Edward M. Vecera

USS West Virginia

Edward M. Vecera, Senior Chief, born May 8, 1921, Richmond, IN, and enlisted in the USN March 14, 1939. He attended basic training at Newport, RI. On Dec. 7,1941, he was serving aboard the USS West Virginia (BB-48) at Pearl Harbor.

The West Virginia sank and burned at her moorings after receiving numerous bombs and torpedos by Japanese planes. She was berthed between the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma. Vecera was picked up by a passing motor launch in the burning harbor and reassigned to yard patrol, USS Sacramento and USS Azurlite.

He participated in the battle of Midway and in December 1943 returned to the States for commissioning of the USS Brush (DD-745) in New York. In April 1944 Brush headed for the Pacific via Panama and participated in major strikes against the Japanese Islands, including the Palaus, Philippines, Formosa, South China Sea, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and the Japanese home islands. Brush dodged Japanese suicide planes and boats, three typhoons and floating mines. In mid-July 1945, Brush was the lead destroyer in a moonlight foray against a Japanese convoy in the mouth of Tokyo Bay, sinking two enemy ships and damaging two others with torpedoes.

Vecera was one of only a few men whose ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor who was in Tokyo Bay during the signing of the Japanese surrender. He was among the first to be promoted to senior chief.
He retired from Tappan Appliance Corp. where he was a national sales manager.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing

Edward's brother Guy was also a Pearl Harbor Survivor on the USS West Virginia.

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