S1c Randall James Thomas

Unknown Sailor

S1c Randall James Thomas

Randall James Thomas was born March 3, 1921 in tiny Erbacon, West Virginia nearly 60 miles east of Charleston. His mother, Ella Davis Thomas, was a homemaker and his father, William A. Thomas, a bricklayer. They had five daughters and two sons. Randall was the seventh child.

He was 12 when his father died in April 1934. His eldest sister died the next year at age 31.

Randall graduated from high school, then enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 10, 1939. He was assigned to the U.S.S. West Virginia on Dec. 10, 1940, but at some point was transferred to the U.S.S. Arizona.

Mr. Thomas was a seaman first class on the Arizona when he was killed along with 1,176 shipmates in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. The West Virginia lost 106 men but was refloated, patched, and completely overhauled by July 1944 to fight in the final year of the war in the far western Pacific.


Sources: The Webster Republican of Webster County, West Virginia; West Virginia death records; Census; Navy muster roll; Jeffrey Vandall for the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. 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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