S1c Frank Erskine Nye

Unknown Sailor

S1c Frank Erskine Nye

Frank Erskine Nye was five when his father died, leaving his mother with four young children.

He was born in Healdsburg, California 60 miles north-northeast of San Francisco on May 20, 1921, but grew up in Berkeley. His father, Jesse Nye, was a fruit farmer, and his mother Agnes Davidson Nye, a homemaker.

Young Frank played football at Berkeley High School, from which he graduated in 1938. For a year he attended Placer Junior College, now Sierra College, in North Auburn nearly 100 miles to the northeast, and then enlisted in the Navy in November 1940.

Mr. Nye 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.

By then, his older brother, John, had graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and had also joined the Navy. He served on a minesweeper in the Pacific and as a navigator and gunnery officer on an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic. A younger brother, Donald, also served in the Navy, enlisting soon after Frank’s death. Their only sister, Elizabeth, volunteered for civilian defense work.

A memorial service paid tribute to Mr. Nye in January 1942 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.


Sources: Berkeley (California) Daily Gazette; the Oakland (California) Tribune; the San Francisco Chronicle; Census; Navy muster rolls; Defense Department. Berkeley High School yearbook photograph. 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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