Oklahoma Casualties Database

U.S.S. Oklahoma

Finnegan, William Michael

William Michael Finnegan was born in Bessemer, Michigan on April 18, 1897. He grew up and went to school in Dollar Bay, Michigan. At age 20, he enlisted in the Navy on October 22, 1917. In 1921 he married Edith Marie Hoppa. They had five children: Michael 'Mickey'(1922), William G.(1924), Edward David (1927), Patricia (1936) and Stephen A. (1938).  He served as Chief Radio Electrician aboard the USS Oklahoma from September to December 1941. A destroyer escort was named after Ensign Finnegan in February 22, 1944. Here is William's last letter home...

San Diego, 9-28-41
Dear Mother;-
Hardly know where to start after such a long lay off but Edith has been after me for a long time to write you before I go to sea. Received orders to the USS Oklahoma on the 8th and reported to the Commandant for transportation soon after. I was told to go home and stand by the telephone until called, so yesterday I couldn't stand the strain any longer so went to the District Headquarters and reported in and received orders to report to San Pedro to join the ship within four days. So I am driving up tomorrow.

Mickey is making trip will take a day off and drive the car back. Edith doesn't like to drive so far. I was pleased to be ordered back to a Battleship, though I will miss all the aircraft activity and knowledge of the last five years. Fritz is working night shift at Consolidated from 7pm to 5 am and so sleeps all day. I am quite pleased that he had earned enough to get away from Arizona and make a new start. He is in the tube handling department. Just one of the 17000 others but I hope he can make a creak and get away from his horses and other things of no calue long enough to stay put for a while. Katherine is here with the eldest boy and they live in a trailer at Mission Beach temporarily until they can find a place. Their furniture is in storage in San Diego and he has good prospects of obtaining on of the new defense houses. Now if I can only persuade Herb to come here I'll feel well repaid.

All the boys are fine, Edith and Patty are also fine and though I'll miss everyone I feel that their education comes first and travel after. The ship will probably be gone for months after it leaves, anyway, and I don't know where. Stephen has been my shadow ever since he was born so I know he will miss me very much. Best regards to all they can breath easier now that Chas. Remains home. Love to you from all of us. My address will remain as at present and Edith will forward.

Bill.

Oklahoma Historical Society

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