Eugene Brickley was born in Clarksville, Texas near the Oklahoma border west of Texarkana on May 28, 1922, but his family moved to Indiana that same year. At the time of the 1930 Census his parents, Keith Brickley and Sylvia Finley Brickley, worked at an electric factory in Fort Wayne. They also had a daughter.
Eugene graduated in 1939 from Rockcreek High School in Wells County about 20 miles south of Fort Wayne. The spring 1940 Census said he worked four weeks in 1939 washing cars at a garage, earning $25 – the equivalent of about $480 in 2022 dollars. He enlisted in the Marines in July 1940.
Mr. Brickley served on the U.S.S. Arizona, where he was a member of the whale boat rowing team. It was runner-up in the Pacific fleet championship races in the fall of 1941. A widely shared photo shows the well-muscled shirtless crew posing with oars and a life preserver ring.
Mr. Brickley was a private when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His high school class attended his memorial service at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Uniondale in January 1942.
Sources: The Star Press of Muncie, the Cincinnati Enquirer, University of Arizona Special Collections Library; Census; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.