S1c Howard Lee Penton

Unknown Sailor

S1c Howard Lee Penton

Howard Lee Penton was born April 30, 1915 in Coosa County in east-central Alabama. His mother, Sarah Waites Penton, was a homemaker and his father, Julius Lee Penton, a farmer.

The 1920 Census identified all eight of the children in the home as farm laborers, even down to a three-year-old daughter. The Pentons eventually had 11 children, including a son, Duward, who was 13 when he died in 1926.

By spring 1940 Howard was a lodger in Homewood, Alabama just outside Birmingham. He worked as a carpenter in 1939, earning $130 for 26 weeks of labor. He had completed 8th grade.

Mr. Penton enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 23, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.


Sources: Census; Navy muster roll; grave markers; sister Vera’s obituary. Mr. Penton’s name first appeared in the February 1920 Census, which said he was 4 and 5/12. That would make his birth year 1915. However, later Census records provide a range of 1915 to 1917. 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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