USS Utah Memorial Sunset Ceremony

World War II veterans, U.S. and allied military personnel, friends and family participate in the USS Utah Memorial Sunset Ceremony in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 6, 2019. The ceremony honors the loss of the USS Utah and 58 crewmen after the ship was torpedoed during the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, attack on December 7, 1941. The USS Utah was the first ship torpedoed in the attack; it sank 12 minutes later. All 2,403 personnel who died in the Pearl Harbor attacks are being honored at ceremonies near Ford Island, Hawaii, December 6-7, 2019.

Subscribe to Dr. Justin Imel, Sr. by Email


Good afternoon. What a fantastic turn out this afternoon. On behalf of the National Park Service Commander Navy Region of Hawaii and our special guest USS Utah survivor Mr Warren Upton. I would like to welcome you to the USS Utah Remembrance ceremony, I am Master Chief Greg Vadory the Command Master Chief for Commander Navy Region Hawaii. Thank you for joining us for this very special ceremony where we honor the crew of the USS Utah. To begin I would like to say a warm Aloha to the USS survivor Utah survivor Mr Warren Upton. I would also like to recognize our Pearl Harbor survivors and our World War Two veterans. I am truly humbled and honored that you all traveled from so very far away, to represent all your shipmates Please join me in a round of applause for these true American Heroes.

We would also like to extend a warm Aloha to Mrs Mary Greg and her daughter Vina, for years Mrs Greg has been attending this ceremony on behalf of her twin sister Nancy, who’s remains were with their father when the USS Utah went down. Captain Bernard, thank you for being here today. We are here today to honor the crew of the proud ship that you see behind me, the USS Utah, for years in keeping with the wishes of the USS Utah survivors this very simple yet elegant ceremony conducted at sunset on the eve of December 7th, has typified the Navy’s bedrock principles of honor, courage and commitment. Those principles were exemplified by the sailors of the USS Utah, who without ceremony and most without any recognition, did their duty under the most severe conditions, for 58 of them it was their final duty. Today during this beautiful Hawaiian sunset we remember. The USS Utah was commissioned on October 31st, 1911. She served with honor in the Atlantic during the first World War as the flagship of the battleship division one, as well as various maritime readiness in peace time missions on both sides of the Atlantic and in South America, in 1931 she was converted to a target vessel, where she helped train 80 pilots as a realistic target for the exercises involving carrier based planes. On the morning of December 7th, 1941 she took multiple torpedo hits that caused her to capsize, in much the same position that you see her here this afternoon. This afternoon we remember the 58 crew members who died on this proud ship, at this time I would like to introduce Mrs Jacklyn Ashwell, the Super Indented of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Mrs Ashwell moved to Oahu in October of 2015 from Seattle, where she served as a Super Indented of the Seattle area National Parks sites, she is passionate as you can imagine about historic preservation, community and employing engagement and developing the next generation of stewards who will care for our nations most sacred places such as memorials at Pearl Harbor. Ladies and gentleman please welcome Mrs Jacklyn Ashwell.

Good evening and Aloha. It is my honor to welcome all of you to our soon to be sunset commemoration for the USS Utah and for the 58 men who lost their lives, 78 years ago tomorrow morning, on December 7th 1941. We also are here to celebrate the lives of some of her shipmates who through some divine providence were able to come away with their lives that day. Mr Upton thank you so much for making the journey and thank you for your service to your country, thank you for being here. Excellent. I’m grateful to all of you who are here this evening because there’s often a phrase that is associated with the USS Utah, that somehow she is the forgotten ship of Pearl Harbor. Jim Newman told me that he wanted to keep things low key and he’d have 50 chairs. We can see how that worked out. So thanks to all of you, whether you came from across town or across the ocean, it is obvious that the USS Utah is not the forgotten ship of Pearl Harbor. We are all here to remember her and her crew, so I thank each and every one of you for being here. This evening I’m also thinking of one other man, and he wasn’t here on December 7th, he didn’t serve on the USS Utah, but for me and I suspect for many of you here tonight and some of you watching the feed he is now inextricably link with the history of this vessel, and that man is Jim Taylor. Jim’s not with us this evening or maybe he is, but he passed away earlier this year at the age of 80. He served his country for over a half a century, and on his second retirement he decided to start working for free as a full time volunteer to Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs office, and he served in that capacity as a liaison to the survivors of Pearl Harbor and their families, and in that role he was the MC of this commemoration many, many, many, many times. He also helped lay to rest many Pearl Harbor survivors, who chose to come back and have their ashes spread in these waters around the Utah, and for those who served on the Utah to actually to be placed within the ship. He is thus, for a long time he was the face of the Utah and remembering the Utah, and he’s deeply missed, and on a final note before I wrap up, I would like to leave on an upbeat note. Last year I know many of you were here last year and heard me talk about something we were exploring to allow visitors who don’t have base access, which is a lot of people to come and visit this site. Then pay their respects to the Utah and her men, and to make sure she is not the forgotten ship, and we’ve done a lot of work on that this year. We have the support of Navy Region Hawaii to begin a pilot program in fiscal year 20, or which is now, 20 is now. So the last step before we begin is to hire two park rangers because they will be required to escort these visitors to ensure security for the base, and so we’ll be working on getting those hired early in the New Year and look forward to doing a pilot project and to see how that goes. So were really excited about that.

