USS Arizona Under Attack at Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Under Attack at Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese sunk the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, killing more than 1,100 American soldiers. Did anyone aboard the Arizona survive?

One thought on &ldquo History of the USS Arizona Memorial &rdquo

My father in law was stationed there during WWII. We have some original photos signed by Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Ring, Rear Admiral Spruance and one signed by Vice Admiral,Chief of Staff Pacific Ocean Area that I would like to find out who he is. In each of these photos they are thanking him for his service. Do you take any donations of photos or have any information on who would like or display these? We are coming to Honolulu in 2 weeks and would likened to bring them. Would appreciate any help indonating these.

The 1930s

Gathering a crew

On a spring morning in the harbor off San Pedro, Calif., two barefoot seamen pushed rubber squeegees across the teak wood quarterdeck of the USS Arizona. The deck required daily care to protect the surface from the sun and salt water, a monotonous task usually assigned the newest crew members.

After a few minutes more, a voice across the deck called for a break. The men with the squeegees – almost everyone had recognized them as James Cagney and Pat O'Brien – stood and ambled off and the film crew prepared for the next shot.

Much of the U.S. Navy's battle fleet had assembled in New York that week, on view for the public and for President Franklin Roosevelt. The Arizona had remained at its home port to carry out a different sort of mission, one that would put it on view to a wider audience.

The ship had landed a starring role in Warner Brothers' new picture, which would go into theaters later that year, 1934, as "Here Comes the Navy." It was a comedy about a couple of lunkhead sailors and the girl one of them wants to marry, a harmless story that would put one of the Navy's battleships on thousands of movie screens.

Movie poster for the 1934 film starring James Cagney. It was a comedy about a couple of lunkhead sailors and the girl one of them wants to marry. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

For the Arizona's crew, the shoot brought a welcome change of pace after months of fleet exercises and target towing off the California coast. The ship had logged a lot of miles over the past year, traversing the Panama Canal, dipping below the equator, steaming up the west coast and back, part of the Navy's peacetime routine.

Although commissioned just before the United States entered World War I, the Arizona's crew had never fired the ship's guns in battle. The vessel remained stateside during the war, sidelined at times by troublesome engine turbines, which had performed poorly from the start, and at others because the oil she burned was less readily available than the coal required by older ships in the fleet.

Docked in Virginia, the Arizona gave up some her 5-inch guns to arm cargo ships headed across the Atlantic. Crews trained using the Arizona's remaining guns and the ship participated in fleet exercises and war games, scoring high marks in competitions involving the 14-inch guns.

In December 1918, the Arizona steamed toward Europe at last, but as an escort for the ocean liner George Washington, which carried President Wilson to the Paris peace treaty negotiations.

The New York City skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge can be seen behind the USS Arizona as the ship leaves New York to help escort President Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference in December of 1918 at the end of World War I. Although the Arizona first went under way two years earlier, it never fought in the war. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the University of Arizona Special Collections)

The city skyline in 2014. (Photo: Pat Shannahan/The Republic)

The following May, Wilson dispatched the Arizona and three American destroyers to the Mediterranean Sea, where tensions had risen in a treaty dispute among Greece, Turkey and Italy. The Arizona's crew stood ready to go ashore if fighting grew worse, but in the end, the Americans did not intervene.

Three years later, in 1921, the Arizona was assigned to the Pacific fleet, anchoring in the harbor at Los Angeles. The move, it turned out, was permanent.

Ken Potts was working on a horse farm in Missouri in 1939. The hours were long, the conditions were dirty, the work monotonous. But it was a job.

Like millions of young men in the 1930s, Potts was grateful to draw a regular paycheck. He had worked as a carpenter before that, a union job that paid 75 cents an hour, but the hours were unreliable.

He had left the family farm near Honey Bend, Ill., as a teenager. Times were rough there. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade because the high school would have been a seven-mile walk. He had walked a mile and a quarter to elementary school, sometimes crossing a flooded creek on horseback.

As he considered his options, he remembered seeing a movie about the Coast Guard.

"I've never seen the ocean," he thought. "Maybe that's the way to do."

He stopped by a recruiting station and was told the guard didn't need new recruits. He weighed his choices and chose the Navy.

"The Navy's clean," he reasoned. "The Army … walking through mud's not for me."

He completed basic training in Illinois and was shipped off to Long Beach to await his assignment.

A few hundred miles to the west, Lou Conter was working the night shift at Swift and Co., a thriving meat-packing outfit in Denver. He had landed a job because his dad worked there and he knew he was lucky. He'd walked past a hundred other guys waiting in line to apply for a job.

Conter had just graduated from high school and he planned to attend college in Colorado. He would play football, but beyond that, he still wavered.

One day, one of Conter's buddies showed up with his older brother, who was on leave from the Navy. The brother was headed to the recruiting station to re-enlist and Conter agreed to tag along with the two of them.

The recruiter talked Conter and his friend into taking the enlistment test, promising they wouldn't have to make a decision because the Navy had a 90-day waiting list for new sailors.

One morning, his mom jostled him from sleep with a phone call.

"They're asking for Louis Anthony Conter," she said. "Are you in trouble?"

Conter answered. It was someone from the Navy. They had a group headed out to basic training that evening, but four of them failed their physicals. Was Conter still interested?

