Home > Encyclopedia > Tern

Tern

The minesweeper Tern was moored south of Hospital Point. west of the tank farm, the oil tank concentration, at the Navy Yard. Her boilers were cold on the morning of December 7 and it was not until 0943 that she got under way, heading into Pearl Harbor towards Battleship Row. She picked up 30 survivors from Oglala and 13 from West Virginia, where she also helped to fight the fires. The Oklahoma had capsized, trapping men within the inverted hull and they could be heard banging on the inside, hoping for release. Shipfitters from Tern joined others in cutting holes in the bottom of the battleship. Their efforts were fatal to some, for when only a small cut had been achieved, the smoke from the process and the cutting flame itself could exhaust the last of the oxygen within. The following day the crew of Tern were engaged in finding, catching and towing ashore the corpses of their comrades.

See also: Battleship Row; burials; Hospital Point; Navy Yard; Oglala; Oklahoma; Pearl Harbor; West Virginia

You can find out more about the Tern in the following Osprey book:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941