USS Arizona Survivor Vernon Olsen Dead at 91
27 April 2011
Vernon J. Olsen, 91, of Port Charlotte, Florida, formerly of Rockford, Illinois, passed away Friday, April 22, 2011 in Port Charlotte.
Vernon was born in Rockford, Illinois on March 1, 1920, the youngest of 14 children born to Oscar and Frances Olsen of Rockford. Vernon enlisted in the United States Navy on October 8, 1940. After completing basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois, Vernon was assigned to the USS Arizona (BB-39) as a seaman. On December 7, 1941, Vern was assigned to mess duty for 5th Division when general quarters was sounded. His battle station was located in the gun tubs on the after mast, where he was to man a 50-caliber water-cooled machine gun. He did not have access to the keys to the ready-locker, therefore he did not have any ammunition or water needed to operate the machine gun. A Japanese plane flew between the masts and dropped a bomb. Following the explosion of the bomb, he was ordered to abandon ship. As he was escaping, he received severe burns to his arms. Another, much larger explosion occurred and the ship became an inferno. Vern found himselft floundering in the harbor's water but was soon rescued and transported safely to Ford Island. He was later assigned to the USS Lexington (CV-2) and survived the sinking of that carrier during the Battle of Coral Sea. He was then assigned to the USS Nassau (CVE-16) and participated in many naval engagements in the Pacific. After the war, Vernon was assigned to the USS Fulton (AS-11) and participated in the atomic testing at Bikini Atoll in July of 1946. On December 9, 1946, Vernon received his honorable discharge from the Navy with the rank of Electrician's Mate First Class (Acting Chief).
While the Nassau was under repair at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California, Vern took leave to marry Jo Ann Castelles of Rockford, Illinois on April 8, 1944. Shortly after his discharge from the Navy, Vernon went to work for the Commonwealth Edison Company in Rockford. He was in charge of distributing electrical power throughout the Rockford metropolitan area. Vern retired in 1975 after 28 and one half years of service and he and Jo Ann moved to Port Charlotte.
He leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Jo Ann Olsen, and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
Link to Tribute & Memory Book
Remember Budd Nease
24 April 2011
By JOHN HUNNEMAN - email@example.com North County Times - The Californian
Good Sunday morning to you. We'll be having Easter brunch in Tucson today.
Dec. 7, 2011, will mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The commemoration in Hawaii is an event that Murrieta's Budd Nease did not want to miss. He'd already made reservations to be at Pearl Harbor to observe a moment of silence and offer a prayer for the souls of the nearly 1,000 men of the USS Arizona interred within the battleship's hull.
Perhaps as much as any single American, Nease has helped ensure that the men who died during the attack that day, and those who survived, are honored and remembered.
Last week his wife, Carol, told me Nease died unexpectedly in late March. He was 78.
Nease heard the radio announcement of the Japanese attack at his parents' Long Beach house. He was just 9.
His family had a special interest in the distant Navy base. Months before, they'd met a sailor on the Long Beach pier who was headed for duty aboard a battleship in Hawaii. The family and the sailor exchanged letters until just before the attack. None arrived after the bombing.
Nease joined the Navy in 1949 and served for 21 years, including duty at Pearl Harbor.
After his military days, Nease spent 20 years in law enforcement. He and Carol ---- his wife of 40 years ---- moved to The Colony in Murrieta about nine years ago.
The time spent in Hawaii, along with the childhood memory of the sailor presumed lost in the attack, spurred a lifelong interest in the events of Dec. 7, 1941.
For more than half a century, Nease collected pictures, documents and other artifacts related to the attack. The collection is one of the world's largest, surpassed only by the one at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii and another at the University of Arizona.
In 1999, Nease and daughter Nancy launched a website ---- www.ussarizona.org ---- that not only recounts the attack, but keeps track of the remaining USS Arizona survivors.
Today, just 20 remain.
That website has had 3.5 million visitors since it was established.
Nease served as the historian for the USS Arizona Reunion Association, a duty now passed to Nancy.
An expert on the attack, he often spoke at local schools and to civic groups.
"He was always concerned that people today had no idea of what happened at Pearl Harbor," Carol said. "The day after he died, a young man from the University of Alabama called and wanted to speak with him to confirm some information. When I told him Budd was gone, he asked, 'How am I supposed to finish my doctorate?'"
Irvin Budd Nease Jr. was buried with full military honors at Riverside National Cemetery. Among the pallbearers was his grandson and namesake, Budd Brown, a petty officer stationed on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).
USS Arizona Historian, Budd Nease
30 March 2011
IRVIN BUDD NEASE, JR. passed away unexpectedly on March 26, 2011 at Inland Valley Medical Center.
Budd was born May 17, 1932 in Los Angeles, CA to Irvin Budd Nease and Frances Elizabeth Sepulveda. He was a direct descendant of the early California Sepulveda and Lugo families. He graduated from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles in 1950. Mr. Nease served in the Navy, both active and reserve from 1949 to 1970. He was a member of the Los Angeles Police Dept. for 5 years and served with the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. for 15 years.
