Wilburn James Ashmore was born July 5, 1917, at Elizabeth, Louisiana. His parents, Lou Ella Cloud Ashmore and William Ashmore, were farmers, according to the 1920 Census.
By 1940 the son was serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps in a company headquartered at Lafayette, Louisiana. The CCC was a Depression-era federal jobs program for young men.
Mr. Ashmore also attended the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now called the University of Louisiana, Lafayette), where the 1941 yearbook identified him as a freshman.
He enlisted in the Navy on June 17 of that year and went aboard the U.S.S. Arizona on Aug. 13. He was a seaman second class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor less than four months later.
At least one of Mr. Ashmore’s brothers, Johnny, served in the Army during World War II.