|Seaman Charles Hedrick was on the USS Jacob Jones when it was sunk by a German U-boat.|
Charles M. Hedrick never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 26, 1917 in West Virginia. His parents were also both born in West Virginia. His father was a farm laborer and later a farmer. Charles had two younger sisters and four younger brothers. By 1940 Charles had completed four years of high school.
Charles became a Seaman 2nd Class serving on the USS Jacob Jones, a Wickes class destroyer built in 1918 that had a crew of 149 on it's final patrol.
When the war started, the Jacob Jones acted as convoy protection for ships travelling from Argentina to America and Europe. In February, it was reassigned to anti-submarine duty to find the German subs that were wrecking havoc along the Atlantic coast. Jacob Jones departed New York on the morning of February 27, 1942. Later that day it searched for survivors from a tanker that had been torpedoed by the U-578.
The next day, in the dark of the early hours, the U-578 surprised Jacob Jones and hit her with two torpedoes. At least 30 men survived the sinking, but many of these were killed when depth charges exploded as the ship dropped to the bottom of the sea. A patrol craft was only able to rescue 12 survivors. Seaman Hedrick was not one of them.
Seaman Hedrick is remembered with a cenotaph memorial at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, West Virginia.
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