And that’s in partnership with Pacific Historic Parks, so big shout out to them and all the work that they have done with us on that, and on that note, thank you again for all of you for being here and just thank you for being here to pay tribute to the Utah and her men. Mahalo.

Thank you Ms Ashwell. We would now like to remember the 58 crew members who perished on the USS Utah on the morning of December 7th. At this time Senior Chief Michael Shere’s from Commando Region Hawaii will list each crew member by name.

Aloha and good evening. Some of you may not know me, but I will tell you that I am not new to this ceremony. I served with Master Chief retired Jim Taylor at Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs, he was a good mentor a good friend and definitely a father figure that you want to look up to. I will be reading these names in memorial of him and those who perished. Seaman Second Class, William D. Arbuckle. Fireman Third Class, Joseph Barta. Lieutenant Commander Rudolph P. Bielka. Seaman First Class, Virgil C. Bigham. Lieutenant Junior Grade, John E. Black. Fireman First Class, John T. Blackburn. Seamen Second Class, Pallas F. Brown. Fireman Third Class, William F. Brunner. Officers Cook Second Class, Feliciana Two or Cruthin T. Bugarin. Seaman Second Class, George V. Chestnutt Junior. Seaman Second Class, Lloyd D. Clippard. Fireman First Class, Joseph U. Conner. Fireman First Class, John R. Crain. Seaman First Class, David L. Crossett. Fireman Second Class, Billy R. Davis. Seaman Second Class, Leroy Dennis. Signalman First Class, Douglas R. Reikhoff. Seaman Second Class, William H. Dosser. Seaman First Class, Vernon J. Eidsvig. Quartermaster First Class, Melvyn A. Gandre. Boatswain’s Second Class, Kenneth M, Gift. Seaman Second Class, Charles N. Gregoire. Lieutenant Junior Grade, Harold A. Harveson. Seaman Second Class, Clifford D. Hill. Baker Second Class, Emery Houde. Ensigned David W. Jackson. Seaman First Class, Leroy H. Jones. Ships Cook Second Class, William A. Juedes. Yeoman Third Class, John L. Kaelin. Gunner’s mate Third Class, Eric T. Kampmeyer. Fireman First Class, Joseph N. Karabon. Seaman First Class, William H. Kent. Gunner’s Mate Third Class, George W. Le Rue. Lieutenant Junior Grade, John G. Little the third. Seaman Second Class, Kenneth L. Lynch. Seaman Second Class, William E. Marshall Junior. Electrician’s mate Third Class, Rudolph M. Martinez. Lieutenant Commander, Charles O. Michael. Seaman Second Class, Marvin E. Miller. Seaman Second Class, Donald C. Norman. Fireman Second Class, Orrice N. Norman. Electrician’s Mate Second Class, Edwin N. Odgaard. Chief storekeeper, Elmer A. Parker. Ship’s cook Third Class, Forrest H. Perry. Seaman First Class, James W. Phillips. Machinist Mate’s First, Class Walter H. Ponder. Shipfitter Third Class. Frank E. Reed. Seaman First Class. Ralph E. Scott. Fireman First Class, Henson T. Shouse Machinist’s Mate First Class, George R. Smith Seaman First Class, Robert D. Smith Seaman Second Class, Joseph B. Sousley. Fireman Third Class, Gerald V. Strinz Chief Water tender, Peter Tomich Fireman Third Class, Elmer H. Ulrick. Fireman Third Class, Michael W. Via Fire Control man First Class, Bernard O. Wetrich. And lastly but not least Fireman First Class, Glenn A. White. Aloha.

Thank you Senior Chief. Ladies and gentleman please stand as able. Chaplin Saul will now offer a prayer followed by the playing of taps.

Three thousand years ago another great warrior wrote these profound and comforting words. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. For Though are with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Almighty God today we recall the history of a horrible and horrific attack where there was carnage and misery and suffering, and Lord today we remember those who lost their lives and who still remain entombed beneath these waters, and we give You thanks Heavenly Father that they now lay securely and safely in Your hands, because the victory is achieved through You, and I pray Father that in the years to come You would raise up heroes, heroes like we’ve witnessed in the past, heroes from this ship. That will continue to serve sacrificially to love sacrificially to give sacrificially for this great nation which has been so blessed by You, and we ask all this and Your future blessing and Your love to be with us. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen (playing taps)

Ladies and gentleman this concludes our ceremony. We would like to welcome you out to the memorial so you can pay your own personal tribute to the 58 men who paid the ultimate sacrifice on December 7th. Thank you and enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian sunset.

Share with Friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.