREADY.

1015 ?? POWER CUT IN ON ALL MOUNTS . . TROUBLE GETTING HIGH PRESSURE AIR TO ALL MOUNTS & TURRETS

1051?? REPORT ENEMY AIRCRAFT CARRIER SIGHTED TEN MILES OFF BARBER'S POINT (THIS TURNED OUT TO BE IN ERROR) CAPTAIN ROOD READY TO GO AFTER CARRIER BUT COMMAND SAYS NO)

1110 ?? ENEMY PLANES HIGH OVERHEAD. THESE PLANES STAYED WITH US BUT OUT OF RANGE UNTIL ABOUT 1300 O??CLOCK.

1230--1300--WE JOIN FORCES WITH THE OTHER SHIPS THAT WERE OUT OF THE HARBOR ...LARGEST SHIP OUT WITH US IS THE USS INDIANAPOLIS..

1310---SET MODIFIED "A" CONDITION AFFIRM. SET PERSONNEL CONDITION II, WATCH 1.

DECEMBER 1941 ?? HAWAIIAN OPERATING AREA

DECEMBER 8 ?? CONTINUING TO JOIN FORCES WITH OTHER UNITS AND SEARCHING FOR TRACES OF THE ENEMY. SUBS AROUND THE ISLANDS ARE THICK AS BEES.

DECEMBER 9 ?? FORCE NOW CONSISTS OF SEVERAL HEAVY CRUISERS (WHICH WERE OUT AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK), THE CARRIER ENTERPRISE (ALSO OUT OF HARBOR) THREE LIGHT CRUISERS-PHOENIX, DETROIT, AND ST. LOUIS, AND SEVERAL DESTROYERS

DECEMBER 10 ?? CONTINUED SEARCH AND PATROL UNTIL LATE IN THE DAY WHEN WE AND PHOENIX LEFT THE FORCE AND WENT INTO THE STILL SMOKING AND GHOSTLY HARBOR. THERE ARE MANY SMALL BOATS COMBING THE HARBOR WITH GRAPPLING HOOKS, REMOVING DEBRIS AS WELL AS BODIES. WE MOORED UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS AND LOADED OF PROVISIONS, FUEL, AND PERSONNEL FROM SEVERAL DIFFERENT UNLUCKY SHIPS.

ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR.. AND THE RESULTS AS I SAW IT:

BATTLESHIPS:

USS PENNSYLVANIA ?? FLAGSHIP WHICH WAS IN DRY DOCK, AT LEAST ONE LARGE BOMB AND CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE.
USS UTAH--ONE TORPEDO HIT, WHICH CAUSED HER TO CAPSIZE.
USS MARYLAND ?? ONE OR TWO BOMBS (DON??T KNOW ABOUT TORPEDOES)
USS CALIFORNIA ?? ONE OR TWO TORPEDOES AND BOMBS. SHE'S SITTING ON THE BOTTOM
USS OKLAHOMA ?? AT LEAST ONE TORPEDO IN HER PORT SIDE WHICH CAUSED HER TO ROLL OVER COMPLETELY
USS WEST VIRGINIA ?? UNKNOWN NUMBER OF TORPEDOES AND BOMBS SITTING ON BOTTOM, RIGHT SIDE UP.
USS ARIZONA--NUMEROUS TORPEDOES AND BOMBS INCLUDING ONE BOMB STRAIGHT INTO HER MAGAZINE. COMPLETELY DESTROYED..
USS NEVADA ?? THREE BOMB HITS AND ONE TORPEDO . SHE GOT UNDERWAY BUT WAS PURPOSEFULLY BEACHED TO AVOID SINKING IN MID CHANNEL ABOUT ONE HALF MILE FROM HARBOR ENTRANCE.

CRUISERS:

USS HONOLULU--ONE BOMB WHICH EXPLODED BETWEEN HER BOW AND THE DOCK CAUSING CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO HER PLATES.
USS HELENA--ONE TORPEDO, WHICH PUT HER DOWN BY THE HEAD.
USS RALEIGH--ONE TORPEDO, WHICH PUT HER ON THE BOTTOM.

DESTROYERS:

USS SHAW ?? BOMB HIT IN FWD MAGAZINE, WHICH BLEW HER FORECASTLE OFF.
USS CASSINS ?? BOMBED AND SET AFIRE.
USS DOWNES ?? BOMBED AND SET AFIRE.

AUXILIARIES:

OGLALA -- SHE RECEIVED CONCUSSION FROM THE TORPEDO THAT HIT THE HELENA, SINCE SHE WAS TIED ALONGSIDE, SHE WENT TO THE BOTTOM IMMEDIATELY.
USS VESTAL ?? ONE BOMB WHICH DID NOT EXPLODE, BUT WENT THROUGH THE BOTTOM.. VESTAL WAS ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE MUD FLATS NEAR AIEA BEFORE SHE FILLED WITH WATER AFT.

FORD ISLAND NAVAL AIR STATION:

THE AIR STATION RECEIVED MANY BOMB HITS ON HANGARS, FIELD, AND PRACTICALLY ALL PLANES WERE DESTROYED, AND SOME HANGARS WERE SET ON FIRE.

U. S. ARMY AIR FIELD AT HICKAM FIELD:

HICKAM RECEIVED SIMILAR DAMAGE AS FORD ISLAND AS WELL AS HAVING THE BARRACKS SET AFIRE.

RESULTING ENEMY LOSSES:

IT IS REPORTED THAT FROM 25 TO 40 PLANES WERE DESTROYED BY ALL U.S. FORCES. AS WELL AS FOUR OR FIVE SUBMARINES, MOST OF WHICH WERE THE TWO MAN MIDGET SUBS.

WITHIN WEEKS TO A FEW MONTHS THE FOLLOWING SHIPS WERE BACK IN

FIGHTING SHAPE:

BATTLESHIPS: PENNSYLVANIA ?? MARYLAND ?? CALIFORNIA ?? NEVADA
CRUISERS: ALL FIGHTING AGAIN
DESTROYERS: ALL FIGHTING AGAIN
AUXILIARIES: VESTAL BACK IN SERVICE




St. Louis CL-49 underway 0931 December 7th, 1941
1st Major ship to clear the channel passing burning and sinking
California, forward and to starboard


Offensive Measures taken:

U.S.S. ST. LOUIS CL-49

c/o Fleet Post Office, Pearl Harbor, T.H. December 25, 1941.
From: The Commanding Officer.

To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet


Subject: Offensive Measures Taken During Air Raid, December 7, 1941. -- Report of.

Reference:
(a) Cincpac dispatch 102102 of December 1941.

