Doug Comella
page 2

At the National Park Service web site for the Pearl Harbor Museum I found a list
of the 33 men of the USS Helena killed at Pearl Harbor. This was with me during
the ceremony and during each moment of silence, I read through the list of names
with many thoughts running through my mind of what they endured.

The wreath that I ordered from Christmas Forest arrived at the hotel on the 30th
and the staff was kind enough to store it for me until my arrival on the 1st.
Thankfully, my arrival in Honolulu was around 11 a.m. and there was enough time
to get to the hotel, check in, gather the wreaths, and place the tag on each one.

One wreath was for the USS Helena and the other a man from a B-29.

During the Memorial Ceremony and Interments on Wednesday the 7th, a thought
kept running through my mind. I was remembering the 168 men of the USS Helena
lost at the Battle of Kula Gulf and thinking that quite likely none of them would
have had a ceremony such as the one I was witnessing.

Being chosen to attend the ceremony was quite an honor. Known only to Susan was
that I was using this to also honor those men of the USS Helena.

Got to see Ski three times during the week. He was accompanied by a journalist,
Chace Anderson, from the Sonora area. Two of our conversations lasted an hour
and we covered a lot of territory. One of the evenings I caught Ski and Chace while
they were having dinner at their hotel which quite fortunately was right across the
street from where I was staying.

Along came two young ladies from the staff of the WWII Museum and did Ski ever
charm one of them.

I thank you for the wreath (from the US Helena Organization) at the USS Arizona
Memorial. You all caused my emotions that day to spike a bit higher and wonder
how in the world did this connection happen.

Crew members who were assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, have the right to have their
cremated remains interned inside the barbette of gun turret four by National Park Service divers. If you
were a crew member before that infamous day, you have the right to have your ashes scattered over the
ship. In both cases, the common thread is that these men were at one time in their Navy careers assigned
to the USS Arizona. This police is strictly enforced by the USS Arizona Reunion and Survivors Association.
In addition, any Pearl Harbor survivor can have their ashes scattered over the place in the harbor where
their ship was located during the attack.

On April 12, 1982 the ashes of retired Navy Retired Petty Officer Stanley M. Teslow were interned, making
him the first USS Arizona survivor to return to his ship. As of February 1, 2016, there have been 39 crew
members interred into the hull of the USS Arizona. That list includes 37 Navy sailors and 3 Marines who
have chosen to rejoin their fallen shipmates through a solemn ceremony of interment complete with a
two-bell ceremony from the Fleet Reserve Association; a rifle salute from the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps;
and a benediction with the echo of Taps being played across the harbor. The services
are conducted inside the memorial and consist of an invocation , funeral ceremony, and a flag presentation
to the family. Each internment ceremony is hosted by the Nation Park Service and the United Sates Navy.

Following the ceremony, the urn is carried from the memorial to the dock area and presented to divers, who
swim the urn into the open barbette of gun turret number four and proceed to a large open slot that
measures approximately 6 by 5'. The urn is placed into this slot and slides into the ship.

Document credit.
National Park Service
web site

U. S. Navy Interment Ceremony.
Aboard USS Arizona Honors Survivors and Victims on 75th Anniversary.
Click HERE!

The Diver holding the Urn, is a screenshot of a picture from a newspaper in Arizona.
This took place on the starboard side of the USS Arizona and was not visible to us. (Doug)

Turrett No. 4 Barbette.
In the pictures that I have seen it is difficult to locate the precise location where the
divers placed the urns.


Night photo of the USS Arizona Memorial. 7 December 2016
Taken by Doug Comella, from the deck of the USS Missouri.

View more Pearl Harbor stories.

Seaman Second Class Luther Cisco. Military Funeral 75 years later.
Click HERE!

LTC Manford K. Wagnon. U. S. Air Force. His story.
Click HERE!


Graff Index

Shipmate Collections