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