FC3c George David O’bryan

Unknown Sailor

FC3c George David O'bryan

New Hope, Kentucky brothers Joseph Benjamin and George David O’Bryan were killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

They were the sons of Lucy Smith O’Bryan, a homemaker, and John Raymond O’Bryan, a carpenter.

Joseph was born April 12, 1917 and David, as he was known, on Aug. 11, 1920. Joseph enlisted first, in June 1938, and was aboard the Arizona by the end of November. David enlisted in November 1939 and served on another ship until he joined his brother in January 1941. Both were fire controlmen and petty officers third class.

Their bodies were not recovered, but they are remembered with cenotaphs at the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church cemetery in New Hope in central Kentucky 45 miles south of Louisville. When they left for the Navy, the town’s population was under 1,000.

Their family included at least a dozen children, including several half siblings from their father’s first marriage, which ended with the death of his wife. At least five of those siblings also served in the military — Harold in the Navy, W. Claude in the Army Air Forces, and Elizabeth in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Thomas “Sam” served in the Army in the Korean War. Frances Earl served in the Navy, and based on his age, probably during the Korean conflict.


Sources: Kentucky birth certificate; applications for military headstones; enlistment paper; Navy muster rolls; Census; the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky; Newsday of New York, New York; grave markers. David’s birth certificate and enlistment records say he was George David, yet his mother in 1962 said he was David George when she applied for cenotaphs for him and for Joseph. 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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