F1c Harold Eugene Beggs

Harold Eugene Beggs and his best friend, Jesse Herbert Gurley, were “country boys from tiny Johnson County” in southern Illinois,” Beggs’ younger sister, Virginia Beggs Karaker, recalled in 2015. 

Even at age 93, she wept as she remembered her red-head freckle-face brother who laughed a lot, but who she had called a sissy because he was a good boy who didn’t drink, smoke, cuss, or hunt – “he didn’t want to kill anything.”

Mr. Beggs was born Dec. 15, 1920, to Claude Beggs, a farmer, and Opha Hale Beggs, a homemaker. 

“After years of hauling hay by hand and using a horse to plow roads level when it rained — Harold decided he wanted something else from life,” the Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Press reported. So on Oct. 9, 1939, Mr. Beggs and Mr. Gurley went to St. Louis and joined the Navy.

Mr. Beggs was a fireman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His friend, who also died, was a storekeeper and petty officer third class.

They both married — Mr. Beggs in Missouri in March 1941 to Elladee Grant Beggs. 

VFW Post 5222 in Vienna, Ill., is named for both men.

Sources: The Courier and Press of Evansville, Indiana; Navy muster rolls; Missouri marriage licenses; Social Security records; VA death file; Census. 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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