Commander Frederick Bell recounts his wartime experiences on the USS G (Grayson) during the Pacific War.
“CONDITION RED” was an expression that we used to indicate the imminence of any type of engagement. Aboard the G it was a colloquialism that served to express the conviction that the next few hours or days or weeks were going to be packed with action. We first heard it soon after we arrived in the Solomons, where the term was used on Guadalcanal and Tulagi to indicate the approach of the enemy, and when our voice radio blared out the words we went to General Quarters and prepared to greet the Tokyo Express or the Zeros and Mitsubishis when they came within view.
Little has been written of the part that our destroyers are playing in the Pacific War, where they are called upon to fulfil such a variety of missions that they have become multipurpose ships, engaging in any form of combat. Because we lacked suitable escort ships we used destroyers to protect convoys as well as to guard our combatant Task Forces. We used them to bombard enemy shore positions and to carry bombs and aviation gasoline and stores to Guadalcanal during the lean weeks early in our campaign in those far-distant seas.
By nature as well as by name, the purpose of the destroyer is wholly offensive. Bantamweights in comparison with the great battlewagons, they pack a punch out of all proportion to their size. They are triple-threat weapons, built to strike at any enemy on or over or under the sea. In the words of Rear Admiral Tisdale, “They are the fightingest thing afloat.”
Thanks to meticulous research, Daughters of Infamy puts this myth rest and shows that the vast majority of warships in the harbor suffered no damage at all. Former US Navy photographer David Kilmer provides documentation on each ship that survived the Pearl Harbor massacre. He records what happened the day of the attack, then traces the ships’ movements after December 7 and, in some cases, their destiny after the war. Contrary to popular belief, many met the enemy and helped to win the war in the Pacific.
Undoubtedly the first work to compile factual and informative data on nearly all the ships in Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Kilmer’s in-depth record fills a scholarly void. His fascinating narrative on each ship adds another layer of expertise and provides a new perspective on a familiar event.