Allen Bodenlos

Allen Bodenlos

SGT, United States Army (1940 - 1947)

Al Bodenlos was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 13, 1920. He enlisted in the United States Army on July 9, 1940. He was eventually assigned to the 13th Combat Engineers, then to the 804th Engineer Aviation Battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawai’i.

On December 6, 1941, Al was sent to Honolulu to buy instruments for the 804th New Drum and Bugle Corps. Al was the Bugle Master for the 15 buglers in the battalion. Also, part of his assignment was to attend a special concert that night at Army-Navy YMCA. All the U.S. battleships stationed in the harbor had bands, and some were involved in the competition. Al recalled that the place was packed and full of energy, but he planned for a leisurely morning the next day.

Early in the morning on December 7th at the Army-Navy YMCA, loudspeakers ordered all military personnel to report to their organizations immediately. Al dutifully caught the Schofield Shuttle. When the bus neared the shores of Pearl Harbor, all hell was breaking loose. M.P.’s stopped and stormed the shuttle and ordered everyone to get off and to take cover immediately. Al then learned that the harbor was under attack and the Japanese pilots were shooting any thing moving. Al recalls that the planes were flying so low that you could see the faces of the pilots. They shot at but missed the shuttle by inches, bullets whizzed all around and everyone dove for safety into a nearby ditch. Al was scared and witnessed the horror of the tragedy developing in the harbor. He vividly remembers the USS Arizona blowing up and the USS Oklahoma rolling over as he helplessly watched other ships sink to the harbor floor.

Allen Bodenlos
Bugle Master, SGT Al Bodenlos. A real boogie-woogie bugle boy of Company B, 13th Combat Engineers, Fort Ord, California.

The attack appeared to end, so everyone re-boarded the shuttle and proceeded to Schofield Barracks. The second wave started when Al arrived at his unit. The 804th was already deployed at all five military airfields. Al was also the Company courier, and he delivered messages from the command post by motorcycle to the airfields for two full days with no rest He spent the rest of the war island hopping, building and repairing airfields captured from the Japanese. His faith pulled him through.

Following the war, Al spent two more years in the Army on duty in Korea. In 1947, Al was honorably discharged from the Army and returned to Ohio. He tried to wipe the war out of his mind, as many veterans were trying to do. He eventually moved to California where he worked for 34 years for a highway construction firm. It was not until his retirement in 1982 that Al discovered the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. The Association has helped Al bring everything back to light again. He enjoys speaking to school children about the Pearl Harbor attack and his war experiences. He also began volunteering at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Diego, and has now entered his twentieth year there. Every year, Al travels to Hawaii for one reason, to place flowers at the USS Arizona and USS Utah Memorials. Al sadly admits that he had made friends with members of the USS Arizona band. They became friends because of their musical backgrounds, and he never saw them again. They’re still on the USS Arizona and still in his heart. Al became a “part time” Pearl Harbor Survivor volunteer with the National Park Service in 2005.


Last updated: March 1, 2015

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