S1c Marvin Ray Smith

Unknown Sailor

S1c Marvin Ray Smith

Marvin Ray Smith lived his entire life in Cross Plains, Texas, population 1,229, until he enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 15, 1940.

He was a seaman first class when he was killed a little more than a year later aboard the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was still 19.

Ray, as he was known, was born Sept. 22, 1922 to Earl Smith, a laborer at a garage, and Martha Aletha Lillian Swafford Smith, a homemaker.

He graduated in 1940 from Cross Plains High School, where he had been a tackle on the football team for three years. Cross Plains is 120 miles west-southwest of Fort Worth and 40 miles southeast of Abilene.

In his last letter to his family, dated Nov. 24, Mr. Smith said he had hoped to be home for Christmas “but I don’t think we will be sailing back to the States now.”

Besides his parents, he was survived by four sisters and a brother, Donald, who was in the Navy on another battleship.


Sources: Abilene Reporter-News; Dallas Morning News; Census; the Houston Chronicle; Social Security claims index; Texas birth index. 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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