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Depois de Pearl Harbor: a corrida para salvar a frota dos EUA

Depois de Pearl Harbor: a corrida para salvar a frota dos EUA

Nos primeiros 30 minutos de seu ataque aéreo surpresa à base naval dos EUA em Pearl Harbor, os japoneses infligiram danos significativos à frota de enormes navios de guerra americanos ancorados lá. No final do ataque, o USS Arizona foi completamente destruído e o USS Oklahoma virou, enquanto os fortemente danificados USS West Virginia, USS California e USS Nevada afundaram em águas rasas.

Além dos cinco navios de guerra afundados imediatamente, três outros navios de guerra, três cruzadores, três destróieres e outras embarcações menores foram danificados no ataque, que também causou 180 aviões dos EUA e infligiu cerca de 3.400 baixas, incluindo mais de 2.300 mortos. No entanto, quase assim que o ataque devastador terminou, os esforços começaram para salvar a frota dos EUA e devolver os navios danificados à água para lutar contra o Japão e as outras potências do Eixo.

Felizmente para a Marinha dos Estados Unidos, a nau capitânia da frota, USS Pennsylvania, estava em doca seca em 7 de dezembro e sofreu apenas danos superficiais. O USS Tennessee e o USS Maryland foram atracados a bordo do West Virginia e do Oklahoma, respectivamente, e também foram amplamente protegidos do ataque de torpedo.

Assim que o pessoal do estaleiro naval de Pearl Harbor, assistido por encarregados e tripulantes dos navios, começou o trabalho de recuperação dos navios danificados, o trabalho prosseguiu rapidamente. Em apenas três meses, em fevereiro de 1942, USS Pennsylvania, USS Maryland e USS Tennessee, junto com os cruzadores Honolulu, Helena e Raleigh; os destruidores Helm e Shaw; o concurso de hidroaviões Curtiss; o navio de reparos Vestal e a doca seca flutuante YFD-2 estavam de volta ao serviço ou haviam sido reflutuados e transportados a vapor para o continente dos Estados Unidos para reparos finais. Os pequenos navios mais danificados, o Raleigh e o Shaw, voltaram ao serviço ativo em meados de 1942.

Quanto ao resto da frota, estava claro que os outros cinco navios de guerra, dois destróieres, um navio alvo e um minelayer sofreram danos mais graves e exigiriam um trabalho extenso apenas para levá-los ao ponto em que os reparos pudessem ser feitos. Uma semana após o ataque, uma organização de salvamento foi formalmente estabelecida para trabalhar nessas embarcações mais danificadas. Liderada pelo capitão Homer N. Wallin, anteriormente membro do Battle Force Staff, a Divisão de Salvamento obteve um de seus maiores triunfos ao reflotear o USS Nevada em fevereiro de 1942.

Com um grande e muitos pequenos buracos abertos em seu casco, o USS Nevada afundou em águas rasas, o que tornou o trabalho de resgate possível, mas não fácil. Mergulhadores da Marinha e civis fizeram cerca de 400 mergulhos e passaram cerca de 1.500 horas trabalhando apenas em Nevada, e dois homens perderam a vida após inalar os gases tóxicos acumulados no interior do navio. Depois de ser reflutuado, reparado e enviado a vapor para o Puget Sound Navy Yard, no estado de Washington, para reparos mais permanentes, o Nevada voltou à frota ativa dos EUA no final de 1942.

Os trabalhadores de resgate também reflutuaram o USS California em março de 1942, o USS West Virginia em junho e o minelayer Oglala em julho. Após extensos reparos, essas embarcações também voltaram à frota. Os três outros navios fortemente danificados - Oklahoma, Arizona e o navio alvo tombado Utah - não voltariam ao serviço. O USS Arizona, que foi destruído após a explosão de uma bomba perfurante que causou um incêndio em seus principais pátios dianteiros, permanece no fundo do porto até hoje, servindo como um memorial aos perdidos em 7 de dezembro de 1941. O casco do O USS Utah também permanece no porto. Um esforço massivo levantou o Oklahoma, mas o navio estava danificado demais para retornar ao serviço.

Uma pesquisa naval concluiu que o USS Oklahoma e o USS Nevada pareciam ter sido perdidos devido a defeitos de projeto, enquanto o USS West Virginia não tinha as defesas adequadas para resistir a tal ataque. No caso do USS California, uma investigação posterior revelou que várias tampas de bueiros foram deixadas ou soltas no momento do ataque e não havia bombas suficientes a bordo do navio para evitar que a inundação se espalhasse e afundasse o navio.

Clique aqui para assistir ao episódio completo sobre Pearl Harbor e mais da Segunda Guerra Mundial em HD no History Vault

De acordo com o relato do Comando de História e Patrimônio Naval, os mergulhadores da Marinha e civis passaram um total de cerca de 20.000 horas debaixo d'água durante as operações de salvamento, fazendo cerca de 5.000 mergulhos. Na maioria das vezes, os mergulhadores tinham que usar máscaras de gás para evitar gases tóxicos dos navios sujos de óleo. Além de limpeza, salvamento e reparo de navios, seu trabalho incluiu a recuperação de restos mortais, documentos e munições.

Inicialmente, os japoneses acreditaram que haviam obtido uma vitória importante em 7 de dezembro de 1941. Mas, graças ao esforço heróico de salvamento, a grande maioria dos navios de guerra e outras embarcações dos EUA atacados em Pearl Harbor sobreviveriam para enfrentar o Eixo na Segunda Guerra Mundial . No Dia D em junho de 1944, o USS Nevada infligiu pesados ​​danos de bombardeio a assentamentos alemães atrás das praias da Normandia, França. Mais tarde, em 1944, durante a invasão das Filipinas pelos Estados Unidos, o USS West Virginia, o USS California, o USS Tennessee, o USS Maryland e o USS Pennsylvania - todos supostamente "perdidos" em Pearl Harbor - juntaram-se ao USS Mississippi no bombardeio das forças navais japonesas no Estreito de Surigao.


Verificação de fatos: depois de Pearl Harbor, os japoneses não invadiram os EUA porque temiam cidadãos armados?

Depois de Pearl Harbor, os japoneses se abstiveram de invadir o continente dos Estados Unidos porque temiam que houvesse americanos experientes em armas em quase todas as casas?

Essa é a afirmação de uma postagem de 20 parágrafos no Facebook que foi compartilhada mais de 21.000 vezes.

O post argumenta que a América está a salvo de invasões por causa dos caçadores que possuem armas de fogo. Ele começa sua reivindicação histórica afirmando:

“Depois que os japoneses dizimaram nossa frota em Pearl Harbor em 7 de dezembro de 1941, eles poderiam ter enviado seus navios de tropas e porta-aviões diretamente para a Califórnia para terminar o que começaram. A previsão do nosso chefe de gabinete era que não seríamos capazes de impedir uma invasão massiva até que eles alcançassem o rio Mississippi. Lembre-se, tínhamos um exército de 2 milhões de homens e navios de guerra em outras localidades, então por que eles não invadiram? Após a guerra, os generais e almirantes japoneses restantes responderam a essa pergunta. Sua resposta. eles sabem que quase todas as casas tinham armas e os americanos sabiam como usá-las. & quot

Esta postagem foi sinalizada como parte dos esforços do Facebook para combater notícias falsas e desinformação em seu Feed de notícias. (Leia mais sobre nossa parceria com o Facebook.)

Não é uma afirmação nova. Em um vídeo postado em 2012, Ed Emery, um senador estadual do Missouri, afirmou que é sabido que o Japão foi dissuadido não pelas forças armadas americanas, mas porque "todos os americanos estavam armados".

Quatro especialistas nos disseram que não há evidências de que o Japão alguma vez tenha considerado seriamente tal invasão e que as limitações militares, não os americanos armados com armas de caça, foram as razões.


Como os navios de guerra da Marinha dos EUA voltaram dos mortos em Pearl Harbor

A América se recuperaria do ataque chocante e seis meses depois viraria a maré.

Ponto chave: A ação rápida salvou alguns navios. Na verdade, ajudou a mitigar o desastre do ataque surpresa.

O desastre de Pearl Harbor apresentou à Marinha dos Estados Unidos uma questão preocupante: como se recuperar? Mais de 2.000 homens morreram. Quase a metade ficou ferida. Dezoito navios foram danificados ou afundados.

“... Nenhum dos navios afundados jamais voltaria a lutar.”

Este apareceu pela primeira vez antes e está sendo publicado devido ao interesse do leitor.

“A cena para o recém-chegado era de fato um mau presságio. Houve um sentimento geral de depressão em toda a área de Pearl Harbor quando foi visto e firmemente acreditado que nenhum dos navios afundados jamais voltaria a lutar ”. Este era um sentimento assustador do capitão Homer Wallin, o homem que lideraria o esforço de resgate.

