FIRE CONTROLMAN FIRST CLASS JOHN HENRY BANGERT JR. was born in 1916 in Philadelphia PA. He was the second son of John Henry and Frances Bangert, older brother Robert being born in 1913. In 1920 the family was renting at 4358 Franklin Street in Philadelphia PA, the elder Bangert working as a railroad clerk. By 1930 the family had bought a home on Chestnut Street in the Glendora section of Gloucester Township NJ. The census shows that by this time John Bangert was supporting his family working as the credit clerk in a department store, and older brother Robert was a mail clerk.
A graduate of Woodbury High School in 1931, John Henry Bangert enlisted in the United States Navy on January 27, 1936. He joined the crew of the USS Arizona BB-39 on June 17, 1936. On November 1, 1941 he was promoted to Fire Controlman First Class. Late in November he was temporarily reassigned to USS Pennsylvania BB-38 in connection with the installation of radar. On December 5, 1941 John Henry Bangert was transferred back to USS Arizona. Tragically, John Henry Bangert lost his life along with two other men from Camden County NJ, Walter H. Simon and Eugene J. Rowe, when the Arizona was destroyed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941.
Japanese aircraft appeared in the air over Pearl Harbor just before 8:00 am on this Sunday morning. The color detail was on deck in anticipation of raising the flag at the stern at 8:00. The Arizona came under attack almost immediately, and at about 8:10 received a hit by a 800-kilogram bomb just forward of turret two on the starboard side. Within a few seconds the forward powder magazines exploded, gutting the forward part of the ship. The foremast and forward superstructure collapsed forward into the void created by the explosion and turrets one and two, deprived of support, dropped more than 20 feet relative to their normal position. The explosion ignited furious fires in the forward part of the ship.
The majority of the crew were either killed by the explosion and fire or were trapped by the rapid sinking of the ship. John Henry Bangert Sr. was survived by his father, who had moved back to the Franklin Street address, his brother Robert, and his sister Caroline.
I was 12 years old when he joined the Navy and when he left for boot camp I cried all day. He was a good brother, always smiling and had a great personality. He received wonderful marks in the Navy and was awarded a good conduct medal. He had just signed on for another three years when he gave his life for his country. He loved the Navy and considered the USS Arizona his home.
Information provided by Carolyn Brascetta and John R. and Linda Bangert.
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