After a German submarine fired on the U.S. destroyer Greer in the Atlantic on September 4, 1941, Roosevelt ordered navy commanders to respond. "When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike," the president explained, "you crush him." Roosevelt ordered the navy to shoot the German submarines on sight. Two weeks later, the Pink Star, an American merchant ship, was sunk off Greenland. In mid-October, a U-boat torpedoed the U.S. destroyer Kearny, and 11 lives were lost. Days later, German U-boats sank the U.S. destroyer Reuben James, killing more than 100 sailors. "America has been attacked," Roosevelt announced grimly. "The shooting has started. And history has recorded who fired the first shot."