Still groggy, he agreed to meet at the recruiting station. A few hours later, he called his girlfriend and his mom and he picked up his last paycheck at Swift. At 5:45, he was on a train to San Diego.

Take a virtual tour of the Battleship USS Arizona. When it was built, it was the largest battleship in the world.

As 1939 dawned, the USS Arizona steamed into Puget Sound near Seattle and moored at the ship yard in Bremerton. The Arizona was due for maintenance and re-provisioning and would go into dry dock for almost a month, lifted out of the water so crews could clean and repair the parts of the ship usually submerged.

The USS Arizona in dry dock, seen from above. (Photo: University of Arizona Special Collections)

A stint in dry dock was routine for Navy vessels. Periodically, dry dock meant a longer overhaul.

In 1929, the Arizona underwent extensive updates. The superstructure above deck was replaced. New tripod masts were installed with structures that housed the control equipment for the ship's big guns. Thicker deck armor protected critical areas of the ship. The balky turbines were replaced. The ship emerged stronger and with greater firepower.

The USS Arizona in 1931, after completing a modernization program at the U.S. Navy Yard in Portsmith, Va. (Photo: National Archives)

By 1939, the Arizona's four big turrets each held three 14-inch guns. The gun barrels were 52 feet long and weighed 70 tons each. They could fire a shell as far as 20 miles.

The ship also carried 12 single-mounted guns, each 5-inch, 51 caliber, and eight 5-inch, 25-caliber anti-aircraft guns.

On a chilly day in February, Lauren Bruner tried to take it all in. He'd seen ships in Puget Sound before on visits from his home near Olympia, but he had never seen a mighty battleship sitting in the wooden supports, exposed top to bottom.

Bruner was reporting for his first assignment. He had enlisted in the Navy about nine months earlier, but had to wait until he turned 18. He left his small hometown, joking that someone would have to change the sign from "Population 1,151" to 1,150.

The shipyard buzzed with activity as he followed the instructions he was given. Men hung off the side of the ship, scraping off barnacles. Other men chipped paint. On board, sailors painted, scrubbed, hauled trash out and provisions in.

Bruner drew deck duty as most new seaman did. By the time the Arizona steamed out of Puget Sound in March, he had learned his routine, mostly scrubbing decks or chipping paint for touch-ups.

He slept on a hammock, tied six feet above the steel deck. Each night, crewmen would tie their hammocks up and sweat out the night, then stow them in the morning. Bruner learned how to climb in and out and how to move around without tumbling out.

The Arizona sailed down the coast and met up with the Oklahoma for landing force exercises and anti-aircraft practice. The ship remained near its Los Angeles home port for a few weeks, sailed up the coast to San Francisco and back to Seattle for tactical maneuvers with other ships in the fleet.

Near year's end, the Arizona went into dry dock at Bremerton again, then sailed back to Los Angeles.

In late December, Ken Potts boarded the ship and in late January, after his whirlwind induction and basic training in San Diego, Lou Conter reported for duty. By April, the ship was sent to Pearl Harbor for fleet exercises.

The battleship launched small planes from a catapult on deck. Later, cranes would retrieve them from the water. (Photo: University of Arizona Special Collections)

USS Arizona Under Attack at Pearl Harbor - HISTORY

Sailing from New York on 4 January 1921, ARIZONA joined the Fleet as it sailed for Guantanamo Bay and the Panama Canal Zone. Arriving at Colon, on the Atlantic side of the isthmian waterway, on 19 January 1921, ARIZONA transited the Panama Canal for the first time on that day, arriving at Panama Bay on the 20th. Underway for Callao, Peru, on the 22nd, the Fleet arrived there nine days later, on 31 January 1921, for a six-day visit. While she was there, ARIZONA was visited by the President of Peru.

Underway for Balboa on 5 February 1921, ARIZONA arrived at the destination on the 14th transiting the canal again the day after Washington's Birthday, the battleship reached Guantanamo Bay on 6 March 1921. She operated there until 24 April 1921, when she sailed for New York, steaming via Hampton Roads. ARIZONA reached New York on 29 April 1921, and remained under overhaul there until 15 June 1921. She steamed thence for Hampton Roads on the latter date, and on the 21st steamed off Cape Charles with Army and Navy observers to witness the experimental bombings of the ex-German submarine U-117.

Proceeding thence back to New York, the battleship there broke the flag of Vice Admiral John D. McDonald (who, as captain, had been ARIZONA's first commanding officer) on 1 July 1921 and sailed for Panama and Peru on 9 July 1921. She arrived at the port of Callao on 22 July 1921 as flagship for the Battle Force, Atlantic Fleet, to observe the celebrations accompanying the centennial year of Peruvian Independence. On 27 July 1921, Vice Admiral McDonald went ashore and represented the United States at the unveiling of a monument commemorating the accomplishments of San Martin, who had liberated Peru from the Spanish yoke a century before.

Sailing for Panama Bay on 9 August 1921, ARIZONA became flagship for Battleship Division 7 when Vice Admiral McDonald transferred his flag to WYOMING (BB-33) and Rear Admiral Josiah S. McKean broke his flag on board as commander of the division on 10 August 1921 at Balboa. The following day, the battleship sailed for San Diego, arriving there on 21 August 1921.

