In Memory of
Navy Fire Man 3C
James Mallory Cobb
Dell Rapids, South Dakota
Minnehaha County
July 13, 1920 – November 30, 1942
 Killed in Action in Okinawa

James Mallory Cobb

James Mallory Cobb, often called “Jimmy,” was born July 13, 1920. His mother was Mrs. Ruth Cobb. In high school, Jimmy had been involved in sports, especially enjoying football. Cobb was also a superior swimmer; he served as a lifeguard in Dell Rapids and Sioux Falls. His niece, Ruth Crosby, described Jim as an “outgoing, fun loving boy who made friends easily.”

Jimmy enlisted in the Navy in February of 1942. He was a Fireman 3rd Class assigned to the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Pensacola.  On November 30, 1942, James Cobb was fighting with the Japanese Navy off the island of Tassafaronga when the U.S.S. Pensacola (often called the “Gray Ghost”) was hit by an enemy submarine torpedo, which hit next to the compartment that Jimmy was in and killed him instantly;  other Navy personnel aboard the ship were able to extinguish the fire and the ship was used in many more battles. 

The last letter Jimmy wrote to his family was written a few days before Thanksgiving. The letter contained a poem:

“It is the night before Thanksgiving
And I’m thankful I’m still living
For so many men have fought and died

We’re a proud bunch it is true
Give an order and we carry through
Patrolling this ocean for you tonight

We think of our homes and folks we love
And we ask the Lord up above
To protect and guide us in this fight.”

This information was respectfully submitted by Clinton Johnson, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, February 29, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Allen B. Brown, Dell Rapids, Jean Metli, Sioux Falls, and Ruth Crosby, Madison, South Dakota, niece of James Mallory Cobb.