Testimony of Lt. Kermit Tyler before the Navy Court of Inquiry.  
From: Pearl Harbor Attack, vol. 32, pp. 341-350.

1. Q. Will you state your name, rank, and present station. 
A. Kermit A. Tyler.

2. Q. Rank?
A. Lieutenant Colonel, Air Corps, Army Air Force Board, Orlando, 

3. Q. What was your rank and duty on 7 December 1941?
A. I was assigned as Executive Officer in the 8th Pursuit Squadron. I 
was a First lieutenant in the air corps at that time.

4. Q. What particular duties were you performing at about 0755 on the 
morning of 7 December 1941?
A. I was assigned as pursuit officer with a duty as Assistant to the 
Controller, at the information center at Fort Shafter.

5. Q. Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii?
A. Yes.

6. Q. Will you tell the court in a brief way what these duties consisted 
of that you were performing on this particular morning?
A. The duties of a pursuit officer was to assist the Controller in 
ordering planes to intercept enemy planes or supposed enemy planes, 
after the planes got in the air.

7. Q. Your duty, then, was in connection with a pursuit squadron, and 
not in some capacity such as the aircraft warning center?
A. That is correct. I was sent down there for training. Inasmuch as this 
was just being started, it was necessary to detail certain officers who 
had some background in order to get the thing going.

8. Q. This duty was actually performed in the, shall we say in the 
Command Post of your pursuit squadron? I am not familiar with your 
terminology, and would ask you to explain just exactly the nature of the 
post of duty at which you were stationed. 
A. The information center was a post from which fighter squadrons on the 
alert would be ordered to take to the air; in fact, my task at this 
information center had involved a small switchboard which would reach 
fighter squadrons.

9. Q. What I am trying to get at now, were you in a branch of an 
information center, or at an information center, or what?
A. I was at the one information center for all of the islands.

10. Q. At the one information center of all the islands. Now you were in 
contact at such station with all radar stations?
A. Yes, sir, they had direct lines.

11. Q. Now how long had you been assigned these duties that you were 
performing that morning?
A. I had one previous tour on the preceding Wednesday, at which time 
there was only myself and the telephone operator at the information 
center. This was my second assignment of that nature.

12. Q. Now this particular station or post at which you were then 
stationed was in what locality in the island of Oahu?
A. It was at Fort Shafter.

13. Q. Fort Shafter is where with reference to Pearl Harbor?
A. I would say it is about eight miles east of Pearl Harbor.

14. Q. How many officers and men were on duty with you in this 
particular post or station on this morning of 7 December, 1941?
A. Approximately seven or eight enlisted men, and I was the only officer 

15. Q. Now what duties in general did they perform? Were they assistants 
to you, or what were they doing?
A. There were five or six spotters whose duty was to display arrows on 
the information center board, to indicate radar plots of aircraft. There 
was one man on the telephone exchange, and one man on the historical 
record which keep a historical record of all plots that are made by the 

16. Q. Now these plots that you were making the information upon when 
they were based, where did you get that?
A. They came by direct lines to each plotter from one radar station 
which gave him the information.

17. Q. Could you give an example as to about what sort of data would 
come in from a telephone from one radar station when a plane or group of 
planes were sighted? 
A. Simply be a bearing of so many degrees and range, certain number of 

18. Q. And then as I understand it, somebody plotting in the center 
where you were located put that down in the form of a record, a graphic 
A. It was plotted with a replaceable arrow on the table, and also there 
was a system of recording it on this sheet of paper which was an overlay 
of the Hawaiian Islands and surrounding waters. I might say probably 
they included in the report of the radar station the number of planes 
expected in the plot, but that wasn't at the time conveyed in each plot. 

19. Q. In other words, that was not always done?
A. No.

20. Q. Now, were you the Senior Officer Present in this central station 
where you were on post?
A. I was the only officer present.

21. Q. And it is my understanding that you were the officer in charge of 
this particular station or post?
A. Yes, sir.

22. Q. Was there a Naval officer present at this post on the morning of 
7 December 1941?
A. There was after the attack started, sir.

23. Q. Was there an officer present before the attack?
A. No, sir.

24. Q. Did you receive, while you were on duty on the morning of the 7th 
December 1941, any report of interest?
A. How do you mean by that sir,?

25. Q. Did you receive any information or any report that you considered 
of any importance?
A. Well, I received a call from one of the radar stations, I believe it 
is called Opana, which indicated that they had a larger number of planes 
than he had seen before on his scope; that is, the original report.    

26. Q. Can you recall at about what time this report was received in the 
A. I would estimate it was around 7:15.

27. Q. Now where is Opana station located from where you say you got 
this report?
A. It was the north side of the island.

28. Q. And it was about how many miles from Fort Shafter, where you 
A. I would say thirty-five miles in a direct line, perhaps.

