ROWE (VETERAN WWII, KIA), SIDNEY L - Greene County, Arkansas | SIDNEY L ROWE (VETERAN WWII, KIA) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos

Sidney L ROWE (VETERAN WWII, KIA)

Center Hill Cemetery
Greene County,
Arkansas

Sidney
SEAMAN 1ST CLASS US Navy
World War II
January 21, 1921 - March 1, 1942
Killed In Action
Cenotaph

C.L.
SEAMAN 1ST CLASS US Navy
World War II
October 7, 1922 - March 1, 1942
Killed In Action
Cenotaph

Seamen 1st Class USS Pecos
Lost in the Battle of Java Sea
March 1, 1942
Battle of Pecos:
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See USS Pecos for other ships of the same name.

USS Pecos (AO-6)
Career (US)
Laid down: 2 June 1920
Launched: 23 April 1921
Commissioned: 25 August 1921
Fate: Sunk enemy action by Japanese air attack from Soryu 1 March 1942
General characteristics
The first USS Pecos (AO–6) was laid down as Fuel Ship No. 18 on 2 June 1920 by the Navy Yard, Boston, Mass.; reclassified AO–6 on 17 July 1920; launched 23 April 1921; sponsored by Miss Anna S. Hubbard; and commissioned 25 August 1921. During the two decades before the United States entered World War II, Pecos carried fuel to ships of the fleet wherever needed, operating in both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Pecos was in the Philippines supporting the ships of the Asiatic Fleet. She departed Cavite Navy Yard 8 December 1941 for Borneo and reached Balikpapan on the 14th. After filling up with oil and gasoline, the tanker pushed on to Makassar in the Celebes, Netherlands East Indies where she refueled American warships fighting to slow the explosive advance of Japanese forces in the southwest Pacific. She departed Makassar for Darwin, Australia, 22 December.

She headed for Soerabaja, Java early in 1942 where she fueled Allied ships until departing 3 February after a Japanese air raid there had made that base untenable. Tjilatjap then became the oiler’s base until her cargo fuel tanks were empty. She then got underway late in February toward India to refill. On the 27th, off Christmas Island, when the oiler was about to take survivors of Langley from destroyers Whipple and Edsall, land based planes attacked the three ships. After fighting off the raiders, the American ships steamed south out of range and completed the transfer 1 March.

At noon that day, planes from Japanese carrier Soryu attacked Pecos and struck again an hour later. Finally at midafternoon, a third strike sent the veteran oiler to the bottom. During the attack, Executive Officer Lt. Commander Lawrence J. McPeake (Anapolis Class of 1924-Posthumously promoted to Commander after the war) was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor fo defenser his actions aboard the USS Pecos. After the order to abandon ship was given by the ships Captain (Commander Abernethy-was awarded the Navy Cross for his skillful manuvering, defense of the ship, damage control operations, cool leadership, and command of the stricken vessel during the engagement), Lt. Commander McPeake was seen engaging Japanese aircraft (Aichi D3A1 Val Dive Bombers) which were machine gunning and strafing survivors in the sea, with a deck mounted .50 caliber machine gun. At least one of the Vals was confirmed as being shot down and destroyed, with another aircraft listed as a probable kill. By some crewmember accounts, he was reported to have made it off of the ship after it went down. Others reported him last being seen manning the machine gun. In fact, he did swim away from the vessel as it was going down with one other officer from the Pecos crew*. However, his body was never recovered and he was eventually listed as Killed In Action after the War. A bridge in New Hampshire was named in honor of him, and a plaque on a building at the U.S. Naval Academy is inscribed with his name. Several members of the surviving crew thought that the Navy Cross should have been awarded to the Executive Officer, who by some accounts, went down fighting with his ship. Although quite heroic, McPeake's actions were by no means solitary. Several officers and men were to be commended for the heroism in fighting the dive bombers, tending to their critically wounded shipmates while under intense enemy fire, and performing superhuman feats fighting the fires and trying to save their doomed ship. After the Pecos was sunk, USS Whipple raced to the scene and rescued 232 survivors. Many of the survivors, although visible by crew members of the USS Whipple, were unable to be picked up and were abandoned at sea, due to the USS Whipple detecting as many as two (2) enemy submarines in the area, at extremely close range.

For more detailed information, read the excellent book authored by Mr. Dwight R. Messimer titled "Pawns of War: the Loss of the USS Langley and the USS Pecos". Published by the Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD 1983.

Contributed on 10/3/08 by tiredtech3
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Record #: 71594

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Submitted: 10/3/08 • Approved: 10/24/09 • Last Updated: 8/8/12 • R71594-G71594-S3

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