Dec 9, 1941 Pearl Harbor:
There was no quiet to be found this predawn morning even in this office. The roar of heavy machinery & plane engines complimented by the frantic activities of the damage and repair parties echoed even here.
The office had a strange glow to it. The white light from the office lamps fought for dominance over the orange-red light which flickered from the windows bathing the room in a Dante like illumination. For the first time in two nights the office light was winning, but this struggle was lost on the sole occupant of the office.
Husband sat exhausted in his desk chair surrounded by a mountain of reports, papers, and folders each piece containing more death, more bad news, more devastation. His chest throbbed slightly when he reached for the next report and reviewed the report again and again searching for a way to strike back, to make good. Attention to detail, that was his focus now he told himself. Bull, he thought, if only Bull could link up off Wake. Husband thought and worried a lot about Bull and his carriers this morning.
On Husband’s shoulders’ were four stars again. Not the two that should be there. In a fit of despair, he had ripped the four off on Sunday as he watched his ships, his fleet, burn and sink. But he was still in command and could do much maimed though he was.
The answers were somewhere in the reports, Husband knew. Details, yes. Decisive action, yes. Husband yearned to hit back with every fiber of his being. Oh, to have the New York here. His ship. Well, perhaps the submarines could catch the enemy carriers or the oilers and support ships. Surely, they had oilers nearby. And if their course stayed the same, maybe Bull could do something on the Wake to Midway line. Surely, they were low on fuel and supplies.
Half of the battleship fleet sunk. The West Virginia, Nevada, Tennessee, and the Oklahoma gone, victims of deadly Japanese torpedoes in this torpedo proof harbor. They even hit his flagship, the Pennsylvania, with torpedoes and she was in drydock. Then there was the Phoenix, Husband would never forget the sound the light cruiser made when her magazine exploded. He wondered how he would ever sleep again.
The remaining capital ships were all heavily damaged, but all of the fires were either out or under control. Sadly, the shipyard had been heavily damaged in the raid too and most of ships would need to go to other yards for repair. Philadelphia and other east coast yards would be busy for a year or more if Husband could get the wounded ships there. That is if they survived today.
Some fires still blazed away on some of the smaller ships especially the destroyer Preble. It seemed incredible that the ship could still float as the fire seemed to consume the ship.
In addition to the larger ships the Wright and several minesweepers were also sunk. The airfield, hit once in the morning and then in the afternoon was inoperable. The airplanes, parked in central areas to prevent sabotage, deemed the greatest threat, were devastated. A lone Texan, a trainer, was the only plane to fly against the second wave. Poor man, he wasn’t able to make even one pass before the Zeroes shot him down.
Some PBY’s still flew, and found the Japanese carrier force north of Pearl. Headed towards Midway and Halsey’s carrier group - however that could change as Pearl was almost defenseless. Hit again, hard. That is what he would do. Finish the job, destroy the Pacific Fleet. His fleet.
Some reports came in that Wake and Guam had air raids while Midway was shelled. Surely, their next move would be against Wake or Pearl again.
By God, dawn would surely bring more enemy planes Husband thought – but this time he was going to be ready and with Bull he had an aggressive commander that could eventually hit back hard.