In 1969 Budd married Carol Dianne Siercks. They lived in the Orange County area for 9 years, Pauma Valley for 25 years and their current home at The Colony in Murrieta for 9 years.
Mr. Nease was a member of the USS Arizona Reunion Association and most recently served several years as their Historian. He was an Honorary member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Carnation Chapter 3 in San Diego and was also a member of the Disabled American Veterans Association and the Fleet Reserve Association. In 1999 Budd co-founded the website, USSArizona.org.
He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Carol; children, Nancy Nease of King Salmon, AK; Michael Miller and John Nease both of Anchorage, AK; 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. A private viewing for the family will be held on Thursday morning followed by graveside services at Riverside National Cemetery at 10am. Services will be conducted by Jerry Hagans. EVANS-BROWN (951) 679-1114
Link to Memory Book
Former USS Arizona Crew Member Joseph Vivirito Passes Away
18 February 2011
Joseph Anthony Vivirito Loving husband, father, grandfather, and war hero May 22, 1918- February 13, 2011 Joseph A. Vivirito died in Orange, CA after a brief illness.
He was born in Pittsburgh, PA but considered Southern California to be his home, having lived here since 1936, the last 51 years in Orange County.
Joe joined the Navy in 1935 at the age of 17 and served for six years on the U.S.S. Arizona. He left the Navy in May 1941, but for just a brief time since he reenlisted after the Pearl Harbor attack and the sinking of the Arizona on December 7. Joe served his country in several major operations in the Pacific theater during World War II, including the capture and defense of Guadalcanal, the consolidation of the southern Solomons, the occupation of Kwajelein, the Marianas operation, the Leyte and Luzon landings, and the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In May 1945, Joe survived a kamikaze attack on the U.S.S. Terror. He was wounded in that attack and received a Purple Heart medal.
After the war, Joe studied for and passed the CPA exam and established the first CPA partnership in the San Fernando Valley. In subsequent years, he served as a chief financial officer, first at Babcock Electronics in Costa Mesa and later at Standard Logic in Santa Ana.
After his retirement in 1984, Joe began what he considered his second career- 20 years of volunteering at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. He eventually logged more than 15,000 volunteer hours at the hospital, which included the training of other volunteers.
Joe is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Louise, seven children, eight grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Viewing and visiting 'with the family will take place at Shannon-Bryan Mortuary, 137 E. Maple Ave., Orange, CA 92866 on Wednesday, February 16 at 5 p.m., with a rosary service at 7 p.m. We will celebrate Joe's life at a funeral mass at 11:30 am. on Friday, February 18 at San Antonio Catholic Church, 5800 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim, CA 92807. Burial will be at the Riverside National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 21. Donations in Joe's memory may be sent to St Joseph Hospital Volunteer Services, 1100 W. Stewart Drive, Orange, CA 92863. Shannon-Bryan Mortuary
Published in Orange County Register on February 17, 2011
Link to Memory Book
Former USS Arizona Crew Member Thomas Traylor
10 November 2010
Tom Traylor - September 26, 1920 to November 7, 2010
Funeral services for Tom Traylor, age 90 of Cookville, formerly of Mount Vernon, were at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 at Bates-Cooper-Sloan Funeral Home. Burial was in the Monticello Cemetery with Brother Michael White officiating.
Mr. Traylor was born Sept. 26, 1920 in Titus County to Tillman and Mary Combs Traylor. He served during World War II in the United States Navy, including as a crew member of the USS Arizona, and afterwards worked as a newspaper printer for the Mount Vernon Optic-Herald in the late 1940s. He was a member of Masonic Lodge #70 and the Cookville Baptist Church.
He was a long-time member of the USS Arizona Reunion Association and served many years as editor of "At 'Em Arizona," the Association's quarterly newsletter.
He died peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 7 at his residence. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Margaret Amerson, his parents, a brother, George Traylor, and a sister, Elsie Traylor Amerson.
USS Arizona Survivor Milton T. Hurst Dies
4 November 2010
Milton Thomas Hurst, LCDR USN, Retired, Jacksonville, Fla. Dad, Daddy and Papa Fix It passed away on Oct 16, 2010. after a brief illness.
Eldest son of Arthur and Florence Hurst, Milton was born in Northeast, Pa., on Sept. 10, 1920. Dad spent his youth working on the family farms and playing baseball. Upon graduation from Sherman Central School, Milton attended Evanston Collegiate Insti-tute (now Kendall College) in Evanston, Ill., on a baseball scholarship.
He joined the Navy in 1939 and was assigned to the USS Arizona. Milton was an onboard survivor of the attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He served aboard the naval carriers USS Ticonderoga, USS Valley Forge and the USS America. During his career he was also stationed aboard naval bases at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., Guan-tanamo Bay, Cuba, Patuxent River, Md, Alameda, Calif., Norfolk, Va., and Jacksonville, Fla.
