Dec. 7, 1941: Remembering Clay Cooper Rector
Henry and Margaret Huffaker of Wayne County had thirteen children. Their daughter, Hettie, was my great-grandmother. Her sister, Laura, was the mother of Wendell and Lela Rector of Albany. Who could have known that when Clay left home to join the U.S. Navy that he would never return. Clay was aboard the USS Arizona when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The first torpedo in the assault on Pearl Harbor hit the USS Raleigh at about 7:55 a.m., Sunday morning. Battleship Row was hit at 7:57 a.m. The USS ARIZONA was moored inboard of the repair ship Vestal when the attack occurred. At 8:10 a.m. a Japanese Type 97 Attack Bomber dropped a bomb that struck the Arizona between the No. 1 and No. 2 turret. This bomb was a converted armor piercing artillery shell that ignited the Arizona's forward magazine. Blazing furiously, the once majestic battleship Arizona violently exploded, sinking to the bottom of the harbor.
This December 7th mark 73 years that 1,177 men, including Storekeeper 3rd Class Clay Rector of Albany, rest at the bottom of the harbor, encased in the Arizona's rusty hull. In the Navy's known history, there has never been a ship that has taken so many of its crew down with her.
The Notorious Meddler pauses to remember Clay Cooper Rector, and the others aboard the USS ARIZONA who paid the supreme sacrifice while in service to the United States of America.