Pearl Harbor Deck Logs and Witnesses

Uploaded by usnationalarchives on 07.12.2011

A deck log is a running log of administrative activities on a ship. In our project we removed
them from the tattered boxes, placed them in new acid-free boxes, which the original
boxes were not acid-free. And then we also placed them in new acid-free folders. December
7, 1941, USS Maryland, battleship. The day of the attack the deck logs begin very early
on in the morning with most of the ships receiving large quantities of ice cream. When you first
read the first report, it’s very calm. And then all of a sudden you start seeing all
these reports. Enemies reported, this ship is on fire. This is the deck log of the USS
Dale, a destroyer in the US Navy. “07:58 Waves of torpedo planes, level bombers
and dive bombers marked with Japanese insignia attacked Pearl Harbor. 08:10 Opened fire on
planes with machine guns followed by main battery.” You can sort of feel the fear
and the panic of the person entering the information into the logs. And it all comes through in
the deck logs. The Maryland was involved in rescuing a lot of people. “11:19 Oil fire
on water around USS West Virginia is getting worse. Approaching stern of this vessel. 11:45
Called away fire and rescue party to assist in rescue of USS Oklahoma personnel.” These
logs are available and open to the public. And the records are stored in our climate-controlled
stacks to further protect the records. So it really tells us something about the people
who were actually selected to do these reports In spite of everything that was going on they
were still able to sit down and calmly write what they had to write. “09:30 Published
and posted a CinCPac despatch as follows: Your conduct and action have been splendid.
We took a blow yesterday. It will not be a short war. We will give many heavy blows to
the Japanese. Carry on.”