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 At Sea
14 December, 1941
From:Ensign W. P. WEST, A-V(N), USNR, (Pilot of 6-S-5).
To:The Commander, Scouting Squadron SIX.
Subject:Report of Action with Japanese on Oahu on 7 December, 1941.
Reference:Art. 874 U.S. Navy Regulations.
  1. After completing scouting mission which took Lieutenant W. E. GALLAHER (in 6-S-10) and myself over Kauai, we approached Oahu in the vicinity of the Navy transmitter on the west side of the Island. Just before we reached the island approximately ten (10) low wing monoplanes, wheels extended type, passed from 1000 to 1500 feet over head. The cowls were marked in bright colors; and I took them for Army observation planes, of which there were several on Oahu.
  2. The smoke which was blowing to sea over Barbers Point was taken to be smoke from burning cane fields and it wasn't until I had seen from a distance the Ewa and Ford Island areas that I was aware that it was aircraft and buildings on fire. By this time several reports of enemy aircraft and bombing had been sent on the air, but I received none of these because my radio battery and generator were out. The heavy smoke kept aircraft from view. We proceeded to Ford Island over Ewa and turned back when the AA batteries set up heavy fire over Pearl Harbor. I believe the last attack was in progress at this time. A large ship five to eight miles south of the channel entrance was firing. A destroyer was close by this larger ship. After turning back from an attempt to go into Ford Island we proceeded to circle out to sea from Barbers Point. About five more SBD's joined up. At 3 or 4 thousand feet and in the vicinity of Barbers Point approximately 30 airplanes were joining up.
  3. I saw both in-line and radial engine planes in this group. After the AA fire had subsided the seven planes made an approach to Ewa and most of them landed. The ground crew motioned for us to take off. Lieutenant GALLAHER, Ensign DOBSON and myself were the first to land and we took off together. We were in right echelon, climbed to about 400 feet and headed for Ford Island. Ship and shore batteries sent up a barrage mistaking us for enemy aircraft. We continued in and landed at Ford Island. Damage to my plane was slight, two or three holes in the left wing. Only the skin of the wing was torn.
(Signed) W. P. WEST

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