After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1970, Dad worked as a government subcontractor in Washing-ton, D.C. Later, he was an engineer for Teledyne Inet where he designed and supervised the installation of power distribution systems at international airports in the U.S. and abroad.
Milton loved to play baseball and had been scouted by professional teams but failed to pass the physicals due to his knees having been injured numerous times while playing catcher. He turned his athletic talents to the game of golf where he was a fierce competitor with a near scratch handicap.
Milton and his wife, Marion, were married on Jan. 27, 1944. In the mid 1970s they built their house in the Whitehouse area of Jacksonville, with minimal outside contractor assistance. Work in the home was accomplished with their gifted talents and exists today as a testament to their craftsmanship, hard work and love of the land.
Marion preceded Milton to Heaven on July 22, 1999 and is waiting there with Jesus to welcome him. Also awaiting him are his parents and brothers: Kenny, Larry, Herbert, Jack, Jimmy and Ernest (Tex) and sisters: Orrissa Hewitt and Vera Skinner.
Milton is survived by his youngest sister, Hazel Hurst Halter of Sherman, N.Y.; his sons: Ronald (Mary Elizabeth) Hurst of Franklin, Tenn., and Jay (Nancy) Hurst of Jacksonville, Fla.; and daughters: Linda (Malcom) Jowers of Jacksonville, Fla., and Gay (Dan) Pender of Slidell, La. Daddy also leaves behind nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews and countless friends. Dad is also survived by his friend and companion, Ginger Coggins, who brought him great joy, happiness and love these last few years.
Milton was a member of Riverside Presbyterian Church and the George Simmons Bible class.
One of the many fine qualities about Dad was he was always there to lend a helping hand to those in need. Daddy, you are the best and a member of the Greatest Generation. A renaissance man in every sense of the word. You will be forever loved and missed by those whose lives you touched.
Graveside services will be held at Riverside Memorial Park, 7242 Normandy Boulevard, Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 11 a.m. with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Riverside Presbyterian Church youth athletic programs at 849 Oak St., Jacksonville, FL 32204; or to Hospice of Northeast Florida at 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257; or to a charity of your choice.
Oldest Living WWII Medal of Honor recipient
27 May 2010
John Finn dies at 100
Lt. John William Finn, U.S. Navy - July 23, 1909 to May 27, 2010
by Budd Nease
John William Finn was the last of of the 16 Pearl Harbor Survivors awarded the Medal of Honor and the oldest of the 97 WWII Medal of Honor recipients.
On December 7, 1941, Lt. Finn, then Chief Aviation Ordinance man, was stationed at Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station, Territory of Hawaii. According to his Medal of Honor Citation, during the attack by Japanese aircraft, Finn manned a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a training stand and carried it to an exposed area on the runway. Finn and his machine gun were completely exposed during the attack. Finn was wounded several times but continued to man his gun until ordered to safety.
Born in Los Angeles, CA, Lt. Finn has been the guest of several U.S. Presidents for White House special events. Franics Carmichael has been Finn's companion and care giver for many years. John W. Finn lived in Pine Valley, CA in the San Diego area and was a member of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Carnation Chapter 3, San Diego, CA.
Photo: U.S. Navy retired Lieutenant John W. Finn (left) is the sole surviving Medal of Honor recipient from Pearl Harbor and the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient. U.S. Navy Master Chief Quartermaster (QMCM) Kobel (right), Command Master Chief of the Naval Leadership Training Unit (NLTU), speaks with John W. Finn about an entry in the Chief’s charge book. Location: U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California.
Credit: United States Navy, PH1 Lance Kirk, Defense Visual Information Center Photo ID: DN-SD-06-08024
2 Million Visitors!
6 December 2009
After 10 years, we hit the 2 MILLION mark for visitors! As Nancy anxiously watched the stats, she realized that the website was only minutes away from hitting the 2 million mark. She called Budd and Carol, and the three of them were able to celebrate over the phone together as the website offically registered 2,000,0001 at 5:52pm Pacific Time, on December 6th, 2009.
Within minutes after hitting the 2 million mark, we were well over 2,000,100 visitors and still counting.
Our thanks go out to all of the people who have contributed materials to this website to make it the valuable source of information it is today... and to all of our 2 Million visitors, a hearty THANK YOU!
~ Nancy ~
2009 Reunion Reminder
29 November 2009
Hey all you Guys & Gals of the Reunion Association…
Just a reminder about the upcoming Annual Reunion from December 2-7 in Tucson. Wednesday is registration all day and the Welcome Dinner with entertainment by Steve Pace, Bagpiper.
Thursday is slated for the Board of Directors Meeting and Mexican Dinner. Don’t forget to bring the TUMS. (or a fire extinguisher!)
Friday the group will be going to Trail Dust Town, Tanque Verde Ranch for their great buffet, and Gaslight Theater.
Saturday’s Annual Banquet features guest speaker, SCPO Earl Phares USN (Ret.), son of Don Earl Phares, USS Arizona Crew Member. Earl was in the crew of the USS Pueblo.
