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This is a transcript of Chief Henry Clyde Daniels US Navy of the Destroyer USS Drayton (DD 366). A hand written diary December 7th 1941 to May 1942:


Pearl Harbor, December 7th Sunday 1941

Left Honolulu about 7 o’clock to come back to the ship for a clean uniform.  On the way

back, had a feeling something was wrong or rather that something was going to happen.   

Was waiting for a ships boat at the boat landing in the navy yard when a big explosion

was heard in the vicinity of Hickam airfield.  Everyone was saying what the hell was

that?   Noticed a lot of airplanes coming over, but was used to seeing them.  Then 4

planes flying about 150 ft in the air came directly over us at the landing.  Each plane

had a torpedo in the rack underneath.  As they passed, someone yelled, “ Hey look at the

big red ball painted on the tail of the planes”.  Just about then they let go at the

Battleships, point blank, about 2 min. later we could see the torpedoes exploding in

the ships.  Everyone yelled about the same time “Japs”.  Right after that 10 more planes

came in and each let go a torpedo at the battleships, the Oklahoma, California, West

Virginia, Nevada and Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee.  By this time the

guns were opening all around the fleet.  Jap planes were everywhere.  Two planes dove

at us on the landing and machine-gunned us, there was about 150 men waiting for boats. 

Everyone started running and ducking for cover, about 10 were hit.  Bombs were being

dropped all around the harbor and you could see planes dropping and crashing, some of

the bastards diving right down on the ships, making sure they hit them and blowing them

selves up.  Machine guns were being put up all around by Marines and everyone was

grabbing rifles that were being handed out and firing at the planes.  There were some

motorboats at the landing and we grabbed off some crews and started toward the battleships

that were on fire to pick up men that were swimming in the harbor.  Just as we got near to

them, the Oklahoma started turning over and laid over on her side.  Men were scrambling

all over her side that was out of the water.  We picked up a boatload and rushed them to

the nearest dock at the air station.

 

Oil was 2 inches thick on the harbor by then and the men could hardly swim in it at all. 

Metal and debris was flying everywhere.  We picked up more men when the Arizona’s magazine

blew up everyone in the boat was stunned as we were about 150 yards from her.  You could

see flames shooting up from her 250 feet in the air and when she blew up, bodies were

hurled in the air like bits of paper, some of them landed near us or rather pieces of

them.  We continued picking up men, moving bodies that were floating we left for later. 

Planes were all around the bay for every ship was firing by now.  What a nightmare. 

We continued picking up men until 9 o’clock Sunday night.  Five battleships still burning,

everyone was fighting fire and the oil in the harbor had caught afire.  My ship and the

division had fought there way out of the harbor, so went aboard the USS Whitney to stay. 

Got something to eat then went with the fire and rescue party’s, stay up all night as did

everyone else who was alive.

 

Monday December 8th 1941

 

Fires still burning on the ships that were bombed and torpedoed   USS Utah and Oklahoma

lying over on their sides Cutting torches are being used to cut holes in the sides to get

men still alive out, after they turned over.  Everyone still stunned over the attack. 

Went to the Navy yard.  Hundreds of men with no ships wandering Dazed Clothes were being

issued out everywhere.   Navy hospital filled up.   Trucks, carts anything used to haul

men to the hospitals in town.   Hundreds of dead laying out on the grass around the navy

yard   two destroyers in dry dock burned up and turned over on their sides from bombs. 

USS Shaw in the floating dry dock blown in half Boats still picking up bodies from the

harbor.  About 3 o’clock in the afternoon went back to the Whitney and fell asleep. 

Woke up about 2 o’clock in the morning and went with a gang to help fight fires on the

battleships and relieve some men.

 

Tuesday December 9th

 

Fought fires until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  We were relieved to eat and went

over to the navy yard where they were feeding us.  About 150 women coming thru the yard

 

headed for the hospital to act as nurses and help out.  Found out they were women from

the sporting houses over in Honolulu.  Went back to USS Whitney and cleaned up and bummed

some clean clothes.  Slept a couple hours then went on S.P. duty over in the yard.

