MM2c Ronald William Kiehn,

Unknown Sailor

MM2c Ronald William Kiehn

Ronald William Kiehn never met his son, also named Ronald William.

The father was killed Dec. 7, 1941 on the U.S.S. Arizona when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He was a machinist’s mate and petty officer second class on the battleship.

His widow, Margert Berenice Barfield Kiehn, had given birth in California on Sept. 1. The couple had married the previous October in Long Beach.

Mr. Kiehn was born Dec. 2, 1919 in Benson, Minnesota 125 miles west of Minneapolis to Fred William Kiehn, a fireman, and Neva Irene Stapher Kiehn. The family soon moved 70 miles southeast to Stewart, Minnesota, and the parents divorced between 1920 and 1927.

The son later lived with an aunt and uncle on a Minnesota farm till 1935 and also with his mother in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he attended McKinley High School from 1935 to 1937. He had completed the 11th grade when he enlisted.

On the enlistment paper he declared “I oblige and subject myself to serve 4 years from 7 December 1937.” He fulfilled that obligation on the very day he died.


Sources: Special thanks to Ronald William Kiehn Jr. for providing many of the source documents for this profile, including the photograph. Sources include: The Minneapolis Star; California marriage license; Census; California birth index; Minnesota birth registration; Navy application for enlistment; 1937 McKinley High School yearbook. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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