S1c Vernon Wesley Woods

Unknown Sailor

S1c Vernon Wesley Woods

Vernon Wesley Woods was born Sept. 9, 1919 in Mississippi. His mother, Ruby Sanderson Woods, was a homemaker and his father, Thomas Granville Woods, a streetcar motorman and later a sawmill worker and then an oiler for a lumber company.

In December 1918 the father listed his address as coastal Pascagoula near the Alabama border, but said his wife was his nearest relative living almost 170 miles north in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The family, which included at least five children, lived in 1930 in Pelahatchie, a town of almost 1,600 about 25 miles east of Jackson, but after April 1, 1935 and before 1940 moved to Springhill, Louisiana, a town of about 2,800 in the northwest corner of the state next to the Arkansas border. The Census that April said Vernon had completed 7th grade and worked at a lumber mill. He earned $308 for 28 weeks of work in 1939 – the equivalent of about $6,000 in 2022 dollars.

Mr. Woods enlisted in the Navy on June 8, 1940 in Shreveport and trained in San Diego. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.


Sources: The Times of Shreveport, Louisiana; Census; Navy muster roll; World War I military registration card. 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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