1. On December 7, 1941, this vessel was moored outboard of the U.S.S. Honolulu at Berth B-17, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H.

2. At 0756 two of the ship's officers observed a large number of dark colored planes heading towards Ford Island from the general direction of AIEA. They dropped bombs and made strafing attacks. At the same time a dark olive drab colored plane bearing the aviation insignia of Japan passed close astern and dropped a torpedo. The air attack continued as is now known.

3 The ship went to general quarters at once and manned its entire battery.

4. The Commanding Officer reached the bridge at approximately 0800 and the ship's .50 caliber M.G. and its 1.1" battery was already manned and in action delivering a full volume of fire at the attackers.

5. Orders were given at once to raise steam in six boilers (two were undergoing routine cleaning) and to make all preparations for getting underway at the earliest possible moment. The reassembly of the two boilers being cleaned was commenced and they were on the line at 0400 on December 8th.

6. Yard work was in progress in all 5" mounts. Immediately all interferences were cleared away and the 5" battery was soon in operation taking under fire the high altitude bombers as primary targets and such other planes as presented themselves as secondary targets.

7. At 0931 the ship got underway, with boiler power for 29 knots, and stood out to sea via South Channel.

8. At 1004 when just inside the channel entrance buoys (Buoys #1 and 2) two torpedoes were seen approaching the ship from starboard from a range of between 1,000 to 2,000 yards. Just before striking the ship, they hit the reef to westward of the dredged channel and exploded doing no damage to the ship.

9. At the source of the torpedo tracks a dark gray object about 18" long was seen projecting above the water about 8". At the time, it was not positively known that this was part of a "baby" submarine but the Commanding Officer has since seen the one on display at the Submarine Base and is positive that the object sighted was the top of the periscope fair water of a "baby" submarine.

10. The object was taken under fire by the starboard 5" battery from 1004 till 1007 but the ship is uncertain as to whether or not any hits were scored, although it was reported that hits were made on the first two salvos. The submarine very shortly (30 seconds approximately) disappeared from view.

11. The ship was proceeding at about 20 knots at this time and experienced difficulty in dodging the submarine, keeping off the reef, and in avoiding two mine sweepers and their sweep. However, it managed to clear and stood on out to sea at 25 knots speed and zigzagging.

12. An enemy carrier was reported to be operating to the south of Pearl harbor and this vessel proceeded southward with the intention of locating and attacking the carrier.

13. For this purpose the Commanding Officer ordered the Montgomery, Phelps, Lawson, and Blue (then in the vicinity) to join as an attack group to engage the carrier. All vessels complied promptly and efficiently.
During this period enemy planes were fired on as follows:

1016-1018 --Four high altitude bomber.

1115-1117 -- Five high altitude bombers.

1145-1147 -- Three aircraft

No planes were seen to be shot down or damaged. The ship was not observed to be attacked by these planes.

15. At about 1100 the Montgomery signaled it had been ordered to make a magnetic sweep of the channel and therefore, it was detached and ordered to carry out the orders for the sweep.

16. At 1134 a dispatch was received stating that an enemy vessel escorted by four others was south of Barbers point heading east. The position given was due west of this vessel. Consequently course was changed to 270? true in order to intercept.

17. At 1210 a dispatch was received directing this vessel to attack an enemy ship reported as being 5 miles south of Barbers Point. Course was therefore altered to 357? true.

18. At 1235 exchanged visual calls with the Minneapolis accompanied by two destroyers bearing 300? true, range about 20,000 yards, standing to the northeastward.

19. At 1252 a dispatch was received for this vessel to join the task force of Comdesbatfor (Detroit) and course was changed to 340? true, that force being just then sighted bearing 345? true, distant about 25,000 yards.

During this phase enemy planes were fired on as follows:

1213-1215 -- Group of four torpedo planes.

1218-1222 -- Group of five bombers.

1233-1234 -- Group of planes (types not determined.)

All of the above firings were at long ranges. It is not believed that any damage was done. The ship was not attacked by these planes.

20. Thereafter the vessel operated as a unit of the force commanded by Comdesbatfor until its return to Pearl Harbor on December 10, 1941.

21. Damage sustained -- some inconsequential machine gun bullets hits on upper decks and works; the only one of any importance being a hit that severed some of the strands of the port catapult cable.

22. Casualties to personnel -- none.

23. Damage inflicted -- It is felt that only in the rarest cases can any one ship state positively that it destroyed any specific plane or planes. However, bearing this in mind, the following planes are believed to have been shot down by this ship.

At about 0810 a large single engine dark olive drab colored plane bearing the red ball insignia on each wing and with retracted landing gear was seen approaching at a low altitude (about 200 feet) from the direction of Barber's Point on a bearing of about 315° relative. The plane was immediately taken under fire by the two .50 caliber and the one 1.1" machine guns on the port side forward. The plane altered course to the left until it was about paralleling the face of the dock and very nearly abreast the face of the dock but still on the land side of it. The range was then about 300 yards. The fire was then taken up by the corresponding guns on the starboard side. The plane climbed slightly and banked to the left, seemed to flutter a moment, then burst into flames and crashed being lost to sight behind buildings in the Navy Yard and in the prevailing smoke.

At about 0830 a torpedo plane approaching from the direction of Merry Point and headed for the battleships was taken under fire by the after four .50 caliber and the two 1.1" machine guns. It was flying at an altitude of about 50 to 100 feet. When just clear of the stern of the ship, the plane's' engine was seen to fall out, the plane seemed to disintegrate and crashed in about mid channel and 150 feet past the ship. Its torpedo had not been released.
At about 0900 a formation of six dive bombers was seen to be diving on the Honolulu and St. Louis from an altitude of about 6,000 to 7,000 feet on a relative bearing of 300°. The dive was shallow (40 to 50°) and the diving speed seemed slow (about 300 m.p.h.). The planes were taken under fire by the forward .50 caliber and 1.1" machine guns. Four of the planes sheered off to the left and released their bombs that landed in the water between 1010 Dock and Ford Island. All are believed to have exploded. The fifth plane was diving for this vessel and released its bomb which struck the water and exploded about 200 feet bearing about 5° relative from the ship and exploded. The plane banked left caught fire and crashed. (It is believed that the sixth plane of this group dropped the bomb that damaged the Honolulu).

24. Conduct of Personnel -- The Commanding Officer has nothing but the highest praise to give to each officer and man for their conduct, devotion to duty, willingness and coolness under fire and during the following days of most exhausting operations. When General Quarters was sounded all hands proceeded quickly and without confusion to their stations exactly as though it were a drill. Throughout the entire action the whole ship performed to a degree of perfection that exceeded my most optimistic anticipation. This fine enthusiasm and spirit continues undiminished.

