Gravesite of Lt.(jg) Thomas E. Zellars

Gravesite of Lt.(jg) Thomas E. Zellars

zellars2Year Erected: 1999

Marker Text: Grantville native Thomas E. Zellars (1898-1924) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1920 and reported for duty aboard the USS Mississippi. As turret commander he rose to the rank of lieutenant. In 1924, an explosion and fire engulfed his turret. Zellars and 47 others were killed but not before he opened a flood valve on a burning powder train – an act that saved the ship and its crew. In 1944, Naval destroyer USS Zellars DD 777 was launched in Zellars’ honor. It went on to serve in both WW II and the Korean War receiving five battle stars. The ship was decommissioned in 1971.