29. Q. Now is this station on top of a mountain, on seashore, or can you 
tell how it was located?
A. I had never been there, and I don't know.

30. Q. Can you remember the language of the report?
A. I can't remember the exact language. As I said before, the radar 
operator reported that he had a larger plot than he had previously seen; 
that is about all there was to it.

31. Q. Did you have any abnormal reaction to this report at that time?    
A. No, sir. I thought about it for a minute, and then told him, "Thanks 
for calling in the report."

32. Q. Had you any information during your tour of duty on this morning 
of 7 December 1941, as to the movements of any friendly planes in the 
Hawaiian area?
A. I had no official information. However, I had very good reason to 
believe hat there was a flight of B-17's en route to the Islands from 
the mainland. I had friend who was in the bomber command who told me 
that any time the radio stations were playing this Hawaiian music all 
night, I could be certain that a flight of our bombers was coming over, 
and when I had gotten up at 4:00 a.m., to report for duty, I listened to 
this music all the way to the station, so I was looking for a flight of 

33. Q. Now when you went on watch, or duty shall I say, that morning, 
were you given any information by the officer stationing you or the 
officer whom you relieved, if you did relieve anybody were you given any 
special instructions as to what to be on the lookout for?
A. No, sir.

34. Q. Did you actually relieve anybody that morning?
A. No, sir.

35. Q. How did you happen to come to go on duty? Was that in response to 
a detail that went on duty at that time every morning?
A. Yes, sir. There was a roster of various fighter pilots. My tour of 
duty was from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. on that morning, sir.

36. Q. Did you have any instructions for your post?
A. No, sir.

37. Q. And you say the only previous experience you had had with that 
post of duty was the time, several days before, when you did a tour of 
duty there?
A. Yes, sir.

38. Q. Did you have any familiarity with the mechanics of radar 
interceptors? That is, how they functioned mechanically or electrically?    
A. I understood the principle of radar, yes, sir. 

45. Q. Did you know whether or not the particular type of radar that was 
then in use, had any means of distinguishing a friendly plane from an 
unfriendly one?
A. Oh, I knew that there was no way of distinguishing by radar.

46. Q. And the only information of friendly planes that you had on this 
morning was the deduction you made when you heard a Honolulu radio 
station playing Hawaiian music at a very early hour; is that correct?    
A. That is the only definite indication I had. I think I was equally 
divided between the thought that it could be the B-17's, or a carrier 

47. Q. You mean, by "carrier force," U.S. Naval carrier force, or enemy?
A. Friendly force, U.S. Naval airplanes.

48. Q. Had it occurred to you to identify with the Navy whether or not 
they had any planes in flight at this time?
A. No, sir.

49. Q. I don't suppose, from the information you had, that you had any 
idea at that time of the course on which these B-17's would approach 
A. Only the rough idea, sir.

50. Q. What was this rough idea? 
A. Well, somewhere from the northeast.

51. Q. And why do you say somewhere from the northeast?
A. Well, that would be the course from San Francisco.

52. Q. Did you have any special information on the morning of 7 December 
1941, as to international developments, especially those between the 
Japanese and the United States, which would indicate any imminence of 
A. The only special information was what I read in the papers, and that 
was that a friendly relations or that some agreement had been reached 
approximately a week before, or thereabouts.

53. Q. Well, had you or had you not been put in some sort of a frame of 
mind of being on the alert against any possible enemy action when you 
went on duty that morning?
A. No, sir; in fact, just the opposite, because we had been on alert 
about a week before, and the alert had been called off.

54. Q. Now do you know whether or not there was actually an airplane 
attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base that morning by Japanese planes?    
A. Yes, sir.

55. Q. When did you first become aware of this attack?
A. It was about five minutes after 8:00 when the telephone operator 
received a call from some source, which I don't know right now, that 
there was an attack on.

56. Q. You don't recall the language of the report that you heard?
A. No, sir, the operator was very excited; and so I told him to call in 
all information center personnel who had gone off duty at 7:00 o'clock. 
There was just the operator and myself there at the time.

57. Q. Did he tell you the kind of attack, whether it was a naval 
surface ship attack, aircraft attack, or what?
A. He didn't say, but, however, I knew that it was an air attack, 
because at 8:00 o'clock I had just stepped outside for a breath of air 
and I saw the attack in progress, but at that time I thought it was the 
Navy practicing dive bombing.

58. Q. Do you recall what action you took when you received this report?
A. I called in the information center personnel, who had all gone off 
duty at 7:00 o'clock, except the operator and myself, and in a very few 
minutes, Major Tindal, who was one of the controllers, arrived from 
Hickam Field, and took charge of operations.

59. Q. Did you go off duty then, or what was your status after Major 
Tindal arrived?
A. I remained on duty as assistant to him and to Major Berquist, who 
also arrived soon thereafter, for approximately thirty-six hours. 

