Twenty-four of the 2,409 people killed during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, were from Indiana.
All of the Hoosiers, including 25-year-old Kenneth Earl Cockrum of Seymour, died aboard the USS Arizona, which sank after being hit by four bombs. The last of those four bombs detonated in a 14-inch powder magazine, ripping the battleship in half.
It’s not surprising that all of the Hoosiers who died at Pearl Harbor where on the USS Arizona because 1,177 sailors and Marines, or nearly half of everyone killed Dec. 7, 1941, were on the battleship.
Cockrum was the first of at least 112 Jackson County servicemen to perish in World War II.
On the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Tribune spoke to the niece of Cockrum and the son of Don Herther of Vallonia. At 94, Herther is likely one of the few Pearl Harbor survivors in the state.
We also spent time with 93-year-old Seymour resident Shirley Shade, who always wears red, white and blue. Shade’s cousin, Dick Lauf of Seymour, was at Pearl Harbor. Both of her husbands were veterans of World War II, and her father was a veteran of World War I.