MUS2c Emmett Isaac Lynch

Unknown Sailor

MUS2c Emmett Isaac Lynch

By the time he was 8, Emmett Isaac “Rusty” Lynch was an orphan and most of his siblings were dead.

Mr. Lynch was born May 28, 1916. Tuberculosis first struck the family when he was eight months old. It eventually killed two sisters, two brothers, and his mother, Vernice. It isn’t clear when his father, Isaac, died, but his mother was listed in a 1918 Louisville, Kentucky, directory as widowed.

He was living at the Louisville & Jefferson County Children’s Home in 1930, then graduated from Ormsby Village High School in Anchorage, Kentucky about 12 miles east of Louisville in 1933 and, in 1939, from Georgetown College, a Baptist school 60 miles east and north of Lexington. He was a music major, vice president of the men’s glee club, and treasurer of the band and orchestra.

Mr. Lynch enlisted in the Navy on April 29, 1940, and soon was sent to the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C. He became a drummer in the U.S.S. Arizona band and was on the fantail at the stern of the ship just before 0800 on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 ready to play for the raising of the Colors when Japanese planes first appeared. The band raced to its battle station over 300 feet forward on the port side of Turret 2 to help raise powder bags to its 14-inch guns. All 21 musicians were likely killed instantly when a bomb penetrated the deck on the other side of the turret, igniting the forward magazines. 

A musician and petty officer second class, Mr. Lynch was survived by his widow, Larraine Lee Sisk, who he married in 1940 in Washington, D.C. Two of his brothers also survived, but tuberculosis struck again in 1951, killing Edgar.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Mr. Lynch had also been a member of the Louisville Symphony. It reported in April 1942 on a concert in memory of him and a woman who had been a board member of the symphony. The orchestra performed Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony in B Minor and a member of the chorus of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association sang a Hebrew prayer for the soul of the dead, El Malei Rachamim

“The music closed with these words,” the newspaper reported: “ ‘Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with Thee in the days of Thy youth; and I will establish unto Thee an everlasting covenant.’ ”


Sources: The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky; Navy muster roll; Georgetown College website; Tennessee and Washington, D.C., marriage records; Tennessee and Kentucky death records; Defense Department; Veterans Administration; Census. ​​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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