On Sunday, our group will join the Green Valley Fleet Reserve for the Memorial Service at the Gallagher Theater, University of Arizona, at 11 AM. The USS Arizona Survivors will be onstage. After the service, members will join them for lunch at the Student Union.
Reunion Association President, Dean Harris, and Reunion Coordinator, Ruth Campbell look forward to hosting you at the Hotel Arizona. Ruth has arranged for room rates to include breakfast.
As always, Ruth has put together what is sure to be another memorable Reunion with plenty of entertainment and time to “catch-up” with old friends and shipmates. I look forward to seeing everyone in Tucson… Let’s make this “one for the books!”
Herman "Bud" Leroy Schafer, Jr.
2 August 2009
1916 - 2009
Herman was born on December 23, 1916 and passed away on Saturday, August 1, 2009.
Herman was last known to be living in Brunswick, Maine.
He was a graduate of Manasquan High School, NJ and the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis MD class of 1940.
Mr. Schafer served in the US Navy during WWII. He was a survivor of the attack upon Pearl Harbor and was stationed aboard the USS Arizona at the time of the attack. He served for the majority of the war on the USS Alabama and towards the end of the war was transferred to the USS Iowa, ultimately attaining the rank of Lt. Commander.
He is survived by his wife Ruth.
Memorials: Disabled American Veterans at dav.org/donate or P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301
(Photo Credit: Budd Nease Collection)
Charles William “Slip” Haislip
2 June 2009
Charles William "Slip" Haislip was born in Tacoma, WA on April 30, 1918 and passed away in Sun City West on May 29, 2009 at the age of 91. He has lived in Arizona for 15 years. Slip is survived by his wife Lorraine Haislip; sister Joyce Davis; sons John Haislip and Dennis Haislip; daughter Shirley Rodriguez; stepdaughters Diana (Ed) Entrican, Jeanne Menendez, and Virginia Barnhill; 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife Eileen Haislip and brother Everett Haislip.
Slip joined the US Navy in 1936 and was assigned to USS Arizona BB39 until April 1941. He was also assigned submarine service during WW II and retired from the Navy after 20 years of service. After retir-ing from the Navy, Slip retired from the US Post Office after 20 years of service. He belonged to the USS Arizona Reunion Assoc., he was as one of the founders of the US Submarine Veterans WW II in San Diego, CA. He belonged to US Asiatic Fleet Reunion Assoc., Valley of the Sun Fleet Reserve Assoc. Branch 163, National Chief Petty Officers Assoc., and National Assoc., of Uniformed Services.
There will be a Memorial Service on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 11:30 AM at Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel 13738 Camino del Sol, Sun City West, AZ. Slip will be placed at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento, CA on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley 1510 E. Flower St. Phoenix, AZ 85016.
Published in The Arizona Republic on June 2, 2009
Shipmate Willie Smith, USMC
9 March 2009
I received a call today 3/10/09 1330 hrs from Dora Smith. Shipmate Wylie Smith USMC passed away Sunday, March 8, 2009 at Air Force West in Riverside, CA. A service for Wylie Smith will be held later in the year. Dora will advise.
Wylie Smith, Pvt. USMC, served aboard the USS Arizona from 1937-1939. He was discharged in 1941 prior to WWII. When WWII broke out Smith joined the US Army Air Corp, went thru flight school, and became a Navigator. Smith retired as a Major. Wylie went on thru college and received his Doctorate Degree.
Wylie Smith along with other Marines served as orderlies to Rear Admiral Chester Nimitz. The role of an orderly included being a messenger and errand runner as well as being a body guard to the Admiral. Other duties were being a "playmate" to the Admiral's young daughter Mary who would come aboard with her mother on Sundays when the ship was in port. Mary was very spoiled. On one occasion, one of the orderlies couldn’t cooperate. Mary Nimitz saw him standing post outside the admiral’s spacious cabin and said, “Come in and play with me.”
“I can’t,” he told her. “I’m on duty.”
“You’d better,” she replied. “My daddy owns this ship, and he’ll fire you.” (From Battleship Arizona an Illustrated History by Paul Stillwell).
The Marines enjoyed this duty as Admiral Nimitz was such a pleasant individual to work for.
When I started getting together with Jim Vlach for our Saturday morning history lessons Jim would invite Wylie and Dora to join us for lunch along with Jeanne. Later I found Wylie, Dora, Jim and Jeanne were all from Nebraska. My wife and her Mother are also from Nebraska. So on one Saturday we all got together and I took photos of the “Nebraska Gang”.
Wylie told me this photo in his dress uniform was taken when he saved enough money to go ashore to have his picture taken. (Photo Credit: Budd Nease Collection)
Survivor Henry Sherman Harris
18 February 2009
Henry Sherman Harris, age 87, of Lawrenceburg, TN passed away Sunday, February 15. He was a native of Phil Campbell, Alabama, a Navy veteran, a member of the VFW, The American Legion, The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, The USS Arizona Reunion Association and a Baptist.
