Pearl Harbor National Memorial - USS Utah Memorial

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of official print brochure for the USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Through text and audio descriptions of photos and a map, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors of the USS Utah Memorial receive. The brochure explores the history of the site, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 22 minutes which we have divided into 13 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 3-7 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding what the purpose of the USS Utah is and the honor the men received. Sections 8-11 cover the back of the brochure which consists of the names of the fifty-eight men on board, telegraphs sent towards families, and a map of the area. Section 12 covers Accessibility and 13 covers More Information. 

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OVERVIEW: Pearl Harbor National Memorial - USS Utah Memorial

Pearl Harbor National Memorial, previously known as World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, located in Hawaii, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. This brochure will be specifically focused on the USS Utah Memorial.

The park is situated on the island of Oahu, west of the city of Honolulu, and is split between Ford Island and part of the shore to the east. This park, was established in 1980 as the USS Arizona Memorial, then redesignated in 2008 as World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and once again in 2019 as Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Each year, on average one and a half million visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Pearl Harbor National Memorial. We invite you to explore the park's historical importance. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front side of the brochure includes images and text. The top boarder is a black strip with the white lettering USS Arizona Memorial on the left. To the right is the text is smaller lettering, National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior; USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i next to the National Park Service arrow-head logo. The page is broken up into four sections. There are four images with multiple text sections including quotes and details about the USS Utah. The background of imitates yellowed parchment paper with the edges browned. 

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IMAGE and QUOTE: Remembering the USS UTAH

DESCRIBING: The damaged USS Utah

SYNOPSIS: Black and white image of the listing USS Utah, with tug boats cabled to its right side.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Image of the USS Utah listing badly on its left side. The view is from the right stern or rear of the battleship. To the right of the ship are several tug boats cabled to the starboard or right side, obviously trying to prevent it from capsizing. From this viewpoint, no damage or smoke are visible, but the ship is listing at an approximate 20 degree angle. An American flag is dangling from the flagpole at the ship’s stern.

On the rear deck, one raised cannon is visible. In front of it is a tall mast. In front of that is the smoke stack, and then the ship’s bridge.

Off the left rear of the ship is a small watercraft.

It is a bright hazy day, and the back of the ship is in heavy shadows. The water is calm, there are some small structures along Pearl Harbor’s far shoreline, and there are hints of mountains in the distance.


QUOTE: “The men we took out . . . that were dying . . . some of ‘em maybe thirty years old, calling their mama. That shakes you up.”

-John Eichman, WT2c

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TEXT: Our Duty to Protect

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,” was each man’s oath aboard the battleship USS Utah. On the morning of December 7, 1941 they honored that promise. During a fierce, Japanese surprise attack the men of the Utah fought to protect their ship, their country and each other—but many could not protect themselves. They were shocked and frightened. They were brave and resourceful. They were young men who never went home. It now falls to us to protect their memories and honor their sacrifice.

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IMAGE, QUOTE, and TEXT: Training Ship

DESCRIBING: The USS Utah as a pre-war bombing target

SYNOPSIS: Stark black and white picture of the USS Utah, covered in timbers and chains

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Imaged angled from the forward deck, looking back toward the bridge. The bridge is two tiers, the top one having many small windows. Protruding from the bridge’s top tier, on both sides are small curved platforms. The picture is bordered by a light brown narrow edge. There is no obvious armament visible. The ship looks like it has been stripped down. There is no flag evident. Covering the deck are many very large timbers and chains, running front to back. At the front is a large white object (as wide, and twice as tall as the chain) which appears to be a guide for the chain. No crew is visible. It was taken on a a bright, sunny day. The background is a dull empty sky.

CAPTION: Massive timbers, placed on deck to protect the crew from practice bombs, slid off and crushed them in the water.


QUOTE: “We heard the shrapnel hitting the ground all around us.”
-Tom Anderson jr., ENS


For nearly twenty years the Utah served as a training ship, honing the skills of countless U.S. servicemen. The Utah acted as a remote control target for other warships, a stationary target for bombers, and a place where men sharpened their anti-aircraft gun marksmanship. Yet, on a ship solely dedicated to practice, rigor, and training— nothing could have prepared its men for the morning of December 7th, 1941.

