Author Topic: STRANGE STORY OF BABY BURIED AT PEARL HARBOR  (Read 12041 times)

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10402
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
STRANGE STORY OF BABY BURIED AT PEARL HARBOR
« on: December 07, 2010, 11:34:18 PM »
TWO STRANGE STORIES - THE BABY THAT WENT DOWN WITH THE SHIP and THE SHIP THAT SHOT DOWN ENEMY AIRCRAFT WHILE UPSIDE DOWN...
SISTER TO THE USS FLORIDA AND ONE OF ONLY 2 "FLORIDA CLASS SHIPS" WELCOME ABOARD THE USS UTAH
Rare historical facts for December 7, PEARL HARBOR DAY.




B5N2 KATE TORPEDO BOMBER, the type that delivered the death blow to the USS Utah at PEARL HARBOR.


USS UTAH, BB31 IN NEW YORK PRIOR TO HER TRANSFER TO THE PACIFIC.


USS UTAH, Seen in her final hours, no longer the famed "target ship" AG-16 as she was then known had become an advanced Naval Gunnery School.  Looking closely one can see the new antiaircraft guns mounted on her old big gun turrets.


USS UTAH TODAY, SISTER TO BB30 THE USS FLORIDA, AND THE ONLY OTHER FLORIDA CLASS SHIP.


Burial at sea onboard the USS Utah, for Baby Nancy's older sister... several years before the twins were born.

Quote
    Baby’s ashes
    rest on board
    USS Utah
    The ship was sunk in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack before her ashes could be buried at sea

    By Gregg K. Kakesako
    Star-Bulletin

    Beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor, 58 sailors, who died when the USS Utah was sunk by Japanese fighter planes on Dec. 7, 1941, silently guard the remains of a shipmate: the ashes of a baby girl.

    Chief Yeoman Albert Thomas Dewitt Wagner had been waiting for a chaplain to be assigned to the Utah, hoping for a proper burial ceremony at sea for his daughter when the Utah went out on maneuvers.

    An urn carrying her ashes was in his locker in the Utah's chief's quarters.

    But the surprise attack changed everything.

    Wagner was among those who survived the bombs that day, but he was not able to rescue his baby's ashes.

Albert T.D. Wagner, the Utah's Chief Yeoman, survived
the ship's sinking, but could not rescue the ashes

"Frogmen did go down about two weeks after the attack and tried to enter the quarters," said Mary Dianne Wagner Kreigh, "but it was too badly smashed to get in."

    In retrospect, "I don't think there is a better tribute to my twin sister than to have all those wonderful and brave men guarding her," Kreigh said during a telephone interview from her home in California.

    "It would have been wonderful if she had lived, but since she did not, I feel nothing but pride and pleasure that she is in such magnificent company. I could have not asked for anything better than for her to be tenderly, carefully looked after by America's finest."

    Nancy Lynne and Mary Dianne Wagner were born prematurely on Aug. 29, 1937 in a Catholic hospital in Mekati in the Philippines.

    "My sister lived only two days," Kreigh said.

    She said her mother told her that doctors there "pronounced me dead three times ... It was four months before they could take me home."

    Before he died, her father made several trips to Hawaii and Ford Island, where the rusting remains of the Utah can still be seen today.

The USS Utah monument, a concrete pier and memorial slab were built near the sunken ship and dedicated in 1972.

    Back then, there was no pier or any monument to the sunken warship resting off the north shore of Ford Island.

    "There was nothing but mud then, and no indication that there are men still aboard," said Kreigh of her father's last visit in 1971.

    "He never saw the finished monument."

 A concrete pier and a memorial slab were built and dedicated in 1972. A Navy detail now raises and lowers daily an American flag honoring the sailors still entombed in the Utah.

    Kreigh herself has been a frequent visitor to the islands, returning every Thanksgiving holiday since 1990 and taking time "to put a lei in the water and to say aloha to my twin sister."

    It has been a family tradition to bury relatives at sea, Kreigh said, explaining why her sister's ashes were aboard the Utah.

    "My father was waiting for an appropriate time to scatter my sister's ashes. Another sister (Helen) already had been buried at sea."

    In his journal, Wagner said he had been assigned to the Utah, a battleship which had been converted to an aircraft training vessel and used as a target-and-school ship for aircraft bombing practice.
   
Ship sunk in surprise attack
    On Dec. 7, 1941, the 521-foot Utah was anchored at Ford Island, across from the Waipio peninsula, in the berth normally used by the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.

    Its decks were covered with two layers of heavy timber, about 12 inches thick, and its guns were covered with protective steel so U.S. planes could drop practice bombs on the ship without damaging it. From the air, the Utah could easily have been mistaken for a carrier.

    Wagner had just finished breakfast when, "Suddenly, the air was rent by a terrific explosion. Rushing to a porthole I saw a huge column of black smoke bellowing high into the heavens."