He is survived by one son, Larry Harris of Alabama, one daughter, Sharon Cole of Columbia, one brother, Charles Harris of California. 4 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren survive.
Funeral services were held February 17 at Pettus Turnbo Funeral Home with Rex Reed and Donnie Couch officiating. Burial was in the Mimosa Cemetery with full military honors provided by the VFW.
Charles William "Bill" Guerin Rejoins Fallen Shipmates
08 December 2008
After 67 years, USS Arizona Survivor Charles William "Bill" Guerin will rejoin his shipmates. Following the ceremonies marking the 67th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, Bill Guerin's remains were placed in the well of turret number 4, which was his battle station.
Of the 334 who survived the attack, Guerin and 31 of his shipmates chose to be buried there. Only veterans who were assigned to the USS Arizona at the time of the attack qualify to have their ashes interred on the ship.
Complete Story Honolulu Star Bulletin
Survivor Clinton Westbrook
07 December 2008
by Budd Nease
USS Arizona Survivor, Clinton Westbrook, passed away in his sleep Sunday, November 30. I talked to Clinton Westbrook Jr. this afternoon 12/3/08. Clinton was 89 years old. A memorial Mass will be held on December 19 or 20 Mass will be at the Church of the Nativity at Longwood Florida. His body will be cremated sometime around December 14. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery. Clinton's wife is also buried there. One thing Clinton Jr. brought up was Clinton's love of going to the schools and giving talks about the USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor. Clinton had told me about this. Clinton Jr. will keep me updated on info as they become available. The date few gave me are not "set."
I had the privilege of knowing Clinton Westbrook for the last nine or 10 years if only for a few days at our annual reunions. On January 14, 2004 I received an e-mail from Lt. Matt Byrne, Public Affairs Officer for the recruit training command, Great Lakes Illinois. They were getting ready to dedicate a new state-of-the-art barracks now called ships. The next ship that was being completed would be USS Arizona to be formally dedicated on February 24, 2004. Lt. Byrne's formally invited all of the USS Arizona survivors to attend. Westbrook was the only survivor to attend. He was given the VIP treatment. This included a two bedroom suite at the Bachelor Officer's Housing (BOH). Clinton sent me many photos, some posted on my website and photos and story in all our At'em newsletters. Clinton will be missed by all.
Clinton Westbrook's last wish was to have donations to the USS Arizona Reunion Association in his memory rather than flowers. Donations can be sent to:
Robert Plass, Treasurer
USS Arizona Reunion Association
4945 Pinnacle St, Riverside, CA 92509.
Orlando Sentinel Obituary & Story
Reunion Begins in Hawaii
01 December 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008 will mark the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Out of the original 335 U.S.S. Arizona survivors, there are only 24 known to still be alive. This December, sixty-four members of the U.S.S. Arizona Reunion Association will make a pilgrimage to Honolulu, Hawaii and Pearl Harbor for this year’s annual reunion. Among the members, four U.S.S. Arizona survivors and one former crew member are scheduled to attend along with members who are relatives of survivors and former crew members, and other members who are friends of the Arizona.
Saturday, December 6, 2008, Tom Kimmel will be the guest speaker at the closing banquet. Mr. Kimmel is the grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel who was Commander of the Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941. Association members will attend a service aboard the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial the following morning on Sunday, December, 7th. During this service an urn containing the ashes of survivor Charles Guerin will be interred within the U.S.S. Arizona by National Park Service divers. Charles Guerin will rejoin many of his fellow shipmates as many Arizona survivors before him.
Photo: 50th Anniversary Reunion - Credit: Vincent J. Vlach Collection
Living Survivor Located
29 November 2008
Thanks to an email we received several weeks ago, Budd Nease has located and verified another living USS Arizona Survivor.
Anthony Robert Schubert, ENS on 7 December 1941, is alive and well, living in a rest home in Kansas. The USS Arizona was his first duty station after graduating from the Naval Academy. After Pearl Harbor he was stationed on the USS South Dakota. We hope to have more information about Mr. Schubert soon.
Happily, this brings our total of known living survivors back to 25.
If you have any information about a living survivor not found on our list of Known Living Survivors
, please CONTACT US
to share this information. We currently have about a dozen or so USS Arizona survivors not accounted for. We don't want any of these heros to be forgotten. Thank you.
Wife of USS Arizona Bandmaster
2 June 2008
On 25 May 2008 we received an email from the daughter of Betty Kinney Tino, wife of USS Arizona Bandmaster, Fredrick Kinney. She was interested in obtaining copies of photos and telegrams on our site. Betty Kino Tino will be submitting her story soon. We will update when it is available on our website.
Frederick Kinney was the Bandmaster for the 21 member USS Arizona Band. All 21 members of the band were killed on 7 December 1941 at, or on their way to, their battlestation below deck passing ammunition.
Living Survivor Located
5 May 2008
Thanks to an email we received about a week ago, Budd Nease has located and verified another living USS Arizona Survivor.
Earl William Riner, GM3c on 7 December 1941, is alive and well, living in Texas. We hope to have more information about Mr. Riner soon.
