Polk County

Lt. Jean Davis King





Des Moines in the Service

Mrs. Jean Davis King, daughter of Mrs. Stella Davis, 517 Franklin ave., has been graduated from the naval reserve midshipman's school, Northampton, Mass., with the rank of ensign, and assigned to active duty.

Source: Des Moines Tribune, November 24, 1943

Husband Missing, She Fights On

Washington -- "If I weren't in uniform myself now, I would feel I was shirking my duty. Of course, I have the highest hopes for Don's safety - he was such a resourceful flyer - but knowing that he is missing in action, I find it much easier to bear because I am in uniform myself. You never really know a loss unless you are giving something yourself."

Ensign Jean Davis King, U.S.N.R., who spoke these words, first learned that her husband, an army air forces flyer, was missing in action after a raid over Rabul early last month.

At the time she was just finishing her indoctrination training as an officer in the naval reserve. Now, as administrative aide to a captain in the office of the chief of naval operations in Washington, Mrs. King is working harder than ever because of her personal realization of the importance of wining this war quickly.

"Those of us who are the wives of men in the service have so much we can contribute to winning the war. There's a job to be done and we should all pitch in and do it. Every man who can be released to fight at sea should be - than perhaps our husbands can come home sooner.

"It's so much easier for me to be fighting too, rather than just waiting for Don to come home."

"Don" is Lt. Donald Y. King, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. King, 2300 Bever ave SE.

Young, brunette Mrs. King, who was graduated from the University of Iowa in 1941, stayed with her husband until Lt. King was sent to the South Pacific last July. They had known each other as fellow students at Iowa and had married almost two years when he left to take part in the New Guinea campaign as a fighter pilot.

"As soon as he left, I decided to join the service myself," Mrs. King relates. "He was enthusiastic about it. Like myself, he felt strongly that in these war days, wives should do as much to help as their husbands."

Friends thought it was curious that Mrs. King joined the navy while her husband was in the army. Her answer: "It seemed to me the Pacific was is the navy's war, that his speedier return would depend basically on the navy's strength in the Pacific. I felt that if I could release a man to help win in the theater, I would be making the best possible personal contribution to victory."

Lt. King already had five Zeros to his credit, according to Mrs. King, before he took part in the big raid pf Nov. 2 on the harbor of Rabul.

Somehow, Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt hear that he was missing after that attack, and that Ensign King was in Washington. So on Tuesday, Nov 23, Mrs. King went to the White House at the First Lady's invitation and had tea with Mrs. Roosevelt.

"It was a very friendly, informal affair. I was deeply touched that Mrs. Roosevelt should take a personal interest in my trouble - she was such a sympathetic person to talk to."

Mrs. King goes about her duties, however, without the outward indication of worry.

"There's job to be done."

Source: The Gazette, Cedar Rapids IA - December 5, 1943 (photo included)

POSTHUMOUS AWARD -- Lt. Jean Davis King, WAVE, receives posthumous award for her husband, Air Force pilot Lt. Donald Y. King of Cedar Rapids, lost in aerial combat in the Pacific during World War II. Brig. Gen. Glenn O. Barcus, Twelfth air force commanding general, made the presentation in a special ceremony at March air force base, Riverside, Calif.

Source: The Gazette, Cedar Rapids IA - February 22, 1948 (photo included)