O almirante Chester Nimitz, nomeado Comandante-em-Chefe da Frota do Pacífico (CINCPAC) dias após o ataque, voou para o Havaí para assumir o comando. Ele pousou em Pearl Harbor no dia de Natal. Suas instruções o haviam preparado, ou assim ele pensava. Espantado, ele comentou: "É terrível ver todos esses navios naufragados". A cerimônia de instalação do Nimitz como CINCPAC foi realizada no convés do Grayling, um submarino que ele comandou uma vez. Os cínicos comentaram que era o único deck adequado para a cerimônia.

Os dias da Marinha do Encouraçado acabaram. Os japoneses voltaram a insistir em 10 de dezembro, afundando o encouraçado britânico príncipe de Gales e o cruzador de batalha Repulsa fora de Cingapura. Os porta-aviões de Nimitz eram agora o centro de sua estratégia. Mesmo assim, com escolta adequada, os couraçados ainda poderiam ser armas eficazes. Se eles pudessem ser salvos, Nimitz lhes daria trabalho.

Sem perda de tempo para esforço de salvamento

O esforço de resgate começou em 7 de dezembro, quando equipes manejaram mangueiras para combater os incêndios enquanto o ataque ainda estava em andamento. Esses bombeiros foram auxiliados por barcos, rebocadores e até mesmo um caminhão de lixo. Homens da força de base da frota trouxeram bombas para combater as enchentes. Equipes de resgate procuraram marinheiros presos nos navios de guerra emborcados Oklahoma e Utah.

Em 9 de janeiro de 1942, o capitão Wallin assumiu o comando da Divisão de Salvamento, ela própria um novo braço do Navy Yard. Um nativo de Washburn, ND, Homer Wallin passou metade de sua vida treinando para isso. Como muitos homens criados longe do mar, ele buscou uma carreira naval. Ele foi para a Academia Naval dos EUA em 1913, depois serviu a bordo do encouraçado Nova Jersey durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial, ele ingressou no Corpo de Construção da Marinha em 1918 e estudou arquitetura naval no Instituto de Tecnologia de Massachusetts. Depois de concluir seu mestrado em 1921, ele passou os 20 anos seguintes nos estaleiros navais de Nova York, Filadélfia e Mare Island, bem como no Bureau de Construção e Reparo em Washington, DC.

Triagem de salvamento

A Divisão de Salvamento de Wallin tinha três objetivos claros: resgatar os homens que estavam presos a bordo dos navios, avaliar os danos em cada navio e reparar o maior número possível. A tarefa era consertar cada o suficiente para poder viajar para os estaleiros maiores na Costa Oeste para uma restauração completa.

Os japoneses se arrependeriam de deixar intactas duas áreas vitais do porto. O primeiro foi o suprimento de combustível da frota - mais de 4,5 milhões de galões. O outro era o Navy Yard, cujas lojas tinham uma vasta capacidade para consertar ou construir quase tudo. “Eles construíram barcos liberty, baleeiras a motor de 25 pés, qualquer tipo de embarcação portuária”, relembrou Walter Bayer. “Eles poderiam reformar uma arma de 14 ou 16 polegadas. Basta puxá-los naqueles guindastes grandes e manuseá-los como se fossem palitos de dente naqueles grandes edifícios. Eram edifícios enormes. Eles ainda são. ”

Bayer cresceu na ilha havaiana de Kauai. Em 1940, tornou-se funcionário público e foi trabalhar na fábrica de gases comprimidos do Estaleiro Naval. Ele era supervisor assistente em dezembro de 1941. Após o ataque, a demanda por seus serviços disparou. “Quando eles se organizaram para cortar a parte inferior do Oklahoma- ela tinha um casco duplo - os soldadores nos procuraram para obter acetileno e oxigênio para suas tochas de corte. E eles o usariam como água. Simplesmente iria embora em nenhum momento. ”

Almirante sem bandeira, feito comandante de estaleiro

O novo comandante do pátio era o almirante William Furlong. Ele e Nimitz estavam na mesma classe em Annapolis. Até 25 de dezembro de 1941, Furlong tinha sido o comandante Minecraft, Battle Force. Seu carro-chefe, a camada da mina Oglala, tinha sido afundado do cais principal do estaleiro, 1010 Dock. Furlong deu a Wallin tudo o que ele precisava: pessoal, equipamento e espaço de trabalho à beira-mar. Com uma frota de pequenos navios percorrendo o porto, Wallin poderia enviar homens e máquinas para onde precisasse. Ele tinha especialistas para remover munições e material bélico. Ele tinha mergulhadores treinados para operar dentro de navios naufragados. Além disso, ele tinha a Pacific Bridge Company, cujos homens foram contratados para construir instalações da Marinha no Pacífico.

Um mergulhador da Marinha foi o Metalsmith First Class Edward Raymer. Ele ingressou no serviço militar para escapar da vida tranquila em Riverside, Califórnia. Em 1940, ele treinou na escola de mergulho em San Diego. Suas roupas de trabalho eram macacões emborrachados com luvas, um cinto com peso de chumbo (84 libras), sapatos com peso de chumbo (36 libras cada) e um Lemeet anexado a um peitoral. Acima da água, o traje era estranho. Submersos, os pesos neutralizavam a flutuabilidade da roupa, permitindo que o mergulhador se movesse com bastante facilidade. Uma mangueira de ar saiu do Lemeet a um compressor monitorado por homens na superfície. O mergulhador moveu cuidadosamente a mangueira com ele enquanto trabalhava em navios naufragados. Ele freqüentemente trabalhava na escuridão total. Ele recebia instruções da superfície por meio de um cabo telefônico e precisava de sentidos aprimorados de toque e equilíbrio para trabalhar com tochas de soldagem e mangueiras de sucção.

“Bem-vindo à unidade de salvamento.”

Em 8 de dezembro de 1941, a equipe de Raymer voou para Pearl. “Bem-vindos à Unidade de Salvamento”, disse-lhes um subtenente cansado. "Você será anexado a este comando em função adicional temporária, que pode não ser temporária devido à quantidade de trabalho de mergulho que você vê antes de você."

A primeira tarefa da equipe era determinar se os homens estavam presos abaixo do nível da água no navio de guerra Nevada. “Para conseguir isso”, lembra Raymer, “baixamos um mergulhador da sampana até uma profundidade de 6 metros. Balançando um martelo de cinco libras, ele bateu no casco três vezes, então parou e ouviu um sinal de resposta. Nos revezamos por horas. Nenhum sinal de resposta foi ouvido. ” Por mais frustrante que fosse, outras equipes de busca libertaram com sucesso os homens do Oklahoma e Utah. O último deles foi lançado em 10 de dezembro.

“Menos danificados” foi o termo aplicado ao estado dos encouraçados Pensilvânia, Maryland,e Tennessee os cruzadores Honolulu, Helena, e Raleigh a nave de reparos Vestal o concurso de hidroavião Curtiss e o destruidor Leme.

USS Pensilvânia Devolvido ao Trabalho

Pensilvânia estava no Dique Seco Número Um durante o ataque, atrás dos destróieres Downes e Cassin. Uma bomba atingiu o navio de guerra, danificando uma arma de 5 polegadas e passando por dois conveses antes de explodir. A explosão destruiu anteparas, escotilhas, canos e fiação. Seu casco e usina de energia eram sólidos, no entanto. Em 12 de dezembro, ela foi para o Navy Yard. A arma danificada foi substituída por uma da Virgínia Ocidental, cujos conveses foram inundados depois que ela se acomodou na lama no fundo de Battleship Row, vítima de vários torpedos japoneses. Em 20 de dezembro, o Pensilvânia navegou para Puget Sound, Wash.

Uma bomba atingiu o cais ao lado Honolulu. A explosão dobrou em 12 metros do casco a bombordo, causando danos por estilhaços e inundações. Os trabalhadores do pátio começaram a remendar o casco, enquanto Honolulu's tripulação trabalhou dentro.

Com eles estava o marinheiro de primeira classe Stephen Young de Methuen, Massachusetts. Young tinha acabado de ser transferido do Oklahoma. Ele suportou 25 horas preso no encouraçado. Tendo sobrevivido a isso, ele ficou impressionado com seu novo trabalho, ajudando a remover caixas de pólvora danificadas do compartimento do cruzador. Estilhaços perfuraram muitos deles, espalhando pó explosivo no convés. “Por que eles nunca dispararam, eu não sei”, lembra Young.

USS Honolulu e Helena Próximo

Honolulu mudou-se para o cais seco número um em 13 de dezembro. Em 2 de janeiro, ela foi para o pátio para trabalhar. Dez dias depois, ela voltou ao serviço.

