Richard Eugene Jesson
USS West Virginia
Richard Jesson was a quartermaster and a Pearl Harbor Survivor on the USS West Virginia. When the attack began he was walking to the quarterdeck to get a newspaper. He dove over the side of the ship during the attack and hit one of the pilings. He was in the water with Benjamin Cherry. Swimming ashore, they came upon Lt. Fred White who was panting as though he might have been hit. They asked him if he was hit and he replied "I can't swim a stroke and christ am I tired."
The quartermasters were responsible for writing up the deck logs and he remembers writing up the log entries when Sea.2c R. C. Fisher was hit and killed by the propeller of a plane on the ship on July 21, 1941. He was a member of the boxing and rowing teams during his time on the USS West Virginia. He remembered serving deck watch with Dick Fiske and he was friends with Jack O'Neill, Wallie Morgan, Ed Vecera, Red Bagley and Bob Kronberger.
Jesson went to bootcamp at San Diego with Robert W. Taylor who also served on West Virginia. He saw him later at Leyte in the officer's club.
He went on to become a "Mustang" or an officer that worked his way up through the enlisetd ranks. He served on Kuaui in submarine patrol, on the gunboat San Bernardino, and he was commissioned an Ensign in San Francisco. He was the commanding officer of an LSM delivering TNT to Leyte. He left the navy in 1946 as a Lieutenant.
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