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Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Japanese Taught Us How to Fight

Loss of the USS Wasp (CV-7)

What Ward was Thinking

Still Carrying Shrapnel

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Harold Ward was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in April 1921. Ward had the life of a bastard growing up as he was born out of wedlock. Ward's mother was 16 years old when he was born. Ward bounced around from one part of his family to another. Throughout the Depression Ward lived with one part of his family but he prefers not to talk about that. Ward's years in high school were ugly. He went into the military because he was looking for stability. A lot of the kids came from various parts of the country and were excited to have a bed, running water, and three meals a day. Some of them were not used to taking a bath every day. Some of the guys only owned one pair of shoes. Ward’s family was used to hard times. Ward almost joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in order to find something more substantial. He worked summers on the Atlantic City Boardwalk washing dishes for one dollar a day. When Ward left Atlantic City he went to New York City to live with another segment of his family. He was treated like a child and realized he did not need that. Ward applied at the Brooklyn Naval yard, but as he waited to find out he became more and more upset with his family situation. He finally joined the navy. About eight months after Ward joined the navy he received a letter asking him to head down to the Brooklyn Naval Yard to talk about a job. Ward was trained so that he understood a man kept his word. Ward had other jobs that he had walked away from in the past, but he realized that once he was in the navy, he was in. Ward fought for his country shining shoes. He was angry throughout the entire war. He was able to subdue his anger because otherwise he would have ended up in a nuthouse. Ward was pegged as being not a good servant because of his attitude. He had to go on what was called the pantry watch. Ward was near Guadalcanal when this happened. Ward had to carry a coffee tray for the officers. A JG [Annotators Note: lieutenant (junior grade)] came down and yelled at Ward to keep the damn tray still. Ward did not take kindly to this and shot the JG a murderous look. The look Ward gave was obvious so the executive officer was called down and put Ward on report. Ward was summoned by the master of arms and told he had a meeting with the executive officer. Ward was informed that they did not like his attitude. Ward ended up being captain of the head and it was the best job he had throughout the war because he did not shine anyone else’s shoes but his. Ward cleaned the heads, the showers, and the living spaces.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] The morning of 7 December 1941 started off no different from any other Sunday. It was quiet and a lot of ships were in the harbor. Year by year the navy operated by conducting drills and patrols. The patrols were made up of cruisers and destroyers. If the battleships were out of the harbor they were drilling. December marked the end of the operating year for the navy. A lot of ships were going to be in harbor over the Christmas holiday. The attack on Pearl Harbor had been planned for years and they had been practicing for years. Ward notes that the Japanese were able to discern the layout of the battleships because anyone could look down and see where they were. Ward was scared, but noted that after about 15 minutes into the attack he took a second to realize the precision of the Japanese attack. It was like they were going through a drill. It might as well have been a drill for the Japanese because no one was prepared to fight. Many sailors were on the beach because they had leave for the weekend. Many sailors, the ones who could afford it, spent the time ashore with their wives. Most of the guys around Ward's age were not concerned with getting married because they could not afford it. Ward did not think about marriage until the end of the war. Pearl Harbor was chaotic. It was bloody and it was frightening until he was able to realize what was happening. Ward's battle station was on the wing of the bridge. He could see the whole thing happen. He witnessed the Oklahoma [Annotators Note: USS Oklahoma (BB-37)] roll over while the Arizona [Annotators Note: USS Arizona (BB-39)] was still exploding. Ward was able to see the pilots individually as they came in low and slow. He could see the torpedoes fall into the water and saw them slamming into the Tennessee [Annotators Note: USS Tennessee (BB-43)] and West Virginia [Annotators Note: USS West Virginia (BB-48)]. Pearl Harbor was very shallow and needed to be dredged every year or two. Ward could look aft and see little dots diving and swooping over Hickam Field and could see black smoke rising in the sky. He could not see beyond Pearl Harbor from the opposite direction of Hickam. All of the docking buoys were occupied by destroyers or cruisers. The carriers were not in Pearl Harbor. Ward had a friend whose time was up. He was heading back to the United States to be discharged. He was aboard the Saratoga [Annotators Note: USS Saratoga (CV-3)] heading back to San Diego. Two days out of port the Saratoga came back to Pearl Harbor and his friend ended up serving the rest of the war. The San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was a dead ship. They were taking water and power from the beach. Most of their food stuffs were coming from the beach. The refrigeration aboard ship was taken offline so that it could be overhauled and cleaned. The midship of the San Francisco had a well deck aft of their stacks. The well deck was wide open on 7 December so that the cranes could get access to the ship. Ward was able to see everything happening because they had backed up into their mooring. The bow of the ship was pointed out directly towards the harbor. Ward had earphones on. There were five people stationed around the bridge of the ship. Ward went to the battle station and realized he was the only one to show up. Ward grabbed a set of headphones and a voice from damage control wanted to know who he was speaking too. Ward told him they were being attacked by the Japanese. The voice responded and told Ward to not get wise with him and answer the question. Ward described what he was looking at and there was dead silence on the other end. Ward never heard from the man again.

