Sunday, January 12, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week #2 - Elmo Howard

The Howard brothers and their father.
Elmo is the third from the left in the middle row.
Of all of my ancestors my uncle, Elmo, is the nearest and dearest to my heart.  Elmo Urton Howard was born March 30, 1921 in Woodford County, Kentucky.  He was the fourth of nine children in the farming family.

Elmo's father not only farmed his farm, but also the farm that his father had left to him, his two brothers and sister, and also the farm owned by his mother.  Elmo and his six brothers worked hard to keep all three farms running and profitable.  During the summer before his senior year of high school, Elmo was putting in hay when he suffered sun stroke.  During his recuperation the doctor told him (and his father) that he was not to do anything that he did not feel like doing for the next year.  This put him behind in school and he was not able to graduate from high school.  He did return the next year and finished, but by this time he had decided to join the Navy.  Although his parents were against it - his father wanted him on the farm and his mother wanted him to go to college - Elmo enlisted September 9, 1940, promising his mother that he would go to college after his enlistment was up.  He was assigned to the USS Arizona.

Elmo was sent to Seattle, Washington for optic training.  In September 1941 he completed his training, returning to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.  On December 7, 1941 the USS Arizona and most of her men were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Elmo was originally listed as Missing in Action, but that was soon changed.  His body was never identified.  After the war a family member heard a Pearl Harbor survivor on the radio in Indiana saying that when the bombing started he was on deck with Elmo Howard, but there was a huge explosion and Elmo disappeared.

Elmo's mother wanted to go to Pearl Harbor to see the memorial, but was never able to take the trip.  Two of his brothers have donated DNA to the Navy in the eventual possibility that there may be a time he can be identified.

1 comment:

  1. I love that Elmo now has his own corner on the internet! :)