Grant Frederick Timmerman was born in Americus, Kansas on February 19, 1919. In the summer of 1937, he moved from his native Kansas to California, where he found employment as a welder.
Welding didn’t hold his fancy though, and on October 28, 1937 Timmerman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After recruit training and a brief stint serving on the west coast, he was assigned for duty in China, where he would spend nearly three years from May 1938 until April 1941. After his discharge from his four-year enlistment on October 27, 1941, he returned to work as a welder.
Five weeks later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the United States was plunged into World War II.