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Harold Ward found out that the man on the other side of the headphones died about six years ago. Ward wore the headphones until four o'clock that afternoon because they did not know if the Japanese were going to come back [Annotators Note: to Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941]. Ward notes that the response to the first wave was slow, however when the second wave of Japanese planes came they were met with antiaircraft fire and a few American planes. The Japanese had totally destroyed the Naval Air Station. When it came to an antiaircraft response, the San Francisco had two and a half inch guns which were called dual purpose guns. They could train upwards at about 60 degrees. The shells were timed to explode at various levels. Very little antiaircraft fire was fired at the Japanese that day. Some of the guys fired .30 caliber machine guns. The only fast moving planes Ward saw were the Japanese fighters. They would circle above, fly down, strafe the ships and return to an over watch position. The attack started at five minutes to eight in the morning. The first wave was done 40 or 45 minutes later. It was quiet for a few moments and then at about nine the second wave came in and finished the job. There were boats and small craft everywhere responding to battleship row. There were tons of sailors in the water. Ward is not sure how anyone got off of the Oklahoma [Annotators Note: USS Oklahoma (BB-37)] but some guys did make it off. He doesn't know if anyone who was in the ship made it out. Ward went into Pearl Harbor in 1943 and saw the holes cut in the bottom where rescuers had cut the bottom of the ship. The rest of the ships sunk and settled on the bottom. The former skipper of the San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was in command of the Utah [Annotators Note: Ward says the USS Utah (AG-16) but he is actually referring to the USS Nevada (BB-36)]. He saved her by running around the point on Ford Island and he ran it aground. The Utah ended up in the Atlantic as a participant in the European Theater. The Japanese totally incapacitated Pearl Harbor. They were unfortunate because they did not catch the carriers in Pearl Harbor. Later some of those carriers were sunk. Ward recalls witnessing the Wasp [Annotators Note: USS Wasp (CV-7)] go down. It was like a barn fire, no one could put the fire out. A destroyer came along and put two torpedoes in the Wasp in order to sink it. The night after the Pearl Harbor attack, Ward recalls that it was very quiet. He notes that it was a different kind of quiet. Everyone was stunned. Ward went below deck after they secured from general quarters. There was a numbing silence, it was as if people were walking into a church, mostly people were stunned and scared. They were scared. No one had been to war before. They did not even know how to fight a damn war, the Japanese taught them.

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Harold Ward remembers that it was quiet after they secured from general quarters. Around three in the afternoon they had picked up most of the live survivors who were still in the water. There were quite a few bodies that were literally blown off of ships, after rescuers had rescued the living, they turned to the grim task of retrieving the bodies. Ward met a man in a Pearl Harbor survivors meeting that had to jump off of the West Virginia [Annotators Note: USS West Virginia (BB-48)]. About 40 men from the USS West Virginia were transferred to the USS San Francisco (CA-38). Ward meets a man named Bill and they were able to joke and talk about shared experiences on the USS San Francisco. Ward could see people swimming, and he could see people who were not swimming. Everyone was in their white naval uniforms so the harbor was filled with white clad bodies. The men in the rescue boats worked all day making runs between the harbor and the beach. It was an all day thing. They were still picking up bodies up the next day. The Japanese never struck the Naval Yard. They only got one piece of the yard which was the drydock. The USS California (BB-44) was in drydock, and lost over a hundred men in combined casualties. There was a mine layer near the USS California that took a big hit. Near the air station was where the greatest damage was done. Ward notes that it is amazing that the USS Arizona (BB-39) is still leaking oil to this day. The tanks were full of oil. Ward used to have dreams about the war that lasted five or six years. His wife used to wake him up in the middle of the night and to Ward's surprise he was thrashing, yelling, and making a commotion while he was sleeping. Ward will think about it if someone asks. Ward makes note that Honolulu was very much like the South because of how everything was segregated. The USS San Francisco had been in the yard in October 1941. They were due to be out of the yard by the first of the year 1942. The San Francisco was being completely overhauled so most of the guns by that point were on shore. By Christmas they had been at sea for days. They put the ship back together incredibly fast to get it back to sea after Pearl Harbor. They were moved out and refueled. The USS San Francisco was put into a task group that was supposed to relieve Wake Island. They were to screen the Enterprise [Annotators Note: USS Enterprise (CV-6)]. They realized they were going to do no good at Wake Island so they turned around and headed back. They steamed around in the Pacific for awhile. They saw Christmas twice because they were sailing near the date line. They only had one Christmas dinner on the ship. They ran out of food and had to resupply in Samoa. This was the day before replenishment at sea. When you resupplied in those days you pulled into a harbor and the supply ship was already waiting for you.

