BURK, Leland Howard

The dispensary was just being built and did not have a roof on it yet. It just had walls and a concrete floor. The second wave of the attack was starting. While standing there in the dispensary, a bombshell landed about 15 feet away from me and it went through the concrete floor forcing white sand back out of the hole. I was lucky again as it did not explode--it was a dud. I think it may have been an armor piercing shell and was meant for a steel deck of a ship. We started to run outside but the guys said the planes were machine gunning the area. Anyway, I had survived a second time in about a half-hour.

The only clothes I had on was a pair of white shorts, a skivvies shirt, and shoes. The Marines had opened their barracks to us and we went in and got some Marine Khaki's from their lockers to put on. They didn't have any shoes big enough to fit me so I had to wipe the oil out of my own.

Later, the survivors of the Arizona were taken over to a receiving ship and we were issued dungarees and blue shirts. I was temporarily assigned to the USS Tennessee. Two days later, I was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania Battleship which was in dry dock.

It was here I met up with my good friend Paul Terry whom I entered the Navy and went through boot camp with. We were so glad to see each other. He thought I had gone down with the Arizona. He could not do enough for me. He gave me cigarettes, money, and a blanket. At this time, this was all I had. My records, money, and everything I had went down on the Arizona.

After about a week in dry dock, we headed the Pennsylvania back for the states. The ship was re-armed with 5-inch dual purpose 38 guns and quad 40 millimeter guns and 20 millimeter guns at Hunters Point in San Francisco. We then headed for the Midway battle but by the time we got there the battle was over. All we saw was debris and oil from sunken ships.

From there we went to the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Next, we headed to the Aleutian Islands--Attu and some others I don't remember. We took them but got the bow blown up and had to go back for repairs. We stopped at Kodiak, Alaska but had to go on to Bremerton, Washington, to get the repairs.

Afterwards, we went to the Kiska Islands to take them from the Japs, however, when we got there they were gone. We then went south to the Heberdine Islands to rendezvous to take the Philippines.

I didn't make it to the Philippines as I was ordered to Washington, D.C. for Advanced Gunnery and Hydraulic School for six weeks and became First Class Gunners Mate. After schooling, I was sent back to San Francisco to help put the APA 206 Sibley into Commission which was a troop carrier. The first raid we made was to take the 4th Division Marines into Iwo Jima. After we unloaded the troops we served as a hospital ship. We had six doctors aboard. We buried several men at sea each morning.

The next raid was at Okinawa, where the 1st Division Marines were to serve as a back-up. We made a false run on the lower side of the island. A lot of the ships were hit by suicide planes. We didn't unload our troops.

I was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and transferred to Northwestern University as a ROTC and V-12 instructor. I was there for about one year and after my six year term was up I was discharged in September, 1946, at Great Lakes, Illinois.

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.

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