Original U.S. WWII USS Pennsylvania Attack on Pearl Harbor Survivor Named Grouping

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. United States Navy Radioman James Willard Wilson service number 360-04-35 from San Diego, California aboard the USS Pennsylvania on December 7th, 1941 when the Japanese staged a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Jim kept a log of his activity and his entry on December 7th reads as follows:

Sunday Dec 7, 1941
at 0755 Sunday morning an attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor and Hawaii was staged. The attack was a heavy blow. Seemed like it was impossible. First ship was sunk was a mine trencher U.S.S. Oglala. Planes from nowehere came out and bombed Hickam Field and Ford Island and ruined 4 battle ships several cruisers and several destroyers. Attack was supposed to have taken Hawaii altogether but we were too quick and calm. This was a drastic sight. Estimated loss of men in Pearl Harbor was 3000 to 4000. Attack lasted about 3 hrs. We were only hit once and killed 15 men and wounded about 40 seriously. Victory is to come and will. Our slogan is now "Remember Pearl Harbor". Unfortunately there was 4 men killed in the Radio Gary (sp?)/ Pace, Comstock, Owens, and Hyland. All to be remembered. War was declared 3 hours after this happened by Japan. We declared war the next day. All men want a crack at the Japs and will get a crack at them and wipe them off the face of the earth. This is a tragic case that happened, but we have to fight back and win.

There is also a letter Jim Wilson RM1 wrote to his mother on December 8th, 1941. It reads:

U.S.S. Pennsylvania
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 8th, 1941

Dearest Mom,
Well the time has come that we all have been waiting for. I guess it is for the betterment, But all in all we have already lost lots of men. I am safe and do hope to remain that way. This will be over in no time and I will be home with you and so will Art. I know you are worried but don't be, because what happens happens and can't be helped.  We will be out here fighting for our own liberty and yours, mostly yours because our duty is to our country, the good ole U.S. Be good and keep care of yourselves and the girls and if anything comes up obey all orders by the army. Merry Christmas to All. [continues]
Your Loving Son,

P.S. My address is from now on:
J.W. Wilson
USS Pennsylvania
c/o Postmaster
San Fransisco, Calif.
Nothing else.

Included in this incredible set are the following pieces:

- U.S.S Pennsylvania "Log album" which features fantastic full color painting on the front of the ship with eagle and anchor, suede cover. Inside are; U.S.S. Tennessee tally (ship Wilson was assigned to before the Pennsylvania), Log and Diary with entries from September 11th, 1939 through December 22nd, 1941. Navy Good Conduct medal engraved James Willard Wilson 1943, American Defense Medal with one battle star (Pearl Harbor), photos of Wilson and his ship mates including "pace" who was killed during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, post cards, letters, rating patches, menu's from USS Pennsylvania for Christmas, Thanksgiving and more. Telegraph Wilson wrote to his mother on December 19th, 1941 from Pearl Harbor, telling her "everything is alright" and "not to worry". Newspaper clippings showing battle damage from the attack and one of Wilson with his photo in his local paper and more.

- USN Photo Log with suede cover and full color painted rendition of battleships and eagle with anchor. The exterior in ink writing with locations and dates for his tour from 1941-1943 across the Pacific Theatre of Operations. Inside are signatures of his shipmates, orders, photographs, original dog tags, v-mail, letters, postcards, a commendation from Nimitz named to Wilson, ratings patches, lots of photos of him with his buddies and girls! Plenty of photos of ladies in New Zealand and much more.

- U.S.S. Tennessee 1939 Photo Album with loads of labeled photos from Boot Camp in San Diego, Wilson's ID Card from the U.S.S. Tennessee, letters, Radioman Third and Seconds class Naval Training Course Certificates named to Wilson, photos from Hawaii, a manu from WOFAT Chop Sui House in Honolulu, menus from the U.S.S. Tennessee, ratings patches, and so much more.

- •USN Navy blue wool jumper with Radioman Rating patch.
Collar to shoulder: 9.5"
Shoulder to sleeve: 25"
Shoulder to shoulder: 17"
Chest width: 19"
Waist width: 16.5"
Hip width: 16.5"
Front length: 25"

- Navy blue wool dress flat hat with gold "U.S. NAVY" hatband in size 7.

- USN Navy blue wool pants.

- USN white cotton jumper with Radioman Rating patch.Collar to shoulder: 9.5"
Shoulder to sleeve: 25"
Shoulder to shoulder: 17"
Chest width: 19"
Waist width: 16.5"
Hip width: 16.5"
Front length: 25

- Navy white Hat, Service (White) or “Dixie Cup” named in black stencil WILSON JW

- Chapter 18, USS Pennsylvania, Antelope Valley Pear Harbor Survivors Association jacket with side cap.

