LTJG Albert Joseph Smith

Unknown Sailor

LTJG Albert Joseph Smith

Albert Joseph Smith was an assistant to the communications officer of the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

One Navy record says his title as a lieutenant (junior grade) was awarded posthumously and he is shown holding that rank by the National Park Service at Pearl Harbor.  Other records say that at the time of his death he was a Chief Radio Electrician, the highest rank for a Warrant Officer. He may have worked with the then top-secret new field – radar.

He was also coach of the Arizona’s tennis team, which competed against teams from other ships. In April 1941 the team consisted of just five players, but the coach hoped that others would join in to help with at least two matches each week.

Mr. Smith was born on November 21 in 1894, 1895, or 1896  in Wylie, Texas about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. He enlisted in the Navy in Chicago in July 1913, was discharged four years later, and soon re-enlisted..

Navy records say that Mr. Smith was born in 1896, but by his own 1931 accounting the year was 1895 based on his age – three – when he entered the St. Joseph’s Home, a Dallas orphanage in April 1899. Per his 1913 to 1919 Navy record he was born in 1894.

Mr. Smith was survived by his widow, Josephine Ash Smith, and their five children, ages six to about 19. The spring 1940 Census said the family lived at Long Beach, California, and that the household included his step-mother, Margaret Bray.

Sources: At ‘Em Arizona; The News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina; The Daily Oklahoman of Oklahoma City; Census; Navy enlistment & service records; Virginia marriage license. 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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