Norman Miles Sims, my 3rd Cousin, was born on March 22, 1917, in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. He is the youngest son of Melfred Carl Sims (1885-1922) and Dollie Irene Simcosky (1888-1970). Normans’ father died when he was 5 years old. Norman played football and basketball at R.A. Long High School in Longview Washington, having to prove himself for the following reason. He felt he had the shadow of 3 older brothers hanging over him.
After High School all three of his older brothers, Franklin, Vinton, and Milfred “Swede” Jr all joined the Navy. Franklin was a First Class Seaman, Vinton was a Chief Petty Officer and Swede was a Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. In 1935, Norman wanted to follow his brothers into the Navy, however, despite him qualifying in all academic and physical fitness tests he was rejected. At 6 feet 4 inches tall, he was ½ inch too tall!
This did not deter Norman, and he decided to ask assistance with his enlistment goals. He wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt pleading his case. President Roosevelt asked the Navy to give him a special dispensation and let Norman join his 3 brothers in the service of our nation. In 1935, he joined Swede and Franklin on the U.S.S. West Virginia.
On December 31, 1941, a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Norman was assigned to the U.S.S. Pillsbury. The Pillsbury was sent to the Java Sea. This area was crucial to both sides of the fight and there were many battles that were fought for the territory. On March 1, 1942, during a battle near the Island of Java in the South Pacific, the U.S.S. Pillsbury was fired upon by 4 Japanese battleships. The ship was badly damaged and it sank. Norman and the rest of the crew went down with the ship. The Navy officially declared him dead on November 25, 1945.
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