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Report of LT C. E. Dickinson - 7 December 1941

SCOUTING SQUADRON SIX U. S. S. ENTERPRISE

USS Enterprise CV-6
Enterprise Air Group action reports


At Sea
12 December, 1941
From: Lieutenant C.E. Dickinson, USN, (Pilot of 6-S-4).
To: The Commander, Scouting Squadron SIX.

Subject: Report of Action with Japanese on Oahu on 7 December, 1941.

Reference: (a) Article 874 U.S. Navy Regs.

I left the ship in 6-S-4 with MILLER, William C., RM1c, USN, as passenger at 0620, 7 December 1941, accompanied by Ensign J. R. McCarthy, A-V(N), USNR, as pilot of 6-S-9 and COHN, Mitchell (N), RM3c,(V-3) USNR, as passenger. We searched a sector bearing 105 and 115 from the 0600 position of the ship and then took up a course for Barbers Point, Oahu.

At 0825, I was approaching Barbers Point from the south at 1500 feet altitude when I noticed numerous shell splashes in the water by the entrance to Pearl Harbor. I then looked for the source. I could see one cruiser and three destroyers about three miles off the entrance but they were not firing. Upon looking upwards I saw numerous anti-aircraft bursts above Pearl Harbor. Ewa Field was on fire sending up dense smoke as high as 5000 feet above Barbers Point. Smoke was rising from what turned out to be the USS ARIZONA. This covered the channel area and as yet I had seen no other planes. I called 6-S-9 alongside and started climbing, at 4000 feet I leveled off over Barbers Point. I had seen no enemy planes as yet, but was very shortly attacked by two Japanese fighters as we headed towards Pearl Harbor. The above two enemy planes apparently concentrated on 6-S-9. As we went down to 1000 feet headed towards Pearl Harbor the above enemy planes were joined by about four others. At that time 6-S-9 caught on fire from the right side of the engine and the right main tank. It lost speed and dropped about 50 yards astern and to the left. I could see it still attempting to fight as it slowly circled to the left losing altitude. I lost sight of it but in a few seconds noticed it below me just as it struck the ground. I saw a parachute open at about 200 feet altitude with the occupant apparently safe.

During this time, my plane was under fire from 3 - 5 enemy planes. My gunner reported that he had been hit followed by a report that he had hit an enemy plane. He then stated that all of his ammunition was expended and that he had been hit again. I looked aft and saw a Japanese plane on fire slowly losing speed and altitude but did not actually see him strike the ground. At this time I was able to get in two short bursts from my fixed guns as one enemy aircraft pulled ahead.

My left tank being on fire and my controls being shot away, I told the gunner to jump. The plane went into a right spin at about 1000 feet altitude. When it started to spin, I made the necessary preparations and jumped. My parachute functioned normally and I landed unhurt in the vicinity of Ewa Field. I arrived at Pearl Harbor about 0930 and crossed to Ford Island where I reported to my Commanding Officer.

At all times MILLER, William C., RM1c, USN, conducted himself in an outstanding manner and in accordance with the best traditions of the Navy. He kept himself alert and cool and in every way successfully carried out his assignment.

(Signed) C. E. DICKINSON Jr.

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