James Leon Bridges
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.