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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services


Home >> West Virginia

West Virginia

Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Sunday, December 7, 1941
Torpedo Attacks - Pearl Harbor
During the Pearl Harbor attack West Virginia took five 18-inch aircraft torpedoes ( it was later revised after inspection of damage that seven torpedoes had actually struck the ship ) in her port side and two bomb hits The first bomb penetrated the superstructure deck, wrecking the port casemates and causing that deck to collapse to the galley deck level. Four casemates and the galley caught fire, with the subsequent detonation of the ready-service projectiles stowed in the casemates. ... The second bomb hit wrecked the floatplane atop the high catapult on Turret III. The projectile penetrated the turret, wrecking one gun. Although the bomb proved a dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused damage. The torpedo hits ripped into the ship's port side but the heroic damage control efforts saved the ship from capsizing in the manner that befell Oklahoma. ... Instances of heroic conduct on the battleship proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Capt. M. S. Bennion, on the bridge early in the battle was struck down by a bomb fragment when a 15-inch bomb hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying both ships with fragments. Bennion, hit in the abdomen, and mortally wounded, clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, directing the ship's defense up to his dying moment. For his conspicuous devotion to duty Capt. Bennion was awarded a Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 106

Namesort descending Service Branch
F 3c Glenn Ahl. USN
F 3c Welborn Ashby USN
SF 3c Benjamin Bargerhuff USN
F 3c William Barnett USN
F 2c Frank Bartek USN
Capt Merwyn Bennion USN
Sea 1c Charlie Booton USN
F 1c Fred Boyer USN
Mldr 1c George Branham USN
F 1c Ennis Brooks USN
EM 3c Charles Brown USN
F 1c Riley Brown USN
Sea 2c John Burgess USN
Cox William Campbell USN
Bkr 2c William Christian USN
F 3c Harold Costill USN
F 1c Louis Costin USN
F 1c Charles Cottier USN
CM 3c Howard Cromwell USN
Sea 2c Eugene Downing USN


Prepared by CAPT R.O. Strange USN (Ret.)