The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that U.S. Navy Fireman 1st Class William D. Tucker, 19, killed during World War II, was accounted for on Dec. 3, 2020.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Tucker was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37), which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including F1 Tucker.
Contributor: SBR (49039178)
Bedford Times-Press (Bedford, Iowa), Thursday, December 25, 1941
Mr. and Mrs. William Tucker of Bedford received a telegram Sunday from Washington, D. C., stating their son, William, Jr., Fireman, first class, aboard the USS Oklahoma, is classed as “missing.”
Ever since the news of the sinking of the Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor on Sunday, Dec. 7, by the sneak attack by the Japs, relatives and friends of “Bill” were gravely concerned over his safety. The message from the navy department confirmed those fears and blasted our hopes that he was safe.
Tucker was nineteen years of age, graduating from the Bedford high school with the class of 1939. He enlisted in the United States Navy July 19, 1940, receiving his early training of about three months at the Great Lakes Navy Training Station. From there he was assigned to the Oklahoma as a fireman, working up to a first class rating in the little over a year he had been in the service.
He had been home but once since enlisting and that was in October 1940, just before going to sea. The Oklahoma had been in Pacific waters for over a year and was believed to be at dock in Pearl Harbor when hit by a torpedo and bomb, which caused the ship to turn over and sink.
People of this community are saddened with the news of its first casualty of the war, and extend heartfelt sympathy to his family.
Surviving are the parents and four sisters, Miss Irene Tucker, Washington, D. C., Mrs. Sam Johnson, Mrs. James Wall of Bedford and Miss Anna Lee Tucker of the home.
Taylor County Herald (Bedford, Iowa), Thursday, March 19, 1942
Pay Tribute To First of Casualties
Special Service Is Planned Sunday
The memory of William David Tucker, Taylor County’s first casualty of World War II, will be publicly honored here Sunday afternoon with a memorial service in the auditorium of the Bedford Church of Christ.
Tucker, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. [illiam] V. [igas] Tucker, lost his life in the service of his country at Pearl Harbor.
He was a member of the naval forces.
A graduate of Bedford High School with the class of 1939, those classmates who still remain in the city will join as an honor guard in paying tribute. The public, too, will join in the service.
All church denominations, as well as non-church members are being asked to cooperate in the service, which will open at 2:30 p. m.
The Rev Ben W. Sinderson, Christian minister, will be the principal speaker although other parts in the rites will be taken by the Reverends O. H. Hallgrimson, A. D. Steffenson and Stanley Schlick.
Special music is planned; a picture of the Bedford youth will be displayed and a flag bank. Only floral pieces will be that of the immediate family.
Tucker, a member of the Christian church, will be the first gold star to be emblazoned on the service flag, which will form the background of the memorial services. Plans now call for the use of the same banner which hung in the church auditorium during World War I in 1917 and 1918.
Those now in service from families in the church will be represented by stars on the banner.
According to the Rev. Mr. Sinderson, church groups have agreed to join in presenting a bronze memorial plaque, which will hang in the church in the youth’s honor.
This, it was decided, will be a more permanent remembrance and tribute than the accepted use of flowers. It is hoped that the plaque can be struck, mounted and returned to Bedford in time to be unveiled at the Sunday memorial.
Tucker, one of the first to leave Bedford as the war crisis loomed, enlisted in the U. S. Navy and was aboard a unit of the U. S. fleet when the Japanese struck on December 7 last.
Fireman 1st Class, U.S. Navy
World War II
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