Ballard Burgher “Buck” Cobb was born Jan. 2, 1921, at Dallas, Texas. His mother, Josephine McCracken Cobb, was a homemaker and his father, William Cobb, a farmer.
Ballard, the fourth of their five children, was 12 when his father died of a hemorrhaging gastric ulcer. Six years later his mother was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while returning from the grocery store.
Ballard was a student at Sunset High School in Dallas, but he didn’t stay long enough to graduate. By the time of the spring 1940 Census he was living with an uncle and his family and working as a messenger for the telegraph company. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $780 — equal to about $14,500 in 2020.
Mr. Ballard enlisted in the Navy on Aug. 6, 1940, and was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His brother John also served in the Navy during World War II and his brother Harvey in the Army.
Sources: the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Texas birth index; Census; Navy muster rolls; Texas death certificates; 1936 Sunset High School yearbook; Army enlistment record. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.