In Loving Memory of the Members of the Last United States Navy Band Ever to Serve Aboard the USS Arizona
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USS Arizona’s Last Band: The History of US Navy Band Number 22 by Molly Kent details the life and death of the members of the last US Navy band ever to serve aboard the USS Arizona. As the sister of Mus 2/c C. R. Williams, a member of USS Arizona's Last Band, Molly Kent is well qualified to write the history of this ill-fated US Navy Band.

Members of the Band

BANDY, Wayne Lynn,
Mus 2/c, age 21, Waynesville, MO
BRABBZSON, Oran Merrill,
Mus 2/c, age 19, East Meadow, Long Island, N Y
BURDETTE, Ralph Warren,
Mus 2/c, age 20, Plainfield, N J
CHERNUCHA, Harry Gregory,
Mus 2/c, age 19, North Merrick, Long Island, N Y
COX, Gerald Clinton,
Mus 2/c, age 19, East Moline, IL
FLOEGE, Frank Norman,
Mus 2/c, age 20, Harvey, IL
HAAS, Curtis Junior,
Mus 2/c, age 21, North Kansas City, MO
HUGHES, Bernard Thomas,
Mus 2/c, age 19, Athens, PA
HURLEY, Wendell Ray,
Mus 2/c, age 22, Marion, IN
LYNCH, Emmett Isaac,
Mus 2/c, age 25, Louisville, KY
KINNEY, Frederick William,
Mus 1/c, Bandmaster, age 31, Ashland, KY
MC CARY, William Moore,
Mus 2/c, age 17, Shades Mountain, AL MOORHOUSE, William Starks,
Mus 2/c, age 19, Wichita, KS
NADEL, Alexander Joseph,
Mus 2/c, age 20, Astoria, Long Island, N Y
RADFORD, Neal Jason,
Mus 2/c, age 26, Newark, NE
SANDERSON, James Harvey,
Mus 2/c, age 21, Lindsay, CA
SCRUGGS, Jack Leo,
Mus 2/c, age 22, Long Beach, CA
SHAW, Robert Kar,
Mus 2/c, age 19, Pasadena, TX
WHITE, Charles William,
Mus 2/c, age 21, Bountiful, UT
WHITSON, Ernest Hubert Jr.,
Mus 2/c, age 23, Cincinnati, OH
WILLIAMS, Clyde Richard,
Mus 2/c, age 19, Okmulgee, OK
Arizona's Last Band - Official U.S. Navy Photo
Click here for a Photo Gallery of the members of Arizona's Last Band

Cover - USS Arizona's Last Band - The History of U.S. Navy Band Number 22
6x9 Hardcover, 361 Pages
45 Photographs
ISBN: 0-9654199-0-8
LCCC Number: 96-92673
$25.00 plus $3.00 shipping & Handling

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(913) 287-5797

USS Arizona’s Last Band was born at the United States Navy School of Music in Washington, DC in January 1941. It died in its entirety on 7 December 1941, a victim of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Molly Kent last saw the musicians of USS Arizona’s Last Band at the Washington, DC Navy Yard. It was May 1941 and Arizona’s new musicians were boarding a steamboat on their way to join Arizona. She vividly remembers how very excited they were to be assigned to the USS Arizona and to be going to Hawaii.

Six months later all 21 of those young musicians were dead.

Clyde Richard Williams - Musician 2/c, US Navy Band No. 22, aboard the USS ArizonaIn Hawaii, under the competent direction of bandmaster Fred Kinney, the Arizona Band soon became very popular and was known as “the best US Navy band in the whole Pacific Fleet.”

Despite what you might have heard or read, Arizona’s band did not participate in the second semi-final Battle of Music 1941 on December 6 at Bloch Arena.

According to the rules of the contest, the first and second place winners of each of two semi-final contests would meet in the final contest to be held on December 20.

The first semi-final contest was held on November 22. The two winners were the band of the Marine Corps Barracks and the Arizona band.

Consequently, having already placed in the first semi-final contest, neither of those bands would have been eligible to participate in the second semi-final contest.

Actually, the four bands which competed in the second semi-final contest on December 6 were the bands of the Argonne, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and the band from the Submarine Base, filling in for the Detroit band.

Although they did not play on the night of December 6, the musicians of the Arizona band and the Marine Corps Barracks band attended that contest. Naturally, they were curious to hear the two bands against which they would be competing in the final December 20 contest.

In addition, the Arizona musicians were eager to visit with their friends from the US Navy School of Music, especially the members of the Tennessee band. Since the members of the Arizona and Tennessee bands had attended the school together and had graduated from the school at the same time, they were all good friends.

This was not true of the musicians of the other bands playing that night. Those bands had graduated from the School of Music some time before and were older, so the Arizona musicians did not know them very well, if at all.

The winners of the December 6 semi-final contest were the bands of the USS Pennsylvania and USS Tennessee.

Thus, the four bands scheduled to meet on December 20 in the final contest of the Battle of Music 1941 were the bands of the Arizona and the Marine Corps Barracks, winners of the first semi-final contest on November 22, and the bands of the Pennsylvania and Tennessee, winners of the second semi-final contest on December 6.

Obviously, that final Battle of Music 1941 was never held.

Despite what you might have heard or read, the Pennsylvania band did not choose the winner of that Battle of Music 1941.

Fleet Recreation asked all the Navy bands still in Hawaii to choose by vote the band which should be awarded first place.

The USS Arizona band was chosen unanimously. As several musicians said, the Arizona band was the best band anyway.

Since that time, this trophy has been called the USS Arizona Band Trophy and now sits in a place of honor at the Arizona Memorial Museum.

And despite what you might have heard or read, Arizona’s musicians were not in their beds asleep on the morning of 7 December when the Japanese attack began.

Seven battleship bands, including Arizona’s, were lined up on the fantail ready to play for colors.

Immediately after the Japanese bombs began falling, all the musicians, including Arizona’s, ran down below to their battle stations in their ships’ ammunition holds, as they had been trained to do.

Just as Arizona’s musicians reached their battle stations, the Japanese bomb struck their ship.

And in that instant Arizona died, along with most of her crew, including her entire US Navy Band.

During the five short months the band served aboard Arizona, her musicians practiced long and hard to improve both their musical skills and their Navy training.

Their reward for all their hard work has been more than 65 years of lies, ridicule and scorn.

How very sad.. (Read an online excerpt - Adobe Reader Required) Get Adobe Reader


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Molly Kent and her only brother Clyde Richard Williams were raised in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Molly worked in the Pentagon Building in Washington, DC during World War II. She now lives in Kansas City, Kansas with her husband of more than 60 years.

She has been a legal secretary, artist, author, and homemaker for her husband and their 3 children.

Molly has worked for many years trying to eradicate the lies about the last US Navy band ever to serve aboard the USS Arizona.

Author Molly Kent

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