Army Badge
  • Name: Jerome "Jerry" Donald Larson
  • Location of Birth: Coleraine, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: January 9, 1913
  • Date of Death: July 11, 1977
  • Parents: Charles Larson & Dora (Johnson) Larson
  • High School and Class: 1931 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank:
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: July 21, 1943
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: December 17, 1945
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: Jerome Donald Larson
    Race: White
    Age: 27
    Birth Date: January 9, 1913
    Birth Place: Coleraine, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: October 16, 1940
    Employer: Larson Bros. Garage, Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota
    Complexion: Light
    Eye Color: Blue
    Hair Color: Blonde
    Next of Kin: Dora Larson, mother, Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota

    Newspaper article: 1944 – “Jerome Larson, who is stationed in New Guinea with a special brigade of Engineers, will have some interesting stories to tell after the war, and here is one of them. After a trip of a month’s duration across the expansive Pacific, just prior to landing, soldiers on the transport were listening to a Jap radio program in English, which told how the ship they were on had been sunk two days previous. The soldiers were much surprised, not having heard of it before. Jerome writes his parents that he likes New Guinea climate, and is greatly interested in the animal, fish and vegetable life, the latter with bananas and other fruits growing wild. He reports that the natives are very timid, but the soldiers and natives get along in friendly fashion, and that a cigarette will cause a native to scamper up a tall coconut tree to shake down the coconuts when they are wanted. Jerome is in an area where foxholes are popular, but there is less trouble now than at first.

    Newspaper article: 1944 – “Jerome Larson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Larson of Coleraine is in New Guinea. Don’t think he fishes all the time! He doesn’t! He was one of this area’s most capable mechanics, and when Uncle Sam got hold of him it took that lean and lanky, striped-pants gentleman with the long-tailed coat and the high hat only a few weeks to send “Jerome” across; that same mechanical knowledge standing Uncle Sam in good stead. The story of his fishing trip is purely incidental to a homey and family letter to his dad, but is an interesting and well told episode of the hours when the men are not on duty; and fishing off the cost of New Guinea is probably something which Jerome Larson, on the fishing trips in summer on Balsam Lake, where the Larsons have a cabin, he never expected to have happen to him. Larson says: “I’ve been doing a lot of fishing, and Dad, we don’t fish with a line, either. We use dynamite or a block of TNT, and have our choice of either salt or fresh water fish. If we don’t get fish in the river, we go down to the ocean, four or five of us together. We wade in water up to our waists and walking along the shore you can spot the fish in shoals as they swim near the surface. We usually tie four or five blocks of TNT together, use a three-inch fuse, so that it goes off in about three seconds. We have been pretty lucky, picking up 70 pounds of fish in one charge the other day. They range from a half-pound to 10 pounds of several varieties, and taste a lot like our Minnesota walleyes.” And then Larson goes on to say what a treat these fish are to the men after “a month straight of nothing but corned beef.” But he tells of how, at first before they got onto the game of the natives, they lost some of the biggest of the catch. “The natives are foxy as hell, and we give them some of the fish to pay them for helping pick them up; but we caught them pinning some of the big fish to the bottom with sticks, and then when we had gone back to shore, they would wade out and get them.” Larson says it gets terribly hot during the day, as they are very near the equator, but the nights are cool enough so that they sleep under a blanket. Flies were terrible, they having located their mess hall where the Japs, who occupied the territory before they did, had their “food dump.” However, the mess had been screened and they could eat without hundreds of flies on the table. He has been seven months in the jungle.”

    Newspaper article: Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota - 1944 – “Jerome Larson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Larson of Coleraine, writes this interesting letter to Mrs. Ralph Cratty, secretary of the Serviceman’s Club: “. . . My sincere thanks for the birthday greetings, the gift and for The Iron News. The paper comes regularly and I more than enjoy reading of the happenings at home. I’m feeling fine, even after spending a year in these jungles under tough conditions at times. All of us get feeling low and lonesome for our loved ones quite often, but we look forward to the day when all this will be just a memory, and it kind of keeps our chins up. The sights I’ve seen and the experiences I’ve had the past year . . . We are not combat troops, but our job as amphibious engineers brings us into the fighting zone. Units of our brigade have spearheaded almost every major beachhead in the South Pacific; so, all in all, we’ve been in the thick and thin of this fight for freedom. Lady Luck has been kind to our outfit and I’m keeping my fingers crossed as to what the future holds. I’ll give my cake to the infantry and assault wave that hits the beach. Their life on the front lines is a nightmare. I had a taste of it when I spent two weeks at the front when a Jap break-thru looked possible. It made me realize that a hot meal, a dry blanket and a cot to sleep on are luxuries over here. On the beach we are at the mercy of enemy bombers that break thru, but their bombing is usually hit-and-miss and I’m thankful for that. I’ve seen all of New Guinea, with its jungles, coconut trees, natives and other oddities that I care to see. Some spots are really beautiful, but I would not trade an acre of Itasca county land for the whole of it. I’m hoping for just a few more weeks here, for there are prospects of us having real turkey and a few cans of beer for Thanksgiving. Thanks again, folks; and last but not least, I know what it means to have the love of a wife, father and mother and friends, and am praying for the day when I can see them again. Until then, I’ll say so long. Sincerely, Jerome.”

    Newspaper article: September 1945 – “Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Larson have received word this week from their son, Jerome, that he is being shipped to Japan, but that he hoped he would be able to write soon from there that he was coming home. “Jerry” has been in the service of the Army for quite some time, and has participated in many of the major Pacific battles.”

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Jerry Larson worked for School District 316, Coleraine, Minnesota, for 30 years. He was a veteran of WW II and was a member of the Hurlbut-Ziemer American Legion Post 476.

    Jerry died in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Coleraine, Minnesota (Block 122). He is survived by his wife, Myrtle; two daughters, Judy (Art) Schmitz, and Kristin (Alan) Goodman; two sons, Alan Larson & James M. Larson; three sisters, Helen (George) Beeman, Doris (Robert) Myers, and Ione (David) Packer; and six grandchildren.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):