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.