John Anderson


His name was Cactus Jack and to his fans in southeastern New Mexico, he was the dulcet-voiced host of Sagebrush Serenade, a program of country music on KSWS radio.

He was in the studio on Valentine's Day 1955 when a nervous young man walked in. He was the opening act for country superstar Hank Snow that night at the North High School auditorium. He had a record, a new song he was trying out.

"Would you like to listen to it?" the young man asked.

Jack shrugged. "Sure, let's see it." He put the disc on a turntable and dropped the needle.

What he heard wasn't quite country music, but he liked it and he told the kid. Song's got some zip to it, he said. He agreed to play it on his show.

The song, "Hound Dog" and the singer, Elvis Presley, both went over pretty well, the way Cactus Jack remembers it.

For a lot of people, meeting Elvis and playing one of his first records on the air might sound like one of life's truly unforgettable days. But John Anderson, the Navy chief petty officer who called himself Cactus Jack on the air, had a good head start already.

He had chased Japanese soldiers along the coast of China three years before America declared war on Japan. In World War II, he fought at Guadalcanal, in the battle of the Coral Sea, at Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He fought cold and hunger on a ship nearly dead in the ocean off Alaska.

After the war, he worked as a stuntman for Orson Welles and John Wayne and helped build Alan Ladd's house in the hills outside Hollywood.

And he was aboard on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, a pivotal moment in history, but one that struck Anderson to his core. There, he lost his twin brother

"It was a bloody catastrophe, a bloody mess," he says. "I don't think I'll ever forget what I saw that day."

Anderson always talks about his brother, Delbert "Jake" Anderson, when he tells the story of his own escape from the burning ship.

He is one of nine living survivors of the Arizona and, at 97, he has amassed a lifetime of unforgettable days.

Anderson grew up in the Red River Valley of northern Minnesota, the son of a prominent local judge. He had five brothers, including Jake, and four sisters, all grouped so close in age that paying for college wasn't practical for their folks.

As a youngster, Anderson heard stories about the Navy from his uncle, a man named Ray Stokes. Uncle Ray was nearing the end of his career in 1937 when John and Jake both decided to enlist.

John was sent from training camp in Illinois to Bremerton, Wash. He was assigned briefly to the Arizona, then to the Saratoga, an aircraft carrier, then, as the Navy tinkered once more with its troop alignment, back to the Arizona.

Before the big battleship could leave Puget Sound, Anderson volunteered for another mission, joining the small Asiatic Fleet along the coast of China.

After Pearl Harbor and the war, Anderson served as a reservist, and went on to become a radio and TV personality.
(Photo: Courtesy John Anderson)

Anderson went aboard the USS Edsall, a destroyer that supported various military action at sea and ashore. Japan and China were at war again and America was trying to protect its interests without getting involved in the conflict.

"We saved people on commercial ships on the seas, we rescued missionaries in the interior of China, we shot up a bunch of pirates," Anderson said.

At Kulangsu, an international settlement on an island off the southern Chinese coast, Anderson's unit ran into the French Foreign Legion, who had been cornered by Japanese soldiers on a high ridge.

"I'd never seen so many guys with so much guts," he said. "They were holed up behind sandbags, but they never got hit."

The Edsall sailed farther north, then headed to the Philippines, where they played baseball with a group of indigenous Moros, who had fought the United States more than 20 years earlier.

"We were told to watch out for them, these guys were assassins," Anderson said. "We made friends. We left and never fired a shot at them."

In 1940, Anderson reported to the Arizona once more, joining his brother for the first time since they had enlisted. They would serve together for a little over a year.

The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Anderson volunteered for duty on the Macdonough, a destroyer that downed at least one of the Japanese attack planes on Dec. 7.

The ship steamed toward the Asiatic Pacific and soon Anderson was chasing Japanese forces again, only this time the United States was at war. This time the objective was clear.

That summer, the ship joined others for the invasion at Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, one of the first major assaults against Japan by the Americans. The Macdonough stayed until September, then sailed back on patrol in the Pacific.

In the spring of 1943, the Macdonough headed north toward the Aleutian Islands, where Japan was trying to establish strategic strongholds that could control shipping lanes and thwart allied attacks on the Japanese islands.

"It was rough weather, foggy, raining cold," Anderson said. "Here we are, we can't see the enemy. We can't see our own ships. Then we got hit."

The Macdonough had collided with another destroyer, the Sicard. The ship was dead in the water. The crew unloaded anything they could do without, to keep the damaged hull above the water line. They knew the oil tanker Tippecanoe was out there, but couldn't see her.

Finally, the tanker spotted the destroyer. Anderson spoke to one of the tanker's crew about towing the Macdonough. The fellow he was talking with recognized Anderson's voice and they realized they had served together on the Yangtze Patrol before Pearl Harbor.

The tanker towed them to Adak, Alaska, and from there, another ship took the crippled destroyer to San Francisco for repairs.

Over the next year, Anderson would sail across the South Pacific, joining other ships in the American assault on the Marshall Islands, Parry Island and the Palau Islands. The Macdonough pulled picket patrol often, protecting other troops and guarding against kamikaze attacks by Japanese planes.

"We made so many landings," Anderson said. "We would go in with a landing party or we furnished artillery for the landing force. Sometimes we never landed, but we kept the line, always watching out for kamikazes."