USS Helena levou um torpedo a estibordo, inundando uma sala de máquinas e uma sala de caldeiras. Em 10 de dezembro, ela entrou no Dique Seco Número Dois, que ainda estava em construção. O pessoal da Pacific Bridge pegou emprestado blocos de madeira do estaleiro para o navio descansar. Após 11 dias, ela se mudou para o quintal. Em 5 de janeiro, Helena partiu para o Mare Island Navy Yard em San Francisco.

Maryland estava atracado a bordo de Oklahoma e escapou de torpedos, mas uma bomba atingiu seu castelo de proa. Outro atingiu seu lado a bombordo ao nível da água. Não havia doca seca disponível, então os reparos foram realizados nos cais. As oficinas do estaleiro construíram um remendo de madeira e metal para a ruptura do casco. Um guindaste montado em uma barcaça baixou o remendo na água e os mergulhadores o colocaram no lugar. A água foi bombeada e os reparos continuaram dentro do navio. Em 20 de dezembro, ela partiu para Puget Sound. Seus reparos finais foram concluídos em 26 de fevereiro de 1942.


  • Estes são os 13 navios da Marinha dos EUA que foram reparados após o ataque a Pearl Harbor e voltaram ao serviço
  • Os nove navios de guerra no porto foram o principal alvo dos pilotos de caça japoneses em 7 de dezembro de 1941
  • Dois foram considerados uma perda total, mas o resto foi reparado e travou mais batalhas na guerra

Publicado: 19:50 BST, 8 de dezembro de 2016 | Atualizado: 13:21 BST, 9 de dezembro de 2016

Depois de um ataque surpresa que deixou americanos em todo o país cambaleando, os heróis de Pearl Harbor não tiveram tempo de sentar e observar o que aconteceu.

Em vez disso, eles trabalharam consertando as dezenas de barcos que eram alvos fáceis para a frota aérea japonesa.

Os maiores alvos dos japoneses foram os nove navios de guerra da Marinha dos Estados Unidos. Enquanto três dos navios de guerra foram considerados totalmente perdidos (o USS Oklahoma, o USS Utah e o USS Arizona - que ainda está no fundo do porto), o restante foi ressuscitado e colocado para trabalhar para vencer a guerra.

Role para baixo para ver os 13 navios que foram reparados após o ataque a Pearl Harbor e como eles contribuíram para o esforço de guerra após sua ressurreição.

USS West Virginia, encouraçado

Danos durante Pearl Harbor: Sete torpedos japoneses a bombordo, atingidos por duas bombas, pegaram fogo no USS Arizona em chamas e afundaram no fundo do mar

Reparos: sem água e remendado para que pudesse ser enviado ao estaleiro naval de Puget Sound, em Washington, para reparos completos

Retorno ao serviço: julho de 1944

Serviço da Segunda Guerra Mundial: O USS West Virginia participou das Batalhas de Iwo Jima e Okinama e estava presente na Baía de Tóquio quando os japoneses se renderam após o lançamento da segunda bomba atômica sobre Nagasaki

Desativado: janeiro de 1947

O USS West Virginia é visto em doca seca no Pearl Harbor Navy Yard em 10 de junho de 1942, para reparar os danos sofridos no ataque a Pearl Harbor. Ela havia entrado na doca seca no dia anterior. Observe uma grande mancha em seu casco no meio do navio, sujeira em seu casco e um grande cinto de armadura

O USS West Virginia se aproxima da doca seca no estaleiro naval de Pearl Harbor em 8 de junho de 1942. Ela entrou na doca seca número um no dia seguinte, pouco mais de seis meses após ter sido afundada no ataque aéreo japonês

O USS West Virginia participou das Batalhas de Iwo Jima e Okinama e esteve presente na Baía de Tóquio quando os japoneses se renderam após o lançamento da segunda bomba atômica sobre Nagasaki

A Virgínia Ocidental dos EUA é vista por volta de 1944, depois que ela foi reparada e voltou ao serviço

O USS West Virginia é visto ao largo de Pearl Harbor em 30 de abril de 1943, a caminho de Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, para reconstrução. O Pearl Harbor Navy Yard tinha acabado de concluir o reparo temporário dos danos que ela recebeu no ataque japonês de 7 de dezembro de 1941

Danos durante Pearl Harbor: atingido por um par de bombas e ficou preso entre suas amarras e um navio naufragado

Reparos: passou por dois meses e meio de reparos em Puget Sound

Retorno ao serviço: fevereiro de 1942

Serviço da Segunda Guerra Mundial: Lutou em várias batalhas no Pacífico, desde as Ilhas Aleutas do Alasca até Iwo Jima.

Desativado: fevereiro de 1947

Vista do navio de guerra USS Tennessee enquanto ele fornece cobertura contra a corrida das tropas de invasão americanas em terra em Okinawa em tanques anfíbios, 1945. O Tennessee foi danificado durante o ataque a Pearl Harbor, mas voltou ao serviço em fevereiro de 1942


Após o ataque a Pearl Harbor

Após o ataque a Pearl Harbor, várias coisas aconteceram. Na isolada ilha de Nihau, um avião japonês, paralisado no ataque, aterrissou. Um nativo havaiano desarmou o piloto deste avião. Uma mensagem foi enviada rapidamente para a ilha de Kauai solicitando ajuda. Enquanto estava detido, o piloto do avião convenceu um descendente de japoneses na ilha a deixá-lo ir e devolver-lhe as armas e uma confusão começou depois disso.

A aeronave do suboficial Shigenori Nishikaichi e # 8217s mostrada dez dias depois de ter caído na Ilha Ni & # 8217ihau.

Dois habitantes locais, Benhakaka Kanahelea e sua esposa, foram capturados por esses dois homens japoneses. Eles acabaram pulando em seus captores e fugindo. Kanahelea recebeu ferimentos de bala na virilha, estômago e perna. Ele conseguiu pegar o piloto e jogá-lo contra a parede. Este piloto então atirou em si mesmo e isso encerrou o curta & # 8220Battle of Ni & # 8217ihau & # 8221.

Após o ataque a Pearl Harbor, o exército previu que os japoneses desembarcariam lá com força. Em torno do perímetro de todas as ilhas principais, as tropas americanas tomaram posições. Eles colocaram barreiras nas praias para impedir pousos e todos os aeroportos no Havaí foram tomados pelo exército com todos os aviões particulares aterrados. As unidades ROTC da Universidade, bem como as unidades da Guarda Territorial do Havaí foram mobilizadas. O Governador Territorial do Havaí, Poindexter, expressou oposição à declaração da Lei Marcial. Uma declaração foi feita pelo General Walter C. Short e ele anunciou que o Governo Territorial do Havaí estaria sob seu controle como Governador Militar do Havaí. Houve blecautes, toques de recolher e outras restrições em vigor durante a Lei Marcial. O correio e as notícias também foram censurados.

Após o ataque a Pearl Harbor, muitos edifícios governamentais, como o & # 8216Iolani Palace, tornaram-se escritórios militares. Os tribunais civis foram substituídos pela lei militar e isso afetou tanto militares quanto civis. As ilhas se tornaram uma grande base militar e as empresas pertencentes a civis japoneses foram fechadas. O FBI, o exército e a polícia local prenderam qualquer pessoa que consideraram uma ameaça. Os residentes tiveram suas impressões digitais e foram obrigados a portar cartões de identificação em todos os momentos. As empresas e residentes não podiam manter mais do que $ 200 em dinheiro com eles. As pessoas pensavam que a Lei Marcial duraria pouco tempo, mas durou quase três anos. O toque de recolher e os apagões duraram até julho de 1945.

Após o ataque a Pearl Harbor, muitas pessoas de ascendência japonesa foram levadas para centros de detenção, mas estes não podiam conter todas as pessoas. Um plano foi elaborado para mover 100.000 japoneses do Havaí, mas isso nunca aconteceu. Em fevereiro de 1942, logo depois que American entrou na guerra, uma Ordem Executiva foi emitida pelo presidente Roosevelt que autorizava que os cidadãos nipo-americanos fossem presos e colocados em "centros de relocação". Eles estavam localizados em diferentes estados como Idaho, Utah, Califórnia, Arizona, Wyoming, Arkansas e Colorado. Mais de 120.000 japoneses foram afetados por isso e cerca de 80.000 deles eram cidadãos dos EUA.

Havia superlotação nos acampamentos e condições precárias. A comida era racionada e não havia encanamento ou cozinha ali. Os detidos foram oferecidos para serem libertados se concordassem em ingressar no exército. Isso não foi aceito por muitos e apenas 1.200 se alistaram.


A história de Pearl Harbor antes do ataque

Foto de 1918 da Ilha Ford em Pearl Harbor, Oahu.

