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Rosce M Brewer
Branch: Navy
Rank: Chief Pharmacist Mate
War or Conflict: World War II
Years of Service: 5
Purple Heart Recipient and Commendation for Bravery
Roscoe M. Brewer, from Harlan, Kentucky was my father, who served in WWII in the Pacific, onboard the USS Tennessee Battleship,BB-43 nicknamed "The Rebel", which was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed Dec 7, 1941, then was also in the final battle of the Pacific at Okinawa. Daddy was at the beginning and the ending of WWII, and served on board the USS Tennessee during the entire war. The Tennessee was returned to Bremerton, WA for repairs of Pearl Harbor attack damage, and though most crew members were reassigned during the repairs, Roscoe was retained on the skeleton crew during the repairs, then returned to sea when repairs were completed.
The Tennessee was hit by a Kamikaze plane attack, on April 12, 1945, in the battle off Okinawa, killing 22 men and wounding 107. Daddy's right ear drum was blown out in that blast, leaving him with frequent ear infections for most of the rest of his life and five ear operations to face, the first four being failures, trying to restore an eardrum to provide barrier protection to the inner ear, even if hearing could not be restored. Finally, Dr. Coyle Shea, world famous ear surgeon, in Memphis, Tennessee, donated his services to Roscoe, without charge, and performed the fifth operation on his ear, restoring 60% hearing and successful vein graft to make an ear drum. Roscoe Brewer was credited for saving many lives on the day of that Kamikaze attack, by pulling as many as 30 men out of fires that burned on deck, and received a commendation from the Secretary of the Navy. He never told any of his family, not even his parents, brothers, or wife. I found his letter of commendation in files in his military papers, after he died January 13, 1997. Daddy was a humble Christian man, and we knew that to him, telling about it would be like bragging, and Roscoe Brewer was not a braggart.
Daddy would not join the Survivors of Pearl Harbor after the war, because he said that America should be ashamed of allowing that attack to happen, and he was not going to contribute to memorializing it. My sisters and I have joined since his death, and, though I went to Pearl Harbor in 1989, one of my sisters had not been as of 2014, and didn't expect to ever be able to go. I took her to Hawaii, primarily so that she could see Pearl Harbor and where our father worked and survived beneath the Japanese planes trying to wipe out most of our Pacific Fleet.

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