On a fall day in 1945, John Anderson teetered on the base of a church steeple 110 feet above the ground. The steeple clock chimed and a statue of an angel wielding a sword emerged from an alcove and knocked Anderson off the steeple.

"Cut!" a director yelled. A stunt coordinator helped pull Anderson from the pile of cigarette crates that had broken his fall. Anderson had finished his first day as a Hollywood stunt man.

The job wasn't what he expected in September, when he was discharged from the Navy. He had a ticket home to Minnesota, but decided to find a place to stay and come up with a plan.

As he walked past a bar, still in his Navy uniform, a fellow popped out the door and looked Anderson up and down, checking him out more closely someone would ordinarily.

"What are you looking at?" Anderson demanded to know.

"You," the fellow said. "Are you in the Navy?"

"I was," Anderson said. "I just got discharged. The war's over."

Delbert Anderson was killed in the attack on the USS Arizona. His brother John Anderson survived. Both enlisted in the Navy in 1938. Delbert served his whole time on the USS Arizona.
(Photo: Pat Shannahan, The Arizona Republic)

"Would you like a job?" The fellow told him to report to the front gate of Sam Goldwyn's studio in Hollywood on Monday morning. He gave Anderson the name of a contact there.

Anderson decided he had nothing to lose. After an initial run-in with the guard at the gate ("Three weeks ago, I was shooting at people and killing them and I didn't even know who they were," he growled at the guard. "You I know.") he met his contact and not long after, he was standing in for Orson Welles in a scene from the movie "The Stranger."

It turned out most of the regular stuntmen were still in the military. The studios needed tough men who could handle dangerous situations. The job paid $700.

"Next thing you know, I'm in a movie with John Wayne," Anderson says years later. "I didn't have any speaking parts, but I was working for the studio and they paid me."

He got to know Alan Ladd, who had starred in a series of war movies. When the regular stuntmen returned and the studio cut loose the subs, Ladd hired some of them to work on his house in the Holmby Hills above Los Angeles.

At nights, Anderson was taking classes in meteorology and electronics, trying to learn skills that could help him stand out among all the returning servicemen and women.

One day, he stopped for coffee at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood. He felt a tap on his shoulder. He saw Gene LaRocque, a man he'd served with aboard the Macdonough.

"Are you out of the Navy, Andy?" LaRocque asked. When Anderson said he was, his old friend was incredulous. "Andy, you had 12 years of the damnedest fighting I ever saw. You're the bravest man I ever know. You can't leave the Navy."

LaRocque took Anderson to San Pedro, where his current ship was anchored. He introduced him to other officers. By the end of the day, had persuaded Anderson to sign up for the Navy Reserve. Put in eight years at least and you'll have a pension, he promised.

Anderson would serve another 23 years before finally retiring once more.

Anderson's road to the radio booth started in Hollywood, with a screen test at a studio where he had worked. He waited for the result. You have a great voice, he was told. Why not try radio?

So he did. He started on a small station, playing organ music. An administrator at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M., heard Anderson and talked him into joining the school to help improve its radio station and start a television station.

Anderson picked up and moved to New Mexico. He clashed with the station manager of the radio station and finally quit. Or got fired. Or both. That led to a job in Roswell, the Sagebrush Serenade and Elvis Presley.

"They played country music because the people here loved that," Anderson says. "Some of the ships I was on had guys who liked to play the guitar, so I knew something about it. The owner said, 'give it a name and say who are. Anything you choose is fine. You're on your own, every day.'"

As Cactus Jack, Anderson made a few concessions to his seagoing past.

"I cleaned up my language," he says, admitting he deployed a salty vocabulary, even after leaving active duty. "In the service, if you didn't use nasty words, you weren't a good sailor."

A few years later, a new station owner showed Anderson his plans to start a TV station. He said he wanted Anderson to join the on-air staff. Did he know anything about meteorology?

Anderson smiled. Did he ever. Soon, he became one of the earliest TV weathermen and an evening fixture in Roswell homes, or at least those with televisions.

Not long after he returned to Pearl Harbor near the end of the war, Anderson searched out some of the battle reports from Dec. 7, 1941. He knew his brother hadn't made it off the Arizona alive, but he didn't know much else.

He found a report by a gunner's mate. The report said most of the guys in the anti-aircraft batteries, where Jake fought, were shot down early in the assault. When the fourth bomb detonated in the powder magazine, anyone left was blown over the side.

Anderson has returned to the Arizona memorial often and has taken his family there. He has met many of his old friends and shipmates. Many have since died.

"It's always a great thing for me to see them," he says. "That's what I want to remember. The things I don't want to remember was the blood."

Although he is 97, he decided he couldn't miss a final reunion this year and he bought his tickets early. He wanted one last unforgettable day.

UPDATE: John Anderson died in November 2015, less than a year after this report.

Don Stratton escaped with Lauren Bruner by climbing hand over hand on a rope to a neighboring ship after surviving a fireball that engulfed his battle station on the USS Arizona. He was discharged and reenlisted when he recovered. He turned down a stateside assignment to return to action in the South Pacific.

(Photo: Pat Shannahan/ The Arizona Republic)

These Military Ghost Stories Will Have You Hiding Under Your Woobie

All the battles fought on American soil early in American history mean that the military has its fair share of ghosts. From the Revolutionary War through World War II, these ghosts are fabled to be felt lingering through veterans cemeteries, on decommissioned ships, and even in the barracks where they died.

Though some of these spirits are considered harmless, these five hair-raising military ghost stories will have you hiding under your woobie with a flashlight.

The USS Hornet

Commissioned in 1943, the Navy’s USS Hornet saw its fair share of combat during World War II. While stationed in the Pacific, it helped to sink more than 1,400 Japanese vessels. However, at least 300 sailors died aboard during its 27 years in service in combat, by accident, and by suicide. Now a museum, the Hornet is said to be home to a number of ghosts. Some museum workers and visitors report hearing voices and feeling cold in certain parts of the ship.

Curator and former Navy SEAL Alan McKean said, “I&aposm not a true believer in all of that stuff. But I saw what I saw. One day I saw an officer in khakis descending the ladder to the next deck. I followed him and he was gone. I have no explanation for it.”

The Battle of the Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo in 1836 was the culmination of the Texan struggle for independence. The site in San Antonio is now essentially a cemetery for the 182 Texans defenders and 1,600 Mexican soldiers who were either killed or wounded in the fight. Their remains were dismembered, burned, and dumped in the San Antonio River, and tales of paranormal activity surfaced just a few days after the battle.

The first account of ghosts at the Alamo came when Mexican Gen. Juan Jose Andrade, who made camp several miles away, sent a colonel with a contingent of men to burn the Alamo soldiers’ bodies to prevent the spread of disease. The men instead came back, having forsaken the mission, because six diablos or “devils” were guarding the front of the old Alamo mission.

And over the last 80 years, visitors to the site have reported seeing small boys tagging along in groups before disappearing, hearing the clatter of horse hooves on the pavement, and spotting an eerie man and small boy jumping from the roof of the Alamo mission.

The Cold Harbor Battlefield

Cold Harbor Battlefield in Virginia hosted one the bloodiest battles in American history. During the Civil War, it was the site of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign from May 31 through June 12, 1864. When it finally ended, Confederate losses hit nearly 5,000 and Union casualties were estimated to be more than 12,000.

Visitors to the site report seeing apparitions of soldiers wandering the grounds or performing battle maneuvers. Orbs are often spotted at night, and many locals report the sound of horses clopping along Route 156. Some even say they can smell gunpowder in the air.

The cemetery beside the Battlefield park is reportedly haunted by a little girl&aposs dressed in white with a bonnet and a very pretty face. Legend has it that she died falling out of the window of the Gravekeeper&aposs house, which still stands today. On occasion, you can purportedly even see the little girl peeking out from the window. The same house is also supposedly the gravesite for a hundred hastily buried Civil War soldiers.

The USS Arizona

Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed by a Japanese attack on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which launched the United States into World War II. Those who died didn’t go peacefully, which makes Pearl Harbor ripe for ghosts.

One of its more famous ghosts, “Charley,” has been there so long and his presence so well documented that it isn’t uncommon for local officers to respond “That’s just Charley” when water faucets turn themselves on, radio stations switch, or heavy doors swing back and forth inexplicably. However, he’s harmless.

Many of those who visit the memorial built over the Arizona feel inexplicable sadness and pain. But one of the most harrowing ghost stories regards a sailor who was shot after leaving his post during the Pearl Harbor bombings. He is said to haunt the deck of the sunken ship at low tide.

The Jefferson Barracks

The Jefferson Barracks in Missouri was opened on October 23, 1826, named in honor of former president Thomas Jefferson who died earlier that year. Over the course of its history, it was used as a military staging area and a VA hospital, and a graveyard was established there in 1863.

Most of the scariest stories revolve around the barracks headquarters. A number of soldiers who have held guard positions there reported seeing a ghostly sentry who would challenge them while on-post. He supposedly has a gory, bleeding bullet hole in his head, and is said to be so frightening and aggressive that some guards have deserted their posts after encountering him.

According to lore, the sentry was a guard who had been killed in a munitions raid. He is believed to confront the living guards at the post because he is still on duty, and sees them as enemy trespassers.

Fact Check-Photo does not show underwater flag as memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

A photo claiming to show a diver in front of a massive underwater flag located at a Pearl Harbor Memorial site in Hawaii is miscaptioned. The picture is accompanied by the claim that the flag is replaced by a diver every three years in memory of the Dec. 7, 1941 strike on the U.S. base by Japanese forces, triggering the United States’ involvement in World War Two. The photo, however, was not taken at Pearl Harbor.

Examples of posts incorrectly identifying the underwater ship can be seen here and here .

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial site (here) is home to the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and the USS Utah memorials. The USS Arizona (here) and the USS Utah ( have remained submerged since the attack on Pearl Harbor. A Smithsonian video about the attack can be seen here .

The photograph in these claims, however, was not taken at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Site.

The National Park Service website for Pearl Harbor, seen here , states, “Visibility can be very low due to the suspended sediment in the water column from boat traffic and stream runoff emptying into the harbor. Oil still leaks from the Arizona and is visible in photos from the National Park Service here and here .

The Underwater at the USS Arizona portion of the park website states that an estimated “half-million gallons of oil” remain inside the vessel. The Park Service says, “These conditions make the USS Arizona extremely difficult to photograph on a large scale.” Historical content from records seen here show “Pearl Harbor has an average depth of just 45 feet (13.7 meters), meaning that many ships that were “sunk” were resting with their decks well above the waterline.”

