The following was written by Budd Nease, USNR (ret.). Budd is the Public Relations Officer for the USS Arizona Reunion Association and a member of the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. It was printed in the Fall/Winter 2000 newsletter of the AMMA.
For several years, a story has been circulating at the USS Utah reunions that a baby’s ashes are interred within the ship. Some of us had dismissed he likelihood of such an unusual story being true. However, Shipmate Harry Kamman personally knew someone who could vouch for the authenticity of the story.
The amazing story of that baby’s ashes interred aboard the USS Utah at Pearl Harbor is written by the baby’s twin sister, Mary Wagner Kreigh:
Chief Yeoman Albert T.D. Wagner had the ashes of one of his twin daughters, Nancy Lynne, in his locker on board the ship the fateful day of December 7, 1941. He was waiting for a chaplain to come aboard and for the Utah to go out on maneuvers so that her ashes could be scattered at sea in the old Navy tradition.
The urn containing the ashes of the tiny baby went down with the Utah. Frogmen tried to reach Wagner’s locker to retrieve the urn, but the ship was too badly damaged. Therefore, there is a bay aboard the USS Utah being guarded by 57 of the Navy’s finest.
"Those are the facts," explained Kreigh. "I never got to know my sister. I know we were identical, so when I look into a mirror, I always feel as though she is with me. We were born prematurely in the Philippines and Nancy only lived two days.
"It would have been wonderful if she had lived, but since she did not, I feel nothing but pride and pleasure that she is in such magnificent company. I could not ask for anything better than for her to be tenderly, carefully looked after by America’s Finest."
"Whenever I go to Hawaii, I always go to Ford Island," Kreigh continued. "The scene is breathtaking. The Utah lies on her side like a metal giant guarding her cherished treasures entombed within her bowels like a mother guarding her children. She is protective. She is magnificent.
"She is at peace, as are her charges-57 gentle men and one tiny baby. Her bed is an azure carpet of blue, her blanket is a gentle breeze, and her lullaby is a mixture of a whispered wind and the delicate sounds of songbirds lulling her and her children to sleep on into eternity. Noting could be so beautiful. Nothing could be so wonderful. And as I quietly release a fragment floral lei out to her as an offering of gratitude and love, I can’t help but whisper: ‘Aloha, my little sister. Thank you my brave warriors for taking such good care of her.’"
Just though that I would toss this story out there since many people don't know about it.