Oscar Gaston Chappell
Merchant Marine. American
|Born||29 Oct 1912||Rosebud, TX|
|Died||26 Mar 1942||(29)|
Roster information listed for Oscar Gaston Chappell
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Dixie Arrow||Steam tanker||Able Seaman||26 Mar 1942 (+)||U-71|
Son of Noah Robert and Ada Willie Chappell; husband of Odelle Chappell, of Normangee, TX. The Liberty ship Oscar Chappell was named in his honor, sponsored by his wife at Houston, Texas on 29 September 1943.
Award Citation for Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal:
His ship, carrying a full cargo of crude oil, was torpedoed three times within one minute. The first torpedo struck directly below the forward deckhouse, and the other two slightly abaft this point causing the ship to buckle amidship. The explosions immediately ignited the combustible cargo; all amidship and astern sections of the ship were enveloped in flames, and the fire rapidly spread over the ocean surrounding the ship. Injured by the explosions, with blood covering his head and shoulders, Chappell stuck to his post at the helm though the wheelhouse was in flames. He saw seven of his shipmates trapped on the forecastle head. Driven by the wind, the fire was sweeping toward them over the deck, and all escape was cut off by water-borne flames surrounding the bow. Fully aware of his own desperate situation, Chappell put the helm hard right and held the ship into the wind deflecting the flames upon himself, but enabling his shipmates to jump overboard clear of the blazing sea of oil. Placing his own safety beyond all consideration, his last thought and act was to assure the survival of his imperiled shipmates.
His magnificent courage and selfless disregard of his own life constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.