S2c Roscoe Earl Peterson


S2c Roscoe Earl Peterson

Roscoe Earl “Rocky” Peterson was such a good baseball player that at age 14 he joined a semi-pro team, the Crescent City (California) Merchants.

He became a professional after his third year of high school and bounced around on various teams, including a stint in 1935 when he played on the San Francisco Seals winter team with Joe DiMaggio. He also played outfield and pitched for teams in Tacoma, Washington; Lewiston, Idaho; and Salem and Medford, Oregon.

Rocky enlisted in the Navy on Halloween 1940. He was a seaman second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

He was born in Ashland, Oregon 12 miles north of California on the west slopes of the Cascades on Jan. 16, 1919. His mother was Gladys Richardson Peterson and his father was Arthur Peterson. They had four other children. 

In the early 1920s the family moved 80 miles southwest to Crescent City amidst tall coastal redwoods and the parents operated a retail grocery, Tourist Market. Rocky graduated from Del Norte High School, where he also played basketball.

On the Fourth of July 1943 the local ballpark in Crescent City was named Peterson Park. As the years passed, few locals knew the story behind the name. Then the Crescent City chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution stepped in and led a campaign to install a lighted flagpole and plaque with Rocky’s photo and history at the park. It was dedicated in April 2017.


Sources: Special thanks to Christine Long and the Daughters of the American Revolution for most of the information in this profile and for the photo. Other sources include: The Del Norte Triplicate of California; Mill Valley Record; U.S. Navy muster rolls; Defense Department. Rocky Peterson is second from the right in the photo of the Del Norte High School team. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM