George Nelsen Jr. was born July 22, 1918 in King County, Washington to George Nelsen, a dairy farmer, and Marie Skarseth Nelsen, a homemaker.
His parents were immigrants — the father from Denmark and the mother from Norway. They raised their five sons near Enumclaw, Washington, a town of about 2,600 in the Puget Sound lowlands 20 miles east of Tacoma.
George’s mother died when he was about 10.
He enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 14, 1938. He was a ship’s cook and petty officer second class when he was badly injured in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. He died two days later.
Mr. Nelsen is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.
Sources: Internment form for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific; Census; Washington birth and death records; grave markers; Navy muster roll; family friend Dale Sellin. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.