EM3c William Walker Ford,


EM3c William Walker Ford

William Walker Ford’s mother was first told that he was not on the Navy casualty list for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but that was soon followed by an official government telegram saying he was missing.

It was almost another year, his mother wrote to the Cincinnati Enquirer, before he was officially declared dead in the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. During her long wait, she visited a military hospital in Maysville, Kentucky, where unidentified war wounded were being treated. Some men were screaming in torment. One man asked “Am I your boy?”

“We were grateful they were not ours,” she wrote 50 years later, “but so burdened for them…. After knowing what I do about those who survived, I thank the Lord that he took my boy in the first bomb. He didn’t have to go through that war, and I expect to be with him again for eternity.”

Mr. Ford was an electrician’s mate and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed.

He was born April 2, 1922 in Green, Kentucky to Marion Ford, a grocer, and Eula Kite Ford, a homemaker. The father, a World War I veteran, died in 1931.

The son graduated from Holmes High School in Covington, Kentucky in 1940 and enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 5, 1940. He joined along with a friend and fellow graduate, Edward Alfred Walther, who also died on the Arizona. At the time of their death, their families lived a two-minute walk apart in Covington across the Ohio river from Cincinnati.

Sources: The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer; the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald; Census; Navy muster roll; War Department headstone application for military veterans; U.S. Defense Department. 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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