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Allen Bodenlos Bugle Master, Pearl Harbor Survivor

Allen Bodenlos Bugle Master

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Allen Bodenlos was born August 13, 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from High school in 1940. While in HS, he joined the school band and played trumpet along with French Horn and Baritone horn. He wanted to become a musician after high school and had been accepted into a conservatory but decided to enlist into the armed forces. He enlisted July 9, 1940 and when he reported to Fort Ord, California for training with the 13th Combat Engineers he was made a bugler then a bugle master (teacher of the bugle) because of his abilities on the trumpet. As a duty bugler he was responsible (along with 4 others) in sounding bugle class at various times during the day. Reveille, Assembly, Mess Call, Retreat, Taps etc.…

A duty sergeant would be responsible for waking buglers up to sound the first calls in the morning. This usually involved having the bugler tie a towel at the foot of the bed so the sergeant would know who to wake up. A favorite anecdote had him hearing some loud noises early one morning and thinking he had missed his wake up grabbed his bugle and ran to the parade field sound Reveille. He played that familiar signal into the large bugle megaphone set on the field.  He said it was a thrill to see the lights going on all around him until he found out it was 0330.

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He was was sent to Hawaii in 1941 and he continued his duties as a bugler while assigned to the 804th Engineer aviation Battalion attached to the Army air Corps. His playing abilities plus the jazzy versions of the calls caught the attention of the commanding officer who asked him if he would like to form a drum and bugle corps. We was delighted and on Saturday December 6th he was shopping for instruments with Clyde Williams, a friend from the USS Arizona Band. Allen enjoyed hearing the dance bands from the battleships stationed at Pearl Harbor and meeting the trumpet players from those groups. That Saturday evening he attended the semi finals of a Battle of the Bands. Turning down an offer to spend the night on the Arizona, he stayed in one of the cottages military personnel could rent. Williams died on the USS Arizona

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The next morning found him watching in horror as the skies filled with enemy planes and black smoke rising from burning ships in the harbor. He spent the next two days carrying messages between headquarters and air fields.

Allen Bodenlos

Real hero-Thanks for your service!!

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 Allen Bodenlos, Bugle Master and Pearl Harbor Survivor passed away on November 17, 2014 at the VA Medical Center in San Diego of complications from pneumonia. He was President of his chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association and a frequent speaker and volunteer up until his final weeks at the age of 94.


  1. Mark Gomez Mark Gomez August 27, 2018

    My wife and I met Mr. Bodenlos on Oahu. I can’t remember the exact date; but it was early December, 2013. We were attending a luau and Mr. Bodenlos was present and was honored that evening before the show started. Prior to dinner being served we approached Mr. Bolendos and introduced ourselves. We just wanted to meet him! He was very gracious and spoke to us for many precious minutes, as there were MANY people waiting to meet him. I always carry a small travel journal and I requested if he might sign it, which he did, “Al Bodenlos 804th ENGRS 7th Air Corps Dec 7, 1941”. It was such a treat to meet him. He was an amazing man. A special memory that we will always cherish.

  2. Eleanor Gurney Eleanor Gurney December 8, 2016

    Met this beautiful man at pearl harbor in 2008. I took my sister Joan as we always wanted to see pearl harbor. Allen was there and he told us his stories and we had our pictures taken with him. These pictures, I get out of my book every Dec 7, and show them to everyone where I go for the day. We did meet 3 other survivors that day and they all signed our pearl harbor books. These heroes need to be always in our hearts

  3. Kelly Rasmussen Kelly Rasmussen December 7, 2016

    My son’s had the honor to meet Mr. Bodenlos (5/13), after they toured the USS Arizona Memorial. He took the time tell them stories, sign his book and take a picture with them. A memory they will cherish forever. RIP Bugal Master

  4. Kathy Torgerson Kathy Torgerson June 11, 2015

    My husband Randy and I had the pleasure of meeting Allen in June of 2010 at Pearl Harbor. I told him we were there to pay respects to my mom’s friend and classmate who died and is still on the Arizona. Her health didn’t allow her to ever visit, so we went and left flowers for Tom Lounsbury. We met Allen outside the gift shop telling his story. I was saddened by the amount of ‘survivors guilt’ he talked to us about. When he was finished I asked if I could give him a hug? He told me at his age he never turned down a hug from a pretty girl. I thanked him for his service and for continuing to tell his story. I have saved the copy of his story and want to make sure his story is still being told.

  5. A Friend A Friend February 17, 2015

    I am an employee at the VA Medical Center and had the pleasure of speaking with Allen many times. A couple of years ago I took my son to the Veterans Day parade and he was able to meet Allen. Allen volunteered at the VA Medical Center for more than 20 years. There are still many people that ask where Allen is when they pass by the welcome center.

  6. Tim Dahlberg Tim Dahlberg December 14, 2014

    I will always remember this tiny hero that still volunteered for we the younger veterans at the VA La Jolla Medical Center. I spoke with him frequently about my family who had been at Pearl Harbor – an uncle at Hickham Field, another at Ford Island and my still living great auntie who lived on Aiea Hts and witnessed the entire attack from the hills above Pearl Harbor. She wrote about it in her published memoir. I know Al is with all his buddies now and he is happy!

  7. Tapsbugler Tapsbugler Post author | December 1, 2014

    Thank you Sir!

  8. LE Veare "Redd" Adams LE Veare "Redd" Adams December 1, 2014

    I mate Alan in the late 1998 or some where in that time frame. I was at the VA Lajolla on Pearl Harbor day in the chapel while I was waiting for my friend appt in area one. In waiting it was announced that a program of Perl Habor in the chapel and all is welcome. I looked to my friend is ask if it is ok with you I would love to attend this event. As soon as he said sure I was there front and center.
    Oh what a treat.
    This was a very rewarding experience.
    After that part of the program of hearing Al. Tell his story it was heart touching.
    I found my way on stage to tall to this great,man and speaker of this event of Pearl Harbor He had a lot of things that he showed of The Attack of Pearl Habor Attack.
    I shared with Mr. Allen Bodenlos of my thanks for his sharing and had the pleasures of taking a few picture with him and his many treasures. What a blessing.
    Between six or eight years later I share those pictures with this wonderful and kind man and just to see his face light up was joy to my soul.
    Every year that Al went to his reunion he will all ways bring me back a Latin pin.
    Working at The VA Valuteer Service with Mr Allen Bodenlos Bugles Mastet is a very highly honor.
    So in closing I want to say thank you Allen Bodenlos for all of your service!!
    Rest in peace my friend.
    LeVeare “Redd ” Adams
    30 November 2014
    Time: 21:00 pm

  9. Carlos Martinez Carlos Martinez November 18, 2014

    Mister Bodenlos was born in 1920, not ’26. He was 94ywars old this year and sadly passed away yesterday at the VA Medical Center in San Diego. He will be missed and fondly remembered by many.

  10. leslie behanna leslie behanna September 4, 2013

    I had the pleasure of meeting Allen while visiting pearl harbor on memorial day 2010. I have never forgotten those two hours we spent replaying 12/7/41 through the eyes of allen. It was magical. My son and husband then met him on memorial day 2012. Another magical time. He is truly a kind man who deserves all the honors he has received. xxoo

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