James L. Bridges, Seaman 1/c
Killed In Action
Battleship Arizona Official Biography
Lauren F. Bruner USS Arizona Memorial Foundation
James was the second of seven children born to Ulysses Alvis
and Ella Gertrude (Raley) Bridges on 18 November 1916 at
Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky. He attended Central
High School for 3 years in Fountain City, Tennessee where he
played on the football team. His mother passed away on 15
May 1937 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was living at 4518
North Broadway, Knoxville, Tennessee when he enlisted in the
U. S. Navy for six years on 4 October 1940 at Nashville,
Tennessee. He was 5’ 9-1⁄2” tall, weighed 154 pounds, and had
blue eyes, brown hair with a ruddy complexion. He completed
boot camp at the Naval Training Station at Norfolk, Virginia.
He reported to the USS Arizona on 4 December 1940 at the
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington. On 7
December 1941, James Leon Bridges was twenty-five years
and nineteen days old. James perished on that tragic day and
he remains on duty on the USS Arizona (BB-39).
He was survived by father, and siblings, A. T., two years older,
Evelyn, four years younger, Edith, five years younger, Charlie
R., eight years younger, Clifton, eleven years younger, and
Dorothy Lois, twelve years younger.
First Knox Country serviceman to die in World War II on the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Played fullback on Central High School’s national championship football team in 1937.
–Submitted by David E. Shaw
From the December 22, 1941, Knoxville News Sentinel:
He had been saving his pay for his marriage. His sweetheart, Miss Azalee Sharp, a slim young woman in crisp uniform, was at work at Fountain City Beauty Shop where she is an operator. She was wearing a brave smile.
“I thought earlier that he would get back for Christmas,” Miss Sharp said. “He wrote that he was anxious to get home. Yes, we were engaged but hadn’t fixed the date. I can’t say whether we would have been married Christmas if he had gotten here. We’d been going together for two years.”
A fullback on the Central High team in 1936 and 1937, James Bridges had later worked in Fountain City. Young Bridges got his first clerical experience, that helped land his battleship supply clerk’s job, in the Knox County Water Company office at Fountain City.
Father: Mr. Ulysses A Bridges, 512 East 3rd Ave, Fountain City, TN.
James L. Bridges was my Grand Uncle (my grandfather was his older brother Alfred Thomas Bridges*).
–Submitted by LCDR Paul W. Bridges
*S/Sgt Alfred Thomas Bridges was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group 349th Squadron during WWII. He was a waist gunner in a B-17 and flew 27 missions over Europe. A.T. was the brother of James L. Bridges who was killed on 7 Dec 1941 on the USS Arizona. Both grew up in Union County TN and Fountain City, TN prior to WWII. Photos below are of A.T. Bridges and crew members.
- Rank: Seaman First Class
- Date of birth: 18 November 1916
- Date of death: 7 December 1941
- County: Knox
- Hometown: Fountain City
- Service Branch: Navy
- Division/Assignment: USS Arizona
- Theater: Pacific
- Conflict: World War II
- Battles: Pearl Harbor
- Awards: Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Action Ribbon
- Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XIV, Top Panel
- Contact us to sponsor James L. Bridges
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