Unknown Sailor

COX William Cowan

William Cowan was the seventh of eight children of William Cowan, an electrician, and Barbara Hillen Cowan, a homemaker.

The son, born Nov. 24, 1919, attended St. James School and De La Salle Academy in Kansas City, MIssouri, before enlisting in the Navy on Jan. 24, 1939.

He was a coxswain and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

About 200 people attended a requiem Mass in January 1942 at Annunciation Catholic Church. 

“This youth did not dedicate himself to a vague principle, but to the land of his birth and the ideals of America,” said the Rev. Joseph W. Brophy.

At least two of Mr. Cowan’s brothers also served. John C. Cowan was in the Army before and during World War II, including in the Philippines. Vincent L. Cowan served in the Navy in the Pacific during the war.


Sources: the Kansas City Star; Emery County (Utah) Progress; the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah; McGilley State Line Chapel in Kansas City; Census; Navy muster rolls. 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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