MATT2c Tommy Lee Moss

Unknown Sailor

MATT2c Tommy Lee Moss

Tommy Lee Moss was born April 19, 1915 in Christian County in western Kentucky near  Tennessee. His mother, Lucy Carr Moss, was a homemaker and his father, Buck Moss, was identified in various Census records as a farmer, farm hand, or sharecropper.

Tuberculosis had killed their oldest son, Buck Jr., at age two in 1911. A second son, Raymond, was born about 1914. 

In early 1920 the family lived in Newstead about 8 miles west-southwest of the county seat, Hopkinsville. The settlement was tiny and had no post office after 1906. 

After early 1930 the family moved about 10 miles west to Cadiz, population 1,114. The mother died there in October 1934 of chronic nephritis, a kidney disease.

Her son enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 22, 1939. He was a mess attendant second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Moss was African-American, which meant that messmen positions were the only ones  open to him in the Navy segregated since the Wilson Administration. Mess attendants cooked, cleaned, and performed other services. They could advance up to petty officer first class as a steward or cook for officers, but that was their limit.


Sources: Kentucky birth index; Census; Navy muster roll; Kentucky death records. 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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