On Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo’s 1st Air Fleet surprises much of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor. Two waves of aircraft strike the trapped ships along with bases across Hawaii. Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships are either sunk or severely damaged. By day’s end, 2,718 American sailors, 582 soldiers (including Army Air Forces personnel), 178 Marines, and 103 civilians are dead, dying or wounded.
In a day full of countless acts of American bravery and sacrifice, 15 men and officers of the U.S. Navy earned the Medal of Honor – 11 posthumously – during the battle. Below are the accounts of their actions.