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The destroyer USS Shaw explodes after an armor-piercing bomb hits its forward powder magazine on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

THE SHIPS AT PEARL

By Charles Apple
The Spokesman-Review

Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 79 years ago today. Several of the ships damaged or sunk that morning returned to service, thanks to heroic efforts by officers, sailors and repair contractors.


BATTLESHIPS

The primary targets for Japanese pilots on Dec. 7, 1941, were aircraft carriers and battleships. Fortunately, the carriers homeported at Pearl Harbor were out to sea that day:

The Lexington departed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 5 to deliver a fighter plane squadron to Midway Island.

The Enterprise had delivered a similar squadron to Wake Island. It had been expected back at Pearl the night of the 6th but was delayed by bad weather.

The battleships weren’t quite so lucky. Eight battleships and one former battleship-turned-target vessel received much of the wrath of the Japanese Navy.


ARIZONA BB-39

ENTERED SERVICE 1916

DAMAGE Sank when a bomb hit the powder magazine.

KILLED 1,177

AFTER A total loss, the ship now serves as a submerged memorial to the losses at Pearl Harbor.


CALIFORNIA BB-44

ENTERED SERVICE 1921

DAMAGE Struck by two bombs and sank.

KILLED 105

AFTER Refloated in March 1942 and rebuilt at Puget Sound. Returned to service in May 1944.


MARYLAND BB-46

ENTERED SERVICE 1921

DAMAGE Hit by two bombs. Assisted other ships.

KILLED 4

AFTER Repaired at Puget Sound and returned to service by February 1942. Fought at Leyte and Okinawa.


NEVADA BB-36

ENTERED SERVICE 1916

DAMAGE Intentionally beached after taking multiple hits.

KILLED 57

AFTER Refloated in February. After light repairs, participated in capture of Attu Island in May 1942.


OKLAHOMA BB-37

ENTERED SERVICE 1916

DAMAGE Took five torpedoes. Rolled over and sank.

KILLED 429

AFTER Was declared a total loss. Salvage began in March 1943. Sold for scrap in 1947 but sank again.


PENNSYLVANIA BB-38

ENTERED SERVICE 1916

DAMAGE Was in drydock. Moderately damaged.

KILLED 24

AFTER Repaired in San Francisco. Returned to service by March 1942. Fought in the Aleutians, Guam, Leyte and Wake.


TENNESSEE BB-43

ENTERED SERVICE 1920

DAMAGE Struck by two bombs and damaged by the explosion of the nearby Arizona.

KILLED 5

AFTER Returned to service in February 1942.


UTAH BB-31, converted to target ship AG-16 in 1931

ENTERED SERVICE 1911

DAMAGE Rolled over and sank after a torpedo strike.

KILLED 58

AFTER The Navy declared the ship a total loss. It still sits on the bottom of the harbor with bodies still trapped inside.


WEST VIRGINIA BB-48

ENTERED SERVICE 1923

DAMAGE Took six torpedo hits and sank on an even keel.

KILLED 106

AFTER Refloated, towed to Puget Sound and rebuilt. Participated in the battles of Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


CRUISERS

Two heavy cruisers and six light cruisers were at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Three were damaged.


HELENA CL-50

ENTERED SERVICE 1939

DAMAGE Hit by a torpedo.

KILLED 34

AFTER Returned to service in 1942, fighting at Guadalcanal. Was sunk off New Georgia in July 1943.


RALEIGH CL-7

ENTERED SERVICE 1924

DAMAGE Hit by a torpedo and nearly capsized.

KILLED 0

AFTER Repaired at Mare Island and returned to service in July 1942. Served escort duty in the Aleutians.


CURTISS AV-4 Seaplane tender

ENTERED SERVICE 1940

DAMAGE Hit by two crashing planes.

KILLED 21

AFTER Repaired in San Diego. Returned to Pearl Harbor in January. Fought in Okinawa and along the West Coast.


DESTROYERS

Of the 30 destroyers in the harbor that day, three took heavy damage.

In addition, one minesweeper, one repair ship, a seaplane tender, a harbor tug and a floating drydock were damaged. All were put back into service by August 1942.


CASSIN DD-372

ENTERED SERVICE 1936

DAMAGE Was hit in drydock and considered a total loss.

KILLED 0

AFTER Rebuilt at Mare Island and returned to service in February 1944. Fought at Guam and Iwo Jima.


DOWNES DD-375

ENTERED SERVICE 1936

DAMAGE Was in drydock with Cassin. Also declared a total loss.

KILLED 12

AFTER Rebuilt at Mare Island and returned to service in November 1943. Served in the Marianas and Guam.


SHAW DD-373

ENTERED SERVICE 1936

DAMAGE Hit three times before powder magazine exploded.

KILLED 24

AFTER Rebuilt in San Francisco and returned to service in August 1943. Served at Guadalcanal and the Marianas.

Sources: U.S. Navy, Naval History & Heritage Command, Navsource.org, the U.S. Navy Museum, National Archives, “Pearl Harbor: The Day of Infamy – An Illustrated History” by Dan Van Der Vat, “Our Call to Arms: The Attack on Pearl Harbor” by Life magazine | PHOTOS FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND THE NAVAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COMMAND