PVT Billy Mack Keen,

Unknown Sailor

PVT Billy Mack Keen

Billy Mack Keen was born Nov. 29, 1922 in Royse City, Texas 30 miles northeast of Dallas to Ernest Keen, a farmer and laborer, and Mattie Sanders Keen, a homemaker.

By 1930 the family, which then included three children, was living 75 miles west in Wise County, Texas, and the father was a road hand on a public highway project.

In 1939 the father had found 36 weeks of employment and earned $224 — equal to about $4,000 in 2019.

Billy Mack was in the Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, in the spring of 1940. He’d completed three years of high school and earned $115 for 24 weeks of work in 1939.

Mr. Keen enlisted in the Marines on June 17, 1941. He was killed six months later in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He was a private first class.


Sources: Wise County (Texas) Messenger; Texas birth certificate; Marine muster roll; Census. Marine photograph. 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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