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The USS San Francisco (CA-38) replenished and headed down towards the Coral Sea. They raided New Guinea airport and the first naval ace shot down his fifth plane over the airport. He was an enlisted man. Ward was way offshore and could only see the mountains. Ward could see the planes as they made their attack. After that they were patrolling around the Coral Sea and the USS San Francisco was detached. One of the guns outfitted on the San Francisco was faulty and was prone to blowing up. The 20 millimeters were a new and highly automatic weapon. [Annotators Note: At 41:08 the phone rings in Ward's house.] The USS San Francisco missed the battle of Coral Sea because they were in Vallejo, California getting new weapons. After receiving new guns, the San Francisco escorted four destroyers to Auckland, New Zealand. The ordinary sailor did not know it yet but they were preparing for Guadalcanal. When they arrived in Auckland with the ships they convoyed one of them, a hospital ship from Alabama, was detached and sent to Fiji to set up a hospital. That hospital ended up treating sailors from the USS San Francisco. They were also treating Marines who were hurt on Guadalcanal. Ward met a Marine who had a serious case of mesothelioma. He was a coal miner. Ward, when he was wounded, had to sit next to this man and hear night in and night out how he was having problems breathing. The USS San Francisco was assigned to a task force that had four cruisers and six destroyers. That was the amount of weight they had to fight the whole Japanese Navy. Two carriers had already been lost by the time the San Francisco was sent to the Solomons [Annotators Note: the Solomon Islands]. The Wasp [Annotators Note: USS Wasp (CV-7)] came down to Guadalcanal after the Marines had landed. The USS North Carolina (BB-55) had just come on station and she had two destroyers with her. A night action took place when the Japanese steamed down and sunk a task group that supported the Marines that included the USS Quincy (CA-39), the USS Vincenes (CA-44), the USS Astoria (CA-34), and the USS Canberra [Annotators Note: HMAS Canberra]. The USS Chicago (CA-29) was badly damaged and rendered useless. Four heavy cruisers were sunk in 30 minutes. To lose four heavies was a remarkable thing. Some of the ships were sent from the Atlantic. The day the USS Wasp was hit, Japanese submarines had put themselves some distance away so that the destroyers could not pick them up on radar. A submarine fired a spread and was able to sink the Wasp. The San Francisco was circling around at the ready in case they could help out with the Wasp. Ward remembers seeing ammunition exploding on the Wasp. Ward recalls seeing steel burning white hot. The USS Wasp listed to one side. A destroyer and a cruiser attempted to spray the fire. At about five in the evening the order was given to abandon ship. The San Francisco was there when she went down.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] They lost a lot of cruisers in a short amount of time. Four heavy cruisers in one night and a carrier out of action within a short amount of time. After the USS Wasp (CV-7) went down they had no carrier to protect. It was all gunnery, no planes. In 1940 the USS Philadelphia (CL-41) was moored in Philadelphia. It took about a year to overhaul a ship. There were about four or five mess attendants very unhappy with their job in the navy. Back then they did not do what they do today in order to entice people to join. The navy did not tell blacks that they could do anything. Ward did not know until he got to boot camp what was expected of him. Ward never realized until they took him to unit B-East, which was a segregated unit. There was a ten foot chain link fence surrounding the compound because, according to Ward, they did not want niggers running loose out there. There was a glass type house that housed guards to make sure people did not come and go. B-East was where the blacks were finally told that their job was going to be cleaning shoes and basically serving any officers request. They were told that the only way for advancement was to display the proper attitude and then they might hold out hope of becoming a cook. These were the only available options. The only thing that was equal was the pay scale. When Ward left boot camp he was a Mess Attendant 3rd Class. The seaman apprentices left boot camp as Seaman 2nd Class and took home 15 more dollars per month than Ward. It was up to Ward to be receptive to his job. Ward hated the work. Sometimes Ward would work in the pantry, and at all hours of the night officers would request coffee and whatever else. Usually he had to prepare coffee for two people, the officer of the deck and the junior officer of the deck. Ward notes that it was incredibly hard to navigate the bowels of a ship while carrying a tray of coffee. Ward hated it. Ward lost the tray twice when the wind took it. They never gave Ward crap about it because everyone realized they were on a ship and that it was hard to walk around with a tray of coffee. The officers acted like it was a country club or a restaurant. That was the scope of what Ward had to do in terms of service. Ward did not make a good servant. Looking back on it now, Ward realizes that if he had been a civilian doing the same job, he would have been fired multiple times. On a volunteer basis he might have done it twice before deciding to do something else. Ward never finished college because of mortgages and children. Ward found that he could not handle working and going to school at the same time.