MM2c Samuel Henry Jr. Gemienhardt,

Unknown Sailor

MM2c Samuel Henry Jr. Gemienhardt

Samuel Henry Gemienhardt Jr. wasn’t supposed to be on duty on the U.S.S. Arizona the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7, 1941. But he agreed to cover for a fellow machinist’s mate who wanted to celebrate his 24th birthday ashore with his wife in Waikiki.

Mr. Gemienhardt was killed on the battleship the morning of Dec. 7 when Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor. 

He was born April 29, 1913 in Ohio, the son of Samuel and Cora Elizabeth Gemienhardt. The father worked at a bolt factory and the mother was a housewife. She died in 1928 of Grave’s disease — a week after her own mother died.

Sammy, as he was called by classmates, liked to swim in the summer and ice skate in the winter on a pond in Grove City in central Ohio. He graduated from Jackson Township High School in 1933 and enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 5, 1935.

A former neighbor and friend, Paul W. Grossman, recalled years later the last time he saw Mr. Gemienhardt, in May 1940.

“Of course, we both talked about the war, but Sammy was real happy. He liked being a sailor.”

Mr. Gemienhardt was a machinist’s mate and petty officer second class when he was killed. The friend whose duty he covered, Everett Owen Reid, served in the Navy until 1957. He died in 2004 at age 86.


Sources: The Grove City Record; The Hutchinson (Kansas) News; “Battleship Arizona, An Illustrated History,” by Paul Stillwell; Census; Navy muster roll. 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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