Genealogy Trails

Pearl Harbor


The Imperial Japanese Navy made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941, aiming to disable the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy stationed there. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions which the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia.

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The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. Of these eight damaged, two were raised - in all, six of the battleships were repaired and able to return in service later in the war.

In all, the attack destroyed 188 aircraft, and killed 2,403 American servicemen and 68 civilians. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft and five midget submarines, with 65 servicemen being killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

The Pacific Fleet's three aircraft carriers were not in port and so were undamaged. Also escaping attack on the island itself were the Navy's power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section).

Because of the International Date Line, the Japanese records state the attack took place on December 8, 1941.

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Battleship Row Pearl Harbor


Arizona: Exploded; total loss. 1,177 KIA.
Oklahoma: Capsized, 429 KIA. Refloated November 1943; capsized and lost while under tow to the mainland May 1947
West Virginia: two bombs, seven torpedoes, sunk; 106 KIA. Returned to service July 1944.
California: two bombs, two torpedoes, sunk; 100 KIA. Returned to service January 1944.
Nevada: six bombs, one torpedo, beached; 60 KIA. Returned to service October 1942.
Tennessee: two bombs; 5 KIA. Returned to service February 1942.
Maryland: two bombs; 4 KIA (including floatplane pilot shot down). Returned to service February 1942.
Pennsylvania (Kimmel’s Flagship): in drydock with Cassin and Downes, one bomb, debris from USS Cassin; 9 KIA. Remained in service.

Ex-battleship (target/AA training ship)

Utah: Capsized; total loss. 58 KIA


Helena: One torpedo; returned to service January 1942. 20 KIA
Raleigh: One torpedo; remained in service.
Honolulu: Near miss, light damage; remained in service.


Cassin: in drydock with Downes and Pennsylvania, one bomb, burned; returned to service February 1944.
Downes: in drydock with Cassin and Pennsylvania, caught fire from Cassin, burned; returned to service November 1943.
Shaw: Three bombs; returned to service June 1942.


Oglala (minelayer): Damaged by torpedo hit on Helena, capsized; returned to service as an engine-repair ship on February 1944.
Vestal (repair ship): Two bombs, blast and fire from Arizona, beached; returned to service by August 1942.
Curtiss (seaplane tender): One bomb, one Japanese aircraft; 19 KIA. Returned to service January 1942.


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