Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Navy 1
Petty Officer Second Class 2
02 Oct 1919 2
Louisiana 2
1941 2
USS Arizona 2
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 2

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Miller Xavier Aydell 3
02 Oct 1919 2
Louisiana 2
1941 3
USS Arizona 2
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 3
Cause: Attack from the Japanese 2
Place: Louisiana 3

World War II 1

Navy 1
Petty Officer Second Class 2
Service Start Date:
08 Oct 1937 2
Service End Date:
07 Dec 1941 2
Employer: Navy 3
Position: Water Tender 2nd Class - WT2c 3

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  1. Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial [See image]
  2. Contributed by Tncx3458
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KIA Dec 7, 1941 on USS Arizona. Listed as "missing, presumed burnt." From French Settlement LA.

AYDELL, Miller Xavier - WT2/c USN - Louisiana


Category: USS Arizona Casualty List

Created: Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 November 2015 19:43


Miller Xavier Aydell

Water Tender Second Class


Memorial Wall

  • Branch: United States Navy
  • Service Number: 274 31 17
  • Rate: WT2/c (Water Tender Second Class)
  • Duties: Take charge of fireroom when under way. Maintain, repair, and overhaul boiler system.
  • Enlisted: 8 October 1937
  • Place: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Onboard USS Arizona: 25 January 1938
  • Date of Birth: 2 October 1919
  • Place of Birth: Louisiana
  • Hometown / State December 1941: Kingston, Illinois
  • Next of Kin: Mr. Austin Xavier Aydell - Father
  • Address: French Settlement, Louisiana
  • Disposition: Unrecoverable – Among the 900+ souls still onboard the USS Arizona
  • Posthumous Awards: Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal w/Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/Star, WWII Victory Medal

First parish casualty of World War II

First parish casualty of World War II
Dec 6, 2001
Miller Aydell wanted to go to college. One of 10 graduates from French Settlement High School's Class of 1937, he planned to attend what is now Southeastern Louisiana University. The son of Austin and Theresa Aydell had one sister, Palmire, and was well-liked in the close-knit bayou community of French Settlement. He designed a Class of '37 graduation invitation as a six pointed star inside a five-pointed star, with each classmate and one teacher's name at the end of each point. He wanted to go to college and could have gone right after graduation, but first, to save money, he would dedicate four years of his youth to the United States Navy.

It was peace time, and two of Miller's first cousins, Victor and Alvin Aydell, had completed successful tours of duty with the Navy. It seemed like a good way to see some of the world, follow in his family's footsteps, and save money for his college education.

Miller enlisted in 1937 and attended boot camp training at San Diego. He requested an assignment to the same ship on which his cousins had previously served. This ship had a somewhat glamorous reputation. Although it did not see combat in World War I, it was used as a gunnery training ship and protected the waters along the eastern seaboard. In 1918, it had accompanied President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference.

Afterwards, it brought 238 veterans into New York Harbor for a Christmastime homecoming celebration. Shortly thereafter, the ship was sent to protect American lives during the 1919 Turkish-Greek conflict in Smyrna. The ship made headlines in 1924 when a young woman named Madeline Blair successfully stowed away for almost a month attempting to catch a ride to San Pedro. Twenty-three sailors received prison sentences as a result of their generosity in the public scandal.

Over the years, the ship traveled up and down the Atlantic coast for training maneuvers and spent time in the Caribbean, Cuba, Barbados, the British West Indies, the Panama Canal Zone, and Peru. President Herbert Hoover used it for a cruise, sailing to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 1931, just after a complete modernization of the ship. When the Long Beach earthquake struck in 1933, the ship was anchored at San Pedro. The ship sent out a shore patrol, providing everything from communications and first aid stations to meals and shelter for victims made homeless by the earthquake.

The ship was commanded by such men as Rear Admirals Chester Nimitz and Isaac Kidd and was used as a location in 1934 for an Oscar-nominated film, Here Comes the Navy, starring James Cagney.

By 1937, when Miller Aydell enlisted in the Navy, the ship had begun participating in fleet maneuvers from the waters along the Pacific Coast. In 1938, it became the flagship for Battleship Division 1. As a member of the Pacific Fleet, Miller Aydell and the ship he had requested to serve on participated in a variety of tactical exercises and battle maneuvers.

He paid a visit to his home after boot camp, but once he was on his ship, he never returned to French Settlement. He frequently wrote to his family and spoke often of coming home and going to college. He often visited his cousins Victor and Alvin in San Diego.

His four years completed on Oct. 7, 1941, Miller Aydell was ready to come home to French Settlement and enroll in college as he had dreamed. His ship was temporarily docked for repairs and renovations, but in anticipation of his discharge and return home, he shipped his trunk with his books, his personal items, and all but the bare necessities, keeping only his required sea bag of clothing.

While waiting, Miller's strong family ties prompted him to write to a cousin, who he had just found out was stationed nearby, to set up a visit. The letter is dated Nov. 18, 1941:

"Hello Evan,

"Received a letter from home today and heard that you were stationed at Schofield, so I didn't waste any time in jotting a few lines. Hope you are well and having a good time.

"It has been a long time since I seen you and I'd like to go over and see you Sunday. Will you be in Camp, and is it O.K ? Write me a few lines .

"Well, I'll close and hope to hear from you B-4 Sunday. Hope this reaches you be seeing you soon I hope."

His cousin Evan did receive this letter and arranged for a Sunday visit, but it was to take place about three weeks later. Evan requested and was granted a pass from noon until one a.m. on that Sunday. He and Miller planned an afternoon and evening of reminiscing. If Miller's ship had not been docked for repairs and to receive some additional radar equipment, it is possible that Miller would have been shipped out and home before Evan had ever made it to Schofield Airbase.

His four-year tour of duty ended, Miller bided his time for exactly two months after his Oct. 7 discharge on the ship he had chosen as the place to serve his country. Before Evan could even leave Schofield Airbase, a 13-hour pass dated Dec. 7, 1941, in his pocket, Japanese planes strafed his barracks and bombed the fleet at Pearl Harbor, where Miller Aydell had probably just finished breakfast.

Evan Matherne survived the attack at Schofield. Miller died on the ship served by two other members of his family, the ship he requested. And with his death on Dec. 7, 1941, Miller Aydell became the first casualty of World War II from Livingston Parish. He is entombed with 1,176 of his shipmates on the U.S.S. Arizona.

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