AM3c James Durant Mattox

Unknown Sailor

AM3c James Durant Mattox

James Durant Mattox was born June 16, 1919 in Pensacola, Florida. His mother, Lavada Hinote Mattox, was a homemaker and his father, Lonnie Mattox Sr., ran a barbershop.

The son graduated in 1939 from Pensacola High School, where the yearbook identified him by his middle name.  A fictional newspaper page dated 15 years in the future predicted he would be chief engineer for construction of a municipal hospital.

Mr. Mattox enlisted in the Navy in November 1939. He was an aviation machinist and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

A memorial service honored him in April 1942 at a court building in Pensacola.

A month after his death, his brother, Lonnie Jr., who was older by five years, enlisted in the Coast Guard. He served until September 1945 and became a boatswain’s mate second class.

When Lonnie Jr. died, their father applied for military headstones or markers for both of his sons. Lonnie Jr.’s marks his grave, while Durant’s is a cenotaph because his body was never recovered from the sunken battleship. The markers are at Bayview Memorial Park in Pensacola. Both parents died within the next five years and are also buried at Bayview.


Sources: the Pensacola (Florida) News Journal; Census; Navy muster roll; application for military headstone or marker; Pensacola High School yearbook. 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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