Arnold H. Bramlett
Chief Petty Officer
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 11/28/1942 - 1946
Machinist Mate, USS Joseph E. Campbell

One of seven children and the eldest of four brothers, Arnold was born near Jefferson, Texas to Lawrence Hilliard Bramlett and Alma Mae Ragland Bramlett. His father, Arnold says, was a "one-horse farmer" who also held "public jobs" at a sawmill, a powder plant, and in later years, an oil company. As a boy, Arnold helped his father cut wood to sell in town, first by the wagonload, then from a Model-T Ford truck. On the farm he plowed and milked dairy cows, among other chores, working barefooted. "I saved my shoes to go to church and school," he remarks. The Bramletts attended a Methodist church, one of three on a circuit. On Sundays when no services were held at their church, they attended a Baptist church. Arnold's father moved the family to Union Grove in Upshur County, Texas, where Arnold finished high school in May of 1942. He then worked as a welder's helper earning fifty cents an hour. He was employed at a power plant in Karnack, Texas, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1942. "I remember my mother, tears running down her cheeks," he recalls. He completed boot camp at San Diego, then was trained in a mechanical school at Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was assigned to a destroyer escort, USS Joseph C. Campbell (DE -70/APD- 49), on September 23, 1943 as a 3rd Class Machinist Mate. Arnold earned promotion quickly, becoming "the youngest chief petty officer aboard ship". While he worked in engine and boiler rooms, his ship guarded convoys to Russia, North Africa and other destinations, against German submarines. One submarine, he recalls, surrendered to the Joseph C. Campbell near Algiers. Forty-nine prisoners were taken before the sub was scuttled. Later, the vessel did escort duty in the Pacific. In Japan after the war he found the civilians to be "just wonderful people." While stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, he met Dorothy Branton. He was discharged from the navy on August 3, 1946, then married Dorothy three days later. (They would have two children). He soon went to work for Borden Milk Company in Marshall in refrigeration and mechanics.