Today in this series we take a look at our entry from Today In Wyoming's History: December 7: on the topic of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. When I posted this last year, I put in Mountain Time as well as Hawaii Time. Here I'll insert how my day likely would have gone had I been my current age, in my current location, on that Sunday, instead of this one.
Today is, by State Statute, WS 8-4-106, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The Statute provides:
(a) In recognition of the members of the armed forces who lost their lives and those who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941, December 7 of each year is designated as "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day". The day shall be appropriately observed in the public schools of the state.
(b) The governor, not later than September 1 of each year, shall issue a proclamation requesting proper observance of "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day".
(c) This section shall not affect commercial paper, the making or execution of written agreements or judicial proceedings, or authorize public schools,businesses or state and local government offices to close.
Your Recollections: What about you?
Do you have any personal recollections about December 7, 1941? Either first hand, or that you recall hearing from family and friends? And, by that, not just Pearl Harbor stories, but I'd be very interested to learn of any family recollections from those at home, on that day. Wyoming is three hours ahead of Hawaii, did your family hear it that morning, or later in the day? Just after church, or while tuning in fora football game? Any recollection is welcome.
1941 US military installations were attack in Hawaii by the Imperial Japanese Navy bringing the US formally into World War Two.
It was a surprisingly warm day in Central Wyoming that fateful day. The high was in the upper 40s, and low in the lower 20s. Not atypical temperatures for December but certainly warmer than it can be.
Events played out like this:
0342 Hawaii Time, 0642 Mountain Standard Time: The minesweeper USS Condor sighted a periscope and radioed the USS Ward: "Sighted submerged submarine on westerly course, speed 9 knots.”
I would have been up at that time of the day, probably shepherding the family towards getting them out the door for Mass.
0610 Hawaii Time, 0910 Mountain Standard Time: Japanese aircraft carriers turn into the wind and launch the first attack wave.
Chances are by this time, I'd be just about to leave Mass, or would have left Mass. Now we usally swing by a grocery store and buy donuts, then go home, but at that time I'm not sure if there was a grocery store that was open here on Sundays. I somewhat doubt it, in which case we'd all just head home.
0645-0653: Hawaii Time, 0945-0953 Mountain Standard Time: The USS Ward, mostly staffed by Naval Reservists, sights and engages a Japanese mini submarine first reported by the USS Connor, sinking the submarine.The Ward reports the entire action, albeit in code, noting: "“We have dropped depth charges upon sub operating in defensive sea area" and “We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area.”
We'd probably have just been finishing breakfast and reading the newspaper.
At this point in time, most Wyomingites would be up and enjoying the day. A large percentage would have gone to Church for the Sunday morning and have now started the rest of their Sundays.
0702 Hawaii Time, 1002 Mountain Standard Time: An operator at the U.S. Army's newly installed Opana Mobile Radar Station, one of six such facilities on Oahu, sights 50 aircraft hits on his radar scope, which is confirmed by his co-operator. They call Ft. Shafter and report the sighting.
If possible, I'd have headed out the door with my son to go duck and goose hunting. But if the weekend went exactly like this weekend, in which I branded yesterday, have some work that I probably ought to do today, and where my wife wishes to put up a Christmas tree, maybe not. We'll see, perhaps.
0715 Hawaii Time, 1015 Mountain Standard Time: USS Ward's message decoded and reported to Admiral Kimmel, who orders back to "wait for verification."
0720 Hawaii Time, 1020 Mountain Standard Time: U.S. Army lieutenant at Ft. Shafter reviews radar operator's message and believes the message to apply to a flight of B-17s which are known to be in bound from California. He orders that the message is not to be worried about.
Hopefully, I'd be checking the creeks and ponds for ducks.
0733 Hawaii Time, 1033 Mountain Standard Time, 1233 Eastern Time: Gen. George Marshall issues a warning order to Gen. Short that hostilities many be imminent, but due to atmospheric conditions, it has to go by telegraph rather than radio. It was not routed to go as a priority and would only arrive after the attack was well underway.
