BALLARD, Galen Owen

"Hazel, her cousin, and my friend ran after me and persuaded me to get into Hazel's car and go to her home." With a chuckle he added, "Probably to sober up." Early Sunday morning was bright and beautiful, and peaceful. About 7:45 a record of the Ink Spots was playing on Hazel's combination radio-record player." Shortly before 8 o'clock he decided to switch to the radio. "The announcer was excited, repeating over and over, Seek cover, this is no drill. Rising Sun has been spotted on the wing tips. It's a raid. Clear the streets. Seek cover. Then all military personnel report to your base, posts, or ships." We ran back to the locker club. The locker portion was locked. Sunday morning. So we climbed over a partition to get to the lockers, changed, and tore off to the Army-Navy YMCA where the circular for cabs was filling up."

"A marine hailed the cabs and directed the men into them, sent them off, and hailed the next. There was a lot of confusion. High altitude bombers whistled over. Anti-aircraft fire flared. We were afraid of being hit on the way back. We got to the fleet landing. It was a terrible sight to see the battleship so mutilated the havoc was just too immense to grasp."

"Across was the Arizona burning. We'd seen smoke in the distance and thought it was from oil dumps being hit. But it was our ship. A huge, red-bottomed ship was upended "the Oklahoma."

Later, welders were to cut holes in the bottom to get the survivors out. "We didn't have time to think ...or to panic." He explained about the Oklahoma, "It capsized because inspection was the day before and watertight compartments had been left open." Torpedoes hit. The compartments flooded. He remembered that the Nevada tried to get out of the harbor, was hit, and, afraid of blocking the channel, and ran aground.

Galen's station was at the No. 6 fire room. With another bomb the large powder storage, the forward powder magazine for No. one and No. two turrets blew up. The enemy had help triggering the Arizona's suicide with her own massive ammunition storage. Even with the swift and heroic rescue operation, the Arizona settled into the water carrying over 900 men with her. "I was told to report in at the receiving station. There I found other members of the Arizona, the "Black Gang" (the engine room crew) who had been on liberty."

"I remember we dove under the tables a couple of times, but whether the station was actually strafed, or we only imagined it, I don't know. Nor can I remember whether it was the same day or the following day that the few of us from the "Black Gang" reported aboard the USS Tennessee."

The USS Tennessee was moored to a cement, triangular-shaped key next to the USS West Virginia, now sitting outboard on the bottom. The Tennessee had been saved by having the West Virginia on the torpedo side. Several other ships on battleship row, moored two abreast at keys around Ford Island, had also been thus protected. Outboard ships could protect only from torpedoes, not bombs.

Though the Vestal, a repair ship, was outboard of the Arizona, seven bombs dropped on the battleship. She was near the mouth of the harbor and not entirely protected form torpedoes on the Ford Island side as it curved away from her.

Eighteen ships were sunk or damaged severely; five of which were never to see service again. One hundred eighty-eight planes were destroyed. 2,403 servicemen lost their lives. "The Arizona had been my home since March 1936, and I had many fine shipmates aboard."

Remember the Arizona!
Like & Share Our Facebook Page

All stories, photos, media, etc. contained on this website may not be reprinted or used for any reason without the express written consent of the owner except for non-profit educational purposes.
Email for further information. Thank you.

All rights to digital materials within this website are held by N. A. Nease and respective holding institutions or individuals with the exception of public domain items.
The materials contained within this website are made available online for educational and/or personal research purposes only.


NOTICE: Claudia J. Thedens (aka T. J. Cooper) is expressly forbidden to use ANY materials published on this website in ANY and ALL of her current or future revisions and/or new for-profit publications.