GM3c Dayton Monroe Masters

Unknown Sailor

GM3c Dayton Monroe Masters

Drought and the Great Depression took a toll on the central Texas town of Avoca. Its population fell from 500 to 150 between 1908 and 1940.

Dayton Monroe Masters was raised in the area and graduated from Avoca High School in 1939. He left on Nov. 8 of that year to enlist in the Navy. 

He was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Born Oct. 19, 1919, Mr. Masters was one of four sons of Norton Archie Masters and Willena Wright Masters. He was a farmer and she a homemaker.

The son was on Avoca’s basketball team coached by the school principal, W. H. Grimes. He said Mr. Masters was one of the best boys and best athletes he had coached. His jersey number — 44 — was retired after his death.

An overflow crowd attended a memorial service honoring Mr. Masters on Jan. 2, 1942 at the school. His coach, on violin, performed one of the musical numbers. The pastor of the local Baptist church spoke.

The American Legion in nearby Stamford changed its name to Harl-Masters Post 100 in his memory.


Sources: Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News; Census; Texas State Historical Association; Texas birth index; grave marker; Navy muster rolls. 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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