Os polinésios habitam as ilhas havaianas há séculos. O Havaí foi descoberto relativamente tarde pelos europeus. A primeira visita de ocidentais às ilhas foi em 1778, quando o capitão britânico James Cook chegou.

O navio inglês Butterworth, comandado pelo capitão William Brown, entrou no porto de Honolulu em 1793. O capitão Cook passou por ele em sua famosa viagem em 1778, mas não entrou porque havia coral na entrada do porto. A rocha de coral foi destruída em 1902 e a areia de uma rocha foi dragada para permitir que grandes navios entrassem nas eclusas.

A violenta interferência com o porto perturbou a deusa tubarão Ka'ahupahau e os havaianos logo previram problemas. Muitos incidentes trágicos se seguiram enquanto o trabalho continuava em Pearl Harbor.

Em 1876, o Reino do Havaí assinou um tratado de reciprocidade com os Estados Unidos da América, cedendo o controle de Pearl Harbor aos Estados Unidos em troca da exportação com isenção de impostos de açúcar bruto para os Estados Unidos.

A monarquia havaiana foi derrubada em 1893 e o Havaí foi anexado como território dos Estados Unidos em 1898. Este foi um evento estrategicamente importante para os Estados Unidos porque Pearl Harbor está em uma localização estratégica importante no Oceano Pacífico.

Em 1940, o presidente Roosevelt ordenou que a Frota do Pacífico fosse transferida da Califórnia para Pearl Harbor. Os estrategistas japoneses viram isso como uma ameaça. Os governos do Japão e dos Estados Unidos negociaram a paz, mas sem sucesso e a Segunda Guerra Mundial começou quando o Império do Japão atacou Pearl Harbor em 7 de dezembro de 1941.

Não só a história de Pearl Harbor mudou drasticamente após o ataque. A história do mundo inteiro mudou naquele dia. Leia mais sobre o ataque a Pearl Harbor


Como a heroína da marinha, Dorie Miller e a bravura # 8217s ajudaram a combater a discriminação nas Forças Armadas dos EUA

Em alguns momentos a bordo do sitiado USS West Virginia, o mensageiro Doris "Dorie" Miller tornou-se um catalisador para a mudança.

(História Naval e Comando de Patrimônio)

Thomas W. Cutrer e T. Michael Parrish
Dezembro de 2019

Dorie Miller, a primeira heroína americana da Segunda Guerra Mundial, ajudou a abrir caminho para outros fazendo o que ele não tinha permissão para fazer

ENTRE O PANTHEON dos heróis da América, nenhum é mais improvável do que o filho negro dos meeiros do Texas e neto de escravos, Doris Miller. Miller, conhecido por muitos como "Dorie", nasceu em 12 de outubro de 1919, durante os dias mais sombrios da epidemia de linchamento que assolou o Sul nas primeiras décadas do século 20. Apenas três anos antes de Miller nascer, sua cidade natal, Waco, se tornou o cenário de um dos linchamentos mais brutais já registrados, quando Jesse Washington, de 17 anos, foi queimado vivo no gramado da prefeitura. Miller foi compelido a abandonar o ensino médio para ajudar no sustento de sua família - "Estávamos com um pouco de fome naquela época", explicou sua mãe mais tarde - mas quando ele não conseguiu encontrar trabalho, em setembro de 1939, aos 19 anos, ele ingressou na Marinha dos EUA.

Naquela época, os homens negros servindo na Marinha não eram apenas inelegíveis para promoção, eles eram enviados para o humilde ramo dos mensageiros, onde eram encarregados de fazer as camas e engraxar os sapatos de seus oficiais brancos e servi-los no refeitório dos oficiais . Como disse um dos colegas mensageiros de Miller, eles eram apenas "mensageiros do mar, camareiras e lavadores de pratos". Pela regulamentação, eles não podiam ser treinados ou designados para qualquer outra especialidade, como sinalização, engenharia ou artilharia. Sua estação de batalha ficava abaixo do convés do “buraco” ou depósito, onde passavam a munição para os artilheiros. Eles nem mesmo tinham permissão para usar botões marcados com a insígnia da marinha, uma âncora entrelaçada com uma corrente, e tinham que usar botões simples.

Mas, disse Miller, "é melhor ficar sentado perto de Waco trabalhando como ajudante de garçom, sem ir a lugar nenhum." Depois de participar de um campo de treinamento racialmente segregado em Norfolk, Virgínia, ele foi designado em 2 de janeiro de 1940 para o encouraçado USS West Virginia—Que, devido às crescentes tensões entre os Estados Unidos e o crescente império japonês, foi logo transferido junto com toda a Frota do Pacífico para Pearl Harbor.


Os pais de Miller, Conery e Henrietta, cultivavam 28 acres fora de Waco, Texas. (Memorial Doris Miller)

Lá, na manhã de 7 de dezembro de 1941, a frota foi atacada por aeronaves lançadas por porta-aviões da Marinha Imperial Japonesa. Quando o ataque aconteceu, Doris Miller, então com 22 anos e um atendente da 3ª classe do refeitório, estava abaixo do convés, lavando a roupa de um dos alferes do navio. Com a explosão do primeiro torpedo, ele se reportou a sua estação de batalha, o carregador do navio. Ele encontrou a revista já inundada, no entanto, e foi buscar uma nova atribuição. Ele encontrou o oficial de comunicações do navio, o Tenente Comandante Doir C. Johnson, que o ordenou ao convés de sinais, onde West VirginiaO comandante, Capitão Mervyn Sharp Bennion, estava mortalmente ferido. Miller, o campeão de boxe peso-pesado do navio, recebeu a ordem de erguer seu capitão moribundo e carregá-lo para um local de relativa segurança, um local protegido logo atrás da torre de comando abaixo dos canhões antiaéreos a bombordo.

Àquela altura, o navio havia sofrido pesados ​​danos de seis torpedos japoneses (um sétimo não explodiu) e duas bombas, e havia sofrido uma queda drástica, silenciando os canhões de bombordo. A maioria de suas armas de estibordo ainda estavam operacionais, no entanto, então o tenente Junior Grade Frederic H. White ordenou que Miller começasse a alimentar munição, embalada em cintos de 27 pés de comprimento, para uma das metralhadoras Browning calibre .50 que estavam preguiçosamente nas proximidades, enquanto White disparava contra os aviões japoneses que se aproximavam. O convés foi inundado com óleo e água, e houve muitos incêndios. Mas Miller, encontrando a segunda arma desacompanhada, sem ordens e absolutamente nenhum treinamento em sua operação, assumiu o controle e abriu fogo. “Não foi difícil”, ele contou mais tarde. "Eu apenas puxei o gatilho e ela funcionou bem."

White relatou mais tarde que Miller “não sabia muito sobre a metralhadora, mas eu disse a ele o que fazer e ele foi em frente e o fez. Ele tinha um bom olho. ” De acordo com o Tenente Comandante Johnson, que também estava presente, Miller manuseava bem sua arma, "disparando como se tivesse disparado uma durante toda a vida". O próprio Miller afirmou que "quando os bombardeiros japoneses atacaram meu navio em Pearl Harbor, esqueci completamente o fato de que eu e outros negros podemos ser apenas mensageiros na marinha e não aprendemos a manejar um canhão antiaéreo".

Somente quando sua arma ficou sem munição e o equipamento foi criticamente danificado West Virginia começou a afundar ele parou de atirar, e somente quando o capitão Bennion foi oficialmente declarado morto é que o pequeno grupo de oficiais e homens abandonou a ponte do navio. Descendo para o convés do barco, Miller ajudou a tirar marinheiros da água em chamas, sem dúvida salvando a vida de vários homens. A essa altura, o navio foi inundado abaixo do convés e rapidamente se acomodando nas águas rasas do porto, e seu oficial sobrevivente deu a ordem de abandonar o navio.

Doris Miller foi um dos últimos três homens a sair West Virginia. Ele e seus companheiros nadaram 300 ou 400 jardas até a costa, evitando manchas de óleo em chamas do USS Arizona e metralhando de aviões japoneses. Quando ele salpicou a praia, Miller disse mais tarde a seu irmão, “com aquelas balas respingando ao meu redor, foi pela graça de Deus que eu nunca tive um arranhão”. Mesmo assim, Miller ajudou muitos marinheiros feridos a se protegerem em terra.


O USS West Virginia, com o USS Tennessee por trás dele, queima quando sua quilha repousa no fundo de Pearl Harbor. (Arquivos Nacionais)

Do West VirginiaDos 1.541 tripulantes, 106 foram mortos e 52 feridos. Sete dos oito navios de guerra americanos no porto naquele dia foram afundados ou seriamente danificados. Miller atribuiu sua sobrevivência à providência divina: "Deve ter sido pela força de Deus e pela bênção da mãe", disse ele mais tarde a um repórter de jornal.