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] The second battle off of Savo Island started a little after midnight. It lasted for about an hour. It was a hectic thing. The enlisted people did not ordinarily know what was going on in the upper echelon. It was in the wardroom where the captain and the executives knew what was going on, and then they would pass down the orders to the officers. A full prewar compliment of sailors on the San Francisco consisted of roughly 800 men. After the war started the San Francisco carried roughly 1200 men. Some men from the December 1941 class of the Naval Academy came on board the USS San Francisco. They loaded the ship with extra men because they knew they were going to lose people. The only reason they needed 400 extra men was so that the ship could sustain casualties. On 12 November 1942 the USS San Francisco was covering a supply drop off of Guadalcanal for the Marines. There were coastwatchers on Guadalcanal and other islands in the Solomons and they warned the San Francisco that on the afternoon of the 12 Decemebr that 12 Japanese torpedo planes were headed their way. It was one or two in the afternoon. The San Francisco was close in on the beach but once the aircraft came over they realized they had to get moving. They were able to knock down most of the planes. One of the planes crashed intentionally into the San Francisco. There was an explosion when he hit. They lost 22 people from the plane hitting the ship. They were able to clear the plane off of the deck. They did not have time to bury the dead because late in the afternoon it was supper for the crew and everything needed to be cleaned and secured. They went immediately to general quarters at around seven or eight [Annotators Note: that evening] and they stayed there until the battle began. Ward knew something was going on because he could feel the screws turning on the ship. They steamed right into a mess. There were two cruisers with destroyers; dead ahead there was a battleship and a cruiser, with two destroyers [Annotators Note: the two cruisers with destroyers and the battleship with a cruiser that Ward mentioned were all Japanese vessels]. Around the point a Japanese battleship was waiting close to shore. Since radar was not able to get an accurate reading of the Japanese ship because of its proximity to shore, it was a complete surprise. The San Francisco was in the middle of a terrible exchange of fire coming from three different points. The San Francisco was able to fight its way out and helped set one of the Japanese battleships on fire. They were able to knock out a Japanese destroyer as well. After an hour the line of battle had broken up. Night time did not allow for searchlights to be turned on. It was a nasty scrap. The Helena [Annotators Note: USS Helena (CL-50)], the Portland [Annotators Note: USS Portland (CA-33)], and the Salt Lake City [Annotators Note: USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)] made it out. San Francisco took the opening hits. Most of the fanfare seemed to head towards the San Francisco's way. Most everyone on the bridge was killed. The admiral was killed and so was most of his staff. They lost most of the officers on the navigation bridge. Bruce McCandless ended up taking control of the ship. The San Francisco was taking water and it was listing. They lost most of their people in the Number Two handling room. Some people were lost in damage control. The First Lieutenant in control of damage control was killed. Damage control was below the waterline. Any hit that came through the armor belt would cause casualties. That night the Japanese lost a battleship and two cruisers. The other Japanese battleship was damaged and headed back to Rabaul.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] The planes from Henderson field on Guadalcanal sank the burning Japanese battleship the next day and went after the escapees. They were also able to damage another cruiser but most of the Japanese group escaped. The USS San Francisco was withdrawing. That same day the Juneau [Annotators Note: USS Juneau (CL-52)] came along side the San Francisco to lend a hand in treating her casualties. They had so many wounded. Between the aircraft strike of the day before and the night action off of Guadalcanal, they lost almost 100 people overall. Most of the people died that night because of a fire on board that they could not put out immediately. Thirty minutes after the USS Juneau helped with the wounded, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Admiral Scott had transferred his flag from the USS San Francisco to the Atlanta [Annotators Note: USS Atlanta (CL-51)]. The USS Atlanta went down that night. The USS Juneau was the only ship left the next day, the day it helped the San Francisco. The USS San Francisco was only able to make 15 knots. The submarine that sank the Juno left the area. The USS San Francisco's task group began making its way away from the area. The naval battle took play on 13 November [Annotators Note: 13 November 1942]. Ward was wounded, and was transferred on 15 November to the hospital ship the Hope [Annotators Note: Ward is referring to the USS Hope (AH-7)]. Ward was more afraid being lifted onto the Hope then when he was fighting the battle. All Ward could hear was the swish of water between the two ships and all he could think was please do not drop me. Ward was happy when his stretcher clunked on the deck of the hospital ship. When Ward was wounded he recalled seeing bright flashes and hearing loud noises. Next thing he knew, he was flat on his back on the deck of the ship. He was blown off of his battle station. Ward was on a stretcher laying next to Leonard Harmon, a mess attendant who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He died at around ten in the morning. Ward tried to talk to him but he did not respond. Ward was transferred to the army hospital on Fiji. Ward was listening to all of the noise going on and was waiting to be called on to do what he was taught. He was thinking, I hope they don't sink this son of a bitch because it is hard to get off of the ship. If you get some nasty hits and she starts to sink, you do not know where you are going. More than likely it is going to be dark, and there may be fire. You do not think what you are going to do; you hope that the people trained to do their jobs do it well enough so you can get the hell out of there without having to swim. Ward had a friend on the Vincenes [Annotators Note: USS Vincenes (CA-44)], he had to swim. The sailors were swimming in oil and the oil eventually lit. Ward believes the ships did not follow protocol during the first battle of Savo Island as they were not at general quarters. The Japanese came down and within 30 minutes the Japanese laid them down. The San Francisco was almost sunk when Ward was wounded. The Helena [Annotators Note: USS Helena (CL-50)] almost fired on the USS San Francisco, but a quick thinking man aboard the San Francisco flashed a message and averted the potential disaster.