25. Officer and men that were ashore promptly repaired to the Navy Yard and those that could joined before the ship put to sea. Others joined other units wherever they felt that their services would be of value.

26. Lieutenant Charles A. Curtze, U.S. Navy of the Construction member of the Staff of Commander Cruisers, Battle Force, being quartered on board, proceeded at once, when the alarm was given, to Central Station where he took charge until relieved by the First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer on his arrival on board from the city.

27. Special mention is made of the following cases:

a. Lieutenant Commander J.E. Florence, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant Commander Paul Jackson, DE-V(G), U.S. Naval Reserve, and Lieutenant R.N.S. Clark, U.S. Navy, arrived at the Navy Yard to find the St. Louis underway. They took to ships motor boat and tried to overhaul the ship. Being unsuccessful, they then boarded a passing motor torpedo boat. This boat was short handed and they manned its machine guns but no planes attacked them. Failing to gain the St. Louis they then boarded the Phoenix, that was passing at that time, and served at sea on board that ship until December 10th.

The splendid response and aggressive spirit displayed by the Commanding Officers of the Phelps, Lamson, Blue, and Montgomery in at once joining this vessel in the organization of an attack group.



28' Ammunition Expended

5/38" A.A. - 207 rounds

1,1"/75 -3,950 rounds

.50 Cal. M.G. -12,750 rounds

29. Aviation Detachment -- The ship's aviation detachment was shore-based at Ford Island for routine overhaul of planes on December 7, 1941, and it is assumed that their activities will be reported on by the proper authorities.

[signed]

G.A. ROOD, Captain Commanding



Additional Copy to Commander Cruisers, Battle Force

c/o Fleet Post Office, Pearl Harbor, T.H. December 10, 1941.

From: The Commanding Officer. USS ST. LOUIS CL-49

To: The Commander Cruisers, Battle Force.

Subject: U.S.S. St. Louis' Operations 7-10 December 1941.

As soon as the air raid commenced on December 7th the ship went to General Quarters and opened fire with the 1.1 and .50 caliber machine gun batteries and at the same time commenced clearing away the interferences in the 5" mounts caused by yard work then in progress.

At the same time all preparations for getting underway were made and steam raised in six boilers. Two boilers were out of commission due to routine cleaning. These boilers were put back in commission and were on the line at 0400 on December 8th.

3. The 5" battery was soon in operating condition and enemy planes were taken under fire.

4. The ship got underway at 0931 with boiler power for twenty-nine knots and stood out of the south channel.

5. When just inside entrance buoy No. 1 two torpedoes were fired at this ship from a distance of approximately 2,000 yards o the starboard beam. The torpedoes, although running shallow, struck the shoal inside buoy No. 1 and exploded, no damage to this vessel resulting. An object near the origin of the torpedo tracks was taken under fire by the 5" battery but no hits were observed. This object was not positively identified as a submarine periscope.

6. The vessel cleared the channel at twenty-five knots and zigzagged on a southerly course with intention of locating and attacking the enemy carrier which was reported as being to the south of Pearl Harbor.

7. After clearing the harbor entrance buoys the Montgomery was ordered to act as a screen and later the Phelps also.

8. While standing to the southern this vessel formed an attack group with the destroyers Phelps, Blue, Lamson, and Montgomery. Shortly after, the Montgomery was detached a it signaled that it had been ordered to make a sweep for magnetic mines in the channel. The St. Louis, Phelps, Blue and Lamson remained in company until they joined Commander Destroyers, Battle Force at 1321.

9. At 1130 when in position latitude 20?-52'-00" a dispatch was received stating that the enemy carrier and four escort vessels was in a position bearing due west of this vessel, distance thirty miles. Course was accordingly changed to 270 with the intention of intercepting and speed of twenty-five knots maintained.

10. At 1210 when in latitude 20?-51'-00", longitude 158?--03'-00" a dispatch was received from Cincpac to attack enemy vessel south of Barbers Point.

11. Course was changed to the northward for the purpose of intercepting and attacking.

12. At 1252 this vessel was ordered to join the Detroit which was sighted shortly thereafter bearing about 000 .

13. At 1321 this vessel and its accompanying destroyers joined Commander Destroyers, Battle Force in the Detroit and operated thereafter until entrance in Pearl Harbor as a unit of Task Force One under his command.



14. The following amounts of ammunition were expended:

(a) 5"/38 - 207 rounds

(b) 1.1 - 3,950 rounds

(c) .50 cal. - 12,750 rounds

15. This vessel was hit by machine gun bullets or shell fragments, but the exact number has not yet been determined. However, no appreciable damage was sustained. The most serious being a hit on the port catapult launching cable which severed a few strands. Temporary repairs have been made to the cable and it will be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

16. At the time of the raid this vessel's four VGS planes were shore-based at the Naval Air Station, Ford Island and their condition is not known at this time.

17. Upon getting underway the port gangway and both quarter booms were on the fantail where work was being done on them. As it was feared that a bomb or shell hit might cause them to tam one of the after turrets they were jettisoned.

18. For the same reason and the added reason that hands were not available to handle it the starboard gangway was also jettisoned.

19. As soon as opportunity offered both anchor chains were unbent and struck below and the inflammable stores, paint, and etc., were jettisoned.

20. The Commanding Officer wishes particularly to commend the prompt and willing action of the Commanding Officers of the Montgomery, Phelps, Blue, and Lamson in joining this vessel to form an attack group.



21. The Commanding Officer has nothing but the highest praise for the performance of duty of all officers and men attached to this vessel. When General Quarters was sounded during the raid all hands proceeded promptly and without confusion to their battle stations and performed to the entire satisfaction of the Commanding Officer.

22. Such officers as could rejoined the ship during the raid and were able to proceed to sea with it. Lieutenant (Junior grade) Charles A. Curtze of the Staff of Commander Cruisers, Battle Force was on board at the time General Quarters was sounded and proceeded at once to Central Station where he performed the duties of First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer until the ship's regularly assigned First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer arrived on board.

[signed]

G. A. ROOD

G. A. Rood
811 Haverford Ave.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90271

23 July 1968

GREETINGS to all of our shipmates of the USS ST LOUIS known as the "LUCKY LOU".

Each of us have many memories of Pearl Harbor and the months that followed that will live forever for those were days of action, peril and victory. You all fought to win.

Here are some of my many memories.

