Waterloo, Alabama, the town where Robert Franklin Adams grew up, had about 500 residents until the late 1930s, when many buildings were moved to make room for a dam.
The dam was one of many built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal program that built dams all along the Tennessee River. The goal was to stop flooding and to generate cheap electricity that would spur industry in one of the poorest parts of America.
Robert was born Dec. 7, 1921. His father James, a salesman, died six years later. When the 1930 Census was conducted, Robert was living with his mother, Cornie, and an older brother and sister. The sister, the only employed member of the household, was a teacher.
Mr. Adams graduated from Waterloo High School and enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 5, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
Sources: The Courier Journal of Louisville, Kentucky; Navy muster rolls; Census; grave markers; U.S. Department of Defense. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM.