Virgil Denton Davis was born Nov. 3, 1921 in Missouri, probably in the Ozarks near the Arkansas border. His father was William Denton and his mother, the former Georgia Davis.
By the time of the 1930 Census, Virgil and his younger brother, Billy, were living with their mother in south-central Missouri east of West Plains in Howell Township, where she was a laundress.
By 1935 the mother and sons were in Peoria, Illinois, and she was remarried. The 1940 Census says that Virgil was a student after March 1 and had completed the 6th grade, but also says that in 1939 he was a janitor at a hotel, earning $500 for 52 weeks of work. The boys were listed in the 1930 and 1940 Census with the last name Denton.
When Virgil enlisted in the Marines on Oct. 7, 1940, his name became Virgil D. Davis. He was a private when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Sources: the Pantagraph of Bloomington, Illinois; Census. Marine photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.