- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 22:11
- Published: Friday, 23 May 2003 00:00
William Jack Bush
Ensign on 7 December 1941
Statement of Ensign William J. Bush
From: USS Arizona Action Report - 13 December 1941
At about two or three minutes before 0800 Sunday, I was asleep in my room when I faintly heard a siren. Shortly thereafter I distinctly heard G.Q. I put some clothes on and went up from lower wardroom country to the second deck. Lt. C.T. Janz was sending everyone in the vicinity to shelter below the armored deck. I went down with Lt. Janz and about forty enlisted men. Before we could close the hatch, there were three violent blasts with flame and powder fumes entering the compartment. I then told all personnel in the vicinity to get out and go topside to avoid the gas. About twenty (20) enlisted personnel and myself went topside. I saw the entire ship forward of #3 turret to be a raging fire. I asked Ensign Davison about fighting the fire and he told me there was no water in the fire main. Shortly thereafter, Ensign Davison and myself got three boats clear of the oil fire on the water and picked up the men in the water who had jumped to get clear of the fire. We took several boatloads of badly burned and injured men to Ford Island landing and continued picking up men in the water between the ship and the shore. I took one boat alongside the quarter of the Arizona and waited until everyone gathered on the stern had been taken off. Ensign Lenning, Ensign Miller and Lt. Comdr. Fuqua made sure no one could be rescued from the after end of the ship before they left. We then picked the men up out of the water and put everyone ashore at Ford Island landing. Lt. Comdr. Fuqua took one boat and left to search the water for injured men. After sending all injured men to the dispensary, we took the remainder to the air raid shelter below Admiral Bellinger's quarters. Ensign Davison assisted me in directing the rescue work even though he was badly burned himself.
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