69. Q. What were your duties, Colonel, when you reported at 4:00 o'clock 
on that Sunday morning.
A. My duties, I believe, were chiefly for training, inasmuch as it was 
the first morning I had ever been there on such duty when the 
information center was even manned in any degree at all. I had no 
specified duties, either written or oral just to report there for duty. 

70. Q. Well, did you have any instructions to report information that 
came from different radars to any superior officer?
A. No, sir.

71. Q. Would you have reported it to a superior officer, if you had 
information that alarmed you?
A. Certainly, if I had been warned that there was any possibility of 
attack I would have. However, at that time, there being no means of 
identifying plots, there was not much that one man could do, without 
having a liaison officer from both the Navy, bombers, and civilian 
airways, to give you identification between friendly and enemy plots.

72. Q. Did you get any reports between 4:00 and 7:00 a.m. that morning?
A. There were a number of plots in and around the Islands. I believe 
they started sometime before 7:00 o'clock; the actual time I am not 
certain of.

73. Q. At 7:00 o'clock, did you get a report of a plot northerly? I mean 
as distinguished from 7:15.
A. At around very close on 7:00 o'clock, it might have been a little 
after I don't know I walked over to where the boy was working on his 
historical record, and didn't know what he was doing, so I asked him 
what his duties were, and so forth. 

80. Q. Well, now what happened at 7:15?
A. That was when I received a call from this radar operator. You see, at 
7:00 o'clock, all the plotters folded up their equipment and left the 
information center.

81. Q. What did you do after 7:00 o'clock, then?
A. There was nothing. I didn't do anything. I was just waiting for my 
tour to be finished.

82. Q. What did your tour consist of between 7:00 and 8:00? What were
you supposed to do after 7:00 until your tour was completed?
A. I had no particular duties to perform, except to learn all I could
at the information center.

105. Q. Colonel, when you went on duty at this post at 4:00 a.m. on 7 
December, had you ever had any instructions whatsoever as to what you 
were to do or why you were there?
A. On the previous Wednesday when I went on duty, there was just myself
and the telephone operator there, and not having any instructions, I 
called the operations officer, then Major Berquist.

106. Q. You heard my question, didn't you?
A. Yes, sir. And I asked him why I was there and what my duties were. He
told me that they were trying to get the information center set up and 
that we were leading off by furnishing personnel to man it. I got the 
idea that I was there for training, and he said if any ships went down, 
if any of our planes went down we might, by radar reports, be able to 
tell where they went down and I would be able to assist in that.

107. Q. But prior to 4:00 o'clock when you went on duty, you had no 
instructions as to what you were to do in reporting in any large number 
of planes or anything else in the air?
A. That is right, sir.

108. Q. You had no instructions? 
A. I had no instructions.

109. Q. And was this the first time you were on duty there, or the 
A. That was the second time.

110. Q. And there were no further instructions given you as to what you 
were to do while you were on duty from 4:00 to 7:00 a.m., of that 
A. That is right, sir.

111. Q. Do you know how many radar stations were in operation on that 
A. Because I had about 5 plotters, I gathered there were about 5 in 

112. Q. Did you know their locations?
A. I knew the exact location of just one radar, sir.

113. Q. You had no information from anyone to look out for a large plot 
of planes, did you, or did you have?
A. I had no warning, sir.

114. Q. You spoke of Hawaiian music playing all night. Will you please 
explain that?
A. Well, the conventional Hawaiian music, guitars and so forth.

115. Q. But you mentioned that as an indication of planes coming 
A. Because they would play this music without interruption and even 
without announcement, and it had been standard practice to do so for 
homing for the planes coming in.

116. Q. Did anyone tell them to play this music for homing for planes to 
come in, to your knowledge?
A. From the information I had from this bomber pilot friend of mine, it 
was that someone, probably in the Air Force or the Bomber Command, 
apparently had arranged for such homing, you see, because it didn't play 
on other nights.

117. Q. But you don't know what arrangement they had?
A. No, I don't know, definitely.

118. Q. The instant you saw or became aware of enemy planes over Oahu, 
what did you do?
A. I instructed the operator to call the information center plotters 
back in. They arrived very shortly and Major Tindal also arrived almost 

119. Q. Did it ever occur to you at that time to report immediately to 
your senior, or the officer who would like to have that information?
A. Yes, sir. I'm not certain whether I called Major Berquist, or whether 
I told the operator to call Wheeler Field and tell them of the events, 
or just what happened then. It was really quite confusing for a while, 

120. Q. About what time was this?
A. About 8:10, I would say, sir. As a matter of fact, Major Tindal 
arrived so soon and took over that there was hardly time to do anything 
there. He apparently started on the way as soon as the first bombs hit 
Hickam Field. 

Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, lwjewell@omni.cc.purdue.edu. Created: 11/28/96 Updated: 12/7/96