Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Oral History Available

One of the vessels sunk during the Pearl Harbor attack was the minelayer USS Oglala (CM-4).

One of Oglala's crewmen was Gail Jones, a native of Central Arkansas.  He was kind enough to sit down and retell his story recently.  His oral history interview is available on the AIMM Website, along with the oral history interviews of a number of former Razorback crewmen.

Mr. Jone's ship, Oglala was moored alongside the light cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) on the morning of the attack.  A Japanese plane attacked Helena with a single torpedo that passed under the minelayer and struck it's target.  However, the warhead was so large that the explosion also damaged Oglala.

Because she was an older warship (her keel was laid in 1904), Oglala did not have the same standards of watertight integrity that other, more modern ships had.  When it became clear that she was going to sink, Oglala was moved to an empty spot so she would not block other ships, or damage them as she rolled over.

After the attack, Oglala was righted and repaired.  She was converted to a repair ship and returned to service in 1943.  Decommissioned after the war, she served as a depot ship for the National Defense Reserve Fleet until 1965, when she was finally sold for scrapping.


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