Infamy & The Courage of The USS Tangier
Originally a maritime commission, the SS Sea Arrow was refitted as a Seaplane Tender and commissioned as the USS Tangier by the US Navy in August of 1941. In November of 1941, the newly christened AV-8 was assigned to Patrol Wing Two in Hawaii and was present during the surprise attack by Japanese of Pearl Harbor.
Between 7:55 and 9:20 am, three waves of Japanese dive bombers, torpedo planes, and submarines descended on Pearl Harbor. The USS Tangier, noting low flying planes dawning the insignia of the Japanese sun, was one of the first ships to join the fight. Two ships (USS Utah and the USS Raleigh) berthed near the USS Tangiers, were torpedoed by the Japanese within minutes of each other.
During the melee, the gunners of the USS Tangiers were able to down three enemy aircraft. Along with the USS Curtis, the USS Tangiers shelled a midget submarine that had entered into the harbor. The USS Monaghan finishes its destruction by first ramming the sub, then by dropping two depth charges.
By 9:20 am, the Japanese planes were gone. Only smoke remained in the harbor from the damage caused by the attack. Five bombs by five different Japanese planes were dropped on the USS Tangier. All five bombs were very close misses, and the ship escaped with minimal damage. After the bombardment, the USS Tangiers began a rescue mission to save survivors from the capsized USS Utah. No other hostile aircraft came within gun range after 9.20, although the ship remained at General Quarters the rest of the day and all that night.
The USS Tangier expended the following ammunition during the one hour and twenty five minute assault:
- 217 rounds of 3" 50 cal. (Fwd Battery)
- 198 round of 3" 23 cal. (Aft Battery)
- 23,000 rounds of 50 cal. Machine Gun.