TIL When the USS West Virginia battleship was finally salvaged 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbour, a calendar was found in an air tight room where 3 trapped sailors had marked off 16 days until they died

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That’s heartbreaking


>Desperate Banging on the USS West Virginia >“It was worse at night,” said Marine Corps bugler Dick Fiske. “You’d hear bang-bang-bang, then stop, then bang-bang-bang from deep in the bow of the ship. It didn’t take long to realize that men were making that noise.” To this day Fiske chokes up when he tells the story. “Pretty soon nobody wanted to do guard duty, especially at night when it was quiet. It didn’t stop until Christmas Eve.” >No doubt the main reason for the state of anguish among the sailors topside stemmed from the fact that **they knew rescue was impossible**. Olds, Costin, and Endicott were sitting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, surrounded by water. The ship’s commander, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, had been killed in the early moments of the attack, but quick thinking by a young lieutenant who was also the fire-control officer ensured the West Virginia would sink on an even keel. >It is somewhat ironic that the three men were doomed; the young officer’s action saved hundreds but ensured their deaths. Had the WeeVee, as the ship was affectionately known, capsized like the battleship USS Oklahoma, the three might have been rescued by cutting through the hull. Not that rescue would have been guaranteed, as the Oklahoma rescuers discovered. Many men on that ship died of asphyxiation when air rushed out as soon as the hull was breached.The USS West Virginia sank during the Pearl Harbor bombing with three trapped sailors who fought to survive for sixteen days.Those topside on the WeeVee also knew that **rescue from below the waterline by drilling a hole through the hull would result in a blowout, killing the diver.** Added to this was the realization that the United States had been plunged into war, and many things had taken precedence over three enlisted men at the bottom of Pearl. Those above knew it was not a question of whether Olds, Costin, and Endicott could be rescued. It was only a question of how long they would last


That’s 16 long days….


Did they die of thirst, hunger or drowning?


What a horrifying way to die. I’d rather have been killed in the explosion than suffer such a fate. “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” -Douglas MacArthur The most haunting place I’ve ever been is easily Pearl Harbor. Watching the tiny bubbles of oil make their way from the wreckage of the USS Arizona to the surface, coating the water in rainbow iridescence, combined with the immense silence and gravitas of so many respectful visitors and mourners…few things have ever stuck with me so profoundly.