Purple Heart Collection

Home
Purple Heart History
Purple Heart Collection
Interesting Medal Groups
eBay and Engraved Medals
Links
Contact Me

 

 

 A few items from my personal Purple Heart collection


 

ALFRED H. AKERS

Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Alfred H. Akers served aboard USS Reid (DD-369).

In her final hours on December 11, 1944, REID was protecting a re-supply force of amphibious craft bound for Ormoc Bay off the west coast of Leyte.  About 1700 twelve enemy planes approached the convoy.  REID was the nearest ship to the oncoming planes.  Planes 1 and 2 were shot down by the 5" battery.  Plane 3 exploded about 500 yards off the starboard beam.  Plane 4 hooked a wing on the starboard rigging, crashing at the waterline.  His bomb exploded, doing considerable damage forward. Plane 5 strafed the starboard side and crashed on the port bow.  Plane 6 strafed the bridge from the port side and crashed off the starboard bow.  Planes 5 and 6 apparently had no bombs or they were duds.  Plane 7 came in from astern strafing and crashed into the port quarter.  His bomb exploded in the after magazine blowing the ship apart. All this action took place in less than a minute.

The ship was mortally wounded but still doing 20 knots.  As the stern opened up, she rolled violently, then laid over on her starboard side and dove to the bottom at 600 fathoms.  It was over in less than two minutes.  103 shipmates went down with her.  The survivors were strafed in the water by Japanese planes before rescue.

Akers' Navy Cross Citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Electrician's Mate Third Class Alfred Howard Akers, Jr. (NSN: 3377714), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in action against the enemy while serving on board the Destroyer U.S.S. REID (DD-369), in action against the enemy on 11 December 1944, in the Mindanao Sea in the Philippine Islands. Electrician's mate Third Class Akers demonstrated outstanding heroism and self-sacrifice in assisting a wounded shipmate escape from the U.S.S. REID, while she was afire and sinking as the result of an enemy air attack on 11 December 1944. Although the ship was literally ripped apart in the vicinity of his battle station, the steering motor room, and was already flooding through his escape hatch, Electricians Mate Third Class Akers forfeited his opportunity to escape in order to assist a wounded shipmate up through the hatch and into the clear. Within seconds the ship rolled over and sank. The gallant courage and spirit of self-sacrifice displayed by Electrician's Mate Third Class Akers exemplifies the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Akers was from St Louis, Missouri. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing, American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.

 

 

 

LAWRENCE N. ANDERSON

T/Sgt. Anderson served as the top turret gunner and flight engineer aboard B-24G serial number 42-78318 named "All Meat - No Potatoes." Anderson was killed on August 7, 1944. The aircraft's target for the day was the synthetic oil refineries at Blechhammer North, Germany. While over the target, Anderson's aircraft took a direct flak hit, tearing off the #1 engine and putting the plane into a spin. Five of the crew we able to bail out, and became prisoners of war. In post-war interviews, surviving crewmembers remember seeing Anderson dead in his top turret position, apparently killed by the initial flak hit.

Anderson was from Wakefield, Massachusetts.

He is buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky

 

 

WILLIAM H. ARLEDGE

Pfc. William H. Arledge served with Company B, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and was killed in action on October 6, 1944 during the savage fighting at Opheusden, Holland.

George Koskimaki, in his book Hell's Highway tells the story of Arledge's death as related by B Company communications Corporal Henry Gogola:

"We were in a ditch about fifty yards or so from the road when, suddenly, we saw what I believe was a Tiger tank looking right down our throats. His machine gun was chattering to pin us down. It fired an artillery round in our direction.  The ground shook like Jello. I know that I bounced up and was slammed back down. I heard a scream close by and saw PFC Bill Arledge not more than eight feet to my side. He had a good part of his torso blown away but was still alive - barely. I shot him up with morphine. There was not much more I could do for him. He was gone within a very short time. Another friend lost."

Arledge's body was never recovered and he is memorialized on the Tablet of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Holland.  Arledge was from Jefferson County, Alabama.

 

 


Baker's grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY

JAMES M. BAKER

1st Lt. James M. Baker, 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, was KIA 20 July 1944  aboard B-26 Ser #42-96021. While on their bombing run against the Ostiglia Road Bridge near Corniglio, Italy, Baker's aircraft was hit by accurate anti-aircraft fire, knocking out one of the plane's two engines and jamming the bomb bay doors open. Numerous eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane lose altitude, even as the crew began to jettison all loose equipment. The aircraft eventually struck a mountain overlooking the town of Bosco di Corniglia, exploding on impact.

 Baker was from Chicago, Illinois. He is buried with his fellow crewmen in a mass grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.

 

Zeke crashes into the USS St Lo flight deck.


Secondary explosions aboard the St. Lo.


