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My Dad and The USS TERN (AM-31) On Dec 7, 1941

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Military and Wartime3683 of 601881st "Wildcat" Division Soldier RPPC Remember Pearl Harbor Items in My Collection
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Posted 5 years ago


(293 items)

My dad (John) was assigned to the USS Tern after boot camp in 1939. The Pacific fleet was moved from San Pedro, CA to Hawaii in June 1940. On Dec 7, 1941 my dad was walking over to the USS Helena to meet up with a buddy of his, they had plans to go to Pearl City that day. John started up the gangplank of the Helena when he heard machine gun fire from the Japanese torpedo bombers. All hell broke loose and he headed back to the Tern with was moored at the end of 1010 dock. He boarded the Tern and
started firing the ships 30 caliber Lewis machine gun. The Tern was credited with shooting down one plane. photo 3 the USS TERN putting out fires on the USS West Virginia.


  1. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 5 years ago
    Thank you mustangtony, vetraio50
  2. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 5 years ago
    Thank you Kevin
  3. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Your dad's story really brings these static images too life, thanks for sharing!
  4. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 5 years ago
    walksoftly, Thank you for you comment
  5. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Most welcome!
  6. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Wonderful photos, and a vivid account of a brave man and country under attack!!!
  7. Beckham, 5 years ago
    A very good friend was on the Tern December 7th, John A Hein was a neighbor and friend in California.
  8. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 5 years ago
    Beckham, Are we are talking about same Commander John Hein, he was on the Tern with my dad. John Hein was then a Signal 1st class and was promoted to warrant officer (Boatswain) around 1938. He was considered an older sailor since he had joined the Navy in 1926 and retired in 1957. He lived a long life passing on in 1996 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery.
  9. lundy lundy, 5 years ago
    that s great ,
  10. Militarist Militarist, 4 years ago
    Neat!! He looks like the young man on the 77 Sunset Strip tv show of many years ago.
  11. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 4 years ago
    Militarist, Do you mean Kookie, Kookie, lead me your comb. Edd Byrnes
  12. Militarist Militarist, 4 years ago
    Yes that's the name!! Thanks
  13. Neelyp, 6 months ago
    My uncle, Major Neely, was also stationed on the turn. He was an African-American and therefore, was assigned as a cook and was in the kitchen during the battle. He reports that he was surprised that there would be military exercises scheduled on a Sunday on December 7. He went out to look at because he began to hear a commotion on the ship and reported that he saw men running down to hide in the hull of the ship. Caught up in the mêlée he was pushed up on deck and had to take on one of the guns and said he just started shooting indiscriminately in the air. He witnessed the explosion of the Arizona, docked 75 yards away. His ship became rescue ship and he survived but was mentally shaken by the experience.
  14. Bfaria866 Bfaria866, 6 months ago
    My great great grandfather was Lt. R.W Dillard, I have been doing research on him, and have found very limited info on his history in the military. My grandmother shared a photo with me of the USS Tern and all of the men that were on board, I was wondering if anybody can identify any of the individuals?

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