GM3c Lambert Ray Tapp

Unknown Sailor

GM3c Lambert Ray Tapp

Both of Leighman Tapp’s sons died in battle in the Pacific — one in World War II, and the other nearly 25 years later in Vietnam.

Mr. Tapp’s wife Helen, 19, died three days after their son Lambert Ray was born on Oct. 25, 1918 in the small community of Poole in western Kentucky. Father and son moved to Mercer County southwest of Lexington, Kentucky. Leighman became a fruit farmer and remarried, and a second son, John, was born in 1933.

Lambert Ray enlisted in the Navy on March 6, 1940. He was a gunner’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 half-brother, John, a Navy pilot and lieutenant commander, died in May 1966 when his plane crashed in the South China Sea on approach to the U.S.S. Enterprise. Their father had died in 1961.

In 1942 the women’s auxiliary of the American Legion post in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, made a 7-foot by 8-foot flag with a gold star in the middle honoring the memory of Lambert Ray Tapp. It also included six red stars for local nurses in the service and 474 blue stars for men in all branches of the armed services. It was put up in the local Armory.


Sources: The Advocate-Messenger of Danville Kentucky; Kentucky death certificate; grave marker; Navy muster rolls; US Census. 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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