A beautiful sky studded with innumerable stars greeted me this morning. Land was off our starboard side waiting for the dawn and us. We couldn't pull in the harbor at night due to the heavy mining of the waters. Pearl Harbor appeared beautiful to us. We sailed slowly down the mouth of the harbor and into our docking place, observing everything we could. The entrance is absolutely run over with destroyers and cruisers. Planes upon planes circling overhead - Grunman fighters, Amphibs, Pby's, biplanes and monoplanes.
Slightly more than 200 feet in front of us is the U.S.S. California on its way up from the bottom. In front of that is the Oklahoma, overturned. Then the Utah, still on the bottom and the Arizona on the bottom and irreplaceable. Off our starboard, across the channel rests the hulks of two destroyers on top of the water but burned black and the plating resembling corrugated iron from the intense heat it was subjected to. In back of that, a warship still on the bottom in its dock, being slowly brought to the surface.
No sooner had we docked then a torpedo net was spread around our ship. Upon inquiry, I learned the U.S.S. Chester, upon which Bob Maguire is, left only a few days ago. I find Bob was quite modest. The men talk of their work as admirable stating that the Chester drove, blasted I should say, the damned Japs right off Wake Island.
After four hours guard and supper, we brought our barracks bag to another boat scheduled to take us to our destination tomorrow (Kauai Island) and proceeded to look over the near airfield. The sailors were wonderful talkative and friendly. They explained the day of 7 December, each in their own way, and damage done and people killed. We examined the planes and the sailors explained them to us. The sailors were all mostly from the wrecked ships just working there and waiting for a transfer. An enormous Amphib was still lying there, wrecked, a replica of the disaster.
From the diary of Pfc. Harry Schweikert** 96th Coast Artillery Corps. E battery who sailed from San Francisco on the U.S.S. Republic February 28, 1942. Also on board was James Coyle (E Company 505-PIR) who was a sergeant with the 106th Infantry Regiment at the time.
** In the latter part of 1944 Harry, now a Staff Sergeant, was serving in France with the 410 Infantry Regiment, company I. He received a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant in January of 1945.
Lt. Harry Schweikert is the webmasters uncle. His father and 4 uncles served in WW-II.This year December 2017, we are adding more of the diary. Harry kept a diary of the railroad trip from South Carolina to California. He also recorded his trip across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to The Territory of Hawaii. Click Here !