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Pearl Harbor flag

Peaerl Harbor flag“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy . . .”

Petty Officer Sharitt Baker of Topeka was stationed on the destroyer U.S.S. Ralph Talbot at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched their attack, bringing the United States into the Second World War. Petty Officer Baker and another sailor were in a rowboat paddling to a buoy to which the Talbot was anchored when a Japanese plane began a strafing run. The two hid behind the buoy as the bomber fired its machine guns. They eventually freed the anchor and returned to the Talbot.

The Talbot suffered little damage, and with all seaworthy ships that day, was removed from the harbor in case the Japanese resumed the attack.

This flag was flying on the Talbot as it went to sea.  It flew until February 1, 1942, when the worn colors were exchanged. At the time, Petty Officer Baker convinced the sailor replacing the flag to give it to him. Otherwise, the flag would have been destroyed. Mr. Baker kept the flag until donating it to the Kansas Historical Society in 2015.

Entry: Pearl Harbor flag

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2015

Date Modified: December 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.