USS Utah ceremony marks anniversary of Dec. 7 attack

Participants at the Dec. 6 USS Utah Memorial twilight ceremony pause after placing remembrance wreaths.

Participants at the Dec. 6 USS Utah Memorial twilight ceremony pause after placing remembrance wreaths.

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth

Staff Writer

A twilight ceremony marking the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was held at the USS Utah Memorial on Dec. 6.

The USS Utah was sunk during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Of the ship’s crew, an estimated six officers and 52 enlisted men were killed. The memorial was officially authorized by the 91st Congress in October 1970 and dedicated on Memorial Day 1972.

Among those in attendance for the ceremony were Capt. Larry Scruggs, deputy commander, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard; Robert Burk, National Park Service; and Pearl Harbor survivors, Delton Walling and Gil Meyer. Meyer served aboard Utah and is a member of the USS Utah Survivors Association.

Chaplain Lt. Terry Bewley performed the invocation.

Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor survivor liaison, was the emcee.

“This ceremony is all about the USS Utah and all about the men who served together as crew members during the Dec. 7 attack,” he said. “They were all heroes to our country, and all served to protect the freedom we all enjoy today.”

Also speaking at the ceremony was Zane Grzeszczak, an Eagle Scout who helped initiate a project to renovate the memorial. (See sidebar.)

The most solemn moment of the ceremony was perhaps the presenting of remembrance wreaths.

Mary and Nina Kreigh presented a wreath for Baby Nancy, Mary’s twin sister. Mary’s father, Chief Yeoman Albert T. D. Wagner, served aboard Utah and had the ashes of one of his twin daughters, Nancy Lynne, in his locker. He was waiting for a chaplain to come aboard and for Utah to go out on maneuvers so her ashes could be scattered at sea. The urn containing the ashes of the tiny baby girl went down with the ship.

Delton Walling and his friend, Joan Bohl, presented wreaths representing the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. Gil Myer presented a wreath for the USS Utah Survivors Association.

The ceremony concluded with a benediction by Chaplain Bewley and the playing of “Taps.”

“For many years, the USS Utah was known as the forgotten ship,” said Taylor. “Thanks to the National Park Service, the United States Navy, and Zane Grzeszczak and his friends, the USS Utah is no longer the forgotten ship.”

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Category: News