The story of Frederick Purdy Amon is one that is both tragic and inspiring. Born in 1921, he grew up during the Great Depression, a time of hardship and struggle for many American families. But despite the challenges he faced, Frederick remained determined and focused, excelling both in athletics and in his work as a grubber on a mushroom farm.
At the age of 19, Frederick made the decision to join the Navy. Little did he know that his life would be forever changed by the events that were to unfold in the months ahead.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and Frederick was among the brave men and women who fought valiantly to defend our country. Tragically, he was killed in the attack, leaving behind a family that was already reeling from the loss of their father and the struggles of the Depression.
The news of Frederick’s death hit his family hard. They tried to shield their mother from the truth, knowing how much it would devastate her. But when she finally learned what had happened, it was more than she could bear. The stress and grief caused her hair to turn white overnight, a physical manifestation of the pain and sorrow she was experiencing.
Despite the family’s deep sorrow, they remained committed to honoring Frederick’s memory and legacy. His brother, Cleland, enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942, determined to carry on his brother’s legacy of bravery and sacrifice. Tragically, he too was killed in action, just two years later, over Romania.
But even in death, Frederick and Cleland’s legacy lived on. The VFW post in Niles was named in their honor, a testament to the impact they had on their community and the sacrifices they made for their country.
Today, we remember Frederick Purdy Amon as a hero, a young man who gave his life in service to our country. We honor his bravery and selflessness, and we are grateful for the sacrifices he made. Though his life was cut tragically short, his memory lives on, a source of inspiration and strength to all who hear his story.
NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM.
Sources: The News-Palladium and the Herald-Palladium of Benton Harbor, Michigan; Census; Niles High yearbooks; Navy muster roll; Army Air Corps enlistment record; U.S. Department of Defense. This profile was rewritten by “Operation 85” from the original sourced profile written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.