Tuesday, November 21, 2017
On the USS Vestal at Pearl Harbor
From the November 14, 2017, Kern Valley (California) Sun Debbie Teofilo.
Bob Cunnigham and his brother both joined the U.S. Navy on the same day in 1941. Bob was on the USS Vestal, tied up next to the USS Arizona that day at Pearl Harbor. The Vestal was a repair ship and was working on the Arizona.
He was below deck and heard a loud explosion and went on deck where he found that the skipper and several sailors had been blown overboard by the Arizona's explosion. The Vestal's executive officer ordered them to abandon ship.
As they approached the gangway, they met the skipper, covered with oil, and in the process of getting back on his ship. he said, "Where are you guys going? get back on board! We're getting underway!" The Vestal had been badly damaged, but got underway and was beached.
After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Cunningham served on minesweepers off the U.S. West Coast, but they never found any.