Unknown Sailor

PVT Robert Wesley Dunnam

Robert Wesley Dunnam was born Nov. 23, 1921 in Houston, Texas to Homer Dunnam, an iron worker, and Willie A. Smith Dunnam, a homemaker.

The family had relatives in Rockdale, Texas about 130 miles to the northwest, and lived there on a ranch for a time before returning to Houston.

The 1940 Census said Robert had completed two years of high school and was employed as a cabinet maker at Houston Sash & Door Co. — as was his father.

Robert enlisted in the Marines on March 18, 1941, and was a private on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

He was a member of the ship’s whaleboat rowing team.

His younger brother, Homer Jr., was also a Marine in World War II and survived.


Sources: The Rockdale (Texas) Reporters; Census; Marine enlistment photo; Texas birth certificate; grave marker. 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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