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Alvin Chester Cockrell, Jr.
September 18, 1918(1918-09-18) – September 24, 1942 (aged 24)
Place of birth Hazelhurst, Mississippi
Place of death Guadalcanal, south of Lunga Point
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Reserves
Years of service 1937–1942
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit 1st Battalion, 7th Marines
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Navy Cross (posthumous)

Alvin Chester Cockrell, Jr. was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, on September 18, 1918, and was enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on May 1, 1937.


Navy career

Cockrell served as an enlisted man until accepting an appointment as 2d lieutenant, USMCR, on June 25, 1940. Over the next two years, Cockrell served at Marine barracks at Quantico, Guantanamo Bay, Parris Island, and New River. He was appointed a 1st lieutenant on December 2, 1941. Ultimately assigned to Company "B", 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Fleet Marine Force, he landed with the 7th Marines on Guadalcanal on his 24th birthday, September 18, 1942.

Guadalcanal service

Within a week, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, was to conduct a reconnaissance in force of the region between the Matanikau River and the village of Kokumbona, led by Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC, and departed the perimeter of the marine defenses on September 23,. The point of Puller's battalion surprised elements of the Japanese Oka Detachment as they were sitting down cooking rice on the slopes of Mount Austen (Mambulo), late the following afternoon, September 24, south of Lunga Point. The sound of firing having alerted the enemy's main body, a brisk battle ensued; as it developed, 1st Lt. Cockrell led his platoon in assaulting a strongly held Japanese position against heavy machine gun and rifle fire. He was killed in the ensuing action, one of seven marines who died in the engagement.

Awarded the Navy Cross

Cockrell was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.


USS Alvin C. Cockrell (DE-366) was named in his honor. She was laid down on May 1, 1944 at Orange, Texas, by the Consolidated Steel Corp.; launched on June 27, 1944; sponsored by Mrs. James A. Perkins, the sister of the late 1st Lt. Cockrell; and commissioned on August 7, 1944 at her builder's yard, Lt. Comdr. Merrill M. Sanford, USNR, in command.

See also


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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