Pearl Harbor - battleship row

While surfing the web I came across an aerial photo of Pearl Harbor.

Note: it is colorized, so purists have been warned.

The photo was taken the day after the Pearl Harbor attack and shows part of the east side of Ford Island in the middle of the harbor. Five battleships, or remains thereof, are visible. Closest to the top of the photo is Maryland, which was moored inboard (toward the island) and thus was partly shielded. Moored outboard of her was the Oklahoma which did get torpedoed and is capsized, bottom up.

Next in line ahead (the ships are moored facing the lower right) are Tennessee, inboard, and West Virginia, outboard. As with the ships behind them, the outboard vessel caught the worst of the attack, and the hull looks a bit warped.

Ahead of them the repair ship Vestal, which had been doing some work on the Arizona prior to the battleship going into dry dock, has been moved…and inboard there is what is left of the Arizona. All the ships are hemorrhaging oil here. To this day the Arizona still continues to cry her black tears into the harbor.

Not seen in the photo are the California, which is out of the frame at the top, and the Nevada which had been moored ahead of the Arizona. She was the only major ship able to get underway during the attack. Her skipper deliberately ran her aground near the harbor entrance to keep her from perhaps being sunk in deep water or blocking the channel. Ever since, that location has been called Nevada Point.

Just onshore from the Arizona is the officers’ housing area for NAS Ford Island. The big red-roofed C-shaped building is the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters with a large banyan tree in the center. The tree is still there 82 years later. Scattered around through the trees are quarters for married officers. At the far right is a jetty connected to Quarters A, the admiral’s residence, for when he needed to take a launch off the island (there was no bridge).

Closest to the Arizona is Quarters F. That was our house, my house, for a year.

Not when the photo was taken, of course. Dad was assigned to the antisubmarine command based on Ford Island from 1960 to 1961, and Quarters F was our home for that year. Just offshore was a rusty “sandbar” visible at low tide, and that was the Arizona. The monument was yet to be built; there was only a welded-on platform where a motor launch would tie up twice a day for flag raising and Retreat. The bugle call could be clearly heard from our quarters.


Note: From the shadows the photo was taken about 8:30am on December 8th. On the 9th the Maryland and Tennessee, which had not flooded, were towed away from the debris around Ford Island.