The story of James Dillion Adkison shows how much Americans revere the memory of sailors killed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Mr. Adkison grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and graduated from the local high school in 1939. He enlisted in the Navy the next March and was a seaman first class when he died.
Fast forward to 2000 when a burglar fleeing a vacant house in Lubbock dropped a Purple Heart medal and other World War II items. The homeowner was in an assisted-living center in San Antonio. The crime was never solved. Fifteen years later, a Lubbock police officer cleaning the property room found the medals. The department appealed to the public to help locate a relative.
“We owe it to him to do what we can do to preserve it and try to make sure that he’s recognized for the sacrifice he made, not only for the United States and for all of us, but for Lubbock, Texas, as well,” explained Greg Stevens, an assistant police chief and a retired Navy lieutenant.
The publicity turned up a niece in Searcy, Arkansas, and thus the items were returned to Mr. Adkison’s family.
He was born April 17, 1920, in Elbert, Texas, to Edward Adkison, a laborer, and Rosa Selvage Adkison, a homemaker.
Memorial Stone at City of Lubbock Cemetery
Sources: the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal; KCBD TV in Lubbock; Lubbock High School yearbook; Census; Navy muster roll; Texas birth certificate. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.