    As he rushed to his third-deck battle station in the aft portion of the ship, Wagner said the Utah was rocked by a direct hit of three torpedoes dropped by Japanese fighters.

    Wagner was not able to reach his battle station.

 He said the ship was listing so badly that he headed for one of the heavy lines used to secure the ship in the channel. From there, he had hoped to climb down to one of the pilings on a cement shelf and swim the quarter-mile to Ford Island. But lacking the strength to pull himself onto the line, Wagner just jumped into the water.

    From Ford Island and the confines of a partially dug sewer trench, Wagner watched the remainder of the battle unfold.

    "Shells and bombs bursting everywhere with puffs of smoke and flame filling the atmosphere, and with the Japanese planes flying high above our fire, obtaining their objectives and zooming right down into certain death -- several planes dashed themselves against the ships, knowing it was impossible to make their return," he wrote.
    Sinking claims 58 lives
    Within 14 minutes, the Utah had turned over, Wagner said. Rescuers, who could hear hammering from inside the hull, were able to borrow an acetylene torch from the heavy cruiser USS Raleigh to cut a hole in the hull and free a sailor . In all, 30 officers and 431 men survived the sinking of the Utah.

    But six officers and 52 sailors perished, either trapped inside the ship or as they tried to swim ashore. Only four of their bodies were ever recovered and identified.

    After 34 years of service in the Army and Navy, including two wars, Wagner hung up his khakis in 1951, and went to work in Olympia, Wash., for the state's civil defense agency.

    To the end, his daughter says, Wagner was "an old battleship sailor."

    He told his family, "You joined the Navy to make sure the country is free," she said. "The flag, your uniform, come before anything else -- without them you don't have a family."


ANOTHER FLORIDA CLASS MYSTERY?



USS UTAH first ship hit she took two torpedoes broadside, in spite of efforts to keep her upright the tow lines snapped and she rolled over and sank.


The UTAH seen upside down at Pearl Harbor. Rescue crews heard the banging of men trapped inside the hull and immediately moved in to cut the men out with torches, a process that was quickly abandoned as the torches burned up the oxygen. Switching to manual tools to cut out their fellow Sailors the salvage effort continued.  Captain Benyon of the nearby Battleship West Virginia ordered tri-pod machine gun mounts set up on the Utahs upturned hull to protect the salvage crews from strafing Japanese attack planes. A popular story is that one of these guns shot down at least one enemy attacker - while it is unconfirmed, the story would make the USS UTAH the only ship in history to shoot down an enemy plane while upside down.


Quote
The amazing story of that baby's ashes interred aboard the USS Utah at Pearl  Harbor is written by the baby's twin sister, Mary Wagner Kreigh and we are honored to publish it here.

A "SMALL" ADDITION TO THE STORY OF THE USS UTAH

Chief Yeoman Albert T. D. Wagner had the ashes of one of his twin daughters, Nancy Lynne, in his locker aboard ship on that fateful day of December 7, 1941.  He was waiting for a Chaplain to come aboard and for the UTAH to go out on maneuvers so that her ashes could be scattered at sea in the old Navy tradition.  The urn containing the ashes of the tiny baby girl went down with the UTAH.  Frogmen tried to reach Wagner's locker to retrieve the urn, but the ship was too badly damaged.  Therefore, there is a baby girl aboard the USS UTAH being guarded by 54* of the Navy's finest.

*Four Utah casaulties are known to be interred on Oahu.

********************************************************************

Those are the "facts".  I never got to know my sister.  I know we were identical so when I look into a mirror I always feel as though she is with me.  We were born prematurely in the Philippines.  Nancy only lived two days.

It would have been wonderful if she had lived, but since she did not, I feel nothing but pride and pleasure that she is in such magnificent company.  I could not ask for anything better than for her to be tenderly, carefully looked after by American's Finest.

Whenever I go to Hawaii I always go to Ford Island.  The scene is breathtaking.  The Utah lying on her side like a magnificent metal giant guarding her cherished treasures entombed within her bowels like a Mother guarding her children.  She is protective;  she is magnificent.  She is at peace as are her charges - 54 gentle men and one tiny baby.  Her bed is an azsure carpet of blue, her blanket is a gentle breeze and her lullaby is a mixture of a whispered wind and the delicate sounds of song birds lulling her and her children to sleep on into eternity.  Nothing could be so beautiful.  Nothing could be so wonderful.  And as I quietly release a fragrant floral lei out to her as an offering of gratitude and love, I can't help but whisper, "ALOHA, my little sister.  Thank you my brave Warriors for taking such good care of her."