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Harold Ward has never seen any history on what happened to the Helena [Annotators Note: USS Helena (CL-50)], the Portland [Annotators Note: USS Portland (CA-33)], or the Salt Lake City [Annotators Note: USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)]. Ward’s ship had its own problems. The San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was hit very hard. Ward was spattered with shrapnel. He has pieces of shrapnel ranging in size from a quarter to a dime. Most of the shrapnel is in Wards legs. Six or seven years ago a little piece came out of his knee. It came out like a pimple. Ward has a piece near his shin that has been riding near his skin for awhile. A piece that hit his leg lay across a nerve; every time Ward brushes past a chair it hits the nerve and the whole leg can give way. They wanted Ward to leave the navy on disability. Ward was also hit in the testicle. His testicle shrunk down to the size of a peanut. Ward was able to get a good look at it in a recent X-ray. The X-ray tech was surprised to see so much steel in his body. Ward reminded her that the Japanese could shoot straight. Ward wears his medals in his body. Ward went into the service force and was stationed on a baby tanker. They carried aviation gas and fuel. They could carry a half million gallons of aviation fuel. Ward spent the summer of 1943 delivering aviation fuel to the Alaskan coast. There were airstrips out there. They would run back down to Seattle, Vancouver, or San Francisco, reload and go back out again. In August of 1943 Ward was sent to Pearl Harbor. They had to deliver fuel to Christmas Island, Midway, and a few other places. Ward spent Christmas of 1943 on Midway. A civilian ship was at Midway and they had whisky. They were selling the sailors quarts of cheap whisky for twenty five dollars. They were thieves. Ward fell out of his bunk drunk on Christmas. He woke up at reveille and realized that he had lost some of the skin on the side of his face. Ward recalls mixing 180 proof alcohol with grapefruit and orange juice. The senior cook and Ward went down to the storeroom and swiped some mixers. They partied. The old man knew they were partying but he did not interfere. Ward stayed at Midway for another four or five days then they headed back to Pearl Harbor, got more fuel and headed to Palmyra.

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By 1944 Harold Ward had added some stripes to his arm. Ward was transferred to an AK ship, a big liberty ship [Annotators Note: an attack cargo ship]. It was a clunker. It would load up with 9,500 tons of groceries. Ward later realized that the Japanese did not hunt merchant ships. They prized the bigger capitol ships. Each time they steamed out with a load they never had a problem. They would get to Kwajalein, or Ulithi, meet the fleet, unload their goods and make another run. Sometimes the airstrip would want food. They would stay out there with the food until it was all gone. When they returned to the United States they were riding high in the water. It took nine days to load the vessel. It was near the end of the war. Ward sent his wife money to come to California thinking he had at least nine days to load the ship. The ship loaded early and they left. Ward had to go ashore and tell his wife that they were going to be gone sooner than expected. The liberty ship only made ten knots with a stiff wind going downhill. It was an old steam engine. Ward knew if they took a torpedo it would be time to swim. The Japanese wanted warships. They did not target logistical ships until Okinawa. The gasoline tanker Ward was on hopped around in the war zone and never had any problems. They had to dump fuel at Palmyra because the 14th Air Force was there. When Ward was in the tanker he used to sleep with his life jacket on. That was life in the service force. Ward thinks being in the service force saved his life. He had put in a request for submarine duty but was denied. Ward got in a fight with the medical officer on board the San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] and was labeled temperamentally unfit for duty. Ward thinks this saved his life. Ward had been to the Philippines; they had serviced the fleet. They were then moved to another harbor just off of Manila. They dumped the remainder of their cargo then started heading back for the United States. The Indianapolis [Annotators Note: USS Indianapolis (CA-35)] was sunk a few days before the war ended. Ward found out on 14 August [Annotators Note: 14 August 1945] that the war was over. That night was the first time he saw a lit ship at sea in four years.

