Pearl Harbor sailor moved from list of missing in 1941 to killed in action in 2019

   Fireman Third Class Clarence Arvin Blaylock, U.S. Navy was born October 6, 1921, in Tarrant County, Texas to Earnest Ruben Blaylock (February 11, 1901 – June 1, 1959) who was a “tinner” according to the 1920 Federal Census, and later a Bay City businessman who owned and operated E.R. Blaylock Pontiac Co. (car dealership) and E.R. Blaylock Independent Gas & Oil Co. (service station). 
   His mother was Coye Inez (Hawkins) Blaylock (November 30, 1901 – September 23, 1978) who married Earnest while they were living in Tarrant County on May 6, 1920. 
   Their marriage did not work out and ended in divorce sometime before 1930. 
   Arvin and his Mother moved in with his grandparents, Charles M. and Ida E. Hawkins at Polytechnic (a suburb of Fort Worth). 
   Arvin graduated from Polytechnical High School at the age of 17.
Arvin entered the U.S. Navy on December 14, 1940; first training at San Diego, then at the Great Lakes Training Center. 
   He was sent to Pearl Harbor Hawaii in March 1941, and assigned to the Battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37), sister ship to the USS Arizona (BB 39), and affectionately known as “The Okie” by her crew. 
   The USS Oklahoma was based at Pearl Harbor from Dec. 6, 1940, for patrols and exercise, and was moored on Battleship Row on December 7, 1941, when Japan launched a surprise attack against the United States. 
   She took three torpedo hits almost immediately after the first bombs fell. 
   As she began to capsize, two more torpedoes struck her, and her crew was strafed as they abandoned ship (it is estimated at least nine torpedoes hit the ship). 
   She had been ripped open almost the complete length of the port (left) side of the ship and within 12 minutes had swung over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard (right) side above water and a part of her keel clear. 
   Many of her crew however, remained in the fight, clambering aboard the USS Maryland (BB 46), which had been moored inboard to the Oklahoma, to help serve her antiaircraft batteries. 
   Twenty officers and 395 enlisted men were either killed or missing, marking the second greatest loss of life at Pearl Harbor; 32 others wounded, and many were trapped within the capsized hull, to be saved by heroic efforts. 
   Arvin was first classified as missing; when no trace of him could be found he was reclassified as Killed In Action. 
   Due to his rating specialty as a fireman (mechanic in the engine room) he would have been exposed to horrific blast effect had he been anywhere near the engine room spaces. 
   Arvin’s remains could not be identified and were interred with his other deceased shipmates in a co-mingled group interment either at Nuuanu Cemetery or Halawa Cemetery. 
   In 1949 these remains were disinterred and moved to the Punchbowl when it was officially dedicated. 
   Regrettably this move resulted in further co-mingling of the remains. 
   He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. 
   Although technically not a Matagorda County casualty, his father being a Bay City businessman at the time of his death, we are proud to honor him and his sacrifice by including him among our honored dead of World War II. 
   At the time of his death he was survived by his parents and two maternal aunts, Edna Maureece Hawkins and Pauline Duke.
NOTE: Due to the fact his death occurred on December 7, 1941, it could be construed he was the first WWII battle casualty for Matagorda County. 
   That fatal distinction falls upon Corporal George Miller Curtis, USAAF from Palacios, Texas who was killed in Action on June 19, 1942 while serving in the Philippines. 
   The first Matagorda County non-battle casualty for WWII was Aviation Cadet Houston Wilson Savage, USAAF, also from Palacios, who was killed in an aircraft training accident on January 17, 1942.

 

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