 

Wednesday December 10th

 

My ship came back in port and pulled up to the oil docks to fuel.  Went aboard, was glad

to get aboard, we fueled in about 2 hours then shoved out with rest of the division. 

Headed to join the Lexington and a task force.  As we went out of the harbor, everyone

had a lump in their throat as we gazed at the wrecks that was once the pride of our

fleet, now just their turrets and mast sticking up out of the water.  We lost Nevada,

Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, California and Utah and Ogalala, Cassin, Shaw, Downes

(3 Destroyers).  Headed for task for that is searching for the Japs that are left.

 

Dec. 11th

 

Headed for task force, everyone hoping we run across some Jap ships.

 

Dec. 12th

 

Headed for task force.

 

Dec. 13th

 

Planes swooped down on us this morning, but we had spotted them and sent out our

recognition signal, they were planes from the Lexington.

 

About 4 o’clock joined up with task force.

 

Dec. 14th

 

Cruising with task force

 

Dec. 15th

 

Force getting low on oil and it is too rough for oiling at sea, so we get orders to return

to Pearl Harbor.

 

Dec. 16th

 

Heading for Pearl Harbor.

 

Dec. 17th

 

Heading for Pearl Harbor.

 

Dec. 18th

 

Arrived at Pearl Harbor this morning, fueling ship, and then we went alongside repair ship

Dobbin.

 

Dec. 19th 

 

Loading up with more ammunition and getting ship ready for war

 

Dec. 20th 

 

Doing misc. jobs about the ship and loading.

 

Dec. 21st 

 

Just heard today that we are going to convoy some ships to Palmyra Island and Christmas

Island.

 

Dec. 22nd

 

Carried out routine ships work and finished about everything there was for stripping ship

for action.

 

Xmas is near, but there is no Xmas spirit in the fleet.  Everyone just wants a crack at

the yellow bastards that attacked us.  We will get it.

 

Dec. 23rd

 

Left Pearl Harbor with 4 ships in convoy for Christmas Island and Palmyra Island.

 

Dec. 24th

 

Contacted Submarine on sound gear and convoy scattered.  We attacked with 600 lb. Depth

charges, dropped 5 of them.  Submarine surfaced bow up at a angle of about 45 degrees

and poised this way for about a minute, no 1 gun and no 3 put about 4 shots apiece in it. 

She sank with a big hissing noise.  So long you yellow bastards.  Repaying debt for Pearl

Harbor.  Picked up convoy and proceeded on our course.

 

Dec. 25th

 

Xmas and had a nice dinner with all the fixings, nothing happened today, just routine

ship work

 

Dec. 26th 

 

Everything peaceful, proceeding on our course

 

Dec. 27th 

 

Proceeding on our course.

 

Dec. 28th 

 

Proceeding on our course.

 

Dec. 29th

 

Proceeding on our course.

 

Dec. 30th

 

Proceeding on our course.

 

Dec. 31st 

 

Proceeding on our course.

 

 

 

January 1st

 

1942 New years, but we don’t realize it, just another day.

 

January 2nd

 

Arrived at Christmas Island about 4 0clock, started patrolling outside the harbor while

ships were being unloaded.

 

January 3rd

 

Soldiers brought us out a boatload of coconuts and all hands were drinking the milk. 

Report came in that a Jap aircraft carrier was attacking Jarvis Island.  All hands put

on alert.

 

January 4th

 

Convoy ships finished unloading and we left Christmas Island for Palmyra.

 

January 5th

 

Picked up other ships off Palmyra and proceeded to Honolulu.

 

January 6th

 

Proceeding to Honolulu.

 

January 7th

 

Proceeding to Honolulu, everything peaceful.

