Segment 8


When the 12 ships in his squadron hit Diamondhead [Annotator's Note: the volcanic crater on Oahu, Hawaii], 6 went south and 6 went north. They didn't know where they were going until they crossed the equator and the jungle gear was broken out. That was 2 or 3 days before they hit the island.That morning [Annotator's Note: 7 December 1941] they were anchored off of Pearl City. Ensign Bringle, the OD, Officer of the Deck, went hysterical. He was screaming about the harbor being bombed. A guy named Chuck ran into their compartment screaming and yelling. They didn't know what was going on. Finally they were called to general quarters.They dropped depth charges on midget subs and got 3 of them and got them [Annotator's Note: when Baptiste says 'they dropped depth charges" he is referring to the navy.].Baptiste was back at Pearl City. They used to train with the Oglala which was a wooden vessel. When the Japanese dropped bombs near it the whole thing disintegrated [Annotator's Note: USS Oglala (DM-4), was sunk at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 but was salvaged within a year and reconditioned. She was redesignated ARG-1 and served throughout the remainder of war. She did not disintegrate.].The Nevada [Annotator's Note: USS Nevada (BB-36)] almost blocked the harbor.Baptiste knew some of the guys on the Shaw [Annotator's Note: USS Shaw (DD-373)] which was in dry dock.The Saratoga was in dry dock and had a huge hole in it [Annotator's Note: USS Saratoga (CV-3) was in San Diego on 7 December 1941, not at Pearl Harbor. Not sure which ship he is talking about].During the bombing they were trapped in the harbor. The Nevada was the vessel that almost blocked the channel. They were able to get the Nevada out of the entrance to the harbor so they could get out.They were outside of the harbor for about two days then went in to get fuel. What they saw made them speechless. Everything was rubbish and covered with fuel oil. There were bodies everywhere.They had received a warning that the fleet [Annotator's Note: the Japanese fleet] was coming in but they weren't.People accuse Admiral Short [Annotator's Note: Baptiste means US Army Major General Walter C. Short. The Annotator believes that Baptiste is referring to US Navy Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel] of negligence but Baptiste doesn't think that there was anything he could have done. Hawaii was a place where they partied a lot. The navy relief ball was held there.Baptiste hasn't been the same since. He has had different ailments and has lost many members of his family.Baptiste lived here [Annotator's Note: in Louisiana] when they didn't have running water. They had banana trees with stalks so thick it looked like you were in South America.He told his sister the other day that he thought the whole interior of their old house was rotten. He feels that it is like they said in the navy - it's BER, beyond economical repair.


All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at