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It was amazing to Harold Ward to see how quickly they dumped stuff after the war was over. They were heading back to the United States when the war was over so they were empty. They stopped at Pearl Harbor for two days then they were to go to San Francisco. Two days outside of San Francisco they were told to take the ship to Seattle. They put the ship alongside the pier. Everyone walked off of the ship. Ward made his grade. The captain was angry with the navy because he never went to war. He was a commercial merchant shipmaster before the war. Instead of getting a destroyer, cruiser, carrier, or battleship he was conning the same kind of ship he served on as a civilian. The captain of the food ship was hated by everyone. No one respected him. Ward was up for a promotion and the captain called him in, tore up the promotion papers and said this is what I think of people like you. Ward does not know if the captain said it because of his blackness, or because he never boxed. Ward is not into fisticuffs and he did not know how to handle his hands. Ward's supply vessel just hopped around and it made the captain angry. The service force is very humdrum. The ship had guns aboard and a gun crew but it did not mean anything. One torpedo would have sunk the ship easily. The ship was low in the water. In one instance they really overloaded the ship. Ward could step off of the gunnel and not make a splash when he hit the water. The service ships were expendable. They were building ships incredibly fast. That is what whipped the Japanese. The mere fact that we [Annotators Note: the United States] could produce what was needed for war quickly and effectively. The Japanese could not replace their gear. If the Japanese had not taken Borneo and Java, they would have been in a tough spot for oil. Ward was not a very good servant. He was able to subdue his anger. Ward was no longer filled with fear. When Ward was at the San Diego Naval Hospital they gave him a physical. They asked Ward if he would like 30 days leave. When Ward got to New York he was sad because everyone he knew was gone. One of Ward's aunts was blunt and asked him how he got wounded, by throwing pots and pans at the enemy. Ward thought it was absolutely humiliating. Ward thought about the black guys who are dead who served their country. Ward would be willing to bet that every black person aboard the Arizona [Annotators Note: USS Arizona (BB-39)] was killed. It exploded for hours after the first attack. It was like watching the Fourth of July in Boston.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded. He was then transferred to a cargo ship and finished the war hauling fuel, ammunition, and supplies to various locations.] The Arizona [Annotators Note: USS Arizona (BB-39)] lost practically the whole crew. It was awful. Ward feels like the war could have changed him. When he got back to the United States, he had fought a war, shed blood, seen black and white die but he was treated the same when he got back as before the war. There were still theaters and busses and trains that were segregated. There are people who Ward will never know who hate him based on his skin color. That is what Ward came back too. The 1960s was an uproar and changed a lot of things. Ward did not realize how many friends he had until his wife died. He was shored up from all corners. Seven people came and cleaned his yard up before the interview. Ward is invited to dinner constantly. They had a party in town in his honor. A kid laid a big bouquet in his lap. Ward is a black man who came to the town of Lee when there were only 876 people in town. Ward's was the only black family. Ward has danced at his friends' weddings, babysat their babies, and looked after children if he was asked. His wife was the town clerk. Ward worked for the police department for awhile. The chief asked him if he would be a police officer. Ward asked his wife and she thought it was alright. For five years Ward was with the police department. There was only one full time police officer. Ward likes his town; it is his hometown. It has been a lousy two and a half years for Ward since his wife died. He is getting used to being alone. He is starting to do more stuff. Ward does not want people to send their kids to war unless they intend to win the war. Do not worry about the morality of your enemy. Do what you have to do. The enemy is there to kill you. Get off of the high horse and go to war. If not, do not go to war. War is immoral anyway. People die, people get hurt. The boys coming back now are coming back wounded. Ward believes there are still terrorists in America.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] The morning of 7 December 1941 started off no different from any other Sunday. It was quiet and a lot of ships were in the harbor. Year by year the navy operated by conducting drills and patrols. The patrols were made up of cruisers and destroyers. If the battleships were out of the harbor they were drilling. December marked the end of the operating year for the navy. A lot of ships were going to be in harbor over the Christmas holiday. The attack on Pearl Harbor had been planned for years and they had been practicing for years. Ward notes that the Japanese were able to discern the layout of the battleships because anyone could look down and see where they were. Ward was scared, but noted that after about 15 minutes into the attack he took a second to realize the precision of the Japanese attack. It was like they were going through a drill. It might as well have been a drill for the Japanese because no one was prepared to fight. Many sailors were on the beach because they had leave for the weekend. Many sailors, the ones who could afford it, spent the time ashore with their wives. Most of the guys around Ward's age were not concerned with getting married because they could not afford it. Ward did not think about marriage until the end of the war. Pearl Harbor was chaotic. It was bloody and it was frightening until he was able to realize what was happening. Ward's battle station was on the wing of the bridge. He could see the whole thing happen. He witnessed the Oklahoma [Annotators Note: USS Oklahoma (BB-37)] roll over while the Arizona [Annotators Note: USS Arizona (BB-39)] was still exploding. Ward was able to see the pilots individually as they came in low and slow. He could see the torpedoes fall into the water and saw them slamming into the Tennessee [Annotators Note: USS Tennessee (BB-43)] and West Virginia [Annotators Note: USS West Virginia (BB-48)]. Pearl Harbor was very shallow and needed to be dredged every year or two. Ward could look aft and see little dots diving and swooping over Hickam Field and could see black smoke rising in the sky. He could not see beyond Pearl Harbor from the opposite direction of Hickam. All of the docking buoys were occupied by destroyers or cruisers. The carriers were not in Pearl Harbor. Ward had a friend whose time was up. He was heading back to the United States to be discharged. He was aboard the Saratoga [Annotators Note: USS Saratoga (CV-3)] heading back to San Diego. Two days out of port the Saratoga came back to Pearl Harbor and his friend ended up serving the rest of the war. The San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was a dead ship. They were taking water and power from the beach. Most of their food stuffs were coming from the beach. The refrigeration aboard ship was taken offline so that it could be overhauled and cleaned. The midship of the San Francisco had a well deck aft of their stacks. The well deck was wide open on 7 December so that the cranes could get access to the ship. Ward was able to see everything happening because they had backed up into their mooring. The bow of the ship was pointed out directly towards the harbor. Ward had earphones on. There were five people stationed around the bridge of the ship. Ward went to the battle station and realized he was the only one to show up. Ward grabbed a set of headphones and a voice from damage control wanted to know who he was speaking too. Ward told him they were being attacked by the Japanese. The voice responded and told Ward to not get wise with him and answer the question. Ward described what he was looking at and there was dead silence on the other end. Ward never heard from the man again.

