David Armstrong, "Pearl Harbor! An Eyewitness Account",
American History Illustrated,
Used with permission, Copyright Primedia History Group.
Text and Image(s) from Magazine
An ensign aboard the Zane recaptures the drama that changed a peaceful
Sunday morning into instant war at...
PEARL HARBOR! An Eyewitness Account
By DAVID M. ARMSTRONG
That historic Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor began much as others had in
the previous ten months I had spent there.
The USS Zane was observing normal, leisurely Sunday morning "holiday
routine." Only the necessary swabbing of the decks and sweepdown of the
living compartments were being carried out-no other ship's work even in the
"spit and polish" Navy of that day. A church party was to leave the ship at
As Ensign Armstrong, I was officer of the deck of the Zane for the weekend.
I had finished breakfast and started up to the quarterdeck at about 0750 to
oversee the evolutions of "Morning Colors" and "Muster on Stations." The
quarterdeck, I noticed, was in the capable hands of the Gangway Watch,
Robert Rowell, boatswain's mate, second class.
As I walked aft to the quarterdeck I looked out at the other ships in the
harbor. Much of the fleet was in for the weekend with the notable exception
of the aircraft carriers. I could see fully thirty ships from where I
stood. Mine was a good vantage point because the Zane was moored in the
closest nest of destroyers in Middle Loch, one of several estuaries off the
Looking eastward toward Ford Island, which dominates the center of Pearl
Harbor, 1 could see nearby
[Caption] Commander Griffith Baily Coale's painting
of the attack on Pearl Harbor shows "Battleship Row" in the right
background where smoke and flame engulf battleships "Oklahoma,"
"Tennessee," "West Virginia," and "Arizona." In the foreground the
minelayer "Oglala" capsizes, and to the left the battleship "Nevada"
attempts to escape from the harbor as Japanese bombs straddle her
David M. Armstrong, "Pearl Harbor: An Eyewitness Account,"
American History Illustrated
, August 1974, David M. Armstrong Papers.
East Carolina Manuscript Collection, Manuscripts and Rare Books, Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858 USA
David M. Armstrong Papers #555.1.g.
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