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Re: sinclair-digest V2 #1053

Robert Sinclair Booth Jr., ENS, USNR, USS ARIZONA died in the dastardly
attack on Pearl Habou, 7 December.

The U.S.S. Bagley (386) Pearl Harbor, T.H.,  December 11, 1941 Commanding
Officer.Lieut-Commander G.A. SINCLAIR filied this report.

  U.S.S. Bagley (386)
Pearl Harbor, T.H.,
December 11, 1941.

From:Commanding Officer.
To:Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Subject:Report of Action Taken during Engagement at Pearl Harbor, T.H.

Reference:(a) Cincus Despatch 102102 of December 1941.

In accordance with reference (a) the following report is submitted.
On December 7, 1941 the USS Bagley was moored at the Navy Yard Pearl Harbor,
T.H., (Berth B22) for restricted availability (repairs to starboard bilge
keel). At about 0755 dive bombers were seen in action over Hickam Field.
They were believed at that time to be U.S. Army bombers. A few minutes later
a torpedo plane came in from the direction of Merry Point (between the navy
yard and Kuahua Island) at about 30-40 feet altitude and headed for the
U.S.S. Oklahoma. When about 200-300 yards from the Oklahoma the plane
dropped its torpedo and retired. The Oklahoma was hit about amidships.
Immediately general quarters was sounded. One of the forward machine guns
was manned by the Chief Gunner's Mate, SKINNER, Harry L., 271 92 16, USN,
who started firing at the third torpedo plane, and hit the fourth plane to
come in. This plane was seen to crash in the channel off the Officer's Club
The machine gun fire on about the eighth plane was so heavy that it swerved
to the left in front of the Bagley. This swerving caused the torpedo to drop
and it exploded in the bank about thirty feet ahead of the Bagley. The plane
crossed the bow of the Bagley and turned to recross. At this point JOHNSON,
Alpan W. 360 31 76, Sea2c, USN, fired at the plane from No. 1 50 Caliber
machine gun and downed it in the Navy Yard channel.
The third torpedo plane to be hit by the Bagley was shot down by PETERSON,
Lowe, 368 58 62, Sea1c, USN, who was not a machine gunner but who
volunteered to assist at No. 3 machine gun. The plane, swerving under the
fire of the forward machine guns, headed for the light cruisers, Honolulu
and St. Louis, moored in the slip astern of the Bagley. As PETERSON's shot
hit it, it went out of control, dropped its torpedo and seemed to hit the L
head crane in the Navy Yard. The machine gunner was seen to fall out. This
was probably about the eleventh plane to come in.
WILLIAMS, Lewis E., 164 41 21, BM2c, V6, USNR, regular machine gunner on the
after machine guns shot down the next plane to be hit by the Bagley. This
plane came down over the dock, evidently thinking it would escape the
Bagley's fire which was very well placed. WILLIAMS, an excellent machine
gunner, downed it with one short burst. The torpedo was dropped in the
lumber pile on the dock and the plane is believed to have crashed on the
The Bagley's fifth plane was brought down by WILLIAMS and PETERSON together.
This plane came down on the starboard side to the Bagley, having crossed
over from the port side. As the bullets hit the plane smoke came out of the
plane, it nosed directly up into the air and spun into a crash losing its
The sixth plane shot down by the Bagley was one of the dive bombers, a part
of the second phase, occurring after the torpedo attack. This plane was shot
down by No. 3 5"/38 Caliber gun and guns from other ships. During the first
part of the torpedo attack orders were given to make all preparations for
getting underway and the main battery was cleared of all awnings and hamper
in short order. All preparations made below deck were very well carried out.
The Communication Officer, Lt. (jg) W.R. HUNNICUTT, Jr., USN, a gunnery
school graduate, manned the director and controlled the fire. The five inch
battery was placed in local control for the dive bombing attack.
The ship was underway from the dock at 0940, after having to run lube oil
down in one system in the engine room. The ship proceed[ed] as quickly as
possible around the north side of Ford Island, because it was thought that
the other channel was blocked, and out to sea, pausing only to pick up
Lieutenant Commander F.R. WALKER, USN, commanding officer of the U.S.S.
Patterson. Lieutenant Commander WALKER was transferred to the Patterson
after leaving the channel, and Lieutenant Commander H.N. WILLIAMS, USN, and
Lieutenant G.M. CHAMBERS, USN, commanding and executive officers of the
U.S.S. Blue were picked up at the same time at sea.
Because of the defective bilge keel this ship was ordered to return to the
off shore patrol area and it did not accompany Task Force Eight.
Lieut-Comdr. WILLIAMS and Lieut. CHAMBERS were sent into Pearl Harbor in a
ship's boat on Monday December 8, 1941 at about 1700.
