- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, I was a 3rd class fire-control man aboard the USS McCall DD-400. Our destroyer was with the USS Enterprise task force returning to Pearl Harbor.

The ship’s loudspeaker blasted a fleet report: “This is not a drill, this is not a drill. Pearl Harbor is under attack, Pearl Harbor is under attack.”

Under the command of Adm. Bill “Bull” Halsey Jr., we immediately changed course to locate and engage the attacking forces. The Japanese forces were north to the island of Oahu. The Enterprise took a westerly route, with all aircraft airborne searching a vast ocean.

Daylight turned to dusk and increasing darkness. Many planes remained aloft, making their way back to their aircraft carrier.

At nightfall, in spite of the fleet’s “no lights” protocol, Adm. Halsey ordered ship searchlights to illuminate the sky as a marker for the returning aircraft. Standard equipment on all ships are 40-inch searchlights.

The Enterprise did not locate or engage any enemy forces.



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