At 0745 on December 7, 1941 our fine and capable Executive Officer Carl Fink, rushed in to my cabin saying that some kind of a raid was occurring. I jumped up and slipped on a blouse and trousers over my pajamas and shoved my feet in a pair o f slippers and started for the bridge - all the while hearing the whine of machine gun bullets. Incidentally, I wore that unconventional attire until 1600 that afternoon.

I proceeded on the double and noted that our machine guns were firing even before I reached the bridge. Our 5" guns were having work done on their circuit breakers and were out of commission - but in no time at all the breakers had been replaced and the guns were firing.

Two of the most important commands are COMMENCE FIRING, and CEASE FIRING. After we got to sea I asked Carl Fink if he gave the order TO COMMENCE FIRING I had not. He replied "no". And neither had the Acting Gunnery Officer. But our battery people knew what was up, knew what to do and did it - took the initiative and opened fire with everything that would bear. Those actions demonstrated the high degree of training of our crew; readiness and ability to size up a situation and to act on it. Incidentally I claimed six enemy planes shot down and we were officially credited with three.

And, in the same way our Engineers knew what was required and commenced getting-up steam on all boilers so that as soon as the FLEET got CIRCUS order "Sortie according to Plan 1 - locate and destroy the enemy" we were able to get underway on reduced boiler power. Soon all boilers were on the line and as we cleared the dredged channel we were steaming at twenty-five knots.

Incidentally, as I remember the speed in the dredged channel at Pearl was restricted to something like eight knots. But I knew that, if any Jap submarines were present, they would be lying off the entrance ready to torpedo outgoing vessels and so we buckled on speed so as to shorten the length of time that we would be a target and so as to be able to maneuver better. And before we left the dredged part of the channel we were making twenty knots.

And sure enough, before we left the dredged part of the channel two torpedoes were fired at us by a midget submarine and were seen approaching on a perfect collision course. We could not maneuver in the narrow channel and a change of speed could not take effect in time to avoid a hit.

But our first bit of luck then happened. The Jap got over-anxious and fired before we had cleared the dredged part of the channel and his torpedoes had to run over the coral reef. The torpedoes hit the reef and both of them exploded.

Another bit of luck happened some months later when we were anchored in Kodiak and a gale sprang up. As we were heaving in the 1st lieutenants gang noticed that one link of the anchor chain had completely parted on one side. it had completely parted on both sides while we were still at anchor we would surely have lost and anchor, a lot of chain and been blown on to the rocky shore

And again, while at sea with the task force in the Aleutians and steaming in the usual fog, a change of course was given by voice radio ?? which a tanker apparently did not get. When sighted close aboard we were all set to ram the tanker amidships. Violent maneuvers enabled us to clear ?? and both ships were lucky.

On another occasion when at anchor in Dutch Harbor a Williwaw sprang up as we were getting underway. In clearing the harbor it was nip and tuck as to whether we would foul ships nearby or the torpedo net at the harbor entrance. But again we came through alright.

A little personal luck rode with me when Admiral Theobald, in the INDIANAPOLIS, was relieved of the task force command by Admiral W.W. (Poco) Smith, at Kodiak. When joining the task force Poco used voice radio to announce the change in command ?? we were in the usual fog. He could not use his Navy number or his name less the Japs learn of the change of command. Poco knew that all of his captains knew his nickname and so he announced his arrival by saying "This is Poco". I couldn't resist having some fun so I said "Did you say "Tojo". Apparently Poco did not take offense.

One final bit of luck (but there were many more of them). The Wardroom, in discussing the most fortunate place for the ship to be torpedoed if that should happen. Jokingly they plagued Hap Gill, our Chief Engineer, by saying, "the engine room of course". But seriously, they decided that the best place should be the chain locker. And, sure enough, when a torpedo did hit in the second Battle of Savo Island it did hit right abreast the chain locker. The damage was not great and there were no casualties. There were other instances of luck and I am sure that each one of you have memories that will be with you forever.

I do not recall a single instance in which the ship was caught napping. It was always ready to go and to do.

I send each and every one of you, and your families, my warmest regards and wishes for your great success in your various occupations. I shall forever be appreciative and grateful for your willing and able support in the LUCKY LOU in those trying and perilous years.

God bless you all,

S/Arthur Rood

G. A. Rood



Dear Shipmates:

With deep regret and profound sorrow, I wish to inform you that the "Skipper" is dead. Admiral Rood passed away March 30, 1971.

Funeral services here were held at Corpus Christi Church, Pacific Palisades on April 2, 1971. He was sent to Washington, D.C. for interment at Arlington National Cemetery. His sons John, accompanied him on that last journey and he said the Navy went all out. We all know it was no more than the "Old Man" deserved.

The Admiral suffered a blood clot behind his eye a couple of months ago resulting in the loss of sight in that eye. The second clot proved fatal. We tried to notify as many as possible in this area. His funeral was attended by the following members of the crew of the USS St. Louis: Admiral Clarke, Captain Jackson, George Carrier, Ed Farber, Frank Campese, Jim Daw, and Bill Misner.

He was a grand "Old Man" and his passing will leave a gaping hole in the hearts of those who had the privilege of serving under him. I doubt there were many skippers who left such a deep and lasting impression on the men they fought beside and I know that all of us are better men for having known him for even a short time. I know I will never think of Pearl Harbor without thinking of him and being grateful to him for just being there.

Sincerely, ........... Bill Misner

TONY PERILLA, of
Rt 1, Box 219A, Iola, Wis. 54945

On the picture of the ST. LOUIS pulling out of Pearl Dec.7th just about that time, Capt. Rood gave the order to strip ship. I was on the after 1.1 gun starboard side. I heard a commotion on the main deck. I looked down and the sailors were having a ball throwing overboard the swabs and brooms. A loud cheer went up when the holy-stones went over. I believe this was the beginning of the end of the most ancient, back breaking, miserable job the Navy ever had. So far I don't recognize any names except B.M. Sweeney and B.M. O'Hare.



I have a picture of a shipmate who signed it "Bo Bo" - this picture was taken in Manila just before ` the war. Wondered if this co
uld be the Thomas Brown from Chicago?



Frank Hamilton writes:

December 7, 2000

Dear Jack:

I am writing to congratulate you on the job you are doing with THE HUBBLE-BUBBLE a copy of which I found waiting for me when I returned home for Thanksgiving. The number of responses you have had from shipmates who served on the ship is evidence of the deep interest they have in the paper and the Association. I know that each edition represents a great deal of work on your part and those who have assisted you. Your efforts, I believe, result in a paper which contributes much to strengthen the bonds which hold together we who served on the ship.