The depth displayed in the photo (with a fully submerged ship) circulating online further suggests this does not correspond to the more shallow seas at the Pearl Harbor shipwrecks.

Emily Pruitt, a spokesperson for National Park Service at the Pearl Harbor site, confirmed in an email statement to Reuters that “the photograph was not taken at Pearl Harbor, nor do we maintain any underwater flags.”

The image is actually from a 9-11 memorial flag deployment to the retired US Navy ship General Hoyt S. Vandenberg ( seen in CBC Radio Canada footage here . Still shots of the flag can be seen in online coverage from CBS 4 Miami here .

This sunken ship is located in the Florida Keys, not Hawaii. The vessel was repurposed as an artificial reef within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (here) and sank into 140 feet of water on May 27, 2009.

According to a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and & Atmospheric Administration’s Maritime History team, and confirmed by diver Joseph Weatherby, who led the team that sank the Vandenberg , the photo was taken on the Vandenberg.

Weatherby says the group is planning “another giant flag as well as a piece of the World Trade Center as a 20-year 9-11 Memorial as well.”

Rare Pearl Harbor Attack Footage

The forward magazine of USS SHAW (DD-373) explodes during the second Japanese attack wave. Footage of this explosion can be seen in the video below at about 2:16. Naval History and Heritage Command NH 86118.

Iconic images of U.S. Navy warships under attack and on fire at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 are seared into the collective American memory. Yet the total amount of moving picture footage of the surprise Japanese attack in Hawaii is limited, with the same shots often repeated over and over again. Rare footage shot by CWO4 Clyde Daughtry from the deck of USS Argonne (AS 10), moored at the 1010 dock on that tragic day, remains one of the best pieces of filmed material of the attack. Unfortunately, the original copies of that film disappeared in the late 1960’s. What remains are a few badly deteriorated copies of a copy, one version of which remains in the collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command. In 1982, Don Montgomery of the Defense Audiovisual Agency, after years of investigation and correspondance with Daughtry, came upon a decent quality copy of the film at the Naval History and Heritage Command (at that time the Naval Historical Center) in Washington, DC. This copy of the film was found in the donated collection of Captain Mell A. Peterson, Jr., who had obtained it from his father, and it was the only known version of the film to exist. It is thanks to Montgomery’s foresight that we have the ability to watch any version of this film at all. He made six additional copies of the footage for safekeeping, donating one copy to the National Archives. The quality of this version of the film is uneven. Much of it is faded badly (the original footage was in color that has long since deteriorated), but you can still make out many key moments of the battle, including the battleship USS Nevada (BB 36) underway and firing back at the Japanese attackers.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll see in this film:

0:00 – 0:47: views of Battleship Row and Ford Island showing battleships on fire: capsized USS Oklahoma (BB 37), listing USS West Virginia (BB 48), burning USS Arizona (BB 39). Clearest view begins at 0:22. Aerial shots of Japanese aircraft and heavy flak are interspersed.

0:48 – 0:50: View down 1010 dock at cruiser USS Helena (CL 50) and listing USS Oglala (CM 4), being pulled clear of the cruiser’s side

0:51 – 0:53: View in the sky of Japanese aircraft

0:54 – 1:21: USS Nevada underway and past the 1010 dock trying to reach open sea, being attacked with her guns firing back, she turns left and runs aground at Hospital Point. In the foreground, Oglala rolls over and sinks

1:22 – 2:05: Camera pans down Battleship Row again, showing West Virginia settling in with decreasing list, upturned hull of Oklahoma, with USS Maryland (BB 46) behind her. USS Tern (AM 31) is moored in foreground at 1010 dock. USS St. Louis (CL 49) can be seen briefly heading down the channel firing her guns.

2:06 – 2:11: Injured men being carried on stretches on 1010 dock

2:12 – 2:16 : Drifting oil fires from Arizona engulf California

2:17 – 2:27: Destroyer USS Shaw‘s (DD 373) forward magazine explodes in a large fireball

2:28 – 2:48: Oil fire has drifted clear of California

2:49 – 2:54: USS Blue (DD 387)heads down channel past burning oil fires for sea

2:55 – 3:00: Capsized Oglala sunken in foreground, while Shaw burns in the background

3:01 – 3:02: Japanese aircraft overhead

3:03 – 3:04: Shrapnel falls in water just off 1010 dock

3:05 – 4:08 : More views of Battleship Row and Ford Island, including California low in the water after torpedo hits

4:09 – 4:33: Another view of Oglala sunken beside dock

4:34 – 4:47: Pan across California low in the water, USS Vireo (AM 52) in foreground

4:48 – 4:55 : Pan across Ford Island showing American flag still flying

4:56 – 5:11: Film closes with American flag flying on the stern of USS Helena (CL 50)

The USS Arizona – 5 Facts You May Not Know and 30 Photos

Most people are familiar with the iconic ship and the amazing memorial to her in Pearl Harbor. Here are some things you may not know and some great photos of her.

Dozens of Brothers Were Serving Aboard

There were 38 sets of brothers aboard the Arizona when the Japanese strike occurred. By the end of the attack, only 15 sets remained alive. Following this, U.S officials suggested that the practice of having siblings aboard the same ship should be discontinued. However, this was never enforced.

