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Charles Elijah Swisher
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Birth: Oct. 23, 1922
Orange County
California, USA
Death: Dec. 7, 1941
Pearl Harbor
Honolulu County
Hawaii, USA

Charles also has his name on a plaque at the USS Arizona Memorial.

Charles E. Swisher VFW Post 1924

The naming of VFW Post 1924 unfolds as follows: The Fallbrook VFW Post 1924 was established February 2, 1941 by WW1 veterans. The original twenty eight members included Walter Hughes, Leon Swisher, Will T. Scott and Frank Parkinson. Walter's wife Gertrude became the first President of the Auxiliary. Meetings were held in the basement of the Oddfellows Hall.

Charles E. Swisher attended the Fallbrook Schools and then joined the Navy on November 7, 1940. He was stationed on the Arizona and had been promoted to seaman first class. On December 6, 1941 he met Francis and Clayton Parkinson (Jack Parkinson's brothers), to attend the "Challenge of the Bands" concert on the base. After the concert Charles stood watch on the Arizona from midnight to 4AM and then went to sleep.


At 07:55AM December 7, 1941, Japanese planes from six aircraft carriers attacked the ships and bases in Hawaii. At 08:06AM a bomb hit between and to starboard of turrets #1 & 2 on the Arizona. It is widely accepted that the black powder magazine (used for aircraft catapults) detonated first, igniting the smokeless powder magazine (used for the ships main armament). The cataclysmic explosion ripped through the forward part of the ship and after several more bomb hits, she sank. Nine minutes after the magazine bomb hit, the Arizona was setting on the bottom of the bay and 1,177 of the 1,400 sailors and marines onboard were killed. Credit for the magazine bomb hit on the Arizona was officially given to Japanese pilot Tadashi Kusumi.

Charles was sleeping-in on Sunday morning in the bow area of the Arizona when the attack started and was killed. Charles E. Swisher was dead at 19 years, 1 month, and 14 days old. On December 21st his family was told that Charles was missing.

War was declared on the Japanese Empire on December 7, 1941 by the President after our bases and ships at Hawaii were attacked. All of our battleships were damaged or sunk that day.

There was a lot of patriotism all the U.S. during the war. It seemed greater in small towns where you knew all your neighbors. On June 12, 1942, the Post's members voted to change the Post's name and Charles E. Swisher was added to the Post's official name. The July 10, 1942 issue of the Fallbrook Enterprise Newspaper states that VFW Headquarters had officially changed the name of the Post.

The day the war was over was a major event. In Fallbrook, the 2,700 residents had sacrificed during the war and were grateful that it was over. Will T. and Martha Scott were two of Fallbrook's prominent and grateful residents. They owned a ranch, orchard, an auto dealership and the local Standard gas station. Will was active in the Chamber of Commerce and was Junior Vice commander in the VFW. They donated two large lots to the VFW on September 29, 1945.

Charles' body was sent home in late 1947 and is buried with his grandparents at the Brea Cemetery in Orange County.
Family links: 
  Leon William Swisher (1896 - 1958)
  Mary Henrietta Ingraham Gregersen (1900 - 1984)
Loma Vista Memorial Park
Orange County
California, USA
Plot: Evergreen Lawn
Created by: Lesa Pfrommer
Record added: Mar 05, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106256061
Charles Elijah Swisher
Added by: Lesa Pfrommer
Charles Elijah Swisher
Added by: Lesa Pfrommer
Charles Elijah Swisher
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Grover1962
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

 Added: Jul. 9, 2014

- Stuart Strout Woodside Skolfield
 Added: Mar. 10, 2013

- Lesa Pfrommer
 Added: Mar. 5, 2013

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