S1c Albert James Gray,

Unknown Sailor

S1c Albert James Gray

From 1935, Albert James “Jim” Gray lived on small Guemes Island, Washington in Rosario Strait north of Seattle — about a 30-minute ferry ride north of the town of Anacortes, where he attended high school.

He quit school in 1940 and enlisted in the Navy that October. He attended the Naval Reserve  radio school on Bainbridge Island west of Seattle. “He wasn’t what you’d call a good student, but he had a lot of street smarts. I think he really just didn’t cotton to the discipline of the classroom,” a classmate, Wallie Funk, recalled years later.

Mr. Gray was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

He was born June 27, 1923 in Illinois – probably in Chicago –  to Albert Gray, a mechanic, and Florence Pine Gray, a homemaker. The parents eventually divorced, but lived in Chicago as of April 1, 1935.

A memorial service for young Mr. Gray was held at the Pentecostal Assembly of God Church in Anacortes.


Sources: Anacortes Museum and Maritime Heritage Center; Census; U.S. Department of Defense; The Billings (Montana) Gazette;  Photo courtesy of the Anacortes Museum and Maritime Heritage Center. ​​This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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