Harry Lamont Browne was a machinist’s mate and chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Lamont, as he was known, was born in Ravenna in central Nebraska on Feb. 24, 1905 according to Navy records, but based on 1910, 1915, 1920, and 1930 census reports he was born in 1907. His father, Walter Lamont Browne, was a farmer and his mother, Nellie Woodard Browne, a homemaker.
By 1910 the family had moved 90 miles northwest to Logan, Nebraska. The father was still a farmer, but in late 1914 they were in Ames, Iowa where he found work as a steamfitter. By 1920 they were in Talmadge, Ohio near Akron where the father was a pipefitter for a rubber company.
In late March 1924 the son enlisted in the Navy. He was likely still 17 and needing parental okay – or ostensibly 19 and on his own. On April 4, 1928 he received an honorable discharge and in 1928-1929 was an electrical helper for the Omaha & Council Bluffs Street Railway. From 1929 to 1930 he worked as a helper at A.G. Electric Mfg. in Los Angeles.
The April 1930 census says Mr. Browne was an electrician and his older brother Cecil an “electric wander,” both in the motor manufacturing industry. On Feb. 5, 1931, Mr. Browne applied to re-enlist in the Navy with hopes of returning as a fireman first class. When he later qualified as a machinist’s mate he became a petty officer third class and, eventually, three steps up, a chief petty officer.
Mr. Browne married another native Nebraskan, Louise Roseann McBreen of Omaha, in March 1935 in Los Angeles. They were living in Long Beach, California at the time of the 1940 Census. It said he had completed one year of high school and was a Navy machinist.
The Arizona’s muster rolls say that Mr. Browne last re-enlisted on Jan. 23, 1939.
Sources: the Daily Nonpareil of Council Bluffs, Iowa; the Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald; Navy muster rolls; U.S. Census; 1915 Iowa census; California marriage record; Veterans Administration. Navy photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.