Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 11, 2004
HISTORY: Pearl Harbor

You learn something new every day - my dad was telling me this story about Pearl Harbor over the weekend, and it's pretty horrifying. When they righted the capsized USS Oklahoma in 1943 and raised the USS West Virginia in 1942 they found that men had survived inside each of the ships for some two weeks after the attack, waiting in vain to be rescued; sailors in the West Virginia had scratched off days on a calendar as far as December 23, 1941:

Late Spring 1942 found Navy salvage teams finally getting to work on the WV.

An Inventive series of tremic cement patches were fitted to her port side, and enough water pumped out to partially float the once grand ship. BB48 was nudged across the Harbor into drydock and the grim task of finding bodies began.

For Commander Paul Dice, compartment A-111 was expected to be like the rest: Put on gas masks, place some goo into a bodybag and let the Medical boys worry about identification. They had seen it all, but this compartment was different. Dice first noticed the interior was dry and flashlight batteries and empty ration cans littered the floor. A manhole cover to a fresh water supply was opened. Then he saw the calendar. It was 12"x14" and marked with big red Xs that ended December 23. Hardened salvage workers wept uncontrollably as they realized the fate of these men. Word quickly spread among salvage crews: Three men had lived for 16 days to suffer the most agonizing deaths among the 2800 victims at Pearl Harbor.

More here, here and here.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:23 AM | History | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)
Comments

As I understand it, boats from California came over to assist with salvage efforts. Is this true? Do we know who they were and their imp-act?

Posted by: Don Lauda at July 27, 2005 8:27 PM
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