OC1c Simon Romano

Unknown Sailor

OC1c Simon Romano

Simon P. Romano was born Oct. 28, 1897 in Dumaguete, Negros Island in the southwest Philippines then still a Spanish colony. His parents were Eusibia Patula and Cornelio Romano, a sailor. The family included five other sons and a daughter.

His first military service was in the Philippine Scouts, which was part of the U.S. Army.

Mr. Romano married Rafaela Atega in October 1922, but she died the next year.

He enlisted in the Navy on March 9, 1927 and arrived at Seattle, Washington that June. 

Mr. Romano petitioned for U.S. citizenship in November 1933 while he was assigned to the U.S.S. New Mexico. He married Ella Mae Pulley the next September in North Carolina. By April 1935 the couple made their home at Long Beach, California. He became a U.S. citizen on Nov. 27, 1936 in Los Angeles.

In December 1938 Mr. Romano was assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona, whose home port was to the west at San Pedro.

In 1939 over 52 weeks Mr. Romano earned $936. That would be equivalent to about $20,000 in 2022 dollars.

Mr. Romano was an officer’s cook and petty officer first class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His Filipino family learned of his death only after the war ended.

He was a member of the Messman Branch — the only job open to him in the Navy segregated since the Wilson Administration. Messmen cooked, cleaned, and performed other service tasks. They were African-American or from Guam or the Philippines. Mr. Romano had received five promotions to the highest rating open to him. Messmen could not become chief petty officers or higher positions.

Sources: Special thanks to Joe Romano for family history and the photo. Other sources include: Declaration of intention to become a citizen; Petition for Naturalization; North Carolina marriage license; Navy muster roll; Census. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.


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