SM3c Russell Dean Hawkins,

Unknown Sailor

SM3c Russell Dean Hawkins

The body of Russell Dean Hawkins was among a few dozen Sailors and Marines recovered from the U.S.S. Arizona and identified after it was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

He was buried in Hawaii, but after World War II, his family chose to have his body returned home to Taylorville, Illinois. A funeral was held at the Methodist church in November 1947 and he was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.

For at least the next 40 years his buddy Jack Doyle visited the gravesite on all but one Dec. 7th.

Mr. Doyle graduated from Taylorville High School in 1938 and Mr. Hawkins in 1939. They and other friends planned to enlist together, which Mr. Doyle did in January 1940. Mr. Hawkins — known to friends as Dean — delayed until March.

Both were on battleships at Pearl Harbor on that terrible morning when Japan attacked the U.S. fleet — Mr. Doyle on the U.S.S. Tennessee and Mr. Hawkins nearby on the Arizona. Mr. Hawkins, a signalman and petty officer third class, was one of the 1,177 men killed on the Arizona. Mr. Doyle was wounded and spent the hours after the attack picking up bodies from the harbor. The experience left him traumatized and severely concussed in an era when those conditions were little understood.

Mr. Doyle, who died in 2007 at the age of 87, perhaps found solace in his annual gravesite visits, which were reported in the January 1988 issue of Pearl Harbor Gram, a newsletter for survivors. The only year he missed was 1963 when he attended the group’s national reunion in St. Louis.

Mr. Hawkins shares a grave marker with his parents, Archie Hawkins, a farmer, and Agnes Batton Hawkins, a homemaker. Both lived to old age.

Their son was born Jan. 10, 1922 in Iowa but moved to Taylorville when he was three. In high school he played the trombone and was good enough to qualify for the 1938 state music contest as a member of the trombone quartet and the brass quartet. He played a valet in the senior play.

Sources: The Decatur (Illinois) Herald; The Decatur Daily Review; The Taylorville Daily Breeze Courier; Pearl Harbor Gram; Taylorville High yearbooks; grave marker; Navy muster roll.
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