LTJG Ralph Hollis,
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LTJG Ralph Hollis
Ralph “Red” Hollis was a Palm Beach, Florida police officer and radio expert when he was called to active duty in the Naval Reserve in May 1941.
He left behind his wife and young daughters and by September was on the U.S.S. Arizona, working in the communications room. He was promoted from ensign to lieutenant junior grade the month before he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
Six days earlier, he had written to his mother, Amma, predicting: “Within a week we will be at war with Japan.”
Mr. Hollis was born Sept. 10, 1906 in Georgia, where his father, Edwy Hollis, farmed. The son graduated from Mansfield High School 40 miles southeast of Atlanta in 1923. He enlisted in the Navy that same year and served until 1926. He was a firefighter for the city of Palm Beach before joining the police department. He was granted leave by the city to rejoin the Navy.
He married Hermione Campbell on New Year’s Day 1929 in Florida. They had two daughters, Hermione Louise and Mary Ann.
A destroyer escort named in Mr. Hollis’ memory was launched in September 1943. Its construction was sponsored by war bond sales in Palm Beach County.A second man killed on the Arizona, Claude Edward Rich, was a teen when he took radio instruction from Mr. Hollis back home in Palm Beach. Mr. Rich, 19, enlisted in the Navy in September 1940 because he wanted a better job. He hoped that the Navy might help him learn more about radio and advance in that field. It was by chance that both were assigned to the Arizona.