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Harold Ward found out that the man on the other side of the headphones died about six years ago. Ward wore the headphones until four o'clock that afternoon because they did not know if the Japanese were going to come back [Annotators Note: to Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941]. Ward notes that the response to the first wave was slow, however when the second wave of Japanese planes came they were met with antiaircraft fire and a few American planes. The Japanese had totally destroyed the Naval Air Station. When it came to an antiaircraft response, the San Francisco had two and a half inch guns which were called dual purpose guns. They could train upwards at about 60 degrees. The shells were timed to explode at various levels. Very little antiaircraft fire was fired at the Japanese that day. Some of the guys fired .30 caliber machine guns. The only fast moving planes Ward saw were the Japanese fighters. They would circle above, fly down, strafe the ships and return to an over watch position. The attack started at five minutes to eight in the morning. The first wave was done 40 or 45 minutes later. It was quiet for a few moments and then at about nine the second wave came in and finished the job. There were boats and small craft everywhere responding to battleship row. There were tons of sailors in the water. Ward is not sure how anyone got off of the Oklahoma [Annotators Note: USS Oklahoma (BB-37)] but some guys did make it off. He doesn't know if anyone who was in the ship made it out. Ward went into Pearl Harbor in 1943 and saw the holes cut in the bottom where rescuers had cut the bottom of the ship. The rest of the ships sunk and settled on the bottom. The former skipper of the San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was in command of the Utah [Annotators Note: Ward says the USS Utah (AG-16) but he is actually referring to the USS Nevada (BB-36)]. He saved her by running around the point on Ford Island and he ran it aground. The Utah ended up in the Atlantic as a participant in the European Theater. The Japanese totally incapacitated Pearl Harbor. They were unfortunate because they did not catch the carriers in Pearl Harbor. Later some of those carriers were sunk. Ward recalls witnessing the Wasp [Annotators Note: USS Wasp (CV-7)] go down. It was like a barn fire, no one could put the fire out. A destroyer came along and put two torpedoes in the Wasp in order to sink it. The night after the Pearl Harbor attack, Ward recalls that it was very quiet. He notes that it was a different kind of quiet. Everyone was stunned. Ward went below deck after they secured from general quarters. There was a numbing silence, it was as if people were walking into a church, mostly people were stunned and scared. They were scared. No one had been to war before. They did not even know how to fight a damn war, the Japanese taught them.

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The USS San Francisco (CA-38) replenished and headed down towards the Coral Sea. They raided New Guinea airport and the first naval ace shot down his fifth plane over the airport. He was an enlisted man. Ward was way offshore and could only see the mountains. Ward could see the planes as they made their attack. After that they were patrolling around the Coral Sea and the USS San Francisco was detached. One of the guns outfitted on the San Francisco was faulty and was prone to blowing up. The 20 millimeters were a new and highly automatic weapon. [Annotators Note: At 41:08 the phone rings in Ward's house.] The USS San Francisco missed the battle of Coral Sea because they were in Vallejo, California getting new weapons. After receiving new guns, the San Francisco escorted four destroyers to Auckland, New Zealand. The ordinary sailor did not know it yet but they were preparing for Guadalcanal. When they arrived in Auckland with the ships they convoyed one of them, a hospital ship from Alabama, was detached and sent to Fiji to set up a hospital. That hospital ended up treating sailors from the USS San Francisco. They were also treating Marines who were hurt on Guadalcanal. Ward met a Marine who had a serious case of mesothelioma. He was a coal miner. Ward, when he was wounded, had to sit next to this man and hear night in and night out how he was having problems breathing. The USS San Francisco was assigned to a task force that had four cruisers and six destroyers. That was the amount of weight they had to fight the whole Japanese Navy. Two carriers had already been lost by the time the San Francisco was sent to the Solomons [Annotators Note: the Solomon Islands]. The Wasp [Annotators Note: USS Wasp (CV-7)] came down to Guadalcanal after the Marines had landed. The USS North Carolina (BB-55) had just come on station and she had two destroyers with her. A night action took place when the Japanese steamed down and sunk a task group that supported the Marines that included the USS Quincy (CA-39), the USS Vincenes (CA-44), the USS Astoria (CA-34), and the USS Canberra [Annotators Note: HMAS Canberra]. The USS Chicago (CA-29) was badly damaged and rendered useless. Four heavy cruisers were sunk in 30 minutes. To lose four heavies was a remarkable thing. Some of the ships were sent from the Atlantic. The day the USS Wasp was hit, Japanese submarines had put themselves some distance away so that the destroyers could not pick them up on radar. A submarine fired a spread and was able to sink the Wasp. The San Francisco was circling around at the ready in case they could help out with the Wasp. Ward remembers seeing ammunition exploding on the Wasp. Ward recalls seeing steel burning white hot. The USS Wasp listed to one side. A destroyer and a cruiser attempted to spray the fire. At about five in the evening the order was given to abandon ship. The San Francisco was there when she went down.

