- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:39
- Published: Friday, 08 February 2002 00:00
Guy Spalding Flanagan, Jr.
Ensign on 7 December 1941
Statement of Ensign Guy S. Flannigan [sic], USNR
From: USS Arizona Action Report - 13 December 1941
At about 8 o'clock I heard the air raid siren. I was in the bunk room and everyone in the bunk room thought it was a joke to have an air raid on Sunday. Then I heard the explosion. I was undressed. I climbed into some khaki clothes and shoes. Then the general alarm bell went. I made for my GQ station. I don't remember any word passed over the speaker system.
My station was the lower room of turret 3.
Just as the men and I got down the ladder leading to the passageway between the lower rooms of turret 3 and 4, a bomb exploded. The lights went out. It seemed to be on the third deck, starboard side between turrets 3 and 4. When that bomb hit, it made a whish with a gust of hot air and sparks flew. There followed a very nauseating gas and smoke immediately afterwards.
Before this time condition Red had been set in the lower room of turret 3 and the men in the passage and I were unable to get out of the passageway. I beat on the door for some minutes before someone inside the turret opened the door. We got all the men we could find in the passage way into the lower room, and then dogged down the passageway door. We were unable to dog down the door of the port passage way between turrets 3 and 4 because it had been sprung by an explosion. The air in the turret was fairly clear for awhile, but finally gas or smoke started coming in.
The men made quite a bit of confusion at first but they were very obedient when Ensign Field and I ordered them to keep quiet. About this time we got a flashlight and saw the turret was very misty with smoke. Just after this, we heard a hissing noise which was later discovered to be air leaking from holes in the forward transverse bulkhead of the lower room. Ensign Field tried to get Central station on the ship's service phone, but the phones were out. We also tried the sound powered phones which were also out. Conditions from smoke were getting worse and worse. It was then that we decided that we would have to leave the lower room. We sent men up the ladder to open the hatches to the electric deck, shell room and pits. The men had difficulty opening the first hatch. Men were coughing badly when it was finally opened. We went with them up to the pits on the double.
There were two men and Ensign Field and I left in the lower room when water entered the lower room. It was about 8 inches deep when Ensign Field and I finally left. We were the last two up. We climbed the ladder closing all the hatches behind us. I took charge of the men in the pits and Ensign Field went out on deck to help Lt. Comdr. Fuqua. We saw smoke entering the pits through the pointers and trainers telescope slots. I urged the men to take off their shirts, and we closed the openings with clothes. After a short time, we got word from Ensign Feld to come out on deck, the ship seemed to be ablaze from the boatdeck forward. We then unlashed the liferaft on the starboard side of turret 3, and threw it into the water. I sent the men aboard the raft and shoved it off. I was then called aft, and helped men who were wounded into the barge, leaving for Ford Island. I went in the barge for Ford Island and helped men to the front of the airraid shelter and into trucks taking them to medical aid. By this time, the ship was ablaze from forward of turret 3 to the bow. There were no boats to make another trip when I returned to the Landing. I went to the air raid shelter.
G. S. Flannigan [sic], Jr. Ensign, D-V (G), U.S.N.R.
(Note: He signed "G. S. Flanagan")
Information researched and compiled by I. B. Nease and N. A. Nease and provided on USSARIZONA.ORG free of charge.
May not be reprinted in any form, other than educational use, without prior written permission of the author.