Captain R. H. ENGLISH Letter



December 11, 1941.

To the Officers and Crew of the U.S.S. HELENA

I want to take advantage of a little lull after the treacherous attack of Sunday morning to express my gratitude to all my shipmates for the magnificent manner in which each of you, to the last man, upheld the traditions of the Navy on that historical occasion.

The Japanese, while hiding behind a peace mission in Washington, cowardly sneaked the first blow by striking us with bomb and torpedo before the battle was on. But this was their last blow at the HELENA. Our guns were in action so quickly and so furiously they didn't any longer have the guts to face the music. Many subsequent attacks occurred over a three hour period, but, when confronted with the concentrated barrage of the HELENA, the pilots were observed to turn away or fly so high their bombing was inaccurate. This prompt and decisive action on your part prevented the destructioin of your own ship, and also assisted to the maximum degree in the preservation of other ships and objectives.

Every man did the right job at the right time. The machinery clicked throught the engagement, and subsequent analyses fail to reveal a single mistake made. Every man stood unflinchingly by his station.Our engineers kept us in power for our guns; our damage control kept our ship machinery intact; our lookouts and bridge details kept the Japanese planes spotted; and, our gunners stood by their guns as veterans. In spite of early serious material casualties and the loss of many shipmates, our fire was continous and decisive.

Instances of personal courage are too great to enumerate here. Let it suffice that the HELENA has definitely won her place in history as a fighting ship which can give it always, and take it too when this must be done. I am proud to be your Captain and shipmate and we are all proud of the good old fighting HELENA. Let us look to the future with a grim determination that our shipmates who were lost shall not have died in vain.

Captain, U.S. Navy,

Klepps Pearl Harbor