Seaman 2nd Class Earl Jack Peters, the husband of Reba Firestone, and the son in law of J. Gertrude (Conn) Firestone, was one of several casualties of World War II in our family. The father of two young daughters -- Bernice and Garnet -- Earl was killed in action at the very end of the war, on July 30, 1945, in the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. His ship was torpedoed and went down in the South Pacific. The disaster was made famous in the movie "Jaws" -- the vessel was on a top-secret mission to deliver the atomic bomb; when it was torpedoed, because of the high level of secrecy, help did not arrive for days. Of the 900 crewmembers who survived the sinking and went into the water, close to two-thirds were devoured by sharks. A granite memorial honoring the crew stands today in Indianapolis, IN. Earl also is named on the "Tablets of the Missing" at Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines and on a monument in his hometown of Confluence, Somerset County, PA. He also is featured on a special page on the website of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and is named in the 2001 book, In Harm's Way, by Doug Stanton.
Copyright © 2006 Mark A. Miner