Family/Friends Family History Military Memories Lawrence County PA Historical Stuff
Contact Me My Rantings Halloween Parties Frigid Classic Coming Soon!!

Home > Travel / History > USS Utah Memorial '09

USS Utah Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI

The story of the wreck of the Utah is a favorite of mine and a place I always sought to visit. The Utah, originally commissioned in 1911 as a battleship and later serving as a stripped-down naval target vessel, was torpedoed and capsized on the northern end of Ford Island on December 7, 1941. A determined effort to upright and salvage the vintage ship ended in failure. The rusting hulk of the vessel remains lying on her port side and is the final resting place of approximately fifty-eight men of her crew. A small memorial, that includes a platform that overlooks the Utah, was dedicated at the site on May 27, 1972. The wreck is located on the more peaceful northern side of Ford Island and is quite a solemn (if not downright eeire) place to visit at night. I took these photos at dusk on March 4 and during the afternoon of March 6, 2009.

It is a little known fact that the cremated remains of an infant girl are also entombed aboard the ship. USN Chief Petty Officer Albert Wagner, who survived the sinking, fathered twin girls (both were born premature) in August 1937 while stationed in the Philippines. One of the girls, Nancy L. Wagner, died two days after being born and was cremated. Wagner kept her remains hoping to have an official burial at sea, as he had done for another deceased daughter in 1936. Unfortunately, the attack on Pearl Harbor came before that could happen at his new command aboard the Utah. An official funeral service for the entombed infant girl was held at the site on December 7, 2003, and included Mary (Wagner) Kreigh, the sixty-six-year-old surviving twin sister of Baby Nancy.