USS UTAH  BB-31 / AG-16​

Eyewitness account from USS Utah and Pearl Harbor Survivor Harold Scott Richards


...the fuel oil from the oil storage tanks had floated to deck and it was almost impossible to stand. By this time there were many of us trying to scramble to the topside, because we knew we had to abandon ship. By forming a human chain of outstretched arms we managed to get to the topside.We had to run down the side of the rolling ship or run to jump overboard because the Japanese were machine-gunning all of the men. We hadn’t been in dry dock for quite a long time and we had barnacles on the side of the ship. They were razor sharp. I cut my feet, legs and backside—every part of my lower body-against the ship’s bottom as I slid.We had small boats picking up the survivors but the boats were heavily gunned, so I decided to swim to shore. Before I could get away from the ship, someone jumped on my left shoulder tearing the ligaments loose in my back and breaking my collarbone. Due to all the excitement I did not know at the time that my collarbone was broken.