James B. Bean (1942/08/07)

A Zayante transplant from Arkansas went down with his ship at Savo Island.

James Buchanan Bean was born January 22, 1917, in Oklahoma. His mother's name was Miranda. In addition to James the family included his brother Raymond and sisters Robbie and Flay. James' father died early in his life and his widowed mother moved into her parents' home in Red Lick, Arkansas. Jim spent his early life in Arkansas before moving to California with his mother and at least one of his sisters, and settling at Zayante in Santa Cruz County.

James returned to Arkansas in December 1936 and joined the US Navy. After completing boot camp in San Diego, he was trained to be a gunner's mate. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, James had only three days remaining on his enlistment; however, he re-enlisted for the duration of the war.

Gunner's Mate Second Class James Bean reported aboard an unspecified US navy cruiser (Probably the USS Vincennes, Astoria or Quincy), which was deployed to the Coral Sea.

Three US cruisers sunk during the one hour 1st Battle of Savo Island by a force of Japanese warships including five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and one destroyer.

The American warships were protecting and escorting US troop transports en route to Guadalcanal. Total losses from the three ships amounted to 1,077 men killed and 709 wounded. On the USS Astoria 216 men were killed. The Vincennes lost 332 men and 529 men were lost on the Quincy. Many of the blood- and- oil covered survivors, struggling in the water fell victim to the sharks. Japanese casualties were only 58 killed and 70 wounded. The catastrophe at Savo Island was a demoralizing defeat for the Allies and the worst defeat ever suffered by the United States Navy.

During the action at Savo Island on August 7, 1942, the cruiser on which Bean served was sunk. Petty Officer Second Class James Buchanan Bean was initially listed as Missing in Action, and was officially declared dead on August 10, 1943.

James Bean was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously and memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.

(ABMC; 1920 US Census, AR, Red Lick; SCSn September 17, 1942 1:6, May 21, 1944 5:6; DANFS, USS Vincennes CA; Editor, USS Quincy at Savo Island, http://www.ussquincy.com/ quincyws121200/39_text2.html, [Approx. May 2007])

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1940s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art and History.
Identifier: RO-BEAN


Nelson, Robert L. “James B. Bean (1942/08/07).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/items/show/4371. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.