Radioman Third Class Malcolm Holman Shive
- Unit: USS Arizona
- Service Number: 4121112
- Date of Birth: January 1, 1923
- Entered the Military: November 18, 1940
- Date of Death: December 7, 1941
- Hometown: Laguna Beach, California
- Place of Death: Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i
- Award(s): Purple Heart
- Cemetery: Courts of the Missing, Court Two. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Mentored by Mrs. Laurie Halt
Costa Mesa High School
Malcolm Holman Shive was born on January 1, 1923, in Orange County, California, the second child of Grover L. Shive and Lois E. Shive. During his childhood, the Shive family faced both financial and personal conflicts. Grover Shive was diagnosed with a debilitating brain tumor that took his life on April 28, 1935. After his father’s death, the family’s financial and personal welfare fell to their mother, Lois.
At Laguna Beach High School, Malcolm played football with his older brother, Gordon. After graduating from Laguna Beach High School in 1941, Malcolm followed in his brother’s footsteps and enlisted in the U.S Navy.
Until the 1920s, Laguna Beach was a city on the Pacific Ocean. Due to its location and beautiful beaches, the area gained popularity and attracted tourists and surfers. The area’s population grew from 363 residents in 1920 to 4,460 residents by 1940. Laguna Beach became a popular location for American writers, such as 1962 Literature Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, who fell in love with the city’s beauty and rented a home in 1935.
Driven by the rising number of tourists in the area, the city expanded Treasure Island Trailer Park of Laguna Beach, which grew from 30 to 200 trailers by 1939. By 1947, this number of trailers reached over 6,000 recreational vehicles to stop at Treasure Park each year.
In 1939, a devastating tropical storm flooded the area, engulfed most of Orange County, and severely damaged Laguna Beach city’s historical dock.
The city lacked a high school for its students until 1934, and all the students traveled to the neighboring town of Tustin to attend classes. After several individuals’ hard work and continuous efforts, the city opened Laguna Beach High School in 1934 by combining it with its elementary school.
Radioman Third Class Malcolm Shive started his military career on November 18, 1940, about six months before graduating from Laguna Beach High School. Shive joined the U.S. Navy Reserve Armory in Los Angeles, California. After about six months of training at the Navy Armory, he decided to follow his interest in radios and signals. He enrolled in U.S. Navy Reserve Radio and Signal schools on July 24, 1941.
On October 1, 1941, Radioman Third Class Shive completed his training and was assigned to USS Arizona on October 6, 1941. A few weeks later, his brother U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Gordon Eshom Shive, joined him on the USS Arizona.
The Arizona sat in dry dock for a few weeks after being struck by a torpedo during training exercises on October 22, 1941.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft were spotted over Pearl Harbor just before 8 a.m. It was a Sunday morning, and the color detail was about to raise the flag at the stern. A loud message declared, “All hands on deck. man your battle station, this is not a drill.” By 8:10 a.m. the Arizona was under attack. The Arizona was hit by one torpedo and eight bombs. The majority of her crew were killed. Some died due to the explosion and fire, and others drowned as the ship quickly sank. Among those lost were both brothers, Malcolm and Gordon Shrive, and over 1,100 sailors and Marines who served aboard the Arizona.
Malcolm Shive’s remains were not recovered. He is memorialized on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The family placed memorial stones for Malcolm and his brother, Gordon, at Olive Lawn Memorial Park in La Mirada, California.
On the Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, at 7:55 a.m., the Japanese Emperor ordered the swarm of Japanese planes to attack Pearl Harbor, a United States Naval base in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. In this devastating assault on American soil, over 2400 U.S. soldiers and some civilians lost their lives. In these casualties, there were 37 confirmed pairs of brothers, which included the Shive brothers.
Though the brothers went into different branches of the U.S. military — Gordon to the Marine Corps and Malcolm to the Navy — the brothers reunited. By October 27, 1941, both brothers served on USS Arizona. Sadly, this reunion was a short-lived one.
On December 7, 1941, USS Arizona was severely damaged by the bombs launched by Japanese torpedo bombers. The ship sank crewmen trapped inside it, including Private First Class Gordon Eshom Shive, aged 20, and Radioman Third Class Malcolm Holman Shive, aged 18. Along with 1,177 other crew members, the Shive Brothers gave their ultimate sacrifice to the country.
The tragic loss of Gordon and Malcolm Shive had a tremendous impact on the Laguna Beach community. On the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack and on Memorial Day, the Orange County Register regularly pays tribute to their sacrifice. Both brothers are memorialized on the Wall of Honor at Laguna Beach High School. There is a star after their names indicating that they lost their lives in battle.
Receiving the word that two of her sons were killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor while aboard the USS Arizona devastated Louis Shive Westgate. Her grandson remarked that the pain was so deep that she could not bring herself to talk about them. Perhaps, she took comfort in the words that Gordon telegraphed to her on Mother’s Day, “Just remember this. That wherever I am and whatever I do you are always foremost in my thoughts.”
Being a part of the Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific program and having a golden opportunity to honor the Shive brothers and their ultimate sacrifice was a phenomenal opportunity and prodigious experience of my life.
The research I conducted as a part of this project helped me develop diverse points of view, which have enormously helped me to widely diversify and broaden my perspective to assess World War II history and its events more analytically. The information I learned while researching and investigating the stories of both Shive brothers has affirmed my belief regarding the significance of knowing history, why it is imperative, and therefore, why every individual should have profound knowledge regarding it.
Even though history is my favorite subject, I have nevermore been more engaged and felt intrinsically more connected to it, which I felt while doing this project. This opportunity did not only help me broaden my intellectual knowledge to evaluate history and its events but also helped me add several unique aspects to personal and social life to assess everyday life events and their consequences with history.
California. Orange County. 1930 U.S. Census. Digital Images. ancestry.com.
California. Orange County. 1940 U.S. Census. Digital Images. ancestry.com.
Malcolm H. Shive. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. ancestry.com.
Malcolm Holman Shive. Headstone and Interment Records for U.S. Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, 1942-1949. ancestry.com.
Malcolm Holman Shive, Official Military Personnel File, Department of the Navy, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, National Archives and Records Administration – St. Louis.
Malcolm Holman Shive. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945. Digital Images. ancestry.com.
Malcolm Holman Shive. World War II Military Personnel Missing in Action or Lost at Sea, 1941-1946. ancestry.com.
Malcolm Holman Shive. World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945. Digital Images. ancestry.com.
Malcolm H. Shive. World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas. ancestry.com.
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Shive Family Materials. 1930s-1940s. Courtesy of Gary M. Shive.
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“Malcolm Holman Shive.” Find a Grave. Updated September 21, 2003. Accessed December 9, 2020. www.findagrave.com/memorial/7886085/malcolm-holman-shive.
“Malcolm Holman Shive.” Honor States Organization. Accessed December 4, 2020. www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=362388.
“Rm3 Malcolm Holman Shive.” Find a Grave. Updated August 6, 2010. Accessed December 9, 2020. www.findagrave.com/memorial/56122265/malcolm-holman-shive.
“USS Arizona (BB-39) Wreck Site – 1941, A Battleship Preserved as a Lasting Memorial of the Attack on Pearl Harbor,” Naval History and Heritage Command. Accessed December 4, 2020. www.history.navy.mil/research/underwater-archaeology/sites-and-projects/ship-wrecksites/uss-arizona-bb-39.html.
“USS Arizona During the Attack.” Naval History and Heritage Command. Accessed December 4, 2020. www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/wars-and-events/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor-raid/battleship-row-during-the-pearl-harbor-attack/uss-arizona-during-the-pearl-harbor-attack.html.