During the fading afternoon hours of 6 December 1941, Captain Robert B. Simons decided to go ashore for a walk. The warship he commanded, the USS Raleigh (CL-7), was securely tied to mooring piers on the north side of Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet for just over a year, the growing base was crowded with ships. As the Raleigh had spent a good part of November at sea training south of Hawaii, Simons relished the prospect of a brief shore visit.
The captain was back on board ship for an 1830 dinner. He was not aware of receiving any recent dispatches indicating that the nation’s troubled relations with Japan had taken a turn for the worse. As Saturday slowly faded into night, the Raleigh stood at rest.