“I actually saw one of the Japanese planes come in, release the torpedo. . . . Then I felt the… reverberation” remembers Clark Simons, MAtt3/c. Two torpedoes later, with the ship rolling over sideways, the men abandoned ship—they had to get above deck. Officers stopped them as they came up, protecting them from planes strafing the deck. “I seen lieutenant . . . killed right in front of me. . . . with a machine gun” recalls John Eichman, WT2/c. Wooden beams slid across the deck blocking exits and trapping men inside. They ran for the portholes, the smaller men squeezed through and slid down the ship’s hull, their backs shredded by jagged barnacles.

More danger waited outside as the Utah flipped belly up. Huge timbers crashed off of the deck and onto the crew swimming for safety. Fighter planes mowed them down as they slid down lines and fled along the bottom of the ship. More fortunate men cowered behind debris amidst the chattering rain of bullets. 

Back inside the Utah, a frothing, swirling, upsidedown world of water engulfed the Utah’s men. They fiercely pounded the walls in hope of rescue. S.A. Szymanski, Mm1c heard their pounding, grabbed a blowtorch, and headed into the fray. Blocking out the gunfire, he followed their tapping, cut into the hull, and rescued John Vaessen, F2/c. Szymanski later received formal commendation for his heroism.

Others had no heroes. Clark Simmons remembers his friend George Smith, MAtt1/c, “He aimed to please. He was going to make the navy his career. . . . he was machine gunned . . . he had bullet holes in his chest.”

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IMAGES and TEXT: Dying so Others Might Live

IMAGE 1 of 2: Sailor

DESCRIBING: Picture of a sailor

SYNOPSIS: Picture of Chief Watertender, Peter Tomich.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A granny black and white photo of Chief Tomich, taken from his neck up. Behind the picture is a narrow brown trim, “framing” the photo. The background is a flat gray. He is facing the camera, head ever so slightly tilted to his right.. He is wearing a white navy hat with a dark brim, which is also slightly tilted to his right. There is an insignia at the front top of his hat. His hair and eyes are hidden in the shadow from the brim. He is heavily tanned. He is in his younger thirties with a face that is clean shaven, narrow, and with prominent cheekbones, and he has a passive expression. His cheeks, tip of his nose and chin are shiny from the sunlight reflection. His ears are flat against the side of his head. He is wearing a white open collared shirt.


IMAGE 2 of 2: Star metal

DESCRIBING: A star medal of distinguished conduct

SYNOPSIS: A medal of honor awarded Chief Tomich.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Image of a flat, upside down five-star medal service award that is a dull gray in color. It is suspended from a small flat anchor at the top. The anchor has a small hole at the top, and is hung on a small nail. There are two small wire loops connecting the anchor to the star. At the tip of each of the star’s five points are small, rounded three-point crowns. These “crowns” look like small clubs in a deck of cards. The medal is slightly raised above the background, a section of a sepia colored document. The inscription reads:

DECEMBER 7, 1941”

CAPTION: After years of search, this Medal of Honor was finally awarded to the Tomich family on May 18, 2006, aboard the USS Enterprise in the Adriatic sea, near Peter's homeland. 



Among the heroes of the Utah was Chief Watertender, Peter Tomich. He received a Medal of Honor for courage and disregard of his own safety. Tomich realized the ship was capsizing, yet remained at his post in the engineering plant, keeping the boilers and generators running to provide light for his escaping shipmates. After ensuring that those around him had fled for safety, Tomich was out of time. He died inside the Utah, giving his life so others might live.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The backside of the brochure has an image that spans the whole page with three other photos of images inserted across the top center, upper right corner and and a map on the lower right bottom. The text includes the names of the fifty-eight men who died aboard the ship. 