Happily, this brings our total of known living survivors back to 24.
If you have any information about a living survivor not found on our list of Known Living Survivors
, please CONTACT US
to share this information. We currently have about a dozen or so USS Arizona survivors not accounted for. We don't want any of these heros to be forgotten. Thank you.
Granddaughter of Survivor Dies Suddenly
18 April 2008
Trina McCurdy, granddaughter of Survivor , Russell J. McCurdy, USMC, died suddenly over the past weekend. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan McCurdy, and the niece of Sandra (McCurdy) Fuller.
A few years ago (1999) Trina wrote a beautiful poem. Remember Pearl Harbor as a tribute to her grandfather Russ, who was still alive. You can read the poem on our Poetry Page
The Herald Press
Trina Rachel McCurdy 1972 - 2008
Trina Rachel McCurdy, 36, Huntington, passed away at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2008 at her residence.
She was born on January 20, 1972 in Huntington to Alan and Beverly (Schoeff) McCurdy, who both survive.
Trina was a 1990 graduate of Huntington North High School and a 1997 graduate of Huntington University, where she earned a degree in business.
She worked at General Motors for five years as a quality engineer, as well as in the same capacity at Therma-Tru Doors, Butler.
Trina was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Huntington, and enjoyed writing, arts and crafts.
She is survived by her mother, Beverly Skepnek, Norridge, Illinois; her father, Alan McCurdy and wife Kim, Huntington; one son, Joel McCurdy, Huntington; two brothers, Justin McCurdy and wife Kelli, Huntington, and Alex McCurdy, Huntington; one sister, Melissa Skeel and husband Gary, Fort Wayne; her grandfather, Carl Schoeff, Huntington; and step-brother, Tighe Warner, Huntington.
She was preceded in death by two grandmothers, June Schoeff and Pearl McCurdy; and one grandfather, Russell McCurdy.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Deal-Rice Funeral Home-Huntington Chapel, with Bishop Larry Deutsch officiating.
Graveside services will follow at Lancaster Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials may be sent to the family c/o Deal-Rice Funeral Home, 338 E. Washington Street, Huntington, IN 46750.
Online condolences may be sent to www.dealricefuneralhomes.com
Death of Survivor Ralph Landreth
12 April 2008
Received word today that USS Arizona Survivor Ralph W. Landreth (Division 4) passed away on March 26, 2008. The service and burial were held on Friday April 3, 2008 at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.
There are 23 known living USS Arizona Survivors still alive.
From Virginia Landreth:
Ralph Landreth passed away March 26, 2008 in Rockledge, Florida. His final interment was at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida on April 3. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, daughters Karen and Susan, and Grandson Robert Horne.
He was a GM2c in turret 4 on the U.S.S. Arizona on December 7, 1941. He had just bought the Sunday paper and was headed down to his living quarters in the turret when he saw the low flying planes with the red circle and thought to himself how realistic they had gotten with the drills! When the general quarters alarm went off; he quickly headed to his battle station in the gun pits. He was knocked off his feet from the first big explosion and lost all communications; it was not possible to use the guns. After most of the noise had stopped and he had watched the men come up from the lower handling room go up to the quarterdeck above, he decided to go up too. The admiral’s barge was there, he stepped into it along with about 5 other men for the ride to Ford Island. He remembers getting into the water to assist a swimmer who was trying to climb up the slippery rocks at the boat landing on Ford Island. He thinks he was one of the last crew members to get off the Arizona alive. After checking into the Quonset hut on Ford Island, he volunteered to help in pulling bodies from the oil slicked water (there was no one swimming by this time) He did this for the rest of the day.
Ralph Landreth was born in Carthage, Missouri on January 17, 1921. He moved with his family to Los Angles when he was a young child. He joined the Navy in San Diego in September 1939. His first assignment was to the USS Arizona. Following the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to its sister ship the USS Pennsylvania for a few months. He then served on the 22 person subchaser, the USS SC 670, in the Aleutian Islands for two years. He also served on the aircraft carrier the USS Tarawa in the Far East and was with the 11th Naval District Bomb Disposal when he was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1947.
Ralph lived the rest of his life in Florida. He was a tile setter in Vero Beach, went to college to become a Medical Lab Technologist in Orlando, and worked as a Lab Supervisor in West Palm Beach where he raised his family of two daughters, Karen and Susan. He and wife, Ginny, retired to Rockledge, on Florida’s “Space Coast” in 1992
Ralph and 8 family members attended the big 60th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor in Dec. 2001 with the USS Arizona Reunion Association. During that visit, he recorded his story with the Oral History Program of the National Park Service and the USS Arizona Memorial. He also was interviewed and made a DVD for the Veteran’s History Project (Library of Congress) in September 2007.
Services Held Today for Jim Vlach
18 March 2008
The Service for Jim Vlach was held Tuesday, March 18 at Riverside National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. Jim had full military honors: a bugler, honor guard, and 21 gun salute. Officiating was US Navy Chaplain Chris Crawford, who presented the flag to Karen Gardner, Jim's niece.
