Monday, December 7, 2015

Pearl Harbor Day, 2015 -- December 7, 2015

74 years ago a sneak attack by forces of the Japanese Empire sank or damaged much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The Japanese Empire came to regret doing this.

USS West Virginia was one of the dreadnaughts parked in Battleship Row when the Japanese attacked.  Six aerial torpedoes hit her, but some were duds.  Two bombs started fires which spread across the ship. Captain Mervyn S Bennion was severely injured by shrapnel.  He refused to be evacuated and died at his post.  He later was awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor.  Messman Third Class Doris Miller was among the men who tried to evacuate the captain.  Doris Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery. 

West Virginia sank in shallow water.  After the attack, she was pumped out and patched.  She sailed to the Puget Sound Navy Yard and was heavily rebuilt. 

West Virginia participated in the Battle of the Surigao Strait, the invasion of Iwo Jima, the invasion of Okinawa, and was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. 

The photo shows West Virginia in San Francisco Bay about 1934 during the building of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. 

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