- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:51
- Published: Friday, 23 May 2003 00:00
Samuel Glenn Fuqua
Lieutenant Commander on 7 December 1941
Statement of Lieutenant Commander Samuel G. Fuqua
From: USS Arizona Action Report - 13 December 1941
I was in the ward room eating breakfast about 0755 when a short signal on the ship's air raid alarm was made. I immediately went to the phone and called the Officer-of-the-Deck to sound general quarters and then shortly thereafter ran up to the starboard side of the quarter deck to see if he had received word. On coming out of the ward room hatch on the port side, I saw a Japanese plane go by, the machine guns firing, at an altitude of about 100 feet. As I was running forward on the starboard side of the quarter deck, approximately by the starboard gangway, I was apparently knocked out by the blast of a bomb which I learned later had struck the face plate of #4 turret on the starboard side and had glanced off and gone through the deck just forward of the captain's hatch, penetrating the decks and exploding on the third deck. When I came to and got up off the deck, the ship was a mass of flames amidships on the boat deck and the deck aft was awash to about frame 90. The anti-aircraft battery and machine guns apparently were still firing at this time. Some of the Arizona boats had pulled clear of the oil and were lying off the stern.
At this time I attempted, with the assistance of the crews of #2 and #4 turrets to put out the fire which was coming from the boat deck and which had extended to the quarter deck. There was no water on the fire mains. However, about 14 C02s were obtained that were stowed on the port side and held the flames back from the quarter deck enabling us to pick up wounded who were running down the boat deck out of the flames. I placed about 70 wounded and injured in the boats which had been picked up off the deck aft and landed them at the Ford Island landing. This was completed about 0900 or 0930. Not knowing whether the Captain or the Admiral had ever reached the bridge, I had the Captain's hatch opened up, immediately after I came to, and sent officers Ensign G. B. Lenning, USNR. and Ensign J. D. Miller, USN down to search the Captain's and Admirals cabins to see if they were there. By this time the Captain's cabin and Admiral's cabin were about waist deep in water. A search of the two cabins revealed that the Admiral and Captain were not there. Knowing that they were on board I assume that they had proceeded to the bridge. All personnel but 3 or 4 men, turrets #3 and #4, were saved.
About 0900, seeing that all guns of the anti-aircraft and secondary battery were out of action and that the ship could not possibly be saved, I ordered all hands to abandon ship.
From information received from other personnel on board, a bomb had struck the forecastle, just about the time the air raid siren sounded at 0755. A short interval thereafter there was a terrific explosion on the forecastle, apparently from the bomb penetrating the magazine. Approximately 30 seconds later a bomb hit the boat deck, apparently just forward of the stack, one went down the stack, and one hit the face plate of #4 turret indirectly. The commanding officer of the USS. Vestal stated that 2 torpedoes passed under his vessel which was secured alongside the Arizona, and struck the Arizona.
The first attack occurred about 0755. I saw approximately 15 torpedo planes which had come in to the attack from the direction of the Navy Yard. These planes also strafed the ship after releasing their torpedoes. Shortly thereafter there was a dive bomber and strafing attack of about 30 planes. This attack was very determined, planes diving within 500 feet before releasing bombs, about 0900. There were about twelve planes in flight that I saw.
The personnel of the anti-aircraft and machine gun batteries on the Arizona lived up to the best traditions of the Navy. I could hear guns firing on the ship long after the boat deck was a mass of flames. I can not single out one individual who stood out in acts of heroism above the others as all of the personnel under my supervision conducted themselves with the greatest heroism and bravery.
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.