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[Annotators Note: Harold Ward served in the navy as a mess attendant aboard the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). He saw action at Pearl Harbor and during the night battles off of Guadalcanal during which he was wounded.] The planes from Henderson field on Guadalcanal sank the burning Japanese battleship the next day and went after the escapees. They were also able to damage another cruiser but most of the Japanese group escaped. The USS San Francisco was withdrawing. That same day the Juneau [Annotators Note: USS Juneau (CL-52)] came along side the San Francisco to lend a hand in treating her casualties. They had so many wounded. Between the aircraft strike of the day before and the night action off of Guadalcanal, they lost almost 100 people overall. Most of the people died that night because of a fire on board that they could not put out immediately. Thirty minutes after the USS Juneau helped with the wounded, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Admiral Scott had transferred his flag from the USS San Francisco to the Atlanta [Annotators Note: USS Atlanta (CL-51)]. The USS Atlanta went down that night. The USS Juneau was the only ship left the next day, the day it helped the San Francisco. The USS San Francisco was only able to make 15 knots. The submarine that sank the Juno left the area. The USS San Francisco's task group began making its way away from the area. The naval battle took play on 13 November [Annotators Note: 13 November 1942]. Ward was wounded, and was transferred on 15 November to the hospital ship the Hope [Annotators Note: Ward is referring to the USS Hope (AH-7)]. Ward was more afraid being lifted onto the Hope then when he was fighting the battle. All Ward could hear was the swish of water between the two ships and all he could think was please do not drop me. Ward was happy when his stretcher clunked on the deck of the hospital ship. When Ward was wounded he recalled seeing bright flashes and hearing loud noises. Next thing he knew, he was flat on his back on the deck of the ship. He was blown off of his battle station. Ward was on a stretcher laying next to Leonard Harmon, a mess attendant who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He died at around ten in the morning. Ward tried to talk to him but he did not respond. Ward was transferred to the army hospital on Fiji. Ward was listening to all of the noise going on and was waiting to be called on to do what he was taught. He was thinking, I hope they don't sink this son of a bitch because it is hard to get off of the ship. If you get some nasty hits and she starts to sink, you do not know where you are going. More than likely it is going to be dark, and there may be fire. You do not think what you are going to do; you hope that the people trained to do their jobs do it well enough so you can get the hell out of there without having to swim. Ward had a friend on the Vincenes [Annotators Note: USS Vincenes (CA-44)], he had to swim. The sailors were swimming in oil and the oil eventually lit. Ward believes the ships did not follow protocol during the first battle of Savo Island as they were not at general quarters. The Japanese came down and within 30 minutes the Japanese laid them down. The San Francisco was almost sunk when Ward was wounded. The Helena [Annotators Note: USS Helena (CL-50)] almost fired on the USS San Francisco, but a quick thinking man aboard the San Francisco flashed a message and averted the potential disaster.

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Harold Ward has never seen any history on what happened to the Helena [Annotators Note: USS Helena (CL-50)], the Portland [Annotators Note: USS Portland (CA-33)], or the Salt Lake City [Annotators Note: USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)]. Ward’s ship had its own problems. The San Francisco [Annotators Note: USS San Francisco (CA-38)] was hit very hard. Ward was spattered with shrapnel. He has pieces of shrapnel ranging in size from a quarter to a dime. Most of the shrapnel is in Wards legs. Six or seven years ago a little piece came out of his knee. It came out like a pimple. Ward has a piece near his shin that has been riding near his skin for awhile. A piece that hit his leg lay across a nerve; every time Ward brushes past a chair it hits the nerve and the whole leg can give way. They wanted Ward to leave the navy on disability. Ward was also hit in the testicle. His testicle shrunk down to the size of a peanut. Ward was able to get a good look at it in a recent X-ray. The X-ray tech was surprised to see so much steel in his body. Ward reminded her that the Japanese could shoot straight. Ward wears his medals in his body. Ward went into the service force and was stationed on a baby tanker. They carried aviation gas and fuel. They could carry a half million gallons of aviation fuel. Ward spent the summer of 1943 delivering aviation fuel to the Alaskan coast. There were airstrips out there. They would run back down to Seattle, Vancouver, or San Francisco, reload and go back out again. In August of 1943 Ward was sent to Pearl Harbor. They had to deliver fuel to Christmas Island, Midway, and a few other places. Ward spent Christmas of 1943 on Midway. A civilian ship was at Midway and they had whisky. They were selling the sailors quarts of cheap whisky for twenty five dollars. They were thieves. Ward fell out of his bunk drunk on Christmas. He woke up at reveille and realized that he had lost some of the skin on the side of his face. Ward recalls mixing 180 proof alcohol with grapefruit and orange juice. The senior cook and Ward went down to the storeroom and swiped some mixers. They partied. The old man knew they were partying but he did not interfere. Ward stayed at Midway for another four or five days then they headed back to Pearl Harbor, got more fuel and headed to Palmyra.
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