Marshall Ralph Doak Chief Pharmacist's Mate United States Navy

Leading Up to Pearl Harbor

The Radio Transmissions Leading Up To December 7th

I had a good friend in the radio shack and we talked quite a bit. He was what we call a short-timer like myself. We were proceeding about December 1st or 2nd. Every day I'd go up and meet with my friend in the radio shack. It was about the 2nd or 3rd of December that he said, "Marshall, let me show you something." The radio messages we were receiving had a lot of information about the South China Sea. We had US spotting subs and they were all over the Pacific Ocean keeping track of the Japanese Imperial Fleet and shipping. On this particular message, the submarines gave the latitude and longitude. Evidently there were three or four subs reporting. There were three big groups of Japanese ships consisting of maybe 80, 90, or 100 ships. These messages had them all listed. They had tankers, troop transports, carriers, destroyers, escort vessels and supply ships of various types, and they gave us the latitude and longitude headings of these three groups. So we took out a map and checked the coordinates and we found out it looked like one group was going into Malaya. Another group looked to be going into the Dutch Indonesia, and possibly the other group was heading toward the Philippines. This was on December 3rd, I believe. On December 5th, I went back up and we had new coordinates and maps. We figured they were going to hit the next day on the 6th of December. I went up the next day and my friend was kind of in shock. He said, "Marshall, the radio is absolutely silent. There's not a message coming from the War Department." In those days everything came from the War Department. I said, "Well, they should be hitting today, why wouldn't they be announcing?" He said, "I don't know, but there's not a thing coming through." That night we were called to general quarters and the commanding officer announced over the speakers that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. It really wasn't a surprise. My Conclusions about December 7th- We knew everything that was happening in the South China Sea from the radio messages and transmissions on December 4th and 5th. Then to have no radio messages on the 6th from the War Department is frightening. It gives me goose bumps to think about what they did. To be non-neutral starting in October by hauling English troops in Roosevelt's private war through the Task Force 14 secret convoy. Roosevelt's embargo of steel, oil and all natural resources against Japan, and FDR's statement that we needed to let Japan take the initiative in the Pacific led us to believe that this was the day Japan was to be hittin' in the South Pacific. I think I've got a good case that we knew what was gonna happen. There was the USS Ward's sinking of a Japanese submarine at the gates of Pearl Harbor one hour before the planes hit. Later on in the war we found out there were more depth charges dropped on subs one or two days before Decembe 7ih. What's disturbing to me is that the commanding officer on the Ward did report to his commander and CINCPAC. But CINCPAC had to report to Washington before they could go on alert and it was on a weekend. The only ships left in Pearl Harbor were derelict ships. They were behemoth battleships from WWI. They had cage masts, they couldn't keep up with the task force. Almost everyone of these ships had cork installation with their bulk heads plus they had 1 to 11/2 inches of flammable oil based paint everywhere throughout that ship. The only thing of any value was out of Pearl Harbor when Japan hit, in my opinion. The Carriers and new battleships, cruisers, light cruisers and destroyers. There was one or two destroyers in there, yes, probably for repairs. But anything else of value was out of there. The only thing left was Battleship Row and in my opinion they were derelict ships. It was unfortunate we lost 2300 men on this so-called day of infamy. The embargo of Japan, Roosevelt's private war, and Roosevelt's statements give me my own unfortunate conclusions. We lost 2300 precious lives that I don't think ever should have been lost. Radio messages are conclusive.