In a letter home a month before he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Navy machinist’s mate Grover Barron Bishop wrote:
“The Army seems to be having a little trouble over morale. Well, maybe the morale is low & maybe the morale of the Navy isn’t so high but once we start fighting that’ll all be forgotten. The men out here are hard worked and would like to see the fleet return but we have faith. We believe the President will return us home just as soon as he thinks it is safe. For that reason & because we know it is in the best interest of the nation we don’t mind it so much. In a few more months we’ll all be native anyway. It won’t matter then. I’d say the morale on the ship is as high as it has ever been. One thing that would help would be war with Japan. That would give us confidence in ourselves & at the same time furnish a lot of good training.”
Mr. Bishop was a petty officer first class when he died on Dec. 7, 1941.
He was survived by his wife, Johnnie Earl Hilliard Bishop, and two-year-old daughter, Barrie Lou.
Mr. Bishop was born Aug. 30, 1916, at Ladonia, a town of about 1,200 in far northeast Texas. His father, also named Grover, was a farmer, and his mother, Anna Mnu, a homemaker. He enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 11, 1936. His enlistment would have ended in January 1942 and he planned to visit his family in Dallas before re-enlisting.
“Just remember how very much I think of you & write me soon as your letters mean so much,” Mr. Barron’s letter signed off. “Lots & lots of love to all.”