S2c Harry Smith

Unknown Sailor

S2c Harry Smith

Two men named Harry Smith were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

One Harry Smith was a seaman second class on the U.S.S. Arizona. He was born Oct. 10, 1918 in Santa Barbara, California, the son of 1901 immigrants Sam and Rose (or Rosa) Smith from Bialystok in what is now northeastern Poland but was then in Russia. The family lived in Santa Barbara between 1913 and 1921, where city directories listed the father’s occupation as a junk shop owner.

By April 1935 the family lived four miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. In the April 1940 Census Harry was identified as a new worker with no employment in 1939 and as having completed the 6th grade. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve on Oct. 4, 1940, studying in the V-6 Radio Technician Program.

He had at least three older brothers who completed military registration cards, also in October 1940.

The second Harry Smith was a private in the Army Air Corps. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions at Hickam Field immediately south of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack. The citation reads: “Private Smith, conspicuous for bravery and courage, assisted in the repair of airplanes during the severe attack of bombing and strafing.”

Sources: the Harvey (Illinois) Tribune; Thornton Township High School; Census; grave marker; Navy muster roll; Army enlistment record; California death index; WWI Selective Service registration cards; California birth index. Navy photograph. 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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