- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:27
- Published: Thursday, 22 May 2003 00:00
Francis Marion Falge
Lieutenant on 7 December 1941
USS Arizona: Assistant Damage Control and Assistant First Lieutenant - Battle Station Central Station
Note: All assigned to Central Station are still entombed on the ship. Falge was ashore at the time of attack.
Francis "Frank" Falge, 92, enlisted in the Navy in 1919, and was one of eight Sailors to go to the first Naval Academy Preparatory School on board USS Oklahoma, anchored in the Hudson River off Newport, R.I. This group called themselves the "Eight Okies," and went to attend the Naval Academy in 1920.
Falge graduated in June 1924 and went into the reserves as an Ensign, working as a lighting technician on the West Coast in the 20's and 30's.
In February 1941, Falge, then a Lieutenant, was recalled to active service as the war in Europe escalated. He was ordered to Pearl Harbor and stationed aboard the USS Arizona. "The atmosphere in Hawaii was very laid back," Falge said. "The U.S. wasn?t expecting to enter the war. However, there were many signs that war was coming, but were not interpreted as such."
Falge said many strange occurrences took place in the months before the Japanese attack. His family had rented a house in Lanikai from a German couple named Kuehn, but only on the condition that the Falge move out by August 1.
They moved out earlier than that, much to the Kuehns' dismay.
"Mrs. Kuehn said her plans hadn't materialized," the retired captain said. "Of course, we suspected them, but nothing happened until December 7, and (the house) had remained vacant from that time we gave it up."
Falge, who is currently writing his autobiography, later found out that the husband was Bernard Kuehn, the Nazi head espionage on the U.S. territory, and the home was the signal house used by the Japanese during the raid.
On November 29, Falge and some friends went to eat dinner at a Japanese restaurant. The lady running the place said it was too late, but the Arizona's gunnery officer was able to convince her to let them in. "As we were eating, we heard all of these war chants going on," said Falge. "I think that was very obvious that the Japanese knew (about the upcoming attack)."
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