S1c Luther James Isom,

Unknown Sailor

S1c Luther James Isom

Like so many young men in the Great Depression, Luther James Isom, scratched around for steady work.

The 1940 census for West Huntsville, Alabama showed him unemployed and living at home with his parents and three other people. His father, John, said he was a “common laborer” in road construction for the Works Progress Administration — a Depression-era federal jobs program. He’d also worked as a warehouse watchman.

Luke, as he was known, enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 5, 1940, and was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

He was born Feb. 24, 1921 and  graduated from West Huntsville High in 1940. He is one of the namesakes of the Gentry-Isom Veterans of Foreign Wars post 2702 in Huntsville.

His body was one of the few recovered from the Arizona crew. Mr. Isom was buried after the war at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville.


Sources: The Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee; the Huntsville (Alabama) Times; grave marker; Navy muster roll; 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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