James Pickens Anderson Jr. was born June 7, 1917, in Jordan Valley, a small town in Malheur County in southeast Oregon near the Idaho border. His mother, Ella Payne Anderson, ranched with his father.
The son finished high school in Reno, Nevada. By the time of the spring 1940 Census he was a ranch hand in McDermitt, Nevada, a town that straddles both that state’s Humboldt County and Oregon’s Malheur County. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 and earned $624. That’s equal to about $11,400 in 2020.
Young Mr. Anderson enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 4, 1940. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.