MM1c James Milton Robertson

Unknown Sailor

MM1c James Milton Robertson

James Milton Robertson “was noted for his sunny disposition and friendly nature, making friends of all who knew him,” the Daily Gazette & Mail of Morristown, Tennessee, wrote after he died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Robertson was a machinist’s mate and petty officer first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941.

He was born Aug. 24, 1918 in Hamblen County in northeast Tennessee. His father, Rufus K., was a farmer and his mother, Lennie, a homemaker. She died in June 1928 when the boy — the youngest of seven children — was nine. An older sister, Kate, helped raise him.

Mr. Hamblen worked at Interwoven Knitting Mills in Morristown, 1930 population 7,305, before he enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 26, 1937. He was a member of Holston Chapel Methodist Church.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5266 in Morristown is named in his honor.

Six months after his death the local newspaper reported on what it called “an excellent example of loyalty.” His father received a check for a life insurance policy taken out by his son. “He immediately came into town and invested the entire amount in War Bonds,” the paper said. The government sold war bonds to help finance World War II.


Sources: the Morristown (Tennessee) Gazette and Mail; Census; grave markers in Hamblen County; Navy muster rolls. East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association 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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