F3c Melvin Freeland Horn,

Unknown Sailor

F3c Melvin Freeland Horn

Melvin Freeland Horn’s family was so poor that his older brothers shared a pair of shoes and took turns attending school.

The family, headed by his widowed mother Daisy Evans Horn, was proud of Melvin, the only one of her eight children to earn a high school diploma. 

After graduating from Sunbury High School near Columbus, Ohio in 1934, he worked on farms in the West and served in Oregon in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program. He returned home briefly before enlisting in the Navy in late 1935 or early 1936.

Mr. Horn was a fireman third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His body was one of the few recovered from the crew and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

“Out of all of us, he was the best,” his sister Pearl remembered on the 50th anniversary of his death. “He was real easygoing, would help anybody — take the shirt off his back for anybody.”

Mr. Horn was born March 31, 1916. His father, William, a farmer, died of pneumonia and the flu on March 21, 1919. A sister, Mary, 17, died the next day, also of influenza. Melvin was two.

His mother died the year after Melvin’s high school graduation.

At least two of his brothers also served in the war and survived. A third moved to California during the war to build ships.


Sources: Johnstown (Ohio) Independent; Big Walnut Area Historical Society of Sunbury, Ohio; Ohio death certificates; Navy muster rolls; Census; grave marker. 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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