Memorial Names

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CLAY L SWEARINGEN

SEAMAN 1ST CLASS

US NAVY

HOME : DRAIN, OR

Plaque : Wall 5, Row E, Col 1

Clay Leroy Swearingen was born on Oct. 25, 1921 to Fred and Flora Swearingen, the 3rd. generation of Swearingens born in Drain,Oregon. His great grandfather had settled a donation land claim west of Drain in 1854 and his family had worked as farmers and lived in the area ever since. Clay graduated from Drain High School in May 1941 and expected to work as a farmer or millworker and stay in this quiet community for the rest of his life just as 3 generations before him had done. He never envisioned that he would travel the Pacific that he would cross the equator or that he would witness so much death and destruction. That all changed for him as it did for many young American men on December 7th 1941. On Feb. 3rd 1942 Clay enlisted in the US Navy in Portland, Oregon. He had only been out of Douglas County a few times and then only as far as Eugene. His world travels had just begun. On Feb. 17th 1942 he was transferred into active service to the US NAVAL Training station in San Diego Ca and on July 18 1942 Clay reported to the USS RUSSELL a destroyer in the USS YORKTOWN carrier group. On April 26, 1944 he was initiated as a shellback when the USS RUSSELL crossed the equator while enroute to Funifuti Ellis islands. Clay was awarded battle stars for each of the operations while aboard the USS RUSSELL. They were Capture and defense of Guadalcanal Aug.10 th 1942 to Feb 8th 1943 BulinFaisi Tonalai Raid Oct 5th 1942 Santa Cruz Oct 26th 1942 New Guinea Operation Sepr. 4,1943 Gilbert Island operation Nov.13,1943 to Dec.8th1943 and the Marshall Island Operation Nov 26 to March 6 1944. On July 15 1945 it was noted in his military records that he had also participated in the following operations Morotai Invasion Leyte Gulf Invasion Lingayen Gulf invasion Nasugbu and Okinawa invasion. He was Honorably discharged on Nov 14,1945 in Puget Sound Navy yard in Bremerton,Wa.and returned to the quiet life of a farmer and millworker in Drain Or. His life was forever changed though. My Dad was so proud of his Navy service and kept in touch with many of his shipmates. We often admired the many shells he brought back from his travels in the Navy. He never revealed to us though, until he was older how the memories of the horrors of war had interrupted his quiet rural life.

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POW

KIA

MIA

Medals

ASIATIC PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL W/ 6 BATTLE STARS WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL

Theatre of Operation

WORLD WAR II/ PACIFIC