Unknown Sailor

EM3c Kenneth Leroy Dunaway

Kenneth Leroy Dunaway was born in Blackwell, Oklahoma, on Aug. 26, 1922. His father, John Dunaway, was a welder, and his mother, Bessie Cobb Dunaway, a homemaker.

The son graduated from Blackwell High School in 1940.

He served in the National Guard from January through May 1940, then headed to the West Coast. He enlisted in the Navy in October. Mr. Dunaway was an electrician’s mate 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.

His only brother, Glendon, two years younger, wanted to enlist as soon as he learned of Kenneth’s death. He was persuaded to finish high school, which he did in 1942. He then served 31 years in the Army Air Forces and, from 1947, the Air Force, including in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The Top of Oklahoma Historical Society Museum continues to hold a lunch every December to honor local men killed at Pearl Harbor.

Sources: Special thanks to Melissa Hudson, director of the Top of Oklahoma Historical Society Museum. Other sources are: cenotaph at Blackwell (Oklahoma) Cemetery; the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Census; Navy muster roll; the Blackwell (Oklahoma) Daily Journal. 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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