Paul F. Hemmelgarn

Staff Sergeant Paul F. Hemmelgarn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1937.  In November 1941 he was assigned to Wake Island to serve as ground crew for Marine Squadron VMF-211.  Taking part in the defense of Wake Island, he was captured by Japanese forces on 23 December 1941.

Staff Sergeant Hemmelgarn served as a prisoner of war in both Shanghai and Osaka POW camps.  After serving over four years as a POW, he was killed in action on the night of 5 June 1945, when an American fire bombing raid struck the towns of Kobe and Osaka.  According to Japanese records, Sgt. Hemmelgarn was killed in Kobe Hospital while recovering from appendicitis surgery.

Sgt. Hemmelgarn's cremated remains were recovered after hostilities had ended, and he is permanently interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu, Hawaii




Photos of Sgt Hemmelgarn, ca. 1937


Sgt. Hemmelgarn's posthumously awarded Purple Heart and certificate



Marine Expeditionary Medal, with Wake Island Bart


Telegram notifying his father that Sgt. Hemmelgard as killed in action




Hemmelgarn's appointment to Sergeant


Hemmelgarn's appointment to Staff Sergeant


Notification to father that Sgt. Hemmelgarn may be a POW


Notification to father that Sgt. Hemmelgarn is indeed a POW


Notification to family that Sgt. Hemmelgarn's name was broadcast on Tokyo radio


Notification to family of Sgt. Hemmelgarn's mailing address


Transmittal letter for Asiatic-Pacific campaign medal


General Vandergrift sympathy letter


Purple Heart transmittal letter


American Defense and WWII Victory medal transmittal letter


Detailed report of Hemmelgarn's loss


Transmittal letter for Presidential Unit Citation Medal and Marine Expeditionary Medal


Initial Report of recovered remains


Marine Corps Discharge Certificate




POW Mail from Sgt. Hemmelgarn to his family


December 19, 1941 letter to his family, written four days before the fall of Wake Island