MATT1c Simon Fitch,
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MATT1c Simon Fitch
Simon Fitch was born June 24, 1919 in Houston, Texas, the second youngest of about eight children. His mother, Carrie Chandler Fitch, was a homemaker and his father, Arthur Fitch, a laborer for a building business.
Young Mr. Fitch enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 14, 1939 and was a mess attendant first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
Mr. Fitch was African-American, and in the segregated Navy that meant the Messman Branch was the only job path open to him. Messmen cooked, cleaned, and performed other services. The Messman Branch accepted men who were black, Filipino, or Guamanian. They could become an officer’s cook or officer’s steward up to petty officer first class but could not advance to other higher-skilled and better-paid jobs.
Sources: Census; Navy muster roll; U.S. Department of Veterans Administration master index; Texas marriage record. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.