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IMAGES and TEXT: Misery in an Envelope

IMAGE 1 of 3: Postal Telegraph

DESCRIBING: A picture of a telegraph

SYNOPSIS: A telegraph notifying a mother of the death of her son.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: “Postal Telegraph” addressed to Mrs. Ethel Howard, at her address in Fort Worth, Texas. To the right of her name is a stamped date and time of the document: 1942 FEB 10 PM 6 56.

It is advising her of the death of her son, Leroy Dennis. The document is faded and with many rust spots. The message’s print is in blue ink. The top two lines contain routing coding, with “Washington DC” being Intelligible.

The words “Postal Telegraph” are white script letters on a small black rectangle centered at the top of the paper. It the upper left corner is a small white rectangle that has been stamped with only the word “Texas” legible. In the upper right corner is another small white rectangle, with many small words that are not legible.

There are noticeable creases horizontally and vertically. 

In all caps, the telegraph’s message reads:




IMAGE 2 of 2: Newspaper clipping

DESCRIBING: Newspaper clipping of an obituary

SYNOPSIS: Part of a newspaper obituary on the death of Leroy Dennis.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Newspaper is yellowed with age. It is headlined “Death of Fort Worth Youth at Pearl Harbor Is Revealed.” The obituary is partially obscured on the left side by a copy of the Postal Telegraph. In the lower right corner there is a narrow, chest high, black and white photo of Mr. Dennis. The background is a mottled gray. Printed in bold caps, and centered under the photo is his name: LEROY DENNIS.

Mr. Dennis is looking straight at the camera. He has thick, wavy dark hair, parted down the middle and heavy, dark eyebrows. He has a pleasant, but tired, serious look on his face with full lips, slender nose, and his ears lay flat against his head. He is clean shaven wearing a dark sport or suit coat over a light colored, open collared shirt.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Handwritten note

DESCRIBING: Handwritten note

SYNOPSIS: Handwritten note from a sailor to his mother. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Within the note he thanks their mother for a visit and requests a picture. Noticeable creases horizontally on a piece of paper that is brownish-ivory. The note is written in tight cursive. 



We Regret to Inform You . . . your boys are never coming home.

Families around the country could no longer protect their boys. They could merely wait for letters. Every trip to the mailbox, every ring of the doorbell, they hoped for something reassuring. Amelia Perez cherished her son’s letter sent from Pearl Harbor in September 1941. Three months later, a navy telegraph arrived with much sadder news. Her boy, Rudy, was dead.

Amelia was not alone; telegraphs and newspaper articles about Leroy Dennis and his shipmates arrived in communities across the country. Families in California, Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond read their boys’ names and saw their faces –and knew they were never coming home.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Preserving What We Could Not Protect

DESCRIBING: Background image of the USS Utah Memorial Brochure

SYNOPSIS: Color image is a close up of part of the USS Utah Memorial. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Image taken on a bright, sunny day, showing light puffy clouds in the top half. Part of the Memorial’s white structure is visible on the center left, with a flag pole rising above a corner of the memorial. A large flag is fluttering atop it. Immediately to the right of the Memorial is a part of the badly rusted USS Utah deck, whose image stretches thinly from the Memorial to the center right edge of the picture. In the background above the rusting structure some small mountains are easily visible. Along the shoreline are some small white structures and a red construction crane.

From left to right, below the USS Utah Memorial, in four columns are the names of the 58 sailors lost aboard the ship listed in the related text section.



Fifty-eight men died aboard the Utah to protect their ship, their country, and each other. Their memorial was dedicated in 1972 for “the preservation of heroic memories.” 

May this white stone, the Utah’s copper hull, and our efforts protect their memory forever.