Ainda existe uma controvérsia considerável sobre o quão eficaz a artilharia de Miller tinha sido. As estimativas - suposições, na verdade - chegam a meia dúzia de aviões abatidos, e sua sobrinha, justificadamente orgulhosa, afirmou mais tarde que seu artilharia salvou a Costa Oeste dos Estados Unidos da invasão naquele dezembro. Mas, apesar dos melhores esforços de Miller, apenas 29 das 350 aeronaves japonesas de ataque não conseguiram retornar aos seus porta-aviões - e apenas uma delas caiu dentro do alcance de qualquer uma das West VirginiaArmas de. Even that one, an Aichi D3A “Val” dive-bomber, was most likely struck by fire from West Virginia’s sister ship, USS Maryland, which was berthed forward of it, on the starboard side of USS Oklahoma. According to an ensign, Victor Delano, who had been beside Miller on West Virginia’s bridge, “everyone else in the bay” had been shooting at the dive-bomber as well. Said Lieutenant White, firing alongside Miller: “I certainly did not see him shoot down a plane.”

However many planes he may or may not have shot down, though, is beside the point: Doris Miller’s heroic actions at Pearl Harbor helped launch a revolution. He deserves his niche in the pantheon of American heroes, for he provided an immeasurably important symbol for black Americans in their struggle for desegregation and equal opportunity—not only in the armed forces, but throughout the breadth of American society.

WITHIN WEEKS OF THE DISASTER at Pearl Harbor, the navy’s public relations officials released a number of stories, based on after-action reports of the attack, of heroism “equal to any in U.S. naval history.” Those reports referenced the activities of an unknown black sailor, and hearsay stories soon began to circulate. On December 22, 1941, the New York Times printed a sketchy description related by an unidentified naval officer who supposedly served on USS Arizona of a black sailor “who stood on the hot decks of his battleship and directed the fighting.” This mess attendant, “who never before had fired a gun,” the story went, “manned a machine gun on the bridge until his ammunition was exhausted.” This messman was added—though not by name—to the navy’s 1941 Honor Roll of Race Relations. On New Year’s Day 1942, the navy released its list of commendations for heroism at Pearl Harbor. On the list was a single commendation for the still-unnamed black sailor.

When Miller’s mother heard the news of the black sailor who manned a machine gun, she was confident it was her son: “That’s got to be Doris they talking about,” she later told Texas historian R. Chris Santos. Not until March 1942 did the Pittsburgh Courier, an influential African-American newspaper, release a story that at last identified the black messman as Miller.

Bills were quickly introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to award Miller the Medal of Honor, but Georgia Democrat Carl Vinson, the House of Representatives’ Chairman of Naval Affairs, averred that Miller’s deeds were not deserving of the nation’s highest award for valor Secretary of the Navy William Franklin Knox and the congressional delegation from Miller’s home state seconded him. Both at the time and since, numerous historians and political leaders have argued that gallant as were the sacrifices of the 16 men—all of them white and most officers and petty officers—who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions that day, Dorie Miller’s exploits were at least of equal distinction, and all the more to be honored because of the oppressive racial stigma under which he performed so heroically.

While this controversy raged in the press, Miller, who had been assigned to the heavy cruiser USS Indianápolis on December 13, 1941, was on duty in the South Pacific at a time of great shock and uncertainty. “Mother, don’t worry about me and tell all my friends not to shed any tears for me,” he wrote home, “for when the dark clouds pass over, I’ll be back on the sunny side.” But Miller’s occupational specialty remained in the messman branch and his battle station remained in the “hole,” handling ammunition.


Admiral Chester W. Nimitz awards Miller the Navy Cross a Pittsburgh paper campaigned for him and started the "Double V" campaign, for victory both abroad and for black Americans at home. (História Naval e Comando de Patrimônio)

In the States, politicians and journalists charged the navy with foot-dragging and indifference to blacks in the armed forces, with Walter F. White, executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, pointing out that no citations had been awarded to black personnel “for acts of gallantry or heroism during the attack,” and urging President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary Knox to grant official recognition to Miller. “Without in any manner detracting from the heroism and gallantry under fire of white Americans who died at Pearl Harbor,” White urged, “the heroism of this Negro mess attendant merits special consideration.”

Due largely to Miller’s inspiration and under growing pressure to provide more equal opportunities for black recruits, Knox announced in April that “Negro recruits who volunteer for general service” would be trained at Camp Robert Smalls—an all-black section of the U.S. Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Illinois—as gunner’s mates, quartermasters, radiomen, yeomen, boatswain’s mates, radar operators, and other specialties besides messmen.

And on May 11, President Roosevelt approved awarding Miller the Navy Cross—at the time, the third-highest U.S. Navy award for gallantry during combat. It was the first such medal ever awarded to a black sailor. On May 27, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, presented Miller with the Navy Cross on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Empreendimento. Nimitz—also a native Texan—said then that Miller’s award “marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race, and I’m sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts.”

o Pittsburgh Courier continued advocating for Miller, in June calling for him to be returned to the States for a war bond tour. The paper demanded that Secretary Knox order him home “so that he may perform the same service among his people that the white heroes are performing among their people.” Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican nominee for president, and New York’s popular mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, also urged the navy secretary to allow Miller to return on a war bond tour. Miller himself was eager to make the trip. As he wrote to the Correio on September 26, “I do hope your paper will continue the campaign in my behalf. It would be a great pleasure to get back for only a few days.”


Miller speaks with sailors and a civilian at the Great Lakes, Illinois, Naval Training Station on January 7, 1943, as part of his war bond tour. (Arquivos Nacionais)

The campaign bore fruit and Miller was ordered home. After nearly a year at sea, he arrived at Pearl Harbor on November 23, 1942. Over the course of the next two-plus months, Miller gave talks in Oakland, California in his hometown of Waco, Texas and in Dallas and Chicago, promoting war bond sales and accepting tokens of admiration from black communities.

Perhaps most significantly, on January 28, 1943, Miller addressed the first class of black sailors to graduate from Camp Robert Smalls. The greatest honor that the navy could pay Miller, the editor of the Pittsburgh Courier had written, “would be for it to abolish forthwith the restrictions now in force, so that black Americans can serve their country and their navy in any capacity. This action by the navy would not only reward a hero, but would serve dramatic notice that this country is in fact a democracy in an all-out war against anti-democratic forces.”

The focus of Miller’s talk at Camp Robert Smalls was the tremendous pride he felt in the navy and of the privilege of being a part of it. “It is almost unbelievable just what the perfect coordination and strength of our navy actually is,” Miller told a reporter, and he urged the new sailors to “take advantage of their opportunities.”

WHILE THE REVOLUTION he had helped to inspire unfolded around him, Miller himself was transferred for reassignment. On June 1, 1943, he arrived aboard the newly constructed escort carrier USS Liscome Bay as a mess attendant and was promoted to cook, third class. His new ship was a CVE—a so-called “baby flattop.” Sailors sardonically claimed “CVE” stood for “Combustible, Vulnerable, and Expendable.” Only two-thirds the length of such fleet carriers as the Empreendimento, escort carriers were less expensive and more quickly built, but also relatively slow and less well-armed and armored.

o Liscome Bay supported the Marine landings on Makin and Tarawa, pounding Japanese gun emplacements and air bases. With Thanksgiving approaching, Miller wrote to his mother that he did not expect the war to end soon but asked that she “prepare a place at the table for me in 1945. I will eat dinner with you all with a smile. Tell my friends to live the life that I am living.”

But on the early morning of November 24, 1943, the ship’s lookout shouted, “Christ, here comes a torpedo!” A single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175 struck the carrier on the starboard side. Miller responded to general quarters, but a few moments later the ship’s aircraft bomb magazine exploded. “We were hit just back of midship” and just aft of the engine compartment, recalled a survivor, Fireman Third Class Robert E. Haynes. “From here on back, everything was instantly gone.”

The thinly armored Liscome Bay carried over 200,000 pounds of bombs, 120,000 gallons of bunker oil, many thousands of gallons of aviation fuel, and innumerable quantities of 20mm and 40mm cannon shells, all of which exploded. Most of the crew died instantly, and Liscome Bay sank within 23 minutes.

The casualty list was among the largest of any navy vessel in the war. Only 272 officers and enlisted men survived from the crew of more than 900. Doris Miller was not among them. He was listed as “presumed dead” and after 365 days was reported as killed in action. His body was never recovered.


