This is the place to get all of the information on our annual reunions. Shipmates and their families are always welcome and we hope we see you soon! Go to the Reunion page for more information.
Please see the Memorial page honoring our lost shipmates.
Captain Van Mater receiving a photo of Ship's namesake from a niece of
Thomas Edward Zellars was born on 11 August 1898 in Grantville, Ga. Prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy Tommie attended Culver Military Academy where he received his childhood education. He was appointed a midshipman at the Naval Academy on 13 June 1917 and graduated on 3 June 1920, a year early as the result of the wartime shortening of the Academy's course of instruction. On 9 July 1920, he reported for duty in Mississippi (Battleship No. 41). Zellars served his entire, brief Navy career in Mississippi, rising to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) and attaining the position of turret commander in Mississippi's No. 2 14-inch turret. On 12 June 1924, while the battleship was engaged in gunnery practice off San Pedro, Calif., an explosion and fire engulfed his turret. Lt. (jg.) Zellars and 47 others were asphyxiated almost immediately but not before he turned on the flood valve which extinguished a burning powder train—an act which undoubtedly saved the ship and many of his shipmates from destruction. Photo from the United States Naval Academy Yearbook - Class of 1921.