ENS Eugene Thomas Sanders

Unknown Sailor

ENS Eugene Thomas Sanders

Eugene Thomas Sanders was one of the most experienced men on the U.S.S. Arizona.

He served in the Army in the first World War from June 1917 until February 1919. That September he enlisted in the Navy. He served in the Philippines, China and elsewhere.

Mr. Sanders went aboard the Arizona in May 1940 as a boatswain’s mate and chief petty officer, and in November 1941 was commissioned as an ensign and assistant to the first lieutenant just a month before he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Sanders was born March 15, 1901 in Hubbard, Oregon 20 miles south of Portland. His father, William Sanders, was a gold miner and his mother, Jessie Hinkle Sanders, a homemaker.

Army records indicate that Mr. Sanders was born March 15, 1899. That would have meant that he was 18 years when he enlisted, but his Oregon birth certificate states that he was born two years later. That would mean that he was 16 and underage when he enlisted.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars organized a memorial service for Mr. Sanders in January 1942 at the City Hall in Milwaukie five miles south of Portland where the sailor grew up.

He was survived by his widow, Sally, who along with his mother, Jessie, attended the 1943 launch at the Boston Navy Yard of the U.S.S. Sanders (DE 273), a destroyer escort named in his memory.

Mr. Sanders was a member of Elks Lodge 616 in Honolulu.

Sources: Daily Capital Journal of Salem, Oregon; the Oregonian of Portland, Oregon; Oregon birth certificate; Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, volume 6, by the U.S. Naval History Division; Anita Manning, historian for Elks Lodge 616. 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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