Broadus Franklin West was a young man with a strong sense of duty and a deep love for his country. Born on December 9, 1915, in Simpsonville, South Carolina, he grew up in a family of hard-working individuals. His father, Marcus Frank West, was a hardware salesman, and his mother, Effie Wood West, was a homemaker. He had three brothers and three sisters, and they all shared a deep bond of love and loyalty.
Broadus was a bright and ambitious young man who was determined to make a difference in the world. He completed two years of high school and was a member of the Future Palmetto Farmer’s Club. In October 1937, he left South Carolina headed for Hawaii via New York. He enlisted in the Army that month and became an infantry private assigned to the famous Schofield Barracks north of Pearl Harbor.
Transport records indicate that his service ended in the summer of 1939. However, his desire to serve his country did not end there. He enlisted in the Navy on February 8, 1940, and in April, he was at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia. By the next January, he had joined the crew of the USS Arizona while it was moored at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington.
Broadus was a hardworking and dedicated sailor who took great pride in his service to his country. He reported working 52 weeks in 1939, earning $425 – the equivalent of about $8,200 in 2022 dollars. He was a seaman first class on the Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was just two days shy of his 26th birthday.
The news of Broadus’s death came as a shock to his family, who were attending Sunday service at First Baptist Church in Simpsonville when a messenger hand-delivered the official notice that he was missing. The family was devastated by the news, and they held out hope that he would somehow be found and brought home safely.
Sadly, it was not to be. Despite their heartbreak, Broadus’s family took comfort in the knowledge that he had died defending the country that he loved. He was honored with a cenotaph in his memory at the municipal cemetery, a fitting tribute to a young man who had given his life for his country.
Broadus’s memory lives on, and his sacrifice will always be remembered with gratitude and respect. Although his remains were never recovered, he will always be remembered as a true American hero, who selflessly gave his life in defense of our freedom. His courage and dedication will forever be etched in our hearts, and his memory will never be forgotten. His brothers, Bernice in the Army, Raymond in the Air Force, and William in the Navy, also served their country with honor and distinction, a testament to the patriotism and bravery that ran deep in the West family.