The USS St. Lo, early 1944

 

HERMAN W. BANKS

Electricians Mate 2nd Class Herman W. Banks was killed in action 25 October 1944 aboard the escort carrier USS St. Lo during the Battle Off Samar. After surviving the earlier morning's attack on the Task Force, at 10:51 a.m. the ship was called to General Quarters in anticipation of an air attack. As the St. Lo was landing planes, a kamikaze aircraft entered the landing pattern and crashed into the flight deck, its bombs penetrating the hangar deck where crews were refueling and rearming planes. The resulting explosions from the ship's own ammunition and gasoline ultimately reached the bomb stowage, causing a massive explosion which eventually sank the St. Lo.

Banks was from Yellow Springs, Ohio. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.

 

 

 

HARRY D. BASSLER

Lt. Harry D. Bassler flew with the 365th Fighter Squadron, 358th Fighter Group. He was KIA on 22 August 1944, while flying a ground attack mission on a Luftwaffe airfield near Tours-sur-Marne, France. Bassler is credited with one aerial victory, which occurred on 17 July 1944. He was flying a P47D, serial number 42-27175.

He is buried at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France.

 

 

Warren W. Becker, Camp Mackall, ca. 1943

 

WARREN W. BECKER

Sgt. Warren W. Becker served with Co. I, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.  He was KIA on September 27, 1944, during Operation Market Garden near Groesbeek, Holland.

Originally buried in the US military cemetery in Molenhoek, Holland, his remains were later repatriated to Eden Cemetery in Schiller Park, IL. Becker was from Chicago, IL.

 

 

JAMES D. BENDER

Col. Bender was the Regimental Commander of the 331st Inf. Regt., 83rd Division, and was killed in action 11 July 1944 when the jeep he was traveling in was hit by a German 88 shell near Marchesieux, France. Bender won his Silver Star during WWI. He is buried at Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent, France. 

Bender was from East Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is buried at Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France

 

 

FRANK J. BELTER

S/Sgt. Belter was KIA 11 February 1945 during house to house fighting in Oberhoffen, France. He served with Co I, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.

His posthumous Silver Star was awarded:

for gallantry in action on 11 February, 1945 in France. While attacking well-fortified houses in an enemy held town... Sgt. Belter volunteered to lead his squad across open, fire-swept terrain into a group of houses where they could deliver fire on the enemy's rear. Fully aware of the danger involved he started to advance across the open space. While running towards his objective Sgt. Belter was killed by machine-gun fire. His heroic action inspired his comrades to renewed aggressiveness against the hostile force.

His body was never recovered. Sgt. Belter was from Park Falls, Wisconsin.

 

 

 

FRANK W. BOHLANDER JR.

Seaman Second Class Frank W. Bohlander Jr. served aboard the USS Lexington (CV-2) and was killed in action on 8 May 1942 during the Battle of Coral Sea.

On the morning of 8 May, Lexington was struck by two torpedoes and two bombs launched by Japanese aircraft.  She continued flight operations until massive explosions and fires forced the Captain to order "abandon ship" at 1700 hours. Some 216 crewmen were killed and 2,735 were evacuated.

Bohlander was from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He is officially listed as missing in action.

 

 

FREDERICK H. BEYER

Pfc. Beyer, Ordinance Department, was KIA 24 October 1944 while being transported as a POW aboard the Japanese transport Arisan Maru when the ship was torpedoed by an American submarine in the Bashi Straits while en route from Manila to Formosa. Of the 1340 prisoners aboard the Arisan Maru only nine were known to have survived the sinking.

Beyer was from Alhambra, California

 

 

VANCE A. BRADSHAW

S/Sgt. Bradshaw, Medical Department, died of wounds on 25 January 1945, while being transported aboard the Japanese transport Brazil Maru en route from Formosa to Japan and was buried at sea by his captors. Of the 1620 prisoners who began transport on 13 Dec 1944, approximately 500 survivors reached Japan on Jan 30, 1945.

Bradshaw was from Ontario, California.

 

 

LEONARD E. BRUCE

Pfc. Bruce, Co. I, 502nd PIR, 101st Airborne Division, was KIA 3 January 1945 near Bastogne. He is permanently interred at Luxembourg American Cemetery, Hamm, Luxembourg.

Bruce was from St. Louis, Missouri.

 


Fires aboard the USS Franklin, 3/19/45

 

HAROLD BURKE

Seaman 2nd Class Harold Burke served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CVN-13).  On March 19, 1945, the Franklin maneuvered within 50 miles of the Japanese coast, in order to launch fighter sweeps against Honshu and shipping strikes in Kobe Harbor. A Japanese bomber attacked the Franklin, dropping two bombs on her flight deck, which set off ammunition, bombs and rockets. Burke along with 723 other shipmates were killed in that attack. 

Burke is officially listed as missing in action. He was from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

 

 

THOMAS B. BYRD

Pfc. Thomas B. Byrd served with Co. D, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and was KIA on 15 June 1944 near Les Rosiers, France. On that date the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 505th PIR were ordered to attack west with the objective of taking the town of St.-Sauveur-le-Vicomte. While approaching the hamlet of Les Rosiers, Co. D ran into heavy German resistance, including two 75mm anti-tank guns and a 37mm antiaircraft gun.  During the course of the engagement, Byrd was killed in action.