  • William D. Arbuckle, S2c
  • Joseph Barta, F3c
  • Rudolph P. Bielka, LCBR
  • Virgil C. Bigham, S1c
  • John E. Black, LTJG
  • John T. Blackburn, F1c
  • Pallas F. Brown, S2c
  • William F. Brunner, F3c
  • Feliciano T. Burgarin, OC2c
  • George V. Chestnutt, Jr., S2c
  • Lloyd D. Clippard, S2c
  • Joseph U. Conner, F1c
  • John R. Crain, F1c
  • David L. Crossett, S1c
  • Billy R. Davis, F2c 
  • LeroyDennis, S2c
  • Douglas R. Dieckhoff, SM1c
  • William H. Dosser, S2c
  • Vernon J. Eidsvig, S1c
  • Melvyn A. Gandre, QM1c
  • Kenneth M. Gift, BM2c
  • Charles N. Gregorie, S2c
  • Herold A. Harveson, LTJG
  • Clifford D. Hill, S2c
  • Emery L. Houde, Bkr2c
  • David W. Jackson, ENS
  • Leroy H. Jones, S1c
  • William A. Juedes, SC2c
  • John L. Kaelin, Y3c
  • Eric T. Kampmeyer, GM3c
  • Joseph N. Karabon, F1c
  • William H. Kent, S1c
  • George W. LaRue, GM3c 
  • John G. Little III, LTJG
  • Kenneth L. Lynch, S2c
  • William E. Marshall, Jr., S2c
  • Rudolph M. Martinez, EM3c
  • Charles O. Michael, LCDR
  • Marvin E. Miller, S2c
  • Donald C. Norman, S2c
  • Orris N. Norman, F2c
  • Edwin N. Odgaard, EM2c
  • Elmer A. Parker, CSK (PA)
  • Forrest H. Perry, SC3c
  • James W. Phillips, S1c
  • Walter H. Ponder, MM1c
  • Frank E. Reed, SF3c
  • Ralph E. Scott, S1c
  • Henson T. Shouse, F1c
  • George R. Smith, Matt1c
  • Robert D. Smith, S1c
  • Joseph B. Sousley, S2c
  • Gerald V. Strinz, F3c
  • Peter Tomich, CWT (PA)
  • Elmer H. Ulrich, F3c
  • Michael W. Villa, F3c
  • Vernado O. Wetrich, FC1c
  • Glen A. White, F1c

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MAP and TEXT: Visiting the Utah

DESCRIBING: Ford Island map

SYNOPSIS: Ford Island map showing the USS Utah Memorial’s general location relative to other key points of interest.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Small aerial view of the Ford Island map showing the USS Utah Memorial location, indicated by a blue star, relative to the USS Arizona, USS Missouri and the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, each indicated by a small blue dot. The small island, on the left half of the photo, is oblong, like the shape of a potato, stretching from the bottom left to the upper right. The water is dark and the land masses are shaded light to slightly darker green. The map is directed with north being the top, however there is no north arrow.

The USS Utah Memorial is located to the west of the northern tip of Ford Island. The USS Arizona Memorial is located near the northeast corner of the island. The USS Missouri is just a few hundred yards southwest of the USS Arizona Memorial. In the upper right of the map is the bridge that leads to the Kamehameha Highway. Just below the bridge, in the upper right hand is the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center. Located on the southeast corner of the map are several ship docking piers. In the middle of Ford Island, the old Naval airstrip is visible.


The USS Utah Memorial is located on Ford Island, within Pearl Harbor Naval Station. Access is restricted on this active military base. Active Duty/Retired Military, Military Reservists or DOD/Civil Service personnel with a valid DOD ID card and vehicle decal can visit the memorial. If a member does not have a DOD decal, they must obtain a vehicle pass. Anyone not affiliated with the Military/Civil Service that would like to visit the memorial must be sponsored by someone who is.

For current visitor information contact the Navy Public Relations Office at (808) 473-2888.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

No information is listed on the brochure. Please visit park website at or (808) 422-3399

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IMAGE and OVERVIEW: More Information

DESCRIBING: Arizona Memorial Museum Association logo 

SYNOPSIS: White rectangular building with a dip in the middle. Surrounding the top of the building is a blue circle with white lettering inside. Wavy red and white stripes flow vertically. Below is the text in blue stating “Arizona Memorial Museum Association”. 

CAPTION: This publication funded by the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. 

PHONE: (808) 473-2888



Currently the USS Utah is not accessible to the general public.

There are no doctors or nurses on-site. EMS is available and a hospital is nearby. If you have a medical need please call 911. 

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