Mary Dianne Wagner (Kreigh) - the "other" twin

    
USS Utah (Battleship #31) BB-31 / AG-16

Type: Battleship
   
Class: FLORIDA
   
Builder:
New York Shipbuilding Corp.
Camden, New Jersey
   
Hull Number:
   
Battleship #31
BB-31 (July 17, 1920)
AG-16 (July 31, 1931)
Ordered: November 24, 1908
   
Commissioned:  August 31, 1911

Keel Laid: March 15, 1909
   
Decommissioned: September 5, 1944

Launched: December 23, 1909
   
Stricken: November 13, 1944 After repeated attempts to right and salvage her

Fate:
   
Sunk Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Japanese aircraft.

58 crewmen killed.

The wreck remains where she was sunk as a memorial.




In memory of those who lost their lives on the USS Utah BB-31
"Least we not forget those heroes who fought and died for our freedom"

   
The following men lost their lives on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
   
Arbuckle, William D
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Barta, Joseph
   
Fireman 3rd Class
   
   
Bielka, Rudolph P.
   
Lt. Commander
   
   
Bigham, Virgil C.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Black, John E.
   
Lieutenant (jg)
   
   
Blackburn, John T
   
Fireman 1st Class
   
   
Brown, Pallas F.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Brunner, William F
   
Fireman 3rd Class
   
   
Burgairn, Feliciano T.
   
Officer's Cook 2nd Class
   
   
Chestnutt Jr., George V.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Clippard, Lloyd D.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Conner, Joseph U.
   
Fireman 1st Class
   
   
Crain, John R.
   
Fireman 1st Class
   
   
Crossett, David L.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Davis, Billy R.
   
Fireman 2nd Class
   
   
Dennis, Leroy
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Dieckhoff, Dennis R.
   
Signalman 1st Class
   
   
Dosser, William H.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Eidsvig, Vernon J.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Gandre, Melvyn A.
   
Quartermaster 1st Class
   
   
Gift, Kenneth M.
   
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class
   
   
Gregoire, Charles N.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Harveson, Herold A.
   
Lieutenant (jg)
   
   
Hill, Clifford D.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Houde, Emery L.
   
Baker 2nd Clas
   
   
Jackson, David W.
   
Ensign
   
   
Jones, Leroy H.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Juedes, William A.
   
Ship's Cook 2nd Class
   
   
Kaelin, John L.
   
Yeoman 3rd Class
   
   
Kampmeyer, Eric T.
   
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
   
   
Karabon, Joesph N.
   
Fireman 1st Class
   
   
Kent, William H.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
LaRue, George W.
   
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class
   
   
Little III, John G.
   
Lieutenant (jg)
   
   
Lynch, Kenneth L.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Marshall Jr., William E.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Martinez, Rudolph M.
   
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class
   
   
Michael, Charles O.
   
Lt. Commander
   
   
Miller, Marvin E.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Norman, Donald C.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Norman, Orris N.
   
Fireman 2nd Class
   
   
Odgaard, Edwin N.
   
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
   
   
Parker, Elmer A.
   
Commissary Steward KP
   
   
Perry, Forrest H.
   
Ship's Cook 3rd Class
   
   
Phillips, James W.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Ponder, Walter H,
   
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
   
   
Reed, Frank E.
   
Shipfitter 3rd Class
   
   
Scott, Ralph E.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Shouse, Henson T.
   
Fireman 1st Class
   
   
Smith, George R.
   
Mess Attendant 1st Class
   
   
Smith, Robert D.
   
Seaman 1st Class
   
   
Sousley, Joseph B.
   
Seaman 2nd Class
   
   
Strinz, Gerald V.
   
Fireman 3rd Class
   
   
Tomich, Peter
   
Chief Watertender
   
   
Ulrich, Elmer H.
   
Fireman 3rd Class
   
   
Villa, Michael W.
   
Fireman 3rd Class
   
   
Wetrich, Vernando O.
   
Fire Controlman 1st Class
   
   
White, Glenn A.
   
Fireman 1st Class





USS UTAH TODAY

So why would MetroJacksonville know anything about the Florida Class Battleships and the USS Utah in particular?  Ocklawaha's dad was born the same month and year the grand old ship was Commissioned, and he grew up to serve aboard her until days before the Pearl Harbor attack. He served aboard the USS Pasadena through the end of WWII, then on to the Navy Department in Washington D.C., retiring out as a Navy Exchange Commander at NAS JAX.


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10402
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: STRANGE STORY OF BABY BURIED AT PEARL HARBOR
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 11:49:21 AM »
Running on memory here (damned dangerous for the old hippie) but seems like there is a photo of the USS FLORIDA in the St. Johns River. This would have been between 1911 and 1930. Does anyone else know about this or was it a different battleship?

OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10402
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: STRANGE STORY OF BABY BURIED AT PEARL HARBOR
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 06:01:31 PM »


Can you read it? What does this say?

HINT: It is hoisted at Pearl Harbor every December 7.


OCKLAWAHA