Jake M. Larson was born on December 20, 1922 in Owatonna, Minnesota. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1938, lying about his age as he was only 15 years old. In February 1941, his guard unit transferred into federal service and they were now officially part of the Army. Jake trained at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana and was assigned to HQ Company, 13th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division as Company Clerk.
In January 1942, he was sent overseas and was stationed at Bellamina and Armaugh in northern Ireland. Transferring to G3, V Corps, Jake became the operations sergeant and assembled the planning books for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. Landing on Omaha Beach, he ran onto the beach while being peppered with machine gun fire and made it to the cliffs without being wounded. That night he was assigned to the night shift for the G3 as they needed to operate for 24 hours a day and he continued this duty through the Battle of the Bulge. Jake was discharged April 13, 1945.