0749 Hawaii Time, 1049 Mountain Standard Time: Japanese Air-attack commander Mitsuo Fuchida looks down on Pearl Harbor and observes that the US carriers are absent. He orders his telegraph operator to tap out to, to, to: signalling "attack" and then: to ra, to ra, to ra: attack, surprise achieved. This is interpreted as some as Tora, Tora, Tora, "tiger, tiger, tiger" which it was not. Those who heard that sometimes interpreted to be indicative of the Japanese phrase; "A tigergoes out 1,000 ri and returns without fail.”
0755 Hawaii Time, 1055 Mountain Standard Time: Commander Logan C. Ramsey, at the Command Center on Ford Island, looks out a window to see a low-flying plane he believes to be a reckless and
improperly acting U.S. aircraft. He then notices “something black fall out of that plane” and realizes instantly an air raid is in progress. He orders telegraph operators to sendout an uncoded message to every ship and the base that: "AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL"
We'd probably still be out, checking ponds and creeks.
0800 Hawaii time, 11:00 Mountain Standard Time. B-17s which were to be stationed at Oahu begin to land, right in the midst of the Japanese air raid.
0810 Hawaii Time, 11:10 Mountain Standard Time. The USS Arizona fatally hit.
0817 Hawaii Time: 11:17 Mountain Standard Time. The USS Helm notices a submarine ensnared in the the antisubmarine net and engages it. It submerges but this partially floods the submarine, which must be abandoned.
0839 Hawaii Time. 1139 Mountain Standard Time. The USS Monaghan, attempting to get out of the harbor, spotted another miniature submarine and rammed and depth charged it.
0850 Hawaii Time. 11:50 Mountain Standard Time. The USS Nevada, with her steam now up, heads for open water. It wouldn't make it and it was intentionally run aground to avoid it being sunk.
0854 Hawaii Time. 1150 Mountain Standard Time. The Japanese second wave hits.
0929 Hawaii Time. 1229 Mountain Standard Time. NBC interrupts regular programming to announce that Pearl Harbor was being attacked.
If we had a truck with a radio (and of course it'd have been a two wheel drive truck), this is when we first would have learned of anything out hunting. But most pickups didn't have radios, and as my seven year old truck is the most basic one I could find, I doubt a truck I would have owned in 1941 would have had one. If I'd been driving a rough equivalent, say a 1934 Dodge, probably not.
At home, however, my wife would have had the radio on, she would have learned of the attack and started worrying right then. We have, after all, a 17 year old son.
0930 Hawaii Time. 1230 Mountain Standard Time. CBS interrupts regular programming to announce that Pearl Harbor was being attacked.
0930 Hawaii Time. 1230 Mountain Standard Time. The bow of the USS Shaw, a destroyer, is blown off. The ship would be repaired and used in the war.
Explosion on the Shaw.
0938 Hawaii Time, 1238 Mountain Standard Time. CBS erroneously announces that Manila was being attacked. It wasn't far off, however, as the Philippines would be attacked that day (December 8 given the
International Date Line).
Out hunting, we wouldn't have been back yet. At home, the anxiety would have been increased.
10:00 Hawaii Time, 13:00 Mountain Standard Time
The USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor on this day.
1300 Hawaii Time. 1600 Mountain Standard Time. Japanese task forces begins to turn towards Japan.
A third wave was by the Japanese debated, but not launched.
Wyoming is three hours ahead of Hawaii (less than I'd have guessed) making the local time here about 10:30 a.m. on that Sunday morning when the attack started.. The national radio networks began to interrupt their programming about 12:30. On NBC the announcement fell between Sammy Kaye's Sunday Serenade and the University of Chicago Round Table, which was featuring a program on Canada at war. On NBC the day's episode of Great Plays was interrupted for their announcement. CBS had just begun to broadcast The World Today which actually headlined with their announcement fairly seamlessly.
We would probably have come home about 3:00 or 4:00, maybe 5:00, and have learned of the days events then. It'd be a stressful, and dare I say it, exciting night, as the future was pondered. Including the future of "what will I do tomorrow morning".
And how about you and yours? How would this day have played out for you?