CPL Donald D.Jerrison,

Unknown Sailor

CPL Donald D.Jerrison

Otto Jerrison, an infantryman in World War I, taught his son, Donald Dearborn, to shoot.

The boy became a crack shot, his parents remembered after his death in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He was a Marine corporal on the U.S.S. Arizona.

Donald was born Jan. 29, 1920 at Des Moines, Iowa. His father was a hardware store employee and his mother, Ruby Dearborn Jerrison, a homemaker. The son graduated from Valley High School and excelled in math.

He enlisted in the Marines on Nov. 20, 1939. He wrote many letters home, including one in which he said he had to drink six to eight cups of coffee — which he disliked — to stay awake during long watches.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register in April 1942, his mother said: “Our family is going to scrimp and do without — anything to beat the enemy, and get the war over in a hurry. When I think about my son, and the sons of thousands of other mothers, even Japanese mothers, who are dying in this war, it just makes my blood boil.”

His father described the eldest of his three sons as “a mighty fine boy.”

Mr. Jerrison was buried in Hawaii during the war, but in 1947 was returned to the mainland and buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California south of San Francisco.


Sources: The Des Moines (Iowa) Register; Census; Marine muster rolls; grave marker. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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