Myrle Clarence Davis, born Nov. 20, 1920, was the eldest of 10 children. His father, Harold, was a farm hand at Sac City Creamery Co. in Sac City in southwest Iowa. His mother, Ida Maxson Davis, was a homemaker.
Mr. Davis graduated from Sac City High School in 1939, where he was described as “a friendly student, having a good disposition and easy to get along with.” He enlisted in the Navy in September 1940 and by February he was in Hawaii.
“To see all the advertisements you would think it’s a wonderful place,” he wrote in July. “About all I can say for it is that if you want to spend a lot of money and get nothing for it, spend your time in Honolulu. It has some good points but the bad ones have them buried so deep you can’t find them.”
In August, he expressed his wish to visit his hometown of 3,000 people if he could get leave and save the money for the trip. Mr. Davis and many other sailors expected the Arizona to sail for Bremerton, Washington, in the fall for an overhaul. But in October, the ship collided with the U.S.S. Oklahoma, leaving a hole under the bow that had to be repaired in dry dock in Hawaii. The trip to Bremerton never occurred.
Meanwhile, in November 1941, in a letter to his aunt Gladys, Mr. Davis again said he hoped to visit “a lot of the folks” back home. “I’ll get my discharge from the navy Oct. 15, 1946 if I don’t ship over or there isn’t a war,” he wrote. “I don’t think I’ll ship over because I had all the navy I want in one year.”
He had just turned 21 when he was killed, a homesick young man 4,000 miles from family.