Sgt. Victor Pederson enlisted in the Army a little over a year before the United States entered World War II. He served in the 41st Infantry Division, a unit activated from the National Guard divisions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. When the United States entered World War II, Pederson and the 41st deployed to the Pacific theater.
Pederson was born in Vashon Island, Washington on July 22, 1918 to Norwegian immigrants. He graduated from Vashon Island High School and began working for a paint and varnish company. In September 1940, Pedersen enlisted in the Army. One year later, on September 24, 1941 he married Maxine Staab in Seattle, Washington.
Shortly after their marriage, Pederson was called to war. He served in the Pacific theater of World War II for 2 years with the 146th Field Artillery Battalion. On May 2, 1944, he was killed in the Battle of Hollandia during the Papuan Campaign. He was 25 years old.
Pedersen’s brothers also served in the military during World War II. Both of his younger brothers, Clarence and Allen Pedersen, served in the Navy during the war. On May 3, 1945, just one day after the first anniversary of Sgt. Pederson’s death, his brother, 22-year-old Allen Pedersen, was killed when his ship was sunk off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.
The Pedersen family memorialized both Victor and Allen on the same day in July 1945. However, their remains did not return to the United States until 1949. Both brothers are now interred at Golden Gate National Cemetery.
Their stories are less known than the story of the Veteran who rests next to them. Beside the Pedersen brothers lies Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II.
Though one Veteran is more widely known, they are all honored the same. The service of Sergeant Victor Pedersen, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Allen Pedersen, and Admiral Chester Nimitz is recognized equally in Golden Gate National Cemetery. They rest side by side among thousands of other men and women who served their country.
We honor their service, ensure that their memory never fades and that their legacy never dies.