A Burial Ground for Survivors Also

The wreck of the USS Arizona currently lies in Pearl Harbor. Several of the crew members who survived the attack requested that this site serve as their burial ground. Cremated remains of these crewmen are put in an urn which would is placed under one of the ship’s gun turrets by a diver. The surviving crewmen see this as a way of getting back in touch with their fallen comrades.

U.S. Navy Lt. Terry Bewley, a chaplain, reads a prayer while the remains of Seaman 1st Class Wallace F. Quillin are handed to National Park Service divers during an interment at the USS Arizona Memoria

Elvis Presley Performed to Raise Funds for the Memorial

Around 10% of the total cost of the USS Arizona memorial was raised by the KING, Elvis Presley. About fifty thousand dollars was raised in a concert at Pearl Harbor’s Block Arena. This memorial is visited by millions of people yearly.

Elvis Presley

Arizona’s Flag Officer was First to be killed in the Pacific War

The USS Arizona’s Rear Admiral, Isaac C. Kidd, died during the Japanese air strike on the ship. He turned out to be the first U.S Navy flag officer killed by enemy fire in the Pacific theaters. He was posthumously awarded the medal of honor.

Captain Isaac C. Kidd

Fuel Still Seeps From the Wreck of Arizona

Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack on 7th December 1941, the USS Arizona took on an enormous load of fuel in preparation for a trip later that month. During the attack, it began to leak out underwater. Fuel still seeps out of Arizona’s wreckage today at a rate of 8 liters per day. It is called “The Black Tears of Arizona.”

The “tears of the Arizona”. Oil slick visible on water’s surface above the sunken battleship. ©James G. Howes

The keel of the USS Arizona was laid down on 16th March 1914 and the ship was launched 15 months later. It was one of the two ships that made up the Pennsylvania class of warships and the largest navy ship at the time. The ship was commissioned in 1916 and was named after the Union’s newest state at that time, but it did not see any action in World War I.

USS Arizona in New York City

In 1918, Arizona sailed with 37 other ships to escort President Woodrow Wilson aboard the George Washington so he could attend the Paris peace conference. The Arizona joined the Pacific fleet in 1931, was sent to Pearl Harbor in 1940, and it was there that the ship met the end of its career.

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on Pearl Harbor.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Arizona was attacked by ten Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers, hitting it from amidships to stern and in the bow area. The last bomb hit near the ship’s second turret, probably penetrating the armored deck and hitting the ammunition magazines at the ship’s forward section. This resulted in a cataclysmic explosion that destroyed the forward part of the ship and effectively tore the Arizona apart. The ship lost 1177 crewmen in that attack.

USS Arizona during the attack

Due to the level of damage inflicted on the Arizona in the Pearl Harbor attack, it was placed temporarily out of service on 29th December 1940 and by December 1942, its name was removed from the naval vessels register. It was scrapped and the salvaged armament reused on other ships.

More photos

USS Arizona. Underway during the 1930s.

Arizona (BB39) port bow, before being modernized at Norfolk Naval Shipyard between May 1929 and January 1930

USS Arizona. Underway during the 1930s.

The burning wreckage of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

USS Arizona (BB-39) sunk and burning furiously, 7 December 1941.

USS Arizona, Submerged off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

The burned-out, sunken wreck of USS Arizona (BB-39), photographed some days after the attack.

Arizona in the 1950s.

An aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona: collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

USS Arizona (BB39) Foremast structure, conning tower, and top of turret

USS Arizona: Ship’s complement posing on her forecastle, forward turrets and superstructure, circa 1924.

USS Arizona, View from main mast. Bow projecting from water- forward

USS Arizona: collection of photographs of salvage operations at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard taken by the shipyard during the period following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which initiated US participation in World War II. The photographs are found in a number of files in several shipyard records series.

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial. By Ben Weir – CC BY-SA 3.0

USS Arizona memorial interior. The Shrine Room.

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) manning rails for USS Arizona

An NPS diver with the forward guns on the No. 1 Turret of the submerged USS Arizona (BB-39)

An NPS diver examines & documents the wreckage of the USS Arizona in 2015.

Steel Worker 1st Class Jesse Hamblin, with Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 Construction Dive Detachment (CDD) Alpha, spreads the ashes of his grandfather, WWII veteran Donald Booth, at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.


Conception and funding Edit

During and following the end of World War II, Arizona ' s wrecked superstructure was removed and efforts began to erect a memorial at the remaining submerged hull.

Robert Ripley, of Ripley's Believe It or Not! fame, visited Pearl Harbor in 1942. Six years later, in 1948, he did a radio broadcast from Pearl Harbor. Following that broadcast, with the help of his longtime friend Doug Storer, he got in contact with the Department of the Navy. He wrote letters to Rear Admiral J.J. Manning of the Bureau of Yards and Docks regarding his desire for a permanent memorial.

While Ripley's original idea for a memorial was disregarded due to the cost, the Navy continued with the idea of creating a memorial. The Pacific War Memorial Commission was created in 1949 to build a permanent memorial in Hawaii. Admiral Arthur W. Radford, commander of the Pacific Fleet, attached a flag pole to the main mast of the Arizona in 1950, and began a tradition of hoisting and lowering the flag. In that same year a temporary memorial was built above the remaining portion of the deckhouse. [3] Radford requested funds for a national memorial in 1951 and 1952, but was denied because of budget constraints during the Korean War.