The items which so many shipmates have contributed to the paper have added many interesting details to the history of the ship. There is one item in the last issue, however, on which I would like to set the record straight. This is the report of what happened on the quarter-deck on the morning of 7 December, 1941. I have heard or seen this version of the happenings before and did nothing to correct it because it seemed in some ways to be inconsequential. In the interest of accuracy I wish to report what did occur.

On the Sunday morning of 7 Dec I did have the 8-12 watch as Officer Of The Deck. A little before 0745, I left the Ward Room where I had been having breakfast to relieve the watch. As you know, it was customary to relieve the watch 15 minutes before the hour so that there was time to permit the man whom you were relieving to brief you on the matters of concern to the oncoming watch. Just before I left to go on deck, Cmdr. Fink, the Executive Officer came into breakfast. I said good morning to him. He nodded and I proceeded up to the deck..

I do not believe that Lt. Grantham was the officer whom I relieved. At that time he was a senior lieutenant and I was an ensign who had come a board for duty in June of `40. "Angel" Grantham was not an officer who was known for taking night watches. In any case, the briefing was brief.

The Orders of The Day had very little of consequence in them. I do remember that I was told that there was one boiler steaming for auxiliary purposes. I believe I was also told that the contacts for the 5" Mounts and the Turrets were in the Navy yard. I already knew this as I was 4th Div Officer and the port 5" Mounts were my responsibility. I do not believe that I was told that all the sound powered phones were down in Central Station for inspection and repair.

My Junior Officer of The Deck had come on deck. He was a Chief Warrant Officer by the name of Campbell or Wallace. I remember each of these names but I have forgotten which name went with the short one and which went with the tall one. Both of these men were considered to be fine officers. The one on deck that day was the short one. I'll guess his name was Campbell. Wallace came aboard during the Solomon Campaign, as I recall. Campbell and I walked over towards the life lines on the starboard quarterdeck. We chatted for a moment. I was to have a date with a girl that day, after our watch section got off duty, on some beach where a picnic was to be held. I was looking forward to the date but had no idea where that beach was. I thought Campbell might know where it was but he didn't.

While we were talking, some fighter planes began to stream down from the sky and fire machine guns at the air strip on Ford Island. I had some identification training in foreign aircraft but I had never seen silhouettes of this model. I remarked that it was a very realistic drill and Campbell agreed . We could see no damage at that point on Ford Island and we were too far away to see any markings on the planes. The St. Louis had on a number of occasions towed targets for our fighters to strafe. I noticed that the rhythm of the guns of the planes diving on Ford Island was different than that of our Navy fighters . I mentioned this to Campbell and he agreed. At this point our attention was drawn to a plane that was flying just off our fan tail. It was headed towards battleship row. A long torpedo hung beneath its fuselage and the torpedo was not parallel to the fuselage. The torpedo was pointed down about 10 degrees. There was a large orange ball on the plane and as it passed by, the man in the bucket seat swiveled a machine gun around and fired a short burst at us. We stood there in our white uniforms and white gloves and I had a long glass under my arm, the badge of the Officer of The Deck. It was not a uniform in which I would have chosen to start a war. I can not remember what my thoughts were. I walked across the deck towards the deck office. The quartermaster of the deck came running out to meet me. I told him to sound General Quarters. He did not question me but ran into the office and pulled the lever. I saw the bugler looking at me and I told him to blow General Quarters. The Captain's orderly was supposed to be posted at the door to The Captain's quarters. I inquired of someone where he was and they replied that he had gone in to wake the Captain.

Until this time, I had not had any time to think but in some way I had become conscious of the enormity of the action I had taken. Suddenly I was very shaken up by the thought of the unmitigated Hell I would unquestionably catch. My condition was not calmed by the sound of the steps of a heavy man on the ladder from the deck below. It could only be Cmdr. Fink. It was he. He was red in the face and looked speechless from rage but he was not speechless.

"What the hell have you got going on up here, Hamilton ?" he exploded.

I replied, "Cmdr.. we are under attack by Japanese aircraft." He looked at me as though I were lying in my teeth or as if he thought I was out of my mind and he was going to send for the men in the white coats. I spoke quickly, "CMDR., would you walk out on deck with me ?" A sailor ran by us and shouted that the Russians were bombing us. The CMDR. Followed me out onto the starboard quarterdeck. He stood there looking around for a few seconds. At that moment another torpedo plane flew by the fan tail - close aboard. Again the man in the after seat fired a short burst before the plane was gone.

The Cmdr. said, " I'll be God damned, Hamilton, you're right. I've got to notify the Captain."

" He has been notified, Cmdr.," I said. "Do you want me to move the watch to the bridge?"

" Get up to your battle station. I'm going up to the bridge."

I started towards the deck office to drop off the long glass. Once there I took off my white gloves and threw them in the waste basket. I suppose I thought the war would not be fought in white gloves.

Several days after we had fought our way out of the Harbor some one showed me some bullet holes in the superstructure eight or ten feet above the starboard quarterdeck. I don't know for certain whether these holes were made by the two planes who crossed by our fan tail but I saw no other planes that day which passed close enough astern to have made them.

I have never liked recounting this story. It was a personal experience. My shipmates who knew the story thought it was very funny and it was. For many years the phone would ring on 7 Dec and when I picked up the phone, a voice would say, "Hamilton, what the Hell have you got going up here ?" Then there would be a roar of laughter and I would recognize Barney Lewis or Harry Milne or Ben Pickett who said last year that the story had earned him many drinks over the years. Civilians who had heard it thought it was a remarkable feat that I had pulled off. The story was meant to be a story of the remarkable feat that the officers, the crew and Captain George Rood pulled of I would have been a remarkable idiot if I had not ordered General Quarters.

The crew and the officers went ahead without any orders and fought the ship and got her out of there. That was the remarkable story. I have heard that Captain Rood never received any formal recognition for his service that day - not even a letter of commendation. He got the ship out of there with remarkable ship handling skill and courage. He got it out of there with no personnel killed or wounded and no damage to the ship. He laid his career on the line. He was an officer who took action without waiting to be told what to do.

I remember that I was in Sky Aft when as Captain Rood was making preparations for getting underway. There was a momentary lull in the action in our area of the harbor. The Admiral on the Honolulu shouted over from the bridge, "George, what are getting ready to do?" Capt. Rood replied, "I am going to take my ship out of here." The Admiral yelled back, "You'll never make it George. You'll never make it."

Several days after the attack Cmdr. Fink called me in and said, "Hamilton, the Captain said he thought you reacted promptly and properly the other day." I have always hoped that some people higher up would be as generous in their recognition of Captain Rood's exceptional courage and skill as Captain Rood was with an officer of the deck who sent the ship to General Quarters when it required no skill or courage or brains to do so.

