Em3c Ralph Martin Gaultney,
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Em3c Ralph Martin Gaultney
Electrician’s Mate and Petty Officer Third Class Ralph Martin Gaultney was severely burned in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and died on Christmas Eve. He had been blown off the U.S.S. Arizona and into fuel oil aflame around the battleship.
Mr. Gaultney’s brother Leonard, a machinist’s mate, was killed in early August 1942 when his heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Vincennes, was sunk in the night Battle of Savo Island. Their mother, Nellie, died the next summer at age 54 of shock and grief, relatives later recalled.
The family’s loss grew still worse in March 1945 when a third son, David, a Marine private, was killed at Iwo Jima.
The Gaultneys were from LeRoy in central Illinois. Ralph Gaultney was born Sept. 23, 1910, and enlisted in the Navy in January 1940. His father, William, was a farmer. He and three daughters plus another son were left to mourn Ralph, Leonard, and David.
Gaultney Park in LeRoy is named in honor of the brothers, as is the portion of Interstate 74 that runs through LeRoy.
Ralph was buried after the war at Gilmore Cemetery in LeRoy.
Sources: U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans; The Pantagraph of Bloomington, Illinois; U.S. Census; Navy muster rolls. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.