SF2c Orval Albert Rosenbery

Orval Albert Rosenberry

SF2c Orval Albert Rosenbery

Orval Albert Rosenberry was born Aug. 28, 1920 to a farm family in Chadwick, a village of 580 people roughly 20 miles northwest of Sterling. His father, Benjamin L. Rosenberry, was an Army cook in World War I. His mother, Lucille Bast Rosenberry, was a homemaker. The son graduated from Chadwick High School in 1938 and enlisted in the Navy that November. He was a shipfitter and petty officer second class when he was killed.

“War Comes to Sterling” read the headline in the Dec. 22, 1941 edition of the Daily Gazette in Sterling, Illinois a bit over 100 miles west of Chicago.

The news story said two area families, the Rosenberrys and Apples, received telegrams that their sons were missing in the Dec. 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As later telegrams would confirm, both were killed aboard the U.S.S. Arizona.

“Until now war has seemed to us in this part of the MIddle West a sort of dream — something we read about, but cannot visualize,” the paper reported. “But here is vivid proof of what is actually happening in other parts of the world. We must recognize the fact that this war is a stark, grim reality.”

Robert William Apple grew up about 20 miles away in Sterling, population 15,370. His father, Frank Apple, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War.

“More telegrams are likely to be received here,” the news story concluded. “More boys from this locality are liable to be struck down. There is little we can do except hope for the best and steel ourselves for the worst.”


Sources: The Daily Gazette of Sterling, Illinois; grave markers; Census; Navy muster roll. 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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