Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hevrons in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of World War II - Part I

If you were to ask the average American what the most important date of World War II was, chances are you would be presented with December 7, 1941, or Pearl Harbor Day. In just 16 days, we will remember the 69th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, that day that would "live in infamy," according to FDR, and one which catapulted the United States into World War II.

With that single event, the United States was changed forever. When the Empire of Japan attacked the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, it awakened a industrial monster that responded with every resource available. Men went to war and women went to the workplace. The United States and the Soviet Union, allies in war, became enemies afterwards and established over 40 years of animosity towards each other. The United Nations was founded and the baby boomers were born. The conservation movement, known today as the "green movement", began with the children of the 1940s conducting salvage drives of everything from cooking fat to steel cans, in an effort to "do their part".

Members of the Hevron family responded too, as did many of other families, by enlisting in the U.S. Military to fight the Axis of Evil and restore honor to the United States. One such Hevron war hero was James David Hevron, my husband's second cousin, twice removed.

James David Hevron was born in 1920 in Arkansas and moved to Dallas, Texas a few years later, where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 11 Aug 1941, almost four months before Pearl Harbor. I have not located any record as to why he enlisted; maybe he wanted to see the world, or maybe he wanted to do anything except follow in his father's footsteps as a washing machine salesman. One thing is for sure: if he was looking for a primo spot, stationed on some tropical island, enjoying the breeze off of the ocean, he got more than he bargained for because James David Hevron's first assignment was on a small naval base in Hawaii - the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.

James was assigned to the U.S.S. Medusa, a repair ship, as a Yeoman 3rd class. Although Yeomen perform administrative tasks, there is no doubt that on December 7, he played some part in helping defend the ship from Japanese attack.

Muster roll for the Quarter Ending December 31, 1941 for the U.S.S. Medusa.
James David's information is about half-way down the list, showing
enlistment date, serial number,  and rank.

On the day of the attack, the crew of the Medusa shot down two Japanese Aichi D3A1 dive bomber planes, potentially reducing some of the damage seen that day. Since its primary purpose was as a repair ship, she saw most of the action after the attack, providing pumps to the damaged seaplane tender Curtiss, machine gun ammunition to the grounded battleship Nevada and assisting in efforts to rescue men trapped in the hull of the capsized anti-aircraft training ship Utah.1

U.S.S. Medusa at Pearl Harbor in February 1942.

James continued serving with the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor through March 1943. In April of 1943, the Medusa left Pearl Harbor, sailing through much of the South Pacific and was finally decommissioned in 1946. At this point, it is unknown when James was discharged from the U.S. Navy. James died in Irving, Texas in 1967.

It is a great honor to have a member of the Hevron family serve our nation at one of the most pivotal points in United State history.

On the next Military Monday, I will feature Homer Lewis Hevron, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

1. Cressman, Robert J. "Historic Fleets: Fixer and Fighter." Naval History, August 2008, pp. 12–13.

1 comment:

  1. To my amazement, I just discovered this blog while doing some genealogy searching on the internet. James David Hevron is my grandfather, my mom is his oldest daughter and I am the oldest grandchild. Thank you for posting this wonderful story about him. Can you tell me how you are related to James David Hevron?