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Question For The U.S.S. Arizona Experts


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I know there are several people here who are well versed on the Arizona history so hope you don't mind the question here instead of the ships threads. I ran across this photo in the In Action book and was curious about the boat in the foreground. It's clearly not the typical white top and appears to be very clean and ornate. If I understand, the group admiral was on board during the attack and I also have heard admirals are allowed to pick their personal boats color scheme and the Arizona was his flag ship. Is this this possibly his personal boat and it would have been on her deck at some point before the attack? And if so, does anyone know the color of this boat? 

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Here's a photo I took of Adm. Nimitz's barge at the National Museum of the Pacific War, restored to its 1942-44 appearance, and the accompanying sign.  Hard to make out, but it says CINCPAC headquarters at Pearl Harbor had a three-boat flotilla: two 40-foot boats, one with a blue hull for Nimitz and one with a black hull for his Chief Of Staff, and a 35-foot gray officers' motor boat for CINCPAC staff.  The sign doesn't mention a timeframe, so I have no idea if this was the situation at the time of the attack.

 

Cheers!

 

Steve 

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Edited by Steve N
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Awesome pic! thanks Steve. Apparently Nimitz wasn't in Pearl Harbor until after the attack when he was promoted to Admiral and took over the Pacific Fleet on Dec. 31st. But it's possible those boats were the same group and very similar and color. The mystery continues.

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I'm actually a little surprised at how little information is out there on the color and location of all of the ship's boats of the Arizona during the Dec 7th attack. I realize I'm mainly sticking to "google" research and haven't shifted through a ton of documents, but really there's not a lot of information in general on Admiral's launches during the WWII period at all. I know I'll need to probably seek out more on a dedicated ship builders site. But I'll revisit this thread occasionally to see if more can be gathered here. Thanks again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was blessed to spend many years with the Arizona's last survivors, and while our conversations didn't usually tend toward the small launches, my understanding from the dedicated ship modelers over at modelwarships.com was that the launches were painted to match the camouflage of the rest of the ship.  Never heard of personal paint schemes before, although I'm not an expert.  I'd say head to modelwarships.com to ask more.  Great folks there!

 

As far as Admiral Kidd, yes, he was aboard and was probably incinerated on the bridge as opposed to still entombed.  Some of the survivors I used to know saw him headed toward the bridge as the attack began, calmly giving orders and reassuring the men.

Edited by Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy
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Thanks Andrew, I was hoping you'd get a chance to chime in. That's a great blessing indeed to get to meet these heroes indeed!

 

What little I know I've picked up here and there from different sources. It was on the New Jersey's Youtube channel I'd heard the information that Admirals are allowed to chose their personal craft's colors. But the barge that the comment was made about was a much more modern time period that is still on board the New Jersey, I think Gulf War Admiral perhaps? So that may be a newer tradition that wasn't in place in the 30's- 40'e. 

 

Thanks again,

Bill

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1 hour ago, niart17 said:

What little I know I've picked up here and there from different sources. It was on the New Jersey's Youtube channel I'd heard the information that Admirals are allowed to chose their personal craft's colors. But the barge that the comment was made about was a much more modern time period that is still on board the New Jersey, I think Gulf War Admiral perhaps? So that may be a newer tradition that wasn't in place in the 30's- 40'e.

 

Ya know what, that makes more sense, that they were allowed to choose their colors in the era when ship camouflage was no longer an issue.  So, prewar it would be extremely light gray like the rest of the ship, and during the war it would simply match whatever camouflage was applied to the ship in question.

Now, as far as Dec 7 colors go, THAT'S a whole different kettle of fish, as they say.... 😄 

 

You mentioned the locations when the attack began; from the famous view of Battleship Row at the start of the attack, it appears that both captain's and admiral's barges may have been secured at the base of stairs in the water next to the starboard stern. 

Interestingly, (this is coming back to me now), the two raised roof sections actually appear to be in the light gray, with the rest of the structure in the darker camo paint.  Some speculation has been made that this may be a trick from lighting.  I did ask survivor Glenn Lane about this when we were talking about the paint controversy, and he thought, maybe yes, maybe those barge roofs were light...but we'll never be sure.  If in doubt, I'd say go with overall darker camo gray....

Edited by Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy
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