Samuel Adolphus Abercrombie was a young man who faced more hardship and adversity in his short life than many of us could ever imagine. Born on March 18, 1919, in Leggett, Texas, Samuel’s mother, Maud Rice Abercrombie, passed away less than three months later. His father, John Thomas Abercrombie, a farmer, was left to raise five children alone.
But tragedy struck again when Samuel was just 11 years old. His father passed away, leaving him and his siblings without parents. Samuel and his older brother did their best to provide for the family, but times were tough. Despite the challenges he faced, Samuel was determined to make something of himself.
In 1940, at the age of 21, Samuel enlisted in the Navy. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Samuel had been serving on the U.S.S. Arizona at that time for over a year.
On that fateful day, the U.S.S. Arizona was hit by several bombs, and the ship quickly became engulfed in flames. Samuel, along with over a thousand other servicemen, lost his life in the attack. His sacrifice, like that of so many others, would never be forgotten.
The 1940 Census, conducted just a few months before Samuel enlisted, documented that he was living with his older brother and working in retail sales at a grocery. He had graduated from high school and had worked half the previous year, earning $182, which was equivalent to about $3,500 in 2022 dollars. Despite the challenges he faced, Samuel was determined to make a better life for himself and his family.
Samuel Adolphus Abercrombie may have come from humble beginnings, but he was a patriot who answered the call of his country when it needed him most. His sacrifice and that of his fellow servicemen will always be remembered. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor serves as a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives on that day, and Samuel’s name is among those honored there.
Samuel’s story serves as a reminder that even in the face of great adversity, we can find the strength to rise above our circumstances and make a difference. His bravery and sacrifice for his country will always be remembered, and his legacy will live on as an inspiration to future generations.
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.
Sources: Census records, grave markers, Navy muster rolls. This profile was rewritten by “Operation 85” from the original sourced profile written by Bobbi Jo Buel on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.