I don't know who started the story about Lt. Grantham on the quarterdeck that day. I never saw him on the quarterdeck that day and no one I have talked to did either. It is, perhaps, a matter of small moment that the story is inaccurate but I would feel badly if it became part of the record.

When I arrived at Sky Aft, I found there were no sound power phones. We could not communicate with the mounts or Sky Control. I sent a talker down to try and get our phones. He was gone a long time. When he returned, he had the phones and reported that he had to stand in line because an officer had ordered the man passing out the phones to require the men from the various battle stations trying to get phones to sign receipts for the phones and list their battle station.

As I recall, we did not get power in our 5" Mounts in time to take under fire the dive bomber which scored the hit on the Honolulu. We saw her diving on us. When the dive bomber released the bomb, it seemed to hang up there in the air for a long time before suddenly the bomb began to fall so fast that it became invisible. In the beginning the bomb seemed to be aimed at us, but after I lost sight of it, I, for one, had no idea where it would land. Then a flash appeared near Honolulu's bow. There was a loud "crump". Our ship whipped a little and Honolulu whipped more. It appeared that Honolulu had been hit but we could observe no damage from our station.

All the while, the fifty millimeters and twenty millimeters were firing. The fifties and the twenties on the Honolulu were also firing and at times they seemed to be firing at our superstructure and directors. They, like we, had cut out cams installed but the cut out cams on their ship, of course, did us did not protect our ship. Several men on the machine guns had ear drums punctured from the blasts of the Honolulu's guns.

I had noticed much earlier that before all the battleships were put out of action one or two of them were firing their 5" in their gun castles at torpedo planes. These 5" guns, I knew from having trained on them on summer cruises, did not fire anti- aircraft shells and I always believed that the City of Honolulu did not get bombed but were hit by shells fired at low trajectories from the battleships.

At one point I sighted a flight of enormous planes approaching the harbor from over the mountains. I was sure we were really going to take a pasting but these planes suddenly turned and flew off at about ninety degrees from their original course.

Many years later I learned that these planes must have been the B-17`s which the Army expected and so were not alarmed when they picked up the Japanese planes on their experimental radar. I did not continue to try to keep them in sight because there were other more threatening planes at a closer range.

One of these planes, a zero I believe, although I did not know about zeros then, flew down the side of the ship at an altitude no higher than our director so close aboard that I could see the pilot laughing.

When the sea detail began to cast off or chop through our mooring lines, I could not believe that the engineering gang had been able to get enough boilers on line to permit us to sortie from the harbor. It was an incredible accomplishment.

Captain Rood then had his short conversation with the admiral and we began to back down turning as we did until we were parallel with the docks at the sub base. Then we headed towards battleship row. We swung around to pass down the row and as we proceeded , the flames from the burning ships seared our cheeks. Nevada was up ahead of us. She was low in the water and apparently continuing to take on more water. After she had pulled out of the channel to beach herself, I understand we had that we had rung up considerable turns but in the beginning we weren't making many knots.

The burning and capsized ships, the huge clouds of black smoke boiling up from the Arizona were an amazing contrast to the bright sunny sky, the little clouds over the mountains, and the few motor launches still plowing white wakes through the blue water. We had the 5" Mounts in action now. We had the fuses set for air targets. Everybody above deck must have seen the two streaks of bubbles advancing at us. Suddenly the conning tower of a midget sub popped up. Possibly, she did not have time to compensate for the loss of weight when she fired her torpedoes. We got off one 5"volley. I thought the shells exploded on the conning tower but no one alive seems to know whether it did or not. You all know the rest of the story.

On another subject, I do not know if Admiral Ben Pickett's death has been reported. He died on the 24th of October. While he was aboard the ship, he was an officer whom many respected and admired greatly. I and a number of other junior officers felt that he was an officer in whom were embodied all the finest qualities of the ideal naval officer. While he was aboard the ST. LOUIS, he was a mentor for us.. After the War some of us visited him in Washington and later in Glouster, VA where he built a home I kept in touch with him over the years and in recent years he and I corresponded often.

He had a number of personal tragedies after retiring from the Navy. He lost a young daughter who died of Cystic Fibrosis. His wife died of a brain tumor. He married again and his second wife died. He had been struggling with Prostate Cancer last year and overcame it but early this summer he was found to have Lung Cancer. He had started a series of treatments but came down with pneumonia. His spirit never wavered. He was steady and uncomplaining. The pneumonia was too much for his body and he died quickly and quietly. I shall miss him. I know other shipmates will also.

Again, thanks for your work on the Hubble - Bubble which keeps us up to date on the status of shipmates and helps us remember how lucky we were to have served with such fine men on such a great ship.

Best regards,

Frank Hamilton

Ralph W. Emerson - 6626 Burgundy St. - San Diego, CA

February 10th, 2001

................as continuation and still putting together the events of December 7th, 1941 I will add for our readers................

The junior officer of the deck that morning was W.G Wallace, Warrant Gunner USN not Mr. Campbell. Mr. Wallace has been a good friend of mine for over 50 years and we often discuss the morning of the 7th of Dec. Mr. Wallace retired in the grade of Commander USN many years ago and is still living in Oakland California.

I do believe Mr. Hamilton could not of heard the "Admiral" shouting from the bridge of the Honolulu, our division flagship, when he, Mr. Hamilton was in "Sky Aft" (his battle station) and besides the admiral never shouted. - he talked in a normal voice, which I heard when he was talking to Captain Rood. "The Admiral" was Admiral Leary, Commander of the Cruiser Division, made up of the Honolulu, St. Louis and Helena, all cruisers of the Brooklyn Class.

Admiral Leary (nicknamed) "needle nose" and Captain Rood were standing at the extreme end of the respective catwalks that extended to the perpendicular plumb of their ships, and Captain Rood said "Admiral, I would like to get underway and get out of here" Admiral Leary said "OK George, but you??re a damm fool" That is about the extent of the conversation.

And Captain Rood ordered "let go or chop all lines" and proceeded to back out away from the Honolulu. "How did I know all this"?

I was gun captain of No 2 mount of the quadruple 1.1 battery on the St. Louis, with a crew of 10 including loaders and ammo handlers. My mount was located immediately above the navigation bridge as well as the catwalks, which were in clear view and earshot range.

We fired approximately 4500 rounds (four barrels at a time) and I??m sure all heard them, cause they made considerable more noise than 50 cal. or 20mm. And yes Lt Grantham was there in Sky Forward one level above us in plain sight near the range finder, giving us orders when and when not to fire.