Byrd was from McKinley County, New Mexico. He is buried at Carlton Cemetery, Carlton, Texas.

DONALD T. CHILDERS

Captain Donald T. Childers served as Company Commander of Co. E, 57th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Scouts. After intense fighting on Bataan, the Philippine Scouts and other American units surrendered to overwhelming Japanese forces in April 1942. After surviving the Bataan Death March and horrific condition as a POW at Camp O'Donnell, Childers was KIA on October 24, 1944 aboard the Japanese transport Arisan Maru when the ship was torpedoed by an American submarine in the Bashi Straits while en route from Manila to Formosa. Of the 1340 prisoners aboard the Arisan Maru only nine were known to have survived the sinking.

Childers was from Oregon.

WALTER J. CLARK

QM3c Walter J. Clark was assigned to service aboard USS Tang, SS-306, on 18 September 1944, 6 days prior to her leaving Pearl Harbor on her 5th war patrol. Tang was commanded by LCDR Richard H. O'Kane.

On her second major action on this patrol, Tang made contact with a large Japanese convoy on 23 October.

She closed three ships in a night surface attack, two of her torpedoes hitting the closest, one more hit the second, and two more blasted the stern of the farthest ship. While lining up her stern tubes on a tanker, Tang had to maneuver quickly to avoid a transport, which was attempting to ram. Since the tanker was also trying to ram, the transport's efforts backfired, and she ended up ramming the tanker instead. Tang fired her four stern tubes at 400 yards, and the tanker sank. As Tang raced away to avoid the escorts the transport exploded.

The next evening, Tang found another convoy. She fired six torpedoes at three targets. Running parallel to the convoy while picking another target, she fired her stern tubes at another transport and tanker. The tanker blew up and a hit was observed on the transport. A destroyer, which had come around the tanker's stern, also blew up. The transport remained afloat, but was dead in the water.

Returning after hauling off to avoid a counter attack, Tang fired her last two torpedoes at the tanker. The last torpedo was defective and began a circular run. Tang put on full emergency power and maneuvered to evade, but the torpedo returned and struck her aft. O'Kane and eight others went into the water. Five more used their Momsen Lung escape gear to get to the surface from the sunken submarine. By morning, only nine, including O'Kane, were still alive to be picked up and imprisoned by the Japanese. They spent the rest of the war as prisoners.

Dick O'Kane received the Medal of Honor for this action. His citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the USS Tang operating against two enemy Japanese convoys on 23 and 24 October 1944, during her fifth and last war patrol. Boldly maneuvering on the surface into the midst of a heavily escorted convoy, Cmdr. O'Kane stood in the fusillade of bullets and shells from all directions to launch smashing hits on three tankers, coolly swung his ship to fire at a freighter and, in a split second decision, shot out of the path of an onrushing transport, missing it by inches. Boxed in by blazing tankers, a freighter, transport and several destroyers, he blasted two of the targets with his remaining torpedoes and, with pyrotechnics bursting on all sides, cleared the area. Twenty four hours later he again made contact with a heavily escorted convoy steaming to support the Leyte campaign with reinforcements and supplies and with crated planes piled high on each unit. In defiance of the enemy's relentless fire, he closed the concentration of ship and in quick succession sent two torpedoes each into the first and second transports and an adjacent tanker, finding his mark with each torpedo in a series of violent explosions at less than 1,000 yard range. With ships bearing down on all sides, he charged the enemy at high speed, exploding the tanker in a burst of flame, smashing the transport dead on the water, and blasting the destroyer with a mighty roar which rocked the Tang from stem to stern. Expending his last two torpedoes into the remnants of a once powerful convoy before his own ship went down, Cmdr. O'Kane aided by his gallant command, achieved an illustrious record of heroism in combat, enhancing the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

 

 

ROY H. COMBS

Pvt. Combs served with Co. B, 1st Engineer Combat Battalion, 1st Division, and was KIA 10 October 1944 during the severe fighting during the 1st Division's assault on the fortified town of Aachen.

Combs was from Jackson County, Illinois and is buried at Ava Evergreen Cemetery in Ava, IL.

 

ARTHUR DIIRCK, JR.

Ensign Arthur Diirck graduated from the US Naval Academy in June, 1942, and he was serving aboard USS VINCENNES on the night of August 8-9, 1942, when the cruiser VINCENNES was attacked by the Japanese 8th Fleet in the Battle of Savo Island

Diirck was from Los Angeles, California. His remains were never recovered.
 

JOHN R. DONNELLY

Sgt. Donnelly, 641st Bomb Squadron, 409th Bomb Group (L), was killed in a midair collision aboard A-20G serial number 43-9703 on 11 June 1944 during