- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 04:40
- Published: Friday, 23 May 2003 00:00
Clay Henry Musick
Seaman First Class on 7 December 1941
Submitted by Vincent J. Vlach, Jr.
Clay, 360 25 45, enlisted in the Navy on 6 November 1940 at Houston. He reported on board the Arizona 26 January 1941 at Long Beach after completion of training at NTS, San Diego and was assigned to the 6th Division. The Arizona had just returned from the Bremerton Navy Yard.
Clay was a bow hook in the No. 2 motor boat. On the morning of 7 December 1941, he and the Lakin brothers were shining the bright work. They had an 0805 trip. The Coxswain was Douglas C. Moore. They heard a loud explosion on Ford Island and a plane came over, very low so they headed for their battle stations. Clay's GQ station was AA magazine second platform below third deck. Clarendon R. Hetrick, survivor, a hoistman and others were also at this battle station. The Lakins were KIA and their bodies recovered. Donald Lakin is buried at grave D10; his brother Joseph is nearby at D32, Punchbowl. Douglas Moore was also KIA and his body was not recovered.
Clay helped rig a conveyor on the third deck to receive ammunition from the magazine. Since he was a hoistman he started a roundup when the ship took its first hit. The explosion knocked the ship's lights out except the blue battle lights and sent him reeling. As he reached for the crank to crank up the ammo, the second explosion came. That sent him against the bulkhead and then on the apron of the hoist. He picked himself up again after another explosion; the metal was very, very hot and he had difficulty breathing. Someone said, "Let's get out of here!"
Someone helped him up the ladder on the bulkhead. When they got to the third deck, some asked if he could make it. He took the first step on the ladder and does not remember anything until he stepped out on the port quarterdeck. Clarendon helped him through the hatch. He went through officer's country enroute. The Japanese were machine-gunning the quarterdeck; a lot of men were under turrets for protection. Others were on fire and were rolling on the deck to try and put the fire out.
Clay was dazed from the explosions. Some Corpsmen from the hospital ship, SOLACE, were taking men off. Clay started for the boat deck but things were all ablaze so he went to the starboard side. A tug was alongside trying to put out the fire but could not get up enough water pressure so they started picking up survivors.
Clay followed a Marine Sergeant down the gangway toward the F7 quay (key). He fell and others helped him back to his feet. The mooring lines were popping and cracking so they moved down on a boat landing so the lines would not cut them in half if they broke. He then was pulled on board the tug where he fell on deck; the tug took them to 1010 dock and he was then taken to one of the several Naval Hospital huts which each had four or five beds. A nurse gave him a shot to ease the pain. A doctor came and wanted to know who had shots. The nurses were not sure do he got another shot. This time they put a cross on foreheads.
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