In a January 1941 letter to his family, sailor John Quitman Davis wrote that he would soon try to send home at least $10 of his $30 monthly pay.
“I had planned to leave it on the books until I got out of the Navy but you need it and I will help as much as I can,” he told his parents and brothers in Tangipahoa Parish in east Louisiana north of New Orleans.
His parents, Perry Davis and Velma Varnado Davis, were farmers, and like many of their neighbors, they reported no income from farming in 1939.
Their son — one of about 11 children — was born in Mississippi. He’d completed two years of high school by 1940 and enlisted in the Navy that July.
Near the end of his letter he asked, “How do you like the way the war is going. I don’t think we will be in it soon do you. Do Don’t worry about anything and we will make it.” (correct that he wrote Do Don’t.)
Mr. Davis, born Sept. 15, 1921, 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.
At least one of his brothers, Arthur, also served in the Navy during World War II.
Sources: The News-Star of Monroe, Louisiana; Census; Navy muster roll; grave markers. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.