- WWII Pennants

- USS Pennsylvania Pearl Harbor Veterans Association material.

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) was the lead ship of the Pennsylvania class of super-dreadnought battleships built for the United States Navy in the 1910s. The Pennsylvanias were part of the standard-type battleship series, and marked an incremental improvement over the preceding Nevada class, carrying an extra pair of 14-inch (360 mm) guns for a total of twelve guns. Named for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, she was laid down at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in October 1913, was launched in March 1915, and was commissioned in June 1916. Equipped with an oil-burning propulsion system, Pennsylvania was not sent to European waters during World War I, since the necessary fuel oil was not as readily available as coal. Instead, she remained in American waters and took part in training exercises; in 1918, she escorted President Woodrow Wilson to France to take part in peace negotiations.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Pennsylvania served as the flagship of first the Atlantic Fleet, and after it was merged with the Pacific Fleet in 1921, the Battle Fleet. For the majority of this period, the ship was stationed in California, based in San Pedro. Pennsylvania was occupied with a peacetime routine of training exercises (including the annual Fleet problems), port visits, and foreign cruises, including a visit to Australia in 1925. The ship was modernized in 1929–1931. The ship was present in Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941; she was in drydock with a pair of destroyers when the Japanese launched their surprise attack on the port. She suffered relatively minor damage in the attack, being protected from torpedoes by the drydock. While repairs were effected, the ship received a modernized anti-aircraft battery to prepare her for operations in the Pacific War.

Pennsylvania joined the fleet in a series of amphibious operations, primarily tasked with providing gunfire support. The first of these, the Aleutian Islands Campaign, took place in mid-1943, and was followed by an attack on Makin later that year. During 1944, she supported the landings on Kwajalein and Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands and the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, including the Battles of Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, and Battle of Angaur. During the Philippines campaign, in addition to her typical shore bombardment duties, she took part in the Battle of Surigao Strait, though due to her inadequate radar, she was unable to locate a target and did not fire. During the Battle of Okinawa, she was torpedoed by a Japanese torpedo bomber and badly damaged, forcing her to withdraw for repairs days before the end of the war.

Allocated to the target fleet for the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in 1946, Pennsylvania was repaired only enough to allow her to make the voyage to the test site, Bikini Atoll. She survived both blasts, but was badly contaminated with radioactive fallout from the second test, and so was towed to Kwajalein, where she was studied for the next year and a half. The ship was ultimately scuttled in deep water off the atoll in February 1948.

On the morning of 7 December, Pennsylvania was in Dry Dock No. 1 in Pearl Harbor undergoing a refit; three of her four screws were removed. The destroyers Cassin and Downes were also in the dock with her. When it became clear that the port was under air attack from the Japanese fleet, Pennsylvania's crew rushed to their battle stations, and between 08:02 and 08:05, her anti-aircraft gunners began engaging the hostile aircraft. Japanese torpedo bombers unsuccessfully attempted to torpedo the side of the drydock to flood it; having failed, several aircraft then strafed Pennsylvania. At 08:30, several high-altitude bombers began a series of attacks on the ship; over the course of the following fifteen minutes, five aircraft attempted to hit her from different directions. One of the Japanese bombers hit Downes and one scored a hit on Pennsylvania that passed through the boat deck and exploded in casemate No. 9. Pennsylvania's anti-aircraft gunners fired at all of these aircraft but failed to hit any of them, apparently owing to incorrect fuse settings that caused the shells to explode before they reached the correct altitude. The gunners did manage to shoot down a low-flying aircraft that attempted to strafe the ship; they claimed to have shot down another five aircraft, but the after-action investigation noted that only two aircraft were likely hit by Pennsylvania's guns.

By 09:20, both destroyers were on fire from bomb hits and the fire had spread to Pennsylvania, so the drydock was flooded to help contain the fire. Ten minutes later, the destroyers began to explode as the fires spread to ammunition magazines, and at 09:41, Downes was shattered by an explosion that scattered parts of the ship around the area. One of her torpedo tubes, weighing 500 to 1,000 pounds , 14 missing, and 38 wounded.

The ship left San Francisco on 20 February and began gunnery training before returning to San Francisco the next day. Further training followed in March, and from 14 April to 1 August, she took part in extensive maneuvers off the coast of California; She briefly went to sea during the Battle of Midway as part of Task Force 1, commanded by Vice Admiral William S. Pye, but the ships did not see action during the operation.
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