S1c Earl Jr. Smith

Unknown Sailor

S1c Earl Jr. Smith

Earl “Buddy” Smith Jr. was born May 17, 1920 in Arkansas, possibly Blytheville, to Earl Smith Sr. and Elva Foster Smith.

His brother Ford Berdean Smith was born in Blytheville, population 6,500, in May 1923. The city is five miles south of the Missouri panhandle and less than 10 miles west of the Mississippi River. 

By April 1930 Buddy, as he was nicknamed, was living with his paternal grandmother and in school in Bernie, Missouri, population 1,031 about 50 miles north of Blytheville and 120 miles south of St. Louis. His parents had lived in Bernie in 1917 before they married, but by 1940 were divorced and may have been separated or divorced by 1930.

Two St. Louis, Missouri, newspapers reported that Earl Jr. later lived there and attended Chouteau School. 

The son enlisted in the Navy on Feb. 2, 1939 and was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

His youngest brother, Leon, served in the Navy near the end of World War II.

Sources: the St. Louis (Missouri) Star and Times; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Census; Navy muster roll; Missouri marriage license; military registration card; grave marker.

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