Unknown Sailor

F1c Kenneth Robert Bickel

Kenneth Robert Bickel’s death on the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor left his toddler daughter, Sherry Lee, orphaned.

His wife, Marjorie, died in March 1941. She had pneumonia and paralysis and was in a Denver hospital when Mr. Bickel sailed from Hawaii to be with her. When his transport ship arrived in San Diego on April 1, he learned that she had died the day before. 

After Mr. Bickel also died on Dec. 7, 1941, their daughter’s maternal grandparents took over her care.

Mr. Bickel was born April 25, 1914, in Kimball, Nebraska barely 20 miles east of the Wyoming border, and attended school through the 11th grade at Kimball High School. On his application to join the Navy, he cited “trade” as the reason for wanting to enlist. He had worked as a farm hand and in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

A Navy medical examiner’s note from May 1938 said Mr. Bickel, at 5’-9” and 129 pounds, was approximately 28 pounds underweight for enlistment. He was re-examined in July and accepted. By October, he was serving on the Arizona. He was a fireman first class when he was killed in the Japanese attack.

Sources: Lincoln State Journal, Oakland Tribune, enlistment application; The Dalton (Nebraska) Delegate. Naval History and Heritage Command photo. 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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