We Remember Battle Creek Native On Pearl Harbor Anniversary
On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember the Battle Creek native forever entombed in the USS Arizona.
December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. ~President Franklin D. Roosevelt
We remember what was the largest organized attack on the United States military 79 years later and the Battle Creek born man who gave his all. James Winford Berry was born in Battle Creek, Michigan November 17, 1915, according to HonorStates.org. He moved to Holland, Mi where he attended school and later graduated. Berry never married but enlisted in the United States Navy.
Until the Japanese lead raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu that day in 1941, the U.S. had been reluctant to join the fight during World War II. That is not to say the United States had no involvement. The U.S. was virtually the only country to assist the United Kingdom with guns, ammunition, and other supplies to stop the spread of Nazis through Europe.
James Berry was a fireman on the USS Arizona at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. His niece, Janet Ravenkamp, told the Detroit Free Press in 2016 that the 5-foot-7 and 144 pounds, the slim, blue-eyed Berry was standing on the deck of the USS Arizona that morning talking with another crewman. Berry's battle station was below deck in Arizona’s engineering spaces.
The family talked to a friend and fellow service member who stood by Berry on deck as the attack happened. He told them that Berry was next to him when the super-dreadnought battleship was hit. When he turned to say something is wrong, Berry was gone and never seen again.
Berry's niece Janet Ravenkamp, whom he never meant, said that her family believes he is still entombed within the ship along with more than 1,000 Sailors and Marines who were killed aboard the battleship. Eight battleships were damaged with four of them sinking. All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. 2,403 Americans were killed in the attack and 1,178 others were left wounded.
James Winford Berry is buried/memorialized at Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. It is an American Battle Monuments Commission location. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a smaller than normal memorial ceremony will take place on the anniversary to protect veterans and survivors.