Unknown Sailor

S1c Leslie Edgar Etchason

Leslie Edgar Etchason was born Nov. 17, 1918 in Clay County in south-central Illinois. His father, Walter, worked as a pumper and in water treatment for a railroad, and his mother, Maude, was a homemaker.

He graduated from nearby Harter Stanford High School in Flora, Illinois in 1936, then held several jobs, including delivering telegrams and hauling mail from the train depot to the post office. The 1940 Census showed him working at a shoe factory as a lining cutter. His 1939 income, earned during 47 weeks of labor, was $912 — a good wage by the standards of the day, and equivalent to $16,438 in 2018.

He enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 14, 1940. In letters home, Mr. Etchason said he liked being a sailor but was sometimes homesick. He was a seaman first class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

VFW Post 3999 in Flora is named in his memory.

Sources: The Kinmundy Express of Kinmundy, Illinois; Harvey Tribune of Harvey, Illinois; Census; Navy muster roll; VFW; U.S. Department of Defense. 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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