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Alvin Chester Cockrell, Jr. was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippimarker, 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 Quanticomarker, Guantanamo Baymarker, Parris Islandmarker, and New Rivermarker. 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 Guadalcanalmarker 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 Rivermarker and the village of Kokumbonamarker, 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 Japanesemarker 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 Pointmarker. 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 was named in his honor. She was laid down on May 1, 1944 at Orange, Texasmarker, 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.

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