Tuesday, April 4, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Eddie Vedder, US Coast Guard

Edgar Vedder was a chief electrician's mate on the USS Serpens when it exploded on January 9, 1945.

Eddie Vedder could have been 100 years old today. 

No, not the Pearl Jam musician. He was born in 1964.

Edgar Lloyd Vedder was born on April 4, 1917 in Texas. His parents were also both born in Texas. His father was a farmer and died when Edgar was a little boy. Edgar had one older brother. By 1940 he had completed a sixth grade level of education and worked as an auto mechanic. He was living with his widowed mother and his wife Jewel.

Edgar held the rank of Chief Electrician's Mate (CEM) in the US Coast Guard. On January 9, 1945 he was stationed on the USS Serpens, a Crater-class cargo ship with a complement of 19 officers and 188 enlisted men. On that evening the Serpens was anchored off Lunga Beach on Guadalcanal. The crew and 57 Army stevedores were loading depth charges in the hold. Something went wrong and the ship erupted in a tremendous explosion that disintegrated all but the bow of the 441 foot long ship, killing 254 men. Only two sailors survived. It is the largest single disaster ever suffered by the US Coast Guard.

His remains were returned to be buried in a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

USS Serpen's memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thank you Edgar for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Edgar. His wife remarried after the war and died in 2006.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100


  1. Salute to these men and to Mr. Vedder. My dad was stationed at Henderson Field at the time. He told us about "a munition ship that exploded at Lunga Point". It was the middle of the night. When the explosion occurred, lit up the sky and rained debris - some of which fell on their area a distance away. He and others were immediately armed and prepared for possible enemy attack as they didn't know what had happened at that moment. In the aftermath, dad was among those who assisted recovering remains. It wasn't until the internet, that I actually researched what happened and that when I learned it was the U.S.S. Serpens. I can't imagine (and I'm grateful to all who served for this) the many terrible facets of war.

  2. I am currently writing a book on the loss of USS Serpens (AK-97). It was a surprise to me that a book had not already been written about this event. If anyone reads this, I am trying to personalize the book instead of it being a dry history lesson - so if you have any stories or photos of the ship, crew members, etc., please consider sharing them. I am at dcamp@aol.com and I have published over 30 books, primarily WWII naval history. Thanks!