 

January 8th

Just before daylight, lookout reported torpedo wake across our bow.  We were using

listening device, sound operator switched to sound and picked up submarine about 2,000

yards off port bow another torpedo missed our stern about 40 yards.  Director picked up

periscope about 1500 yards to port, Guns 4 and 1 opened up on it.  Captain swung the

ship and headed full speed for it.  Convoy got signal and had scattered.  As we were

heading for the sub she submerged her scope and as we passed over her let go 3 600 lb.

Depth charges and 2 from the Y gun.  Circled back and there was lots of oil and wreckage

on the spot where we let go.  Captain congratulated all hands on good work.  Some more

yellow bastards for Pearl Harbor.  Assembled convoy and proceeded toward Honolulu. 

Convoy signaled congratulations.

 

January 9th

 

Sighted two patrol bombers from Pearl Harbor gave them recognition signal.  About 11 am

dropped convoy at Honolulu and proceeded to entrance of Pearl Harbor.  Received a well

done from C in C...

 

January 10th

 

In the navy yard Pearl Harbor.

 

January 11th

 

Taking on stores and doing minor repairs to ship.

 

January 12th

 

Left Pearl Harbor with task force, consisting of 2 aircraft carriers, 5 heavy cruisers,

11 destroyers and 2 fast fleet oil tankers.  Captain told us this afternoon we are going

to attack the Marshal Islands.

 

January 13th

 

Proceeding with task force.

 

January 14th

 

Proceeding with task force.  Planes from carriers are patrolling away ahead of us, and

practicing dive-bombing on us.

 

January 15th

 

Crossed equator, no celebration

 

January 16th

 

All destroyers in task force fueling at sea, we finished about sun set.

 

January 17th

 

Proceeding with task force.

 

January 18th

 

Proceeding with task force

 

January 19th

 

Proceeding with task force.

 

 

 

January 20th

 

Captain called all chiefs into his cabin and explained to us what we were going to do

in the attack, and that the task was receiving information from our submarines operating

around the Marshal Islands every 3 hours as to the situation.

 

January 21st

 

Received orders from task force commander for Drayton, Clark and Lamson to proceed to

Samoa and guard outside harbor for convoy that was heading for there with marines and

supplies we are making 32 knots.

 

January 22nd

 

Arrived at Pago Pago Samoa, went inside to fuel ship.  Had 2 hrs. Liberty got some cold

beer at the naval station.  Left the harbor about 6 pm. And patrolled outside during the

night, sounding for subs.

 

January 23rd

 

Patrolling outside Pago Pago

 

January 24th

 

Patrolling outside Pago Pago

 

January 25th

 

About 10 am, sighted convoy, three large Matson liners, the Lurline, Matsonia and the

Monterey and 3 large navy supply ships, they were loaded with 4,000 marines, tanks and

guns and ammunition and planes.

 

January 26th

 

Left Pago Pago Samoa to join up with task force.

 

January 27th

 

Proceeding at 25 knots.

 

January 28th

 

About 9 o’clock sighted 3 planes, got ready for action, sent recognition signal with the

signal light and planes answered.  They were from our carriers.  About 2 o’clock sighted

our task force.  Fell in position with them.

 

January 29th

 

All destroyers fueling at sea from tankers.

 

January 30th

 

Proceeding toward Marshall Islands.

 

January 31st

 

Nearing Marshal Island, Captain called all hands to quarters and told us we will go into

action tomorrow morning.  All kind of remarks from crew was heard during the day about

what we were going to do with the Japs.

 

February 1st

 

General quarters sounded about 3 o’clock all hands taking showers and putting on clean

clothes.  4 o’clock all hands at their battle stations.  Day is just breaking, planes

taking off from carriers.  Can make out Juluit Island, the Japs main base in the Marshals.

