PFC Jack Speed Powell

Unknown Sailor

PFC Jack Speed Powell

Jack Speed Powell was born June 14, 1919 in Hobart, a town of about 3,000 in a cotton-growing area of southwest Oklahoma.

His father, Clement Powell, was a barber and his mother, Alta Anna Newlin Powell, a homemaker. Jack’s only sibling, sister Viola Geneva, was two years older.

In 1927 the family moved to Ventura, California west of Los Angeles in search of better opportunities, but the parents separated in 1929. The mother and children returned to Hobart. By 1930 the mother managed a restaurant in Shawnee about 30 miles east-southeast of Oklahoma City, while the children attended school and helped at the restaurant. Jack also worked for a farmer. The Depression was tough on the family, though, and in 1932 the boy returned to his father.

He graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles in 1938 and became a barber the next year. He enlisted in the Marines on May 1, 1940.

Mr. Powell was a private first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He also served as a barber on the battleship.


Sources: Special thanks to Glenn Nolan, Mr. Powell’s nephew, for most of the information in this profile. Other sources include: the Hobart (Oklahoma) Tribune; Census; Marine muster roll. Marine 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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