S1c Richard Henry Wallenstien

Unknown Sailor

S1c Richard Henry Wallenstien

Richard Henry “Dick” Wallenstien was born November 17, 1923 in Chehalis in west-central Washington to Julius Cilas Wallenstine and Charlotte Nana Stevens Wallenstein.

The three spellings of their last names are based on the son’s cenotaph and his parents’ grave markers.

When Richard was about six the family, including an older brother, moved to Rawlins, Wyoming about 90 miles northwest of Laramie. The father, who had been an Army mechanic in World War I, worked in a sawmill and the mother was a homemaker. She died in February 1934 when Richard was 10.

The father and his two sons stayed in Rawlins, which from 1930 to 1940 grew from 1930 to 1940 grew almost 14 percent – from 4,868 residents to 5,531. Richard attended Rawlins High School, completing two grades, and enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 13, 1940 when he would have been a junior.

Less than a year later he was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He had celebrated his 18th birthday less than three weeks earlier.

The 1942 Rawlins High yearbook said he graduated in 1941, a discrepancy with his enlistment date. “His cheerful attitude and vigor cannot be forgotten by any of those who knew him,” the yearbook said. “For Richard is one of that staggering number of great Americans whose names, though not in our history books, will live in our hearts forever.”


Sources: the Rawlins (Wyoming) Republican;  Rawlins Cemetery markers; Census; Navy muster roll; Rawlins High yearbook; California death record; Los Angeles National Cemetery. 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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