Ensign Jean Carter Witter was born in San Francisco on January 31, 1921 and was killed in action while serving aboard the USS San Francisco during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. He is memorialized at the Wall of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, Taguig City, Philippines. He was awarded the Navy Cross in the Night Naval Action at Guadalcanal, November 12-13, 1942.
Jean Witter attended Piedmont High School where he played quarterback on the football team and earned the Optimo Award as the most valuable player. After graduating from Piedmont High School in 1938, he attended the University of California at Berkeley where he played football and captained the rugby team. While at Cal, he was a distinguished officer candidate in the Naval ROTC. In May 1942 he received his degree and was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and soon joined the USS San Francisco then active in the Pacific.
Witter Field, the Piedmont High School sports complex, is dedicated to the memory of Jean Witter. There is a plaque at the memorial to the USS San Francisco in Lincoln Park, Land’s End, San Francisco that states, “On 12 and 13 November 1942 in the most savage naval engagement at close quarters in history, the United States Navy decisively turned back the enemy at Guadalcanal.
In memory of Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan and the men of the USS San Francisco who there gave their lives for their country and for freedom.”