A small group of about 25 attended. Karen Gardner and her husband Fred, Gery H. Porter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, president of chapter 27, Hemet of which Jim was a member. Wylie and Dora Smith, Bob and Jo Plass, Joe, Louise and Peggy Vivirito and Budd and Carol Nease from the USS Arizona Reunion Association. A bus from Air Force Village West bought in some of Jim's friends.
After the funeral service there was a memorial service at Air Force Village West.
I learned a lot of history about the USS Arizona and her crew from Jim.
The rest is gone forever.
USS Arizona Survivor Vincent James Vlach, Jr. Dies
12 March 2008
Vincent James (Jim) Vlach, Jr. passed away this morning in Riverside, CA.
A graveside service will be held for Jim on Tuesday, March 18th at 1:30 p.m. at Riverside National Cemetery, staging area #6. Karen Gardner, Jim's niece said in lieu flowers a donation to the USS Arizona Reunion Association would be appreciated. Donations should be sent to our Treasurer, Robert Plass, 4945 Pinnacle St., Riverside, CA 92509, with a notation "In Memory of Jim Vlach". I know our members are spread across the country, but please take a moment on Tuesday to remember Jim.
VINCENT J. VLACH, JR. Passed away 3/12/2008 at the age of 90. Graveside services will be held on 3/18/2008 at 1:30 p.m. at Riverside National Cemetery in Staging Area #6.
Mr. Vlach was born in St. Michael, Nebraska. He married Jeanne Norton in 1940. She was in Honolulu at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 12/7/1941. That resulted in Vincent being ashore at the time his ship, USS ARIZONA, was destroyed by Japanese aircraft. His ship suffered 1,177 KIA, the heaviest loss of life on any one ship in the history of the U.S. Navy. All on board at his battle station were killed.
After retirement from the Navy in 1960, he was employed until 1982 by Rockwell International. He was a member of the Sons of American Revolution, Pearl Harbor Survivors, USS ARIZONA Reunion, USS GAMBIER BAY & VC-10 Reunion, National Chief Petty Officers and Navy League.
He was pre deceased by his parents and wife Jeanne. Funeral Arrangements by: HILGENFELD MORTUARY (714) 535-4105
USS Arizona Survivor Dies
24 February 2008
Hazel Green called Budd Nease to inform him that her husband, survivor Clay Douglas Green, Jr., passed away Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007. He lived in Buford, Georgia and had spent 7 years hospitalized in Atlanta, Georgia.
Clay Douglas Green, Jr. reported aboard the USS Arizona on 4 December 1940 from the Naval Training Center at Norfolk, Virginia. He held the rank of S1c on 7 December 1941.
More information to follow.
Death of USS Arizona Survivor
06 January 2008
Charles William Guerin passed away 22 December 2007.
Mr. Guerin served on the USS Arizona and was a survivor of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to Division IV.
More information to follow.
18 December 2007
Budd Nease has returned from the reunion and reports that even though there were less than 40 in attendance, the reunion was a success and enjoyed by all who were there. Budd also reports that his "Memory Albums" were a hit and many spent quite awhile going through them.
You can also enjoy much of what is in Budd's albums throughout this website such as historic photos
, historic newspaper articles
, and crew history & stories
Four survivors attended the reunion: Milton Hurst, Glenn Lane, Joseph Langdell, and Clinton Westbrook. Former shipmate Tom Traylor was also in attendance.
Budd's photos from the 2007 Reunion are now online. To view them Click Here
If you have any photos you would like to share of reunions past or present, please Contact Us
Announcement from Ted Langdell
18 December 2007
Ted Langdell announced today the launch of a new website for USS Arizona Reunion Association Members.
Members will be able to sign up for email updates about Association happenings and other important announcements.
Check it out at www.ussarizonareunion.org
Survivor Herman Leroy Schafer, Jr.
6 December 2007
On November 18, 2007 we received an email that simply read, "Just wanted you to know that Herman Leroy Schafer Jr is alive and well". Mr. Schafer will bring our living survivors count to 26. Twenty-five USN and only one USMC. Click here for Story and Photos
If you have information on a USS Arizona survivor not listed on our Known Living Survivors
page, please CONTACT US
18 November 2007
The USS Arizona Reunion will hold its annual reunion in Tucson December 5 thru 10. There are 4 survivors scheduled to attend. For more information contact reunion coordinator Ruth Campbell, or CONTACT US
Death of USS Arizona Crew Member
James Anthony O'Donnell
May 24, 1915 - November 18, 2007
James Anthony O'Donnell passed away November 18, 2007 in Ohio. Jim served aboard the USS Arizona prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. He served the Reunion Association as President, Master at Arms, Board of Directors and other positions.
James Anthony "Jim" O'Donnell was born on May 24, 1915, in Los Angeles, California to Anthony and Mamie Bloemer O'Donnell. Jim was the oldest of four brothers and one sister. His father was from Ireland and was an accomplished marble setter. Mamie was a restaurant manager and a homemaker. His youngest brother, Anthony "Tony" O'Donnell, is a resident at Summerville, Lakeview Inn. Jim's family moved to Covington, Kentucky, where he went to Business College and worked as a telegraph machine operator for Western Union and Postal Telegraph.
