MATT1c James Anderson Fisher,
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MATT1c James Anderson Fisher
James Anderson Fisher was born June 29, 1921 in Virginia, probably in Greensville County on the North Carolina border south of Richmond. His mother, Pearl Whitaker Fisher, was a homemaker and his father, Anderson Fisher, a fireman for a stationary factory engine.
Young Mr. Fisher enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 17, 1939, and was a mess attendant first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
As an African-American in the segregated Navy, the Messman Branch was the only job path open to him. Messmen cooked, cleaned, and performed other services. The Messman Branch accepted men who were black, Filipino, or Guamanian. They could become cooks or officer’s stewards up to petty officer first class, but could advance no further to other jobs with higher skill and pay.
Though Mr. Fisher’s body was never recovered from the sunken battleship, his father honored his memory nearly 20 years later when he had a cenotaph placed at Andrews-Brown Cemetery in Greensville County, Virginia.
Sources: application for military headstone or marker; Census; North Carolina and Virginia marriage licenses. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.