John Arnold Austin
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|John Arnold Austin|
August 30, 1905|
|Died||December 7, 1941
Killed during the Attack on Pearl Harbor
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1920-1941|
|Unit||USS Oklahoma (BB-37)|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
John Arnold Austin (30 August 1905 – 7 December 1941) was a United States Navy sailor in World War II, who received the Navy Cross (awarded posthumously) for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Austin was born in Warrior, Alabama, and enlisted in the United States Navy on 20 November 1920 at age 15. Between that time and 26 July 1935, he served four successive enlistments. On that date, Austin accepted an acting appointment as carpenter (warrant officer grade) and reported on board the submarine tender Canopus then serving as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet. On 8 August, he detached from the tender and reported for duty on Augusta. On 4 December 1935, Austin received a permanent warrant as a carpenter. He left the heavy cruiser on 13 July 1937 and reported on board Tennessee on 10 September 1937. He served in that battleship until detached on 14 June 1939 to proceed to further assignment to Rigel reporting on 18 July 1939. After 14 months on that destroyer tender, Carpenter Austin departed on 21 September 1940 bound for duty in Oklahoma and reported on board the battleship on 5 October 1940. In October 1941, Austin received a commission as chief carpenter (commissioned warrant officer).
On the morning of 7 December 1941, Chief Carpenter Austin was on Oklahoma. When the battleship capsized as a result of Japanese bombs and torpedoes, he was trapped below water with many of his shipmates. Austin searched for a means of escape and found a porthole which, though beneath the surface, offered just such an avenue. As a result of his efforts, 15 sailors escaped a watery grave. Chief Carpenter Austin, however, did not. As his citation reads, "He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country." Chief Carpenter Austin was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
The destroyer escort USS Austin (DE-15) was named in his honor.