I was a BM1/c on Pearl Harbor Day. I put the St. Louis in commission in 1939. I advanced to Warrant Bosun, Ensign and thence through to LtCmdr. USN retired in 1956 and I can read and write in spite of being a bosun mate.

I loved the Navy - and the St. Louis in particular. Two of my former ships are lying peacefully at the bottom of the ocean having been sunk while under tow. The Oklahoma in the Pacific, and the Boise in the Atlantic.

(THREE SHIPS, RALPH) , the St. Louis went down off the bottom tip of Africa under same conditions in the early 80's.)

Before I sign off Jack, and before I get to verbal about all the things that are different now than when I was strolling up and down "Hotel Street" in Honolulu and drifting into the "Black Cat Restaurant" across from the Army-Navy YMCA for a full meal for 45¢, let me say that I fully intend to "God Willing" attend your next reunion where ever it is.

Minneapolis isn??t it?

Yours very truly, Ralph W. Emerson

U Ed'r Jack??s note! Such an interesting bit of memorabilia and enlightenment Ralph. None of us wish to hurt or cast aspirations on others in putting together our saga stories. We all must remember, that while we truly believe in our minds everything we say and write about those days, each mind remembers just a little differently. It??s the way God put us together. The future "Historian" will put all these memories together, one after another like detectives. What we are doing at this time in life is giving them the words, figures and numbers to work with. Thanks so much for your letters, I love them, and enjoy reading and writing all this into history.

My memories on Sunday Dec 7th , 1941
written by Ralph W. Emerson

Ralph W. Emerson writes:

December 7th 1941 Pearl Harbor memories

At that time, the populace of Honolulu (and indeed the entire Hawaiian Islands, in general) were approximately 40% of Oriental descent "ie". Japanese, Chinese, Philippine extraction, so it is little wonder that I opted for a Chinese lassie for my girl friend.

And it was this Chinese lassie that I spent the night of 6 December 1941. After purchasing a morning newspaper for a dime (it was Sunday, 7 December the weekday rate was a nickel), I boarded a taxicab at the loading point outside the Army and Navy YMCA, paid my 25 cents fare, as did all the other sailors who had climbed into the cab, and I settled back to read the newspaper during the return to my ship in Pearl Harbor,, some 5 or 6 miles distant.

As I settled in the back seat of the 4-door taxicab, and as I opened the newspaper, I saw the front page headlines " JAPAN LIES" in bold four inch block print, I could not help reflect on the antagonistic behavior of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. the past several weeks in dealing with our State Department, and in particular with our Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. I blandly stated to the sailor sitting next to me, showing him the headline, saying, I think these "slope-heads" are going to get ticked off at us one of these days if this type of press coverage continues.

The newspaper was merely further explanation (as well as any news reporter can explain) the eroding relations between the United States and Japan. Within 15 minutes we had arrived at the Pearl Harbor Fleet Landing, where liberty boats, 40 and 50 foot motor launches, and an occasional 26 foot motor whaleboat, picked the members of their crew to transport them to their ships which were tied up to mooring berths around Ford Island or at Mooring buoys in the harbor itself. Since the St Louis was tied alongside her flagship ( Honolulu ) at a pier in the Navy Yard, I completed my journey to the ship by walking several hundred yards in the Navy Yard.

Upon boarding the St. Louis, (I had to walk over the main deck of the Honolulu since we were out board of her), I proceeded first to the ship's galley and mooched a large pork link sausage sandwich and a cup of (about a half-pint) of "Jo" (coffee), from a friendly cook, and devoured them promptly. My plans for the day was to go ashore again early, perhaps 1030 or 1100 - so - I first, showered, put on clean white shorts, which was the uniform of the day and , since it was Sunday and "holiday routine" was in effect, I climbed into bunk (the middle one of three-high) on the starboard (right) side of the ship, second deck, about amidships fore and aft, and lay down for a snooze before my planned return shore.

I had no sooner lain down before I heard a terrific explosion - several of them, in fact. I immediately sprang from my bunk and looked out the port hole not more than 4 or 5 feet away, just above the division pea coat locker, and I saw an airplane clearly marked with the Japanese "rising sun" flying low over the water heading toward the battleships that were moored alongside the pilings around Ford Island and dropped a torpedo aimed at " battleship row" - one of them the USS Arizona - and another tremendously loud explosion followed within a few seconds. Another Japanese torpedo bomber followed the first low-flying warplane, then another. That was enough to convince me that our Navy was under attack by the Japanese airplanes. Since I was already dressed in my nice clean white shorts, I headed, on the double, to my battle station some 5 decks above in the superstructure directly above the navigation bridge. General quarters (the claxon alarm which calls all hands to battle stations via the public address system - with speakers located throughout the ship) finally sounded while I was on my way to 1.1" quadruple gun mount No. 2, on the port side. When I arrived at the gun mount, none of my gun crew were there yet - so I ran down one level to the ammunition clipping room and stuffed several clips of ammunition up through the slots in deck provided for that purpose, and hurried back to the gun mount to assume my duties as gun captain. By that time, which couldn't have been more than two minutes, my gun crew had all arrived, and I reported to the 1.1' battery control officer that my gun was "manned and ready".

The heavy machine gun anti-aircraft control officer was LT E.B. Grantham, whom I could plainly see just above me, waving his 44 caliber automatic service pistol and giving the order to commence firing. Fire at will, when range and bearing will permit". By this order, he meant, of course, that we had only a short time to fire at low flying planes that were dropping bombs and torpedoes in such a congested area. The attacking planes barely cleared the top of the Island of Oahu - and flew low - only a few hundred feet from the ground - to their targets in Pearl Harbor. In spite of the perpetrator's well planned and cunning attack, I managed to fire 4500 rounds aimed at attacking aircraft, during the attack, and in the process, was given credit for downing two of the torpedo bombers.

As the attack continued - wave after wave of aircraft - there was a lull in the battle. As I have noted before, the navigation bridge was directly below my gun mount. The bridge had a "cat walk" that extended to the perpendicular line of the side or hull of the vessel. The cat walk was narrow and provided the captain an excellent view of how close his ship was when coming alongside a dock or another vessel. Like most everything else on board ship, it was of steel construction. The Honolulu, our flagship, had a similar catwalk. I was in clear earshot, as our captain, George Rood, walked out to the end of the St Louis catwalk, and Admiral Leary, our Cruiser Division commander, met Captain Rood at the end of Honolulu's' catwalk - the following conversation ensued:

Captain Rood: "Admiral, I would like to get underway and get out of here".

