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Obituaries > MCPHERSON, CARL R., JR.

Carl R. McPherson has come back to the place of his glorious boyhood, Franklin, perhaps to make his home, after more than 35 years on the Pacific coast, but he comes with a thrilling and sad story about his 25-year-old son, Sgt. Carl R. McPherson, Jr.

Sgt. McPherson was killed by the Japs [June 15, 1944] in the fighting on Saipan Island in the Southwest Pacific, but not until he had played a real hero’s part in the war with Japan.

A year before the United States entered the war Sgt. McPherson, who was born in Bakersfield, Calif., enlisted in the Marines and he was serving in Hawaii when the Japanese staged their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. He was on the ill-fated U.S. battleship Oklahoma which was blown up in the harbor with a heavy death toll.

Sgt. McPherson was blown into the water, but apparently was unhurt. He was picked out of the water 10 minutes later and then with the aid of another Marine, George Bierman, of Los Angeles, rescued more than 100 men. The two boarded a launch and under severe strafing by the Japs they made three trips to the Oklahoma to bring the men to shore.

For his heroic effort at Pearl Harbor Sgt. McPherson was given a Presidential Citation. For the next six months he was in charge of a prison section which held 35 Jap prisoners. He was relieved of this duty to join Col. Carlson’s Raiders, a force of picked men, who made daring raids on South Pacific islands.

Sgt. McPherson participated in the Guadalcanal campaign and for his outstanding fighting there he was twice cited for bravery. He was one of a group of soldiers who went into the jungle with 48 hours’ supplies and came back 30 days later to tell about subsisting on bark and berries and annihilating 400 Japanese with loss of only a dozen or so Americans.

He was shipped home from Guadalcanal for rest and in California was assigned to military police for a time. He sought action again and was assigned to duty in the South Pacific, participating in several engagements, including the Saipan fight where he lost his life.

Much of Sgt. McPherson’s story cannot be told now, but there are probably few American fighting men [who] have seen as much service or gone through the harrowing experiences as this son of a Franklinite. Despite the rude life on Guadalcanal he was never ill nor injured.

He was the only child of Carl R. McPherson and the late Mrs. McPherson. He was married between military engagements to a California girl.

His father spent his boyhood in Franklin and when a young man he went west. For 35 years the senior McPherson served the Standard Oil Company of California, many of those years in a supervisory capacity at the Bakersfield refinery. He was retired recently, and, lonely since the loss of his son, he gave up his beautiful home in Bakersfield to return to Franklin.

At present Mr. McPherson is the guest of his brother, E. L. McPherson, 1009 Elk Street. He is a brother of Mrs. L. L. Livingston, of Franklin, Mrs. Gerald Crider, of Cochranton, and Mrs. Margaret Steinbrenner, of California.