Called the "Golden Thirteen" (above), the navy's first black officers were commissioned on March 17, 1944. Below: a 2010 postage stamp honoring Miller. (Naval History and Heritage Command USPS)

Doris Miller’s death, however, was not in vain. The memory of his life has burned brightly as an example of how an underprivileged and oppressed young man from rural Texas can rise above poverty and racial discrimination—not only to display great courage, devotion, and patriotism, but to help alter the course of American history. In January 1944, less than two months after his death, the navy opened a modest officer-training program at Camp Robert Smalls for black sailors, commissioning its first 13 black officers on March 17, 1944. Now, wrote one newspaper, “the heroic tradition of Dorie Miller at Pearl Harbor will serve as an everlasting inspiration” to every young man “to more fully serve his country and the navy.”

On June 30, 1973, at the christening of a destroyer escort, the USS Moleiro—named in his honor—Texas Representative Barbara Jordon predicted that the “Dorie Millers of the future will be captains as well as cooks.” And, indeed, by this year, 2019, the U.S. Navy had eight black admirals in its ranks.

So how should Doris Miller be remembered? Ronald Reagan did not get the facts exactly right when, in a 1975 speech, he regaled his audience with the story of “a Negro sailor whose total duties involved kitchen-type duties,” who shot down four dive-bombers with a borrowed machine gun. According to Reagan, Miller’s heroism single-handedly ended racial inequality in America. “When the first bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor,” Reagan intoned, “that was when segregation in the military forces came to an end.”

That, of course, was not true important as they were, Doris Miller’s heroic actions on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack did not sound the death knell of racism in America. But Miller’s heroism—and the legend it engendered—were directly responsible for helping to roll back the navy’s policy of racial segregation and prejudice, and served as a powerful catalyst for the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s that brought an end to the worst of America’s racial intolerance. Enquanto o Pittsburgh Courier proclaimed in 1956, Doris Miller had “died for his country so that his people might rise another notch in dignity and courage. Every blow struck for civil rights is a monument to [Dorie] Miller, citizen.” ✯

It began with my grandfather.

As a young man, Livingston Brizill Sr. served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. He enlisted the year after the Marine Corps first opened its doors to African Americans. It was 1943 and he was 18, and one of the first from Philadelphia to sign on. Decades later, as a curious child who loved history, I constantly picked his brain over games of checkers, or while he devoured the Philadelphia Inquirer on his way to consuming his next cigarette. I was in awe of his encyclopedic knowledge of history, World War II in particular. It was during this well-spent time that my desire to teach history solidified and my interest in the war grew.

As much as my grandfather spoke about the war, though, he did not talk about his service. His modesty and humility would not allow it. I gathered that he had occupation duty in the Pacific islands and worked on water purification. Like most African Americans who served in World War II, he did not see combat. One of my most prized possessions was his 1944 camp yearbook, passed on to me by my grandmother, that detailed the training he received at Montford Point, in North Carolina, before shipping out. This book gave me a window into his training and preparation in a segregated Marine Corps. In the few photos that I have seen from his service, I could tell he was proud to wear the uniform.


Livingston Brizill joined the Marines in 1943 he later helped feed a love of history in the author—his grandson. (Courtesy of Dante R. Brizill)

When I realized my dream of becoming a history teacher, beginning in 2004, I could not help but reflect on our time together. One year, while teaching about the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, I showed a National Geographic documentary, Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack—fittingly narrated by Tom Brokaw, author of the book The Greatest Generation. There was a short segment on a young African American mess attendant stationed aboard the battleship USS West Virginia. I had heard about Doris “Dorie” Miller before, but not in this way. I could finally connect a face—a person—with his heroism. He was more than just the white officers’ mess servant he was someone who showed that he had skills beyond those assigned to him.

I paused the clip and mentioned that it’s not too late to award Dorie Miller the Medal of Honor, but that it would have to be demanded by the citizenry. From that day on, I became inspired to make Miller known outside of the four walls of my classroom. I decided to write a book—a brief history aimed at students. One of my purposes in doing so was to inspire among readers an interest in the African American experience in the war, so it would never be forgotten.


Today author Brizill teaches history to high school students. Inspired by the Dorie Miller story, he uses it to inspire his students. (Courtesy of Dante R. Brizill)

Over the years, I’ve discovered that when I show passion and interest in something, it sparks something inside my students, and this was the case again. Throughout the writing process, my students encouraged me, becoming my cheerleaders. “When is that book coming out?!” was a familiar refrain. Finally, in November 2018, Dorie Miller: Greatness Under Fire foi liberado. I knew I had achieved one of my goals when a student emailed me after reading it. “A book never stops once you close it, it stops where you choose,” he wrote to me. “Topics and people like this should be immortalized, never to be lost to time.”

If it wasn’t for my grandfather and his service, I probably would not have taken the interest in World War II that I did and come across one of its first heroes: Dorie Miller. We may think we know all that we need to know about the war, but as we dig a little deeper and uncover stories like my grandfather’s and people like Dorie Miller, we will continue to find ways to be inspired by those men and women who served us honorably. ✯
—Dante R. Brizill has been teaching history at Elkton High School, in Elkton, Maryland, since 2006. His book is available on Amazon.com.

This story was originally published in the December 2019 issue of Segunda Guerra Mundial revista. Subscribe here.


How the Tanker USS Neosho Helped Save U.S. Carriers in Battle of Coral Sea

Undoubtedly, some types of U.S. Naval ships, past and present, are more recognizable, more famous, more flashy than others. Aircraft carriers and battleships immediately come to mind. Less likely to be noticed or lauded are the behind-the-scenes workhorses of the fleet, such as the humble tanker or fleet oiler.

According to the website Marinha Mercante Americana em Guerra, “During World War II, American tankers made 6,500 voyages to carry 65 million tons of oil and gasoline from the U.S. and the Caribbean to the war zones and to our Allies. They supplied 80% of the fuel used by bombers, tanks, jeeps, and ships during the War.”

Tankers were a valuable commodity, considering each one had a liquid capacity of roughly 6 million gallons. Plenty of thirsty fighting ships depended on them for refueling at sea to carry out their combat missions.

The U.S. Navy fleet oiler USS Neosho (AO-23) refueling the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5), 1 May 1942, shortly before the Battle of Coral Sea

One of these tankers was USS Neosho (AO 23), nicknamed “Fat Girl” and “floating gas station.” Launched in 1939, she was the second of the Cimarron class of fast tankers. With larger engines, these ships could attain a speed of 18 knots to meet the Navy’s specific requirement for faster refueling ships.

Neosho survived Pearl Harbor without a scratch, served a crucial role in the Pacific for several months, and provided one last valuable service to the fleet during her death at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942.

When the Japanese infamously attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Neosho was present, located between the battleship USS Califórnia and the rest of Battleship Row. Considering the beating that the Japanese gave the occupants of Battleship Row, it is remarkable that Neosho escaped completely unscathed, even from accidental hits.

She got underway, passing so close to the burning USS Arizona that her sailors could feel the heat, but managed to navigate safely past the flames. Her captain, Commander John S. Phillips, later received the Navy Cross for relocating the tanker during the attack. His citation reads, in part:

USS Arizona during the attack

At the time of the attack the U.S.S. NEOSHO was moored alongside the gasoline dock, Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, and had just completed discharging gasoline at that station. When fire was opened on enemy planes, Commander Phillips realized the serious fire hazard of remaining alongside the dock as well as being in a position that prevented a battleship from getting underway, [and] got underway immediately.

Mooring lines were cut, and without the assistance of tugs, Commander Phillips accomplished the extremely difficult task of getting the ship underway from this particular berth in a most efficient manner, the difficulty being greatly increased by a battleship having capsized in the harbor.

Os EUA Neosho, Navy oil tanker, cautiously backs away from her berth (right center) in a successful effort to escape the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

That the Japanese did not succeed in destroying the fuel storage tanks at Pearl Harbor is one of the main factors credited for why the Americans rebounded as quickly as they did afterward. It is worth noting that the Japanese likewise missed a golden opportunity to destroy Neosho, the only Cimarron-class tanker in the Pacific at the time, heavily targeting the battleships while allowing another valuable fleet asset to escape scot-free.

Walter Lord, in his book Day of Infamy, recorded that one Zero even held its fire while passing Neosho, which seemed “just a waste of good bullets.”

Pelos próximos meses, Neosho stayed busy, generally accompanying the carrier fleets, although sometimes she had to transit alone if there were no escorts to spare. Her sister oilers Platte (AO 24) and Sabine (AO 25), took part in operations against the Marshall and Gilbert Islands as well as the bombardment of Wake Island.

Neosho got in on some action in March 1942 as part of the USS Lexington (CV 2) task force strikes on Salamaua and on Lae on the New Guinea coast.

Sabine (foreground) and the guided missile cruiser Albany in the Caribbean Sea in March 1967

In May 1942, Neosho was assigned to Task Force 17 centered around the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV 5) which was in the Coral Sea hunting for the Japanese fleet that was heading to attack Port Moresby, New Guinea. Depois de Neosho fueled Yorktown e Astoria (CA 34) on May 6, she was detached from the main force along with the destroyer USS Sims (DD 409) as her escort, and was sent southward to await the fleet at their next refueling rendezvous.