This vessel patrolled in Sector One until ordered to return to Pearl Harbor
on December 9, 1941.
As listed in paragraph (A). Five torpedo planes, one dive bomber and high
altitude bomber.
The ship received no direct hits.
The shock of the firing and the explosions near by broke three bridge
windows, several light globes and cracked some of the "light house" glasses
on the reduction gears. The last mentioned item caused considerable loss of
lubricating oil which will have to be replaced.
Casualties to own personnel were as follows:
WELLS, Charles H. 271 82 33, CQM(PA), USN, received a very slight flesh
wound in leg from piece of shrapnel or a splinter. This was dressed by the
doctor after getting underway.
QUIGLEY, Charles D. 382 31 38, F2c, USN, received second degree burns on
face and arms when disconnecting electric power leads from dock, while power
was still on. No navy yard personnel were available to cut off power.
ESTERLINE, James L. 243 65 90, F2c, USN, received a first degree burn on
left arm from hot shell case.
PYEL, Quinton E. 360 15 47, F2c, USN, received laceration on the left arm
while cutting gromets from 5" shells.
None of the above injuries incapacitated the recipients for duty.
In general the officers and entire crew of the ship responded to the
emergency in an exemplary manner. There was not one case of improper conduct
or attitude. The officers and men carried out their orders in a manner which
was most gratifying. All the officers were outstanding in their willingness
to endure the lack of rest to keep the stations manned properly to repel any
further attack.
The action of the following enlisted personnel were especially creditable.
PETERSON, Lowe, 368 58 62, Sea1c, USN, who although he had no previous
experience as a machine gunner, performed that task like an expert; brought
down one plane, and assisted in bringing down another.
LA VOIE, Joseph E., 243 34 39, FC1c(M), USN, who was the only rangekeeper
operator on board and who manned that station on the director for 48 hours,
leaving his station only to go the head very occasionally.
SKINNER, Harry L., 271 92 16, CGM(AA), USN, whose presence of mind put No. 2
machine gun in action almost as soon as general quarters was sounded with
the attendant result of shooting down the first enemy plane.
WELLS, Charles H. 271 82 33, CQM(PA), USN, whose aid was invaluable in
assisting in getting the ship underway and clear of the dock.
BRYANT, Robert J., 286 84 54, CBM(PA), USN, who practically unassisted made
all the deck preparations for getting underway while the ship was under
MERRY, Sherman F., 393 48 71, Sea1c, USN, who volunteered in singling up and
casting off lines when under fire from enemy machine guns.
There were no stoppages on the machine guns although about 3400 rounds were
fired and only one part broke which part was renewed in less than 30 seconds
because the spare parts were layed out at the gun.
There was only one slight casualty to the 5"/38 Cal. guns. (Rammer casualty
on #1 gun which was overcome in less than one minute) 165 rounds of A.A.
Common were expended.
The remarkable coolness fire discipline of a green crew under actual battle
It is believed that the Bagley was the first ship to open fire on the enemy,
(SKINNER opened fire on the third torpedo plane to come in.)
The 5"/38 Gun crews were made up largely of volunteers, engineers off watch,
etc., because the shortage of personnel did not allow a full crew on each
The men off watch, after getting underway, during the evening, asked for 30
Caliber rifles and desired to stand watches hoping for a chance to shot at
enemy planes, and had to be ordered to "turn in".
HOHLT, Harold, Sea1c, USN, and KAMM, Howard, Sea1c, USN, came on board from
the U.S.S. Schley because that ship had no guns to fire. Their assistance to
the machine gunners was very valuable. Their action in considered
The foregoing is the statement of the acting commanding officer, Lieutenant
The Commanding Officer, Lieut-Commander G.A. SINCLAIR, executive officer and
navigator, Lieutenant R.L. NORRIS, the gunnery officer, Lieutenant T.E.
CHAMBERS, and Ensign P.S. OLIVER, USNR, were away from the ship on
authorized leave of absence at the time of the engagement and were unable to
rejoin the ship prior to getting underway. Lieut-Comdr. SINCLAIR, Lieut.
NORRIS, and Lieut. CHAMBERS reported to Commander Destroyers, Battle Force
(U.S.S. Whitney) and Ensign OLIVER reported on board U.S.S. Mugford. Lieut.
CHAMBERS later assigned to Conyngham for temporary duty.
It is the opinion of the commanding officer that the performance of
Lieutenant CANN is highly commendatory and worthy of suitable recognition.
His handling of the Bagley during the above mentioned period was flawless.
Copy to:


Ref CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942

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