Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Aftermath at Pearl, 2

Our carpenter and pipe shops both had large cargo ports, which were either open or were opened by the initial attack. The cargo port in the carpenter shop was just above a camel, which is a large wooden planking structure floating between ships to keep them [Vestal and Arizona] apart. Oil-soaked, burned, and dazed men from the Arizona were climbing from the burning oil and water between the blazing ship and our ship onto the camel. Our men rescued them by pulling them up aboard the Vestal where they were put on cots in our shops. I assisted in the weld shop. I do not remember any of these men having on clothing, except for some who had on “skivvies” (shorts). Their clothes had been burned off, and most suffered from burned flesh and hair…

Where it came from I do not know, but morphine was given when available. When it was administered, the needle was stuck in the earlobe of the victim, bent over and left attached. This was done in order to let someone know down the line that the victim had been given morphine...

USS Arizona ablaze and sinking

Boats came alongside our ship, and their men volunteered to come to the aid of the victims. We lowered the burned Arizona men into these boats. From there they either went to the hospital ship, Solace, or to beach hospitals. We could not give them much hope of surviving the day since they were in such bad condition...

I do not remember the next meal I ate after the attack as I was not too hungry for a while. However, I do remember the meat was either chicken or turkey. As I looked at that undercooked meat, I nearly threw up. It was just too much of a reminder of all the burned human flesh I had seen. I think I was a vegetarian for over a week. Later I began to eat normally with little or no effects.

For quite some time, the odor of fuel oil was a reminder of what we had experienced. When we began to clean up the fuel oil that was all over the lower compartments, the odor there was a constant reminder. Even weeks later, when the ship took on fuel oil and some spilled on the deck, we were reminded. Eventually that too, subsided.

US Vestal's position at the time of the attack

From Frank L. Dolan's personal account, Pearl Harbor: As I Remember

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