BKR3c Wilburn Carle Roberts


BKR3c Wilburn Carle Roberts

Wilburn Carle Roberts was one of three men from Pollock, Louisiana, population 317, killed on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Roberts was born July 20, 1920 to William E. and Cora M. Roberts. In the 1940 census, he listed his occupation as “cutting right of way” for the telephone company, and said he earned $360 in 1939. He was living at home with his parents and six siblings when he enlisted on July 17, 1940. He was a baker and petty officer third class when he was killed.

A Navy chaplain visited the families of the three Pollock men to tell them they had died. He asked a teacher at the high school to accompany him. That teacher was Cecil Brewer, a cousin of Mr. Roberts. When he told his aunt and uncle “we broke down. His mother said, ‘The Lord willed this to be.’ His father agreed. He took it good.”

A second son, Maxwell E. Roberts, also died in the war. He joined the Army in 1942 and became a radio operator. He died in 1944 at Rabaul in the South Pacific. Two other sons served and survived the war. One of them, Dallas Roberts, served in the U.S.S. Colorado. He said his ship passed by the sunken remains of the Arizona many times during the war. Even after the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was built in 1962, he said he never could bring himself to visit. It was too emotional.

A memorial service honored Wilburn Roberts in July 1944 at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. A military band played, Boy Scouts recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and three volleys were fired by a squad from the Fourth Army Corps at Camp Beauregard.

The other Pollock men killed on the Arizona were John William Whitaker Jr. and Malcolm Clark.


Sources: U.S. Census, The Town Talk of Alexandria. 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