F3c James Palmer Murphy

Unknown Sailor

F3c James Palmer Murphy

James Palmer Murphy was born Nov. 22, 1922 in Tennessee. He was the oldest child of Pauline Arwood Murphy, a homemaker, and John Murphy, who by early 1930 worked at a Fisher Body plant north of Cincinnati.

The son completed 7th grade. The spring 1940 Census said he was living at home and working as a helper for a moving business. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 for $520. HIs father also worked 52 weeks as an assembler and earned $1,500. Though their income was steady and typical of families during the Great Depression, it must have been a struggle to support a family of six.

Young Mr. Murphy enlisted in the Navy in November 1940 and was aboard the U.S.S. Arizona by January. He was a fireman third class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Many of the Arizona men, including Mr. Murphy, expected to be home on furlough for Christmas 1941. Shortly before he died, he wrote a letter home explaining that the trip was off. “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll get a leave some day and when I do you’ll be just as glad to see me, I hope.”


Sources: The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer; Census; Navy muster roll; 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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