We can hear loud explosions; our planes are bombing all ready.  The heavy cruisers are

firing also.  Our guns will not range that far, we are standing by for a torpedo attack

and protecting the carriers.  Can see all kinds blazes from fires on the beach.  The

carriers are making about 27 knots now on their courses.  Planes are landing and loading

up more bombs and taking off again.  We leave the carrier and proceed at 35 knots; a Jap

carrier is leaving the entrance to the harbor.  There are 5 of us destroyers making the

attack.  We can see our planes engaged in fights with the Jap planes.  We get in range

and all make a fast turn and let go one torpedo apiece.  About 6 Jap planes are diving

at us, but our guns are throwing them off.  Some of our fighter planes came in and

battling them.  When the bombs they drop go off you can feel the concussion believe me. 

Our torpedo’s hit, boy you can see the explosions and the Jap carrier is laying over on

her side.  We fall back to the carriers and keep up our aircraft barrage.  We can pick

out the Jap planes easy enough.  We can see planes falling in the water.  Can’t see what

damage the planes are doing at the base in the harbor but by the smoke and explosions

they are doing plenty.  One big Jap 4 motor job badly hit tried to crash on the carriers’

deck, but just hit the edge and burst into flames.  Can see them fighting the fire. 

About 11 a.m. Cease firing went and all the ships proceeding away at full speed.  Our

planes were landing as we are going away.

 

February 4th

 

Proceeding to Samoa, flags were flown at half-mast for the dead.

 

February 5th

 

Arrived at Samoa.

 

February 6th

 

At Samoa.

 

February 7th

 

Carriers and cruisers left here for Pearl Harbor.

 

February 8th

 

At Samoa.

 

February 9th

 

Left Samoa to join another task force.

 

February 10th

 

Proceeding to meet task force.

 

February 11th

 

Met up with task force consisting of aircraft carrier Lexington, 4 cruisers an oil tanker

and 8 destroyers.

 

February 12th

 

Crossed International Date Line, gained a day, so today is Friday the 13th.

 

February 13th

 

Near the Solomon Islands.

 

February 14th

 

Fueling at sea.  Received word we will escort the oil tanker Neasho.

 

Back to Pearl Harbor when she is through fueling the force.

 

February 15th

 

Crossed International Date Line about 2 o’clock this morning so we had two Sundays.

 

Cruising toward Honolulu with Neasho.

 

February 16th

 

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

 

February 17th

 

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

 

February 18th

 

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho, about 10 o’clock this sighted a raft with a white

flag flying, investigated it and no one aboard.

 

February 19th

 

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

 

February 20th

 

Crossed the equator this morning about 11 am.  No celebration.  Still on course for

Pearl Harbor.

 

February 21st

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

 

February 22nd

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

 

February 23rd

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

 

February 24th

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

 

February 25th

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor About 10 a.m. sighted a patrol plane from Pearl Harbor.

 

February 26th

 

Still on course for Pearl Harbor.

 

February 27th

 

Arrived at Pearl Harbor.  Went along side Whitney.

 

February 28th

 

Notified that I am being transferred tomorrow to USS Whitney for further assignment

somewhere.

 

March 1st

 

Left the old Drayton and reported aboard Whitney, kind of hated to leave her after being

aboard for over 5 years.

 

March 2nd

 

Aboard the USS Whitney just hanging around.

 

March 3rd

 

Went ashore as beer was allowed to be sold again and lifted a few, had a good liberty.

 

March 4th

 

Aboard the USS Whitney waiting, might be here for over a month.

 

March 5th

 

Aboard the Whitney Went ashore again and lifted a few and see who I could see.

 

March 6th

 

Transferred to US Rec. ship Pearl Harbor for further assignment, don’t know where.

 

March 7th-Thru 15th

 

Still at receiving ship, life of Riley.  (Last entry)


 

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WOW MOST IMPRESSIVE POST

Thank you, Copied it and want to keep a historical copy

- Chaplain Jerry

God Bless

Jerry,  My father retired after 23 years in the Navy. He was a Chief Carpenters mate which was changed to damage control man.  He lived in Welaka Florida served as Mayor for several terms.

He is buried in Arlington Cemetery

I can only say it is good to have written letters, dairies from family members. Hopefully they can be passed on to other family members.

 

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