In 1935, Jim joined the U.S. Navy and served for 10 years. He was on aircraft carriers during World War II. He served on the USS Bogue, for which he received a Presidential Unit Citation and a Ribbon Bar with a Bronze Star. He also served aboard the USS Hancock where he received a Navy Unit Commendation ribbon. Jim was also aboard the infamous USS Arizona. His name can be found in several of the historical chronicles published about the men of the USS Arizona. Jim was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945, having obtained the rank of Chief Fire Controlman.
After his military service, Jim went to work for General Electric as a District Manager. During his distinguished career, he lived in several northeastern states. While in Ohio, Jim owned several boats and ultimately became the Commodore of the Huron Yacht Club at Lake Erie. He entertained many clients aboard his boats. He enjoyed fishing and won several tournaments at Lake Erie and Canada. Jim managed to string 50 consecutive years of fishing trips into the Great White North! On one trip, he caught a Canadian Muskie that weighed 32 pounds and was 51 inches long. On another trip, Jim won an O'Keefe trophy in a local bass tournament for the largest smallmouth bass.
Jim retired from General Electric after 32 years of service. He moved to Naples, Florida, and continued fishing and staying active by participating in many organizations including the Shamrock Club, International Blue Gavel, Coast Guard, U.S. Power Squadron, American Legion, Elks, Moose, a member of the Board of Directors of the USS Arizona Reunion Association, the Irish American Club, Knights of Columbus and the Kentucky Colonels.
Jim was extremely proud of his Irish heritage and was always quick to show his true "green" spirit. On March 17, 1967, the Cleveland, Ohio, St. Patrick's Day Parade was cancelled due to cold weather. Jim would not be dissuaded. He marshaled together a group of fellow, hearty Irish, got an American flag and an accordian player, and started their own processional down Superior Avenue. His efforts made the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Jim had been a resident of the Summerville Inn at Lakeview since 1999.
New Website Bookstore
12 November 2007
We are pleased to announce the grand opening of our new website bookstore. We have partnered with Amazon.com to bring you a wonderful and extensive selection of USS Arizona & Pearl Harbor books, videos and memorabilia.
All books and videos have been hand-picked by us to include only those of historical significance and accuracy. Many of the videos we have selected include first hand survivor accounts by many of our association members.
We hope you will take a moment to browse the bookstore. This is a non-profit family-owned and operated website and we face ever-increasing costs associated with running a website of this magnitude.
Purchases you make from the bookstore will help support this website. For every purchase you make we receive a small percentage and through your purchase, you will be helping this website continue to bring you the best and most accurate information on the USS Arizona.
Click here to visit our new website bookstore
Thank you for your continued support.
Death of USS Arizona Survivor
John "Jack" Harry McCarron
March 11, 1919 - June 22, 2007
John Harry McCarron, 88, of San Diego died Friday, June 22, 2007. He was born in Tewksbury, Mass., and was retired from the Navy. He was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Survivors include his daughter, Eileen Sampson; son, David McCarron; sisters, Olive Condon, Ruth Clark and Phyllis Henderson; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
John H. McCarron joined the Naval Reserve Unit in Lynn, Mass. in 1936. He enlisted full time in September 1937. He received recruit training Company 9 RTC Newport, Rhode Island. John was assigned to the USS ARIZONA after transit Panama Canal in USS Henderson.
7 December 1941 was a gunners mate second class as gun captain 5"/25 AA MS#7. John said his guardian angel insured his survival that day. Wounds received were minor in nature.
John married his high school sweetheart while on leave in October 1941.
He received an Honorable Discharge after 32 years Navy and 1 1/2 years Navy Reserve and loved every instant of it!
View John McCarron's Story
Sadly, there are now only 25 known living survivors.
USS Arizona Flag
On March 6, 2007 I had the honor to be presented the United States Flag that was flown over the USS Arizona for the 65th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The accompanying letter reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Nease:
Aloha. As a tribute to the American fighting men killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of O'ahu on December 7, 1941, the American flag is flown 24-hours a day from a flagpole mounted to the remains of the battleship USS Arizona.
The 5--star American flag that the National Park Service sent to you was raised on this flagpole on December 7, 2006 and remained flying until it was replaced on January 9, 2007. This flag flew proudly on the USS Arizona on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
This flag is being presented to the Pearl Harbor Survivor Veterans of the USS Arizona Reunion Association. Budd Nease, the Ship's Crew Data Chairman, is designated custodian for this garrison flag.
/s/Douglas A. Lentz
The flag measures 14' x 17' and the stars are 6 1/2" point to point. I cannot measure the stripes the way the flag is folded. The flag folded is 18" across, 12" high, 5" deep and weighs 5 pounds. I have had a special display case made. The flag will be on display at our reunions.