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Neosho Veteran: Henry Tucker
From the website:
Pharmacist's Mate 3
1919 – 1942
Our ship was named in honor of PM3 Henry Warren Tucker of York, Alabama,
USNR. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism during the
Battle of the Coral Sea, 7 May 1942.
Tucker was called to active duty in July, 1941, and reported to the
Naval Hospital at Pensacola, Florida. On 15 January 1942, Tucker
reported aboard the tanker USS Neosho (AO-23) for duty. The Neosho had
survived the Pearl Harbor attack despite being berthed on "Battleship
During the opening phase of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese naval
forces launched an all-out aerial attack on what they believed was the
main U.S. battle force. What the Japanese found instead was the Neosho
and destroyer USS Sims (DD-409) waiting at a refueling rendezvous.
Facing a 60-plane attack, the fate of the two American ships was never
in doubt. The Sims exploded and sank immediately with a loss of almost
the entire crew. Despite its cargo of burning aviation gas and fuel oil.
the Neosho managed to remain afloat for awhile.
For his actions during the sinking of the Neosho, Tucker was awarded the
Navy Cross. The citation reads as follows:
For extraordinary heroism
and distinguished service in the line of his professionalism following
the attack on the USS Neosho by enemy Japanese aerial forces on 7 May
1942. With complete disregard for his own life, Tucker swam
between the various life rafts carrying tannic acid in his hands to
treat the burns of the injured men. He hazarded the dangers of
exposure and exhaustion to continue his task, helping the injured to
boats but refusing a place for himself. Tucker was subsequently
reported as missing in action and it is believed he lost his life in his
loyal and courageous devotion to duty. His valorous actions enhance and
sustain the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
U.S. Department of the Navy
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