MUS2c Wendell Ray Hurley,

Unknown Sailor

MUS2c Wendell Ray Hurley

Wendell Ray Hurley was born Sept. 12, 1919 at North Grove, Indiana north of Indianapolis. His father, Raymond, was a carpenter and his mother, Edna Landrum Hurley, a housewife.

For most of Wendell’s youth the family lived 15 miles east in Marion, a city of about 20,000. His mother died of a prolonged illness when he was 16.

He graduated in 1939 from Marion High School, where he excelled as a clarinetist and as a baton twirler. He also belonged to the camera and glee clubs. He was so good with the baton that he taught students at other schools.

The 1940 Census, conducted in the spring, said Mr. Hurley was an apprentice carpenter. He enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 14, 1940, and was accepted at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C. After graduation he was assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona.

Mr. Hurley was a musician and petty officer second class when he and all 20 of his bandmates were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. They were at their battle station in an ammunition hold under the No. 2 turret and likely died instantly when a Japanese bomb ignited a black power magazine, destroying the forward portions of the ship.

Bandmates nicknamed him “Lady Killer.”


Sources: The Republic of Columbus, Indiana; The Kokomo (Indiana) Tribune; The Indianapolis (Indiana) Star; Census; Indiana birth and death certificates and grave markers; Navy muster roll; Marion HIgh yearbook; “At ‘Em Arizona,” the ship’s newspaper. Yearbook photograph. 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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