U.S. Navy Petty Officer Paul Lester Harvey

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Paul Lester Harvey of Fontana died in World War II.

Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Harvey of Fontana learned in the third week of March 1944 that their son, United States Navy Petty Officer and Electrician’s Mate Second Class, Paul Lester Harvey was reported Missing in Action. Petty Officer Harvey was later declared Killed in Action.

Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs wrote Petty Officer Harvey’s parents, saying:

“…your son, Paul Lester Harvey… is missing in action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country. The (Navy) department appreciates your great anxiety but details are not now available and delay in receipt must necessarily be expected.”

It was later determined that Harvey was killed while on submariner patrol on the SS-278 Scorpion, off the southern coast of South Korea. The Scorpion was credited with sinking 10 enemy ships and damaging two more for a total of 16,000 tons. Her three patrols before being lost at sea were in the approaches of Tokyo, the Yellow Sea and in the Mariana Islands. No other details regarding the circumstances of his death have been found. Harvey was eventually declared “Killed in Action (KIA),” one of 22 men from Fontana who died in WWII.

Harvey lived at 133 Martin Street and attended Fontana elementary schools and Fontana Junior High before graduating from Chaffey High School before Fontana High School was built. He was born in Boston, MA in 1917 and came to Fontana with his parents in 1925. While in school he was known as outstanding athlete, especially in football and track. He was a charter member of the Fontana Boy’s band and later the Chaffey band.

After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March 1942 and underwent boot camp at the San Diego Naval Station. From there he was sent to New London, CT, where he completed his submarine training, receiving the Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class rating. He returned to Fontana for a visit with his family before deployment in the spring of 1943. He was then sent to overseas duty and earned his Petty officer rating.

For his service, Petty Officer Harvey was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

(As always, Bill Freeman would appreciate hearing from you if you have more information regarding Petty Officer Harvey or any of the other Fontanans killed in WWII, Korea, Vietnam or the War on Terror. He may be contacted at billfreeman68@yahoo.com.

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