Paul Neipp and his twin, William Albert Jr., graduated from San Pedro High School in Los Angeles in early 1941 and enlisted in the Navy that spring. They planned to make the Navy a career.
A little over six months later, Paul, a seaman second class, was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. William, known as Bill, survived the war and then left the Navy. He lived until 1993. His ashes were scattered over the Pacific.
The brothers were born May 13, 1922 in Revere, Massachusetts north of Boston to William Albert Neipp and Margaret Monahan Neipp. The father served 15 years in the Navy, including during World War I, and became a chief petty officer.
By April 1935 the family was in Los Angeles, probably in the San Pedro neighborhood. By the time of the 1940 Census the father was a foreman at a local stevedoring company – loaders and unloaders of ship cargoes. Their mother, a homemaker, was an Irish immigrant. The family included an older sister, Caroline.
Paul Neipp played baseball in high school and worked in the school’s metal shop.
On the night before his death, a boyhood friend, Eddie Brooks, who served on a repair tender, came aboard the Arizona to work out with its boxers. He spotted Neipp and the two had dinner and watched a movie onboard before Brooks headed back to the U.S.S. Argonne. In the attack the next morning, the Argonne was docked near battleship row but suffered relatively minor damage – a dramatic contrast to the fate of the Arizona.
Sources: San Pedro News-Pilot; Long Beach Press-Telegram; San Pedro High yearbook; Massachusetts birth index; Navy muster rolls; Census. Special thanks to John Jensen, a Navy man himself, for the photo of his uncles and grandfather. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.