The Navy placed the first permanent memorial, a 10-foot (3 m)-tall basalt stone and plaque, over the mid-ship deckhouse on December 7, 1955. [4] President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the creation of a National Memorial in 1958. Enabling legislation required the memorial, budgeted at $500,000, be privately financed however, $200,000 of the memorial cost was government subsidized.

Principal contributions [5] to the memorial included:

  • $50,000 Territory of Hawaiʻi initial contribution in 1958
  • $95,000 privately raised following a 1958 This Is Your Life television segment featuring Rear Admiral (ret.) Samuel G. Fuqua, [6]Medal of Honor recipient and the senior surviving officer from the Arizona
  • $64,000 from a March 25, 1961 benefit concert by Elvis Presley, [7] which was his final live performance until 1968
  • $40,000 from the sale of plastic models of the Arizona, in a partnership between the Fleet Reserve Association and Revell Model Company
  • $150,000 from federal funds in legislation initiated by Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye in 1961

During planning stages, the memorial's purpose was the subject of competing visions. Some were eager to keep it a tribute to the sailors of the Arizona, while others expected a dedication to all who died in the Pacific theater. [8] In the end, the legislation authorizing and funding the memorial (HR 44, 1961) declared that the Arizona would "be maintained in honor and commemoration of the members of the Armed Forces of the United States who gave their lives to their country during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941." [9] [8]

Design Edit

The national memorial was designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis, who was detained at Sand Island at the start of the war as an enemy of the country, because of his Austrian birth. [10] The United States Navy specified the memorial be in the form of a bridge floating above the ship and accommodating 200 people. [ citation needed ]

The 184-foot-long (56 m) structure has two peaks at each end connected by a sag in the center of the structure. Critics initially called the design a "squashed milk carton". [11]

The architecture of the USS Arizona Memorial is explained by Preis as, "Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory . The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted, to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses . his innermost feelings." [12]

Description Edit

The national memorial has three main parts: entry, assembly room, and shrine. The central assembly room features seven large open windows on either wall and ceiling, to commemorate the date of the attack. Rumor says the 21 windows symbolically represents a 21-gun salute or 21 Marines standing at eternal parade rest over the tomb of the fallen, but guides at the site will confirm this was not the architect's intention. The memorial also has an opening in the floor overlooking the sunken decks. It is from this opening that visitors can pay their respects by tossing flowers in honor of the fallen sailors. In the past, leis were tossed in the water, but because string from leis poses a hazard to sea life, leis now are placed on guardrails in front of the names of the fallen.

One of Arizona ' s three 19,585-pound (8,884 kg) anchors is displayed at the visitor center's entrance. (One of the other two is at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix.) One of the two ship's bells is in the visitor center. (Its twin is in the clock tower of the Student Memorial Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson.)

The shrine at the far end is a marble wall that bears the names of all those killed on Arizona, protected behind velvet ropes. To the left of the main wall is a small plaque which bears the names of thirty or so crew members who survived the 1941 sinking. Any surviving crew members of Arizona (or their families on their behalf) can have their ashes interred within the wreck by U.S. Navy divers [13]

History Edit

The USS Arizona Memorial was formally dedicated on May 30, 1962 (Memorial Day) by Texas Congressman and Chairman of Veteran Affairs Olin E. Teague and future-Governor John A. Burns.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. While the wreck of the Arizona was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the memorial does not share this status. Rather, it is listed separately from the wreck on the National Register of Historic Places. The joint administration of the memorial by the United States Navy and the National Park Service was established on September 9, 1980.

Oil leaking from the sunken battleship can still be seen rising from the wreckage to the water's surface. This oil is sometimes referred to as "the tears of the Arizona" [14] [15] or "black tears." [16] In a National Geographic feature published in 2001, concerns were expressed that the continued deterioration of the Arizona ' s bulkheads and oil tanks from saltwater corrosion could pose a significant environmental threat from a rupture, resulting in a significant release of oil. [17] The National Park Service states it has an ongoing program that closely monitors the submerged vessel's condition.

The Park Service, as part of its Centennial Initiative celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, developed a "mobile park" to tour the continental United States to increase exposure of the park. The mobile park also collected oral histories of the attack on Pearl Harbor. [18] [19]

Upon the deck of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese surrendered to United States General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, ending World War II. In 1999, Missouri was moved to Pearl Harbor from the United States west coast and docked behind, and in line, with USS Arizona, placing it perpendicular to the USS Arizona Memorial. The pairing of the two ships became an evocative symbol of the beginning and end of the United States' participation in the war.

USS Arizona Memorial staff initially criticized the placement of Missouri, saying the large battleship would "overshadow" the Arizona Memorial. To guard against this perception, Missouri was placed well back of the Arizona Memorial, and positioned in Pearl Harbor to prevent those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri ' s aft decks from seeing the Arizona Memorial. The decision to have Missouri ' s bow face the Memorial was intended to convey that Missouri now watches over the remains of Arizona so that those interred within Arizona ' s hull may rest in peace. These measures have helped preserve the identities of the Arizona Memorial and the Missouri Memorial, thereby improving the public's perception of having Arizona and Missouri in the same harbor. [20]

Watch the video: Pearl Harbor Sinking of USS Arizona