F1c Kenneth Merle Hayes,

Unknown Sailor

F1c Kenneth Merle Hayes

After a local man, Kenneth Merle Hayes, was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the soda fountain manager at the drug store in Quincy, California, had an idea.

Billie Hogan had sheets printed on which $5 worth of 25-cent Victory March stamps could be pasted. Her goal was to honor Mr. Hayes’ memory by raising money to replace the U.S.S. Arizona, the ship on which he died on Dec. 7, 1941.

Her idea took off, and she soon sent $700 to Washington, D.C. The town of 1,100 rallied around her idea, as did residents in Sacramento and other larger cities. Her campaign pre-dated the war stamp sales that the government began in 1942.

The Arizona, however, was never replaced and remains where it exploded and sank.

Mr. Hayes was born July 22, 1918 in Lassen County in northeast California. He was the youngest of eight children of Noah Hayes, a carpenter, and Cora McAtee Hayes, a homemaker. She died in 1922.

The son attended Plumas County High School in Quincy and enlisted in the Navy on July 6, 1938. He married a woman named Katherine in June 1941 when the Arizona briefly visited its home port of San Pedro, California.

He was a fireman first class when he died.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Quincy was named in his memory.


Sources: Feather River Bulletin of Quincy, California; Pluma Independent of Quincy; California birth index; Navy muster roll. 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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