SK1c James Gernie Myers

Unknown Sailor

SK1c James Gernie Myers

James Gernie Myers left behind his two orphaned sons, ages eight and four, when he was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His wife, Verna, had died two years earlier.

The boys, James and Gordon, were living in Seattle with their maternal grandmother when their father was killed.

Mr. Myers, born May 6, 1906,  was known by his middle name in his hometown of Browning, Missouri. Kansas City was 100 miles to the southwest. The town’s 1910 population was 629, and by 1920 it had  grown to 694. His father, Andrew, was a farmer and his mother, Mary, a homemaker. 

Gernie joined the Navy on May 3, 1927 and was a storekeeper and petty officer first class at the time of his death. A memorial service honored him in May 1942 at Browning High School. It included music by the school band, choir, and a male quartet.

He was the second Myers son to die in war. His oldest brother, Claude, an Army private in a machine gun battalion, was killed in France in World War I. He had been injured in May 1918, but returned to his post and was killed on June 9. His parents learned of his death the same day they received his last letter home, dated May 24.

“Well, Mother,” he wrote, “I am not feeling very well but I am getting all right. That gas is mighty bad I can tell you. I got out of the hospital the other day.”

In his sign off, he wrote: “God be with you till we meet again. Mother and Father pray for me. Your son.”


Sources: Browning Leader Record; The Arizona Republic of Phoenix; Census; Navy muster rolls; Defense Department. 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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