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Jesse Herbert Chaffin

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Jesse Herbert Chaffin
1920-1945

“Herbert was the life of the party and full of life as everyone and anyone who ever knew him remembers him even today! The world lost a wonderful man when Herbert Chaffin left it.”

Lynda Logan (niece)

Jesse Herbert Chaffin was born April 4, 1920, at Miller’s Fork, Wayne County, West Virginia, the second child of Jesse Hubert and Ruby Blankenship Chaffin. His mother died shortly after his birth, and “Herbert,” as he was always called, and his sister Thelma were sent to live with their paternal grandmother.
Jesse Herbert Chaffin
Jesse Herbert Chaffin

Herbert and Thelma Chaffin with grandmother Laura BLankenship
Herbert and Thelma Chaffin with grandmother Laura Blankenship

When he was only six months old, Herbert became very ill. His grandmother, who was also ill, was unable to care for the children, and Herbert and Thelma were sent to live with their maternal grandparents, John and Laura Blankenship. He and his sister attended Crockett Elementary and later Wayne High School.

On June 1, 1940, Herbert married his high school sweetheart Zelma Harriet Price. A year later, on June 30, 1941, their son Robert was born.
Jesse Herbert Chaffin and Zelma Harriet Price on their wedding day
Jesse Herbert Chaffin and Zelma Harriet Price on their wedding day

Herbert Chaffin holding son Robert
Herbert Chaffin holding his son Robert
By June 1942, Herbert and Zelma were residents of Cabell County. He enlisted in the Army on June 3, 1942, at Fort Thomas Newport, Kentucky. On February 9, 1944 Herbert was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.

Sent to Guam a year later, he was bombardier for Crew 9 of the 39th Bomb Group, 60th Squadron. On its second mission, the crew was lost in action, April 15, 1945, while taking part in the 39th Bomb Group’s attack on Kawasaki, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo. Herbert and the other 10 members of the crew were lost; their bodies were not recovered. Jesse Herbert Chaffin is listed on the Tablets of Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.
Chaffin's fellow soldiers
A group of Herbert Chaffin's fellow soldiers

Jesse Herbert Chaffin
2nd Lt. Jesse Herbert Chaffin
Jesse Herbert Chaffin was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

Information provided by Lynda Logan, niece of Jesse Herbert Chaffin.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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