Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two locals died at Pearl Harbor

Two men from Crittenden County – Thomas W. Collins and Allen Ray Teer – were among those killed at Pearl Harbor the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941.

Twenty-year-old Collins, a fireman third class aboard the destroyer USS Downes, was one of 12 crewmembers killed as the ship was drydocked alongside the battleship USS Pennsylvania, a primary target in the attack. It’s not known exactly how Collins, a native of the Chapel Hill community, died, but it most likely was horrific end. An incendiary bomb from high above landed nearby theDownes, starting raging fires fed by oil from a ruptured fuel tank. Ammunition and torpedo warheads would soon explode, ripping through the ship.

Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Teer, 38, was doomed aboard the ship that became the symbol of the attack, the USS Arizona. He was among the 1,177 men killed on the battleship after a bomb pierced the forward deck, igniting 500 tons of explosives in the ship’s powder magazine. The blast tore apart the ship, sinking it to the bottom of Pearl Harbor, where it still lies as a memorial to the attack. Men not killed immediately by the massive explosion were turned to ash by the intensity of the ensuing blaze or they drowned. Teer’s remains lie aboard the Arizona today.

More than 2,400 service personnel and civilians were killed at Pearl Harbor.