F1c Clarence D. Koenekamp

Unknown Sailor

F1c Clarence D. Koenekamp

Clarence Dietrich Koenekamp and his brother, Emil, enlisted in the Navy together on Dec. 13, 1938.

By late April, they were on the U.S.S. Arizona – two of about a dozen men from the San Diego Naval Training Station who joined the crew as the ship sailed out of its home port at San Pedro, California. “Their introduction to life on a Naval vessel has been a bit rougher than what most men get during their first week, for it included night steaming, getting up all hours, general quarters, and darken ship. However, they seem to be the kind that can take it,” the ship’s newsletter reported.

Clarence, a fireman first class, was killed on Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship blew up and sank in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Emil, then a gunner’s mate and petty officer second class, had been transferred off the Arizona less than a month earlier. He served on other ships throughout the war and lived to age 83.

Clarence, born Feb. 15, 1918, was almost two years older than his brother. They were the sons of Herman Koenekamp, a lumber company employee in Raymond in southwest  Washington, and Elise Johanssen Koenekamp, a homemaker. The father was a Marine from 1911 to 1916, serving in the Philippines. The mother was a German immigrant.

The youngest child in the family was a daughter, Louise. She joined the women’s branch of the Naval Reserve on her 20th birthday in 1943. She lived to age 83.


Sources: The Morning Olympian of Olympia, Washington; The Denison (Iowa) Review; Census; Navy muster roll; wedding invitation; Defense Department; At ‘Em Arizona newsletter of May 6, 1939. 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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