Unknown Sailor

COX Wand B. Doyle

Dec. 7 was the longest, saddest day of the year for Hardin and Bessie Gross Doyle.

It was the day their eldest son, Wand B. Doyle, died. He was a coxswain and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when it was bombed and sank in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

“It’s just a plain terrible day,” his mother told a newspaper reporter in 1958. “There’s no day that’s longer. I just sit here and worry and worry and don’t know why. Everyone seems to get an awful headache around here on December 7.”

Their son, always known as Wand B., was born Aug. 10, 1918, in Edmondson County in south-central Kentucky. He graduated from high school in Kyrock, a town built the year he was born by Kentucky Rock Asphalt Co. Both Hardin and Wand B. worked for the company for a time.

The young Mr. Doyle enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 10, 1940.

His last letter home included this portent: “I don’t know what the future is. It don’t look too good. If you read where the Arizona went down, you can say I went down with her.”

Two of Mr. Doyle’s brothers also served in World War II — Howard in the Army Air Forces and Hardin in the Navy.

Post 32 of the Disabled American Veterans was founded in September 1945 in Brownsville, Kentucky, the Edmonson County seat. It is named in honor of Mr. Doyle.

Sources: The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky; Kentucky birth index; 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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