S2c Earl Henry Iversen

Earl Henry Iversen

S2c Earl Henry Iversen

Earl Henry Iversen was born April 21, 1920. Graves School in Salinas, California celebrated the end of school in June 1936 with a Flag Day program.

Earl Iversen, one of three eighth-grade graduates, read his essay, “The Story of the Flag.” His younger brother, Norman, recited a poem, “To Thee O Country.”

Earl moved on to high school, but it appears that he left after two years. When the Census was conducted in May 1940, he was identified as a farmer on a ranch, as was his father, Iver. Earl declared that he worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $420. Norman was still a student that spring, most likely a junior.

Newspaper clipping

The brothers left the Monterey Peninsula for good on Jan. 30, 1941 when they enlisted in the Navy together. They were seamen second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when they were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Nearly 20 years after their deaths, their mother, Erma, a homemaker, had cenotaphs erected at Golden Gate National Cemetery at San Bruno immediately west of today’s San Francisco International Airport. 

Norman Kenneth Iversen, his younger brother, was born Dec. 4, 1923. They lived at Point Arena 120 miles north of San Francisco and later at Salinas about 10 miles east of Monterey Bay.

The local newspaper said Norman attended Salinas Union High School, where his age would have put him in the same class as Erminio Joseph Brignole, who also died on the Arizona. Brignole enlisted in June 1941, right after graduation. The senior class was small enough — just over 300 — that Brignole and Norman Iversen likely knew each other.

Sources: the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California; the Healdsburg (California) Tribune, Enterprise & Scimitar; the Mendocino (California) Beacon; the San Francisco Examiner; the Californian and Morning Post of Salinas, California; Census; Navy muster roll; cenotaphs. 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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