Unknown Sailor

S1c George Albert Birge

George Albert Birge was born Feb. 19, 1919 to Albert Birge, an engineer at a steel plant, and Mary Agnes Ponteus Birge, a homemaker.

George was 11 when his mother died in Buffalo, New York. He attended Seneca Vocational High School, where he ran track and played basketball. Mr. Birge then worked at Bethlehem Steel’s mill next to Buffalo until he enlisted in the Navy on May 11, 1938.

He 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. In a letter home shortly before his death he said he planned to re-enlist when his service expired in May 1942.

His body was recovered and returned to the mainland in March 1949. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Charles Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his father was living by then. The father died the next year. Both men are buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Albuquerque.

Sources: the Albuquerque Journal; grave markers; Census; Navy muster roll; U.S. Headstone Application for Military Veterans; New York death record; the Buffalo (New York) Courier-Express. Naval History and Heritage Command photo. 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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