- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Friday, 20 November 2015 00:01
- Published: Wednesday, 19 January 2000 00:00
Clinton Howard Westbrook
Seaman First Class on 7 December 1941
I joined the Arizona in Long Beach, California late in September after losing my first ship, the USS Maddox (DD-168) an old 4 piper to the British in the Lend Lease Trade off of 1940.
I was in "C" (Radar Division) until almost April 1941, when I was transferred to "4" (Deck Division).
I was assigned to #4 turret and as of that in-port period was bow hook in a 50 ft. motor launch.
We made a 6 a.m. trip (stand-by crew) on December 7, 1941 and was alongside the USS Nevada when the attack started. We were enroute back to the Arizona when the second bomb hit and was hit by the concussion wave.
We immediately began rescue work of personnel in the oil soaked/burning waters. As we deposited our first load on Ford Island we were ordered to the entrance end of Ford Island to assist in carrying wounded across the channel entrance to the Navy Hospital landing. We made 3 round trips each time strafed by the Japanese. I was wounded twice during that period but didn't know it (another story).
The strafing finally filled the launch with enough holes to sink us.
I was eventually sent back to administration the mainland after three days of special duty and got there in time to change my status from MIA to alive.
I was sent to the USS Conyngham (DD-771) that got under way as soon as they obtained some clothing for me.
It was during this time at sea, my first wound was found (right eye) and later times my second wound manifested itself (right shoulder). I left Conyngham on the 1st or 2nd of June as she left for what turned out to be the Battle of Midway.
I returned to the USA for new construction and put the USS Taylor (DD-468) in commission. We escorted the USS Missouri into Tokyo Bay for the surrender and carried all the media out/back for the ceremony.
Had 23 campaigns in WWII including African invasion and recovery of Wake Island survivors.
I served 26 ½ years (retired in August 1969) service that included the Korea and Vietnam periods but no enemy engagements (thank goodness).
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.