Early the following day, scout planes from the Japanese carrier Shokaku spotted the two ships and misidentified Neosho as a carrier. This led the Japanese promptly to launch all the available aircraft onboard Shokaku e Zuikaku to go after her.

78 dive bombers, torpedo planes, and Zeros arrived in Neosho‘s vicinity and, likely to the mystification of the ships’ crews, kept appearing and disappearing for a couple hours as they hunted for the nonexistent American aircraft carrier. However, one plane did drop a bomb near Sims and the ships fired at the planes anytime they got close enough.

USS Neosho

Once the Japanese realized that misidentification of Neosho had sent them on a wild goose chase, most of the planes departed, but not all of them — after all, the ships might as well be sunk first. So it was that “Fat Girl,” ignored at Pearl Harbor, now had the full attention of two or three dozen Japanese dive bombers, with one lone destroyer as backup.

Sims made a heroic effort to protect Neosho, but was hit amidships by three bombs right away. In short order her boilers exploded, tearing the ship in two. Sims sank so quickly that only 15 of her sailors, 2 of them fatally wounded, were able to make it over to Neosho in a whaleboat.

Neosho had not been standing idly by during Sims’s morte. Commander Phillips, in his after-action report, recorded:

“The 20 mm fire of the Neosho [sic] was very effective. At no time during the engagement did the machine gunners falter at their jobs…. However, despite any courageous tenacity on the part of the gun crews, it was quite obvious that if a pilot desired to carry his bomb home, he could not be stopped…. Three enemy planes are definitely known to have been shot down by this ship, of which one made the suicidal run into Gun No. 4 enclosure.”

USS Sims

Uma vez Sims sank and Neosho was left to contend with the swarming dive bombers alone, the assault was brutal. Phillips noted: “In the immediate vicinity of the bridge, three direct hits and a number of near misses occurred.

In the aft part of the ship, two direct hits, a suicidal dive of a plane, and the blowing up of at least two boilers, along with several near misses, occurred.” When the planes departed, Neosho was powerless, drifting, and sinking. It seemed a foregone conclusion that the ship would not survive.

During the chaos, 158 of her sailors either found themselves trapped aft and so driven overboard by fire and escaping steam, or heard garbled versions of Phillip’s order to “Prepare to Abandon Ship but not to abandon until so ordered,” and had abandoned ship anyway with all the intact life rafts. Tragically, the 68 who made it onto the rafts, none of which held food or water, would not be found for 9 days. Of the 158 who went overboard, only 4 were recovered alive.

Neosho burning, 7 May 1942.

Neosho refused to give up and sink, at least not yet. Valiant efforts were made at damage control by the survivors of the attack who remained onboard. 16 officers and 94 enlisted men kept Neosho afloat, even though she was damaged beyond repair, continually taking on more water, and listing 30 degrees in rough seas.

Phillips later submitted eight “outstanding cases worthy of commendation and praise” in his after-action report, including that of Chief Watertender Oscar V. Peterson, who made the ultimate sacrifice to help save his ship and shipmates. Phillips recounted:

“PETERSON was in charge of the repair party stationed in the crew’s mess compartment adjacent to the upper level of the fireroom, with the additional specific duty of closing the four main steam line bulkhead stop valves during the battle, should damage dictate the need for shutting down these valves. When the bomb exploded in the fireroom the iron door leading from the fireroom to the mess compartment was torn open and the force of the explosion from the bomb, steam lines, and boilers knocked PETERSON down and burned his face and hands. In spite of noises indicating further damage being done by bombs to other parts of the ship, personal injury and lack of assistance because of serious injury to other men in his repair party, PETERSON worked his way into the fireroom trunk over the forward end of the two forward boilers, when escaping steam had dissipated sufficiently to permit him to reach the bulkhead stop valves, and closed these valves. By so doing, he received additional severe burns about his head, arms, and legs, which resulted in his death on May 13, 1942.”

A wave breaks over the main deck, engulfing hose crew, as Neosho (AO-23) refuels Yorktown (CV-5) early in May 1942, shortly before the Battle of Coral Sea

The other seven cases detailed by Phillips are equally gallant accounts. As a result of his captain’s recommendation, Peterson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

From May 7-11, Neosho‘s survivors held on, with little choice but to remain on the crippled ship although the captain was certain that at any time she might “sink of her own accord or break in two” as the main deck plating began to buckle. The destroyer USS Henley (DD 391) came to their rescue on the 11th, and after taking the survivors on board, complied with Phillip’s request to scuttle Neosho.

USS Henley (DD-391)

The plucky oiler, just over 3 years after she had first been launched, met her end as usefully as she had lived, for it is possible that had Shokaku e Zuikaku‘s entire complement of aircraft not been distracted in the wrong direction for several hours by an oiler that turned out to be an unintentional decoy carrier, they may have instead attacked the real carriers in full force that morning in the Coral Sea.

Indeed, an hour after Neosho was sighted, other Japanese scout planes actually spotted Lexington e Yorktown. Faced with conflicting information and wondering if the Americans had split their carrier forces, the Japanese decided to proceed with the attack to the south. Thus the fate of Neosho was sealed, but the carriers were saved from the onslaught that sank both Neosho e Sims.


After Pearl Harbor, The Navy Learned What Horrors Awaited The Crew Of The USS West Virginia

In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, recovery crews made a grisly discovery aboard the USS West Virginia.

During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the primary target was Battleship Row. These capital ships had to suffice since the American carriers were away. Among the battleships lined up alongside Ford Island was the USS West Virginia, a 20-year-old warship with a crew of over a thousand. During the battle the ship took seven torpedo hits along the port side along with two bomb strikes around its superstructure. The ship rapidly flooded, settling on the floor of the harbor with her superstructure above water.

In the aftermath of the attack frantic efforts were made to save survivors trapped below decks on the sunken and damaged ships. Hulls were cut open and divers darted beneath the waves in desperate attempts to save them. The minesweeper Tern lay alongside the “Weevee,” as the battleship was nicknamed, playing water over the fires burning aboard her. When the fires were extinguished at 2PM, the Tern moved over to the Arizona. Commander D. H. Clark, the Fleet Maintenance Officer, reported on December 9 the West Virginia was “doubtful,” estimating 12 to 18 months for repairs if she could be saved at all.

Stripped for Useful Items

Since the ship couldn’t be quickly salvaged, it was stripped for useful items. Guards were posted on the ship starting on December 8 to protect against looting, theft or espionage. Sentry duty aboard the half-sunken wreck of their former home was a sad time for them. During the quiets times some sailors reported hearing tapping noises coming from below decks. They believed the noise came from trapped crew members signaling desperately for help. There were some 70 men missing from the ship’s complement. Their officers told them it was only the sound of wreckage and loose items floating in and around the ship, banging into the hull.

Not As Bad as First Suspected

Several 5-inch guns were removed and installed on other ships and shore batteries. Weeks later divers inspected her damage and learned it was not as bad as first suspected the ship could be refloated and repaired sooner than expected. On December 23 inspectors went through the upper decks, finding burn damage and opened lockers as if someone looted the ship in the aftermath. Larger items such as the main guns, masts and stacks were removed, lightening the ship in preparation for refloating her.

Next began the process of sealing her hull. As diver’s inspected the ship, they found a previously unseen torpedo hit at her stern. The ship had suffered extensive damage whole compartments were essentially open to the sea. Painstakingly, these holes were patched and covered in order to refloat the ship so permanent repairs could be made. Eventually, these efforts paid off and they were ready to return the battleship to life.

Disturbing Discoveries

Pumps began to slowly send water flowing out of the ship. Decomposed bodies were found and carefully placed into waiting body-bags. Valuables were collected and cataloged. If the owners could be identified the items were returned the rest were auctioned for the crew’s emergency fund. On 17 May West Virginia was floating again after over five months. Work went on to prepare the ship for dry dock and finish cleaning out the flooded decks. Even a few .50-caliber machine guns were mounted in case of another Japanese air attack.

It was only on May 27 the most disturbing discoveries of the salvage operation were made. In the aft engine room, several bodies were found lying on steam pipes. They had evidently been able to survive a short time in an air pocket, suffocating when the oxygen finally ran out. Worse still was found in compartment A-111, a storeroom. When the door to this compartment was opened, only three feet of water was inside. On the shelves of the storeroom lay the bodies of three sailors, Louis Costin, 21, Clifford Olds, 20, and Ronald Endicott, 18. With them was a calendar with the dates December 7 to 23 marked off in red pencil. There were emergency rations and access to a fresh water tank in the compartment.

