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By Lorraine E. Marks-Haislip, USS Arizona Reunion Association Historian - Retired
Note: National Television reporting of the 50th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor perpetuated the false stories that related to the U.S.S. ARIZONA BB-39 Ship's Band. Captain Van Valkenburg did not allow the band to sleep in on 7 December 1941 because they won the Battle of the Bands contest the night before, as was reported on National Television. Or, as other reports stated, they came in second. Original copies of the Battle of the Bands programs, that we have in our possession, prove the ARIZONA band did not play on 6 December 1941 in Block Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii. The following information has been digested and reports the true story of that very young band, who came aboard as a unit in June 1941.
Help us correct the grievous error that began soon after the loss of the ARIZONA. December 1942, the U.S.S. ARIZONA BB-39 was removed from the Navy Register. Thank you for your support.
Lorraine E. Marks-Haislip
9 November 1999
The USS ARIZONA BB-39 21 member band died 7 December 1941.
They DID NOT PLAY 6 December 1941 in the "Battle of Music, 41." ARIZONA'S band won the first "Battle of Music, 41" in competition with three other bands, 13 September 1941, in the continuing elimination contests that were held every two weeks. The USS PENNSYLVANIA won the ongoing competition, 6 December 1941, with another contest scheduled for 20 December 1941. NO SHIPS BAND WON THE TROPHY!
When the 21 member band was killed 7 December 1941, the competing bands awarded the trophy to the ARIZONA Band and called it "The ARIZONA Trophy" with the 21 names inscribed.
The fictitious story about the band being allowed to sleep in on 7 December 1941, because they WON the "Battle of Music, 41" the night before or even, as some reports state, came in second, are wrong.
A contingent of ARIZONA'S Band was on the fantail, under the white awning, preparing to play for the raising of the National Ensign. The battle stations for ARIZONA'S Band was passing ammunition below decks.
The bodies of three bandsmen were recovered from Pearl Harbor proving beyond any doubt, ARIZONA'S Band was on deck.
Commander Fuqua was knocked unconscious by a bomb that glanced off the starboard side of the number four turret. That had to be the projectile that knocked the three musicians, unconscious, into the water. The Fourteenth Naval district, 31 Recovery Reports from the Commandants Office disclosed the following information:
SCRUGGS, LEO J. STATUS: Recovered from water as UNKNOWN. After identification, reinterred in Long Beach, California, by family in 1947.
COX, G. C. STATUS: Probably drowned. Now interred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific, M-1027, "Punchbowl"
SHAW, R. K. STATUS: Body recovered from water. 3rd degree burns, drowned. Interred in Nuuanu Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Additional bandsmen could have been recovered and buried as "Unknowns."
Thanks to Ray Emory for information concerning the three recovered bodies. Researched at the National Archives, August 1993. Data on ARIZONA'S Band updated 1992 through 1993 by Lorraine E. Marks-Haislip, USS ARIZONA Reunion Association, Historian.
Be sure to visit Lorraine Marks-Haislip's website USS Arizona Facts