American Veteran 04

Chief Water Tender Claude White

April 13, 2022

Chief Water Tender Claude White Obituary

Chief Water Tender Claude White USN, 40, of Yorkville, Tennessee lost his life on December 7, 1941, because of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

Born Wednesday, January 2, 1901, in Yorkville, Tennessee, he was the son of the late Benjamin Thomas White and the late Susan Trosper White. 

Mr. White enlisted in the United States Navy on September 9, 1920, in Nashville, Tennessee, reaching the rank of Chief Water Tender. He was assigned to the USS Oklahoma after completing his training at Newport, Rhode Island. His duty on the USS Oklahoma was to maintain and operate boiler room equipment. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was moored in Battleship Row, at the Naval Base Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The Oklahoma was among the first vessels hit in this attack. When the attack began just before 8 a.m. Sunday morning, many of the crew were sleeping in their racks below decks and never made it up to the main deck. At approximately 7:55 a.m. the first wave of Japanese aircraft struck the Oklahoma with three aerial torpedoes. The USS Oklahoma began capsizing as the Japanese planes strafed the deck with machine gun fire and six more torpedoes. In total, 429 USS Oklahoma sailors lost their lives. When the ship was righted in 1944, 429 Sailors' remains would be recovered. of these, only thirty-five were able to be identified. The remains of 388 unidentified Sailors and Marines were first interred as "unknowns" in two cemeteries. In 1950, all unidentified remains from Oklahoma were buried in sixty-one caskets in forty-five graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the "Punchbowl."  In April 2015, the Department of Defense, as part of the policy change that established threshold criteria for disinterment of unknowns, announced that the unidentified remains of the crewmembers of the Oklahoma would be exhumed for DNA analysis, with the goal of returning identified remains to their families. Since then, 355 have been individually identified.

CWT White received the following awards and decorations:  Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal (with three stars), American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet Clasp), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Bronze Star), American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Pistol Sharpshooter.

Graveside services for CWT White will be at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at Bells Chapel Cemetery in Yorkville, Tennessee. Officiating this service will be Chaplain Jim Campbell. Visitation for CWT. White will be from 12:00 PM until 1:30 PM on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at Johnson-Williams Funeral Home in Newbern, Tennessee.

He leaves to cherish his memory, four brothers, Glen White of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Harley White of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Buck White of Gibson County, Tennessee and Luther White of Gibson County, Tennessee: three sisters, Evie White Berry of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Ella White of St. Louis, Missouri and Effie White Harrington of Dyersburg, Tennessee; three nieces, Brenda White of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Betty Ann Harrington, of Dyersburg, Tennessee, and Mary Sue Morgan, of Dyersburg, Tennessee; great-nieces and great nephews, Mike Biggers, of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Henry White of Texas, Dana Hallam, of Dyersburg, Tennessee, Sindy Ratliff, of Dyersburg, Tennessee. and Kippie Gourley of Memphis, Tennessee.

The United States Navy Honor Guard will serve as pallbearers.

Online condolences may be made to the family at Johnson-Williams Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Chief Water Tender Claude White USN.


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Graveside Service
April 19, 2022

2:00 PM
Bells Chapel Cemetery, Tennessee, Yorkville


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