S1c George Povesko

Unknown Sailor

S1c George Povesko

Weeks after Seaman George Povesko was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, his only brother, Michael, tried to enlist in the Navy.

He wrote one word — revenge — as the reason he wanted to fight. He was color blind, a defect that before the war often disqualified a man from service, but the Navy soon gave him a waiver. Michael Povesko served from 1942 through April 1944, first on a destroyer and then on a light aircraft carrier.

The brothers were the sons of immigrants from a village in Austria-Hungary. The father, a laborer, came to the United States in 1904 under the name George (Goris) Pavuizko and settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The mother, Elizabeth, arrived in 1912 with their seven-year-old daughter.

The couple had five more children, including George, born Jan. 27, 1922.

The father died on Christmas Day 1938. 

The 1940 Census, conducted in April, showed the mother living with four of her by-then adult children and a grandchild. As for most families during the Great Depression, times were hard. George was identified as a new worker, Michael as a laborer, and two sisters as bench workers at a box factory. The household’s income in 1939 was $780.

George had completed two years at Harding High School in Bridgeport when he enlisted in the Navy in October 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he died.

There’s a cenotaph in his memory at Lakeview Cemetery in Bridgeport.


Sources: The Bridgeport (Connecticut) Post; the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant; the Clovis (New Mexico) News-Journal; Census; Navy muster rolls; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Death File. Note that public records on the Povesko family are difficult to locate because their last name was spelled so many ways. The family spelled it Povesko or Pavucek, but government records also spell it as Povska, Pivasko, Pavesko, Pavuisko and Pavuizko. 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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