Admiral Leary: " O.K. George. Permission granted, but I think you are a damn fool."

Captain Rood: "Thank you, Admiral".

Captain Rood: " Cut all lines. I will take the conn".

It would be appropriate to explain that the Honolulu had already been hit by an enemy bomb that had disabled her and "rocked" us quite a bit. Also, that the St Louis had been taking steam, water and electricity from the dock for several days while in the Navy Yard (as all ships do) - and as a result - had cold boilers. Of course when "battle stations" is sounded, that dictates that all divisions prepare for battle - thus, boilers are lighted and the ship is readied for getting underway. The Captain had already received word from the engine room that everything was ready. This meant that the required level of steam pressure had been brought from zero to approximately 720 pounds, superheated, in about 45 minutes. This was a remarkable feat and a solid testimonial for the shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry dock Company, where the St. Louis was built.

The lines were chopped, and the St. Louis backed out of the slip and away from the Honolulu, eased through the burning oil, floating bodies, gunfire, falling bombs, burning battleships - some had capsized when hit by torpedoes , others had simply blown up or exploded and sunk to the bottom with only their superstructure visible to the naked eye. One, the Battleship USS Nevada had beached itself while attempting to get out of the harbor and almost blocked the St. Louis" exit but we managed to squeak by to reach the dredged channel that led to the open sea. At this time, it appeared that the air attack was over. However there was yet another hurdle to leap over before we could get to the open sea. Our speed was now about 31 knots, which was nearing our maximum, even during our acceptance trials off the coast of Bangor, Maine a couple of years before. A lookout suddenly reported "Periscope sighted, starboard beam!" The captain immediately ordered a zigzag course, and the 5 inch anti-aircraft guns, which were being operated manually, and the submarine was sunk, but not before it had fired it's two torpedoes - one went under the ship and the second one missed astern, apparently because of our speed and maneuvering. The midget submarine, which was operated by one man, was subsequently raised and is in a Naval museum as an artifact of WWII history. The tiny sub wasn't much bigger the torpedoes that were fired from it - maybe 35 feet long, overall - about 4 or 5 feet wide, and even resembled a large torpedo. So it was obvious that the operator (pilot) of the contraption was not intended to return to a mother ship - just sacrifice his life, or scuttle his mini-sub and reach shore for a rendezvous with friendly sympathizers who had entered into prearranged survival plans. Similar heroic gestures were commonplace with Japanese military men throughout the war - some will be mentioned later in this book.

Our hurried departure from Pearl Harbor was accomplished with naval personnel who had been training relentlessly to withstand an enemy confrontation However, not one of our military or naval commanders seemed to anticipate a sneak attack such as the one launched on Peal Harbor and vicinity on 7 December 1941. The St. Louis had survived the attack with minor damage - a bit of bomb shrapnel here and there on deck, and on my hand which I merely treated with iodine and bandaged it later at my locker.

An assessment of the damage received revealed no structural damage to the ship - no loss of life - and as we sped to our rendezvous point with a carrier task force, which included the USS Lexington and USS Saratoga, operating some 100 miles northwest of Oahu, for the first time the ship Secured from General Quarters (battle stations) and assumed a watch and watch condition, which meant that half the crew remained at battle stations and the other half could eat., sleep, bathe, and perform ship's duties for four hours. Then they would relieve the other half of the crew that was still at battle stations in order for them to do the same things - eat, sleep. bathe. etc. This was called "condition I , and we did a lot of this during WWII.

After joining up with the carrier task force, we had our first and only casualty of the battle thus far. A powder loader on one of the 6 inch turrets fell asleep during his watch. An alert was sounded. The guns were quickly elevated for long range firing while the loader's legs were hanging in the breech well of the 3-gun turret, and his legs were literally chopped off. He survived, but his fighting days were over, when he became an instant paraplegic .

We stayed with the carrier force a couple of days, searching desperately, and I might add, unsuccessfully, for any signs of enemy forces, always steaming at high speeds, steering zigzag courses , to prevent easy torpedo attack by submarines that might be lurking under the surface - and in so doing - we expended our fuel rather quickly. It had been calculated by U.S. intelligence sources that the Japanese naval force that attacked Pearl Harbor was made up of 5 aircraft carriers and supporting ships, and that the air strike force was launched about 500 miles northeast of Oahu -then reversed course and headed east toward Japan at full speed, making it impossible for our surface ships to overtake them and engage them in battle. And the fact that our air patrols fanned out about 400 miles before returning to their base carriers, that fell about 100 to 150 miles short for the patrols to sight the retreating force.

In a special joint session of the United States Congress, the president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress to declare that " a state of war has existed between the United States and the Governments of Italy, Germany, and the Empire of Japan" since the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Congress did exactly that.

With fuel running low, the carrier task force, including the St. Louis, returned to Pearl Harbor to take on fuel and supplies. While most of the fires were out, there remained a smoldering mass of ships and military infrastructure that had been sunk or severely damaged. Yet reconstruction had already begun, and security in the area was tight and plentiful.

As soon as we had refueled and brought aboard consumable store and food, the St Louis was off and running again. This time the destination was San Francisco, arriving there in a little more than four days. Everything moved a little faster, now that we were at war. Since we were not scheduled to be in San Francisco more than a couple of days, the captain insisted that everyone get ashore - or at least be given the chance to telephone their families to let them know that they were safe and well following the Pearl Harbor attack. I made the first liberty, leaving the ship in the early afternoon, took care of my family notification, and did what any other red-blooded sailor would do - "eat, drink, and be merry". San Francisco was always a nice place to do just that.

After the other half of the crew had their one liberty, we set sail for a San Diego - where also had liberty for a couple of days. I had an opportunity to see my cousin, J.T. Hillbrand, who was then stationed at North Island Naval Air Station, on Coronado Island, was now an Ensign USN and pilot of a PBY seaplane then stationed at North Island in a PBY squadron. His squadron would later move to Ford Island in Pearl Harbor and ultimately to Kodiak, Alaska where he regularly patrolled the seas along the Aleutian chain of islands which stretch practically all the way to the Russian peninsula, Kamchatka, in the Bering Sea. It was on one of these patrol missions that the plane disappeared and nothing was ever learned exactly what happened to J.T. and his crew of six. There was nothing else for the Navy to do but declare him "missing in action" , and his crew as well.

Oscar Valasz
7064 E. Jefferson Ave. Mentor Ohio 44060

I was aboard the St. Louis in late 1940 to late 1943. I knew Doug Huggins real well, he was in "E" Div. and so was I . I??m sure Doug will remember me. I should of stayed on the St. Louis, but my divis

   
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