Gerald Reeves Bolling was born Sept. 15, 1922 in Crawford County in western Arkansas to Charles Jasson Bolling, a railroad locomotive fireman, and Mary Julia Flowers Bolling, a homemaker.
The son attended schools in Van Buren about 10 miles to the south, then worked at the Reynolds Drug Store and Jerry Drug Store before he enlisted in the Navy on Aug. 2, 1940.
Mr. Bolling was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
Navy records list his middle name as Revese, though a tall cenotaph at Gracelawn Cemetery in Van Buren and a standard Navy headstone at nearby Fort Smith National Cemetery say his middle name was Reeves. News accounts also say it was Reeves as does Fighting Men of Arkansas compiled by the The Arkansas Historical Institute.
One of his brothers, Charles, served in the Navy from 1950 to 1954.