Each man had a watch, enabling them to mark the passage of time. The crew was horrified by the news, especially divers that had sounded the hull and listened for replies but heard nothing. The sentries who reported hearing banging below were angry, though whether anything could have been done at the time is debatable. The matter was a subject of quiet discussion among crew members for years after.

West Virginia was rebuilt and served out the war mainly as a fire support vessel for amphibious landings. She did serve at the Battle of Surigao Strait, the last big-gun ship battle. West Virginia was also present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Decommissioned after the war, she was sold for scrap in 1959.


The U.S. Navy's Battleships Wanted Revenge After Pearl Harbor—This Is How They Got It

Key point: Hiroshi Tanaka of Yamashiro described survivors as saying that Nishimura’s strategy was that of a warrant officer, not an admiral.

In the distance, they could see the jagged flashes of lightning, an incoming squall in the dark. Just before the rain arrived, so did St. Elmo’s Fire, and the gun barrels and radio antennas on the PT boats crackled with blue sparks and streamers of static electricity.

Then there was another lightning flash, and suddenly Lieutenant (j.g.) Terry Chambers, the executive officer of PT-491 saw them—a column of seven Japanese warships advancing in the dark, headed for Surigao Strait and the waiting U.S. Seventh Fleet. It was the extremely early morning of October 25, 1944, and two battleships and a heavy cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy were steaming toward what would become one of the most one-sided battles in naval history, and the last duel between battleships of the line.

The Battle of Surigao Strait was a major portion of the titanic Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest and last major naval battle ever fought, an epic engagement that saw the use of every type of naval warfare except the mine.

The Leyte Gulf battle began with the American decision on July 27, 1944, to target the Philippines instead of Formosa as their next invasion site. General Douglas MacArthur would redeem his pledge to return to the Philippines. The initial objective was the invasion of the island of Leyte to secure air and sea bases for the next stages: seizing Mindoro and the climactic assault on the main island of Luzon.

Codenamed King II, the invasion of Leyte would involve two U.S. fleets, the 7th, under Vice Admiral Thomas Cassin Kinkaid, and the 3rd, under Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.

Sho-1: The Imperial Navy Strikes Back

The 3rd Fleet was the offensive arm of the invasion, with nine fleet carriers, eight light carriers, and six fast battleships at its heart. The 7th Fleet was the amphibious force, with more than 100 transports and other vessels (including the British minelayer HMS Ariadne), protected by a swarm of cruisers, destroyers, and escort carriers for close air support, backed by six old battleships configured for shore bombardment, in a Fire Support Force, headed by Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf, flying his flag in the heavy cruiser USS Louisville. Among his ships were the Australian cruiser HMAS Shropshire and the destroyer HMAS Arunta. A-day for the invasion was to be October 20, 1944.

The invaders were not spotted by the Japanese until October 17, when the whole American armada appeared at the mouth of the Gulf of Leyte. When they did so, Admiral Soemu Toyoda, who headed the Imperial Japanese Navy, ordered their long-planned response, Victory Operation One, or Sho-1, into operation.

Sho-1 was one of four plans the Japanese had prepared in anticipation of America’s next offensive move, and they all called for the same reaction: the bulk of the Imperial Japanese Navy steaming forth to attack and destroy the U.S. fleet, regardless of losses to themselves.

Sho-1 was like most Imperial Japanese Navy plans of World War II: a decoy force would lure the Americans in one direction, while the real punch would come from other directions in a complex series of coordinated movements. This time, the decoy force was Japan’s surviving aircraft carriers, under Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, steaming down from the home islands. With barely 100 planes between them, these carriers lacked offensive punch, but the Japanese believed the aggressive Halsey would race after them with his entire 3rd Fleet.

While Halsey was drawn off, the powerful battleships and heavy cruisers of the Imperial Navy, mostly based at Lingga Roads near Singapore and the Borneo fuel stocks, would strike east and ravage the 7th Fleet’s amphibious forces while they lay in Leyte Gulf. The surface ships would pound the 7th Fleet to death with torpedoes and shells, isolating the American invaders on shore. The combination of a trapped army in the Philippines and a smashed navy in the Pacific might at least buy Japan time, or even persuade America to make peace.

The Task Forces of Kurita and Nishimura

The battlewagons at Lingga were commanded by Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita and consisted of a powerful force. They were headed by two immense dreadnoughts, the Yamato e Musashi, sister ships that packed the heaviest armament ever loaded on a battleship, 18.1-inch guns. They were supported by five more dreadnoughts and a screen of cruisers and destroyers, all of which brandished the legendary Type 95 Long Lance torpedo, one of the best in the world. The Imperial Japanese Navy may have been worn down by hard war, but it was still a powerful force with highly skilled sailors and officers well trained in night fighting.

Toyoda and Kurita planned a pincer attack on Leyte Gulf with their battleships. Kurita would take one force, with five battleships, including Yamato e Musashi, through the San Bernardino Strait to hit Leyte Gulf from the north. A second force, under Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura, a veteran seadog, would steam through the Surigao Strait and smash into Leyte Gulf from the south, the anvil to Kurita’s hammer, just before dawn.A Naval War College graduate of 1911, Nishimura had commanded destroyers in the invasion of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies in 1941. His son, Teiji Nishimura, a naval aviator, had been killed in the former invasion. In 1942, Nishimura commanded cruisers in the grueling struggle for Guadalcanal, suffering some bad luck but displaying skillful planning and “lion-like fury” in battle.On September 10, 1944, Nishimura was given command of Battleship Division 2, which consisted of the dreadnoughts Fuso e Yamashiro and their destroyer escorts. The two battlewagons, sister ships, dated back to 1911 and were known throughout the fleet for their tall pagoda masts—44 meters above the waterline—and for having sat out most of the war in home waters, mostly as training vessels. The emperor’s brother had served on Fuso duas vezes.

These battleships had never fired their guns in anger. They were the first battleships built with Japanese engines and guns, the most powerful dreadnoughts in the world at the time. Mas Fuso e Yamashiro were slow and outdated by 1944’s standards, armed with six 14-inch guns each. They were sister ships, but not twins, and regarded as the “ugliest ships in the Imperial Navy.” Both had crews of about 1,600 officers and men. Yamashiro flew Nishimura’s flag.

To support Nishimura’s force would be four destroyers, Michishio, Yamagumo, Asagumo, e Shigure, and a veteran heavy cruiser, the Mogami.

Failed Coordination With the Second Striking Force

Studying his war maps, Toyoda did not think that Nishimura had quite enough punch, so he added a second task force to the southern wing, under Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima, swinging down from the Pescadore Islands off Formosa. The second striking force would consist of the heavy cruisers Nachie Ashigara, both veteran ships the light cruiser Abukuma, which had escorted Japan’s carriers to Pearl Harbor and four destroyers, Shiranuhi, Kasumi, Ushio, e Akebono.

Unlike Nishimura, Shima was a desk sailor. Like Nishimura, Shima had graduated from the Naval War College in the class of 1911. He had served in a variety of shore posts, mostly in communications.

Neither force commander coordinated his movements with the other—nor were any orders given to do so. Neither commander was fully briefed about the other’s operations. As far as historians could tell, Nishimura was to clear a path with his battleships so that the cruisers and destroyers behind could finish off the transports with torpedoes. Nishimura’s group was to be called the Third Section, while Shima’s group was the Second Striking Force.

With the Americans moving on Leyte, the Japanese launched their intricate countermoves. Ozawa sortied from Japan, Shima from the Pescadores, and Kurita and Nishimura from Lingga Roads, headed for a refueling stop at Brunei.

On October 20, the Americans invaded Leyte with massive power. Landings began at 10 am, and General MacArthur strode grimly ashore four hours later, making his famous “I have returned!” speech from the invasion beach amid a steady downpour.

Spotted in the Sulu Sea

The next day, Kurita summoned his senior officers to a conference on his flagship, the heavy cruiser Atago. Kurita explained his plans to the assembled admirals, including the decision to split off Nishimura’s force to head for the Surigao Strait. If the complex ship movements worked, the two forces would slam into the American 7th Fleet just before dawn on October 25. The next morning, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s battle line headed out for sea for the very last time, with Kurita and his five dreadnoughts steaming north to the Sibuyan Sea and the San Bernardino Strait.

At 3:30 pm, Nishimura’s ships put to sea. Shima’s ships were already en route. All through the afternoon and night, the two forces steamed along unimpeded into the Sulu Sea. Não tanto a força de Kurita, que foi avistada por dois submarinos americanos, que lançaram torpedos em três dos cruzadores de Kurita, afundando dois - incluindo sua nau capitânia Atago- e danificando o terceiro. Kurita mudou sua bandeira para o encouraçado Yamato e navegou.


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