Marshall Herman Coffman was born Oct. 28, 1920, possibly in Louisville, Kentucky or southern Indiana, to Callie Mead Coffman and Marshall Henen Coffman. By 1924 the family lived in Evansville, Indiana.
The father, an Army corporal in World War I, worked at the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Shops in Evansville, but died in 1934 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, after he tried to kindle a coal fire by pouring kerosene on it. The mother remarried the next year, but the marriage did not last. She remarried again in 1940.
Marshall enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 2, 1938. He was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Sources: the Logansport (Indiana) Pharos-Tribune; Indiana death and marriage certificates; Navy muster roll. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.