In Memory of
U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class
Arnold Leo Anderson
Waverly, South Dakota
Codington County
November 24, 1922-December 7, 1941
Killed in Action on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Arnold Leo Anderson marker & dogtags at the memorial dedication

Arnold Leo Anderson was born in Maida, N.D. on November 24, 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Anderson.  He moved with his parents to Waverly in June, 1938.  His father, Alvin Anderson, was the manager of the elevator in Waverly.  He had two siblings, a sister, Bonnie Jean and a brother, Ellis Dean.  He graduated from Waverly High School in the spring of 1940.  He was called by the nickname of “Leo” by his friends and family.  Leo was a well liked young lad and was involved in sports and other school activities. 

Three inseparable high school friends joined the service on December 2, 1940 at the Watertown Recruiting Station.  They were John F. (Bud) Wall, Jr., Arnold Leo Anderson and Edward “Dewey” Schulz.  They were all sent to Boot Camp Training at Great Lakes, Illinois.  Leo and Dewey became ill during basic training and were out of training camp for ten days.  As a result, they were sent back to another company.  Upon completion of training, Seaman 1st Class Anderson was assigned to the USS Nevada.  His only brother, Ellis Dean Anderson, died October 20, 1941 of encephalitis at the Watertown hospital.

Arnold Leo Anderson was killed in action on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  He was the first Codington County serviceman killed in World War II.  The USS Nevada attempted to depart Pearl Harbor when the bombing began.  A Japanese bomb hit the ship’s propeller resulting in beaching the vessel.  Seaman Anderson’s gun crew continued to fire upon the enemy.  On the third bombing run by the Japanese, a bomb hit Seaman Anderson’s crew.  He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

The father of Seaman Anderson was an active member of the Codington County American Legion Post No. 16 and served with the American forces in World War I.  Mr. Anderson when he heard of son’s death expressed a desire to enlist in this country’s armed forces again. 

Upon his death, Seaman Anderson was buried at Hickman Field, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  In 1957, Seaman 1st Class Anderson’s body was returned to the mainland and interned at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.  His best buddy, John “Bud” Wall and his wife attended the service to welcome their friend and hero home.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Bonnie Bjork, Pierre, South Dakota, August 6, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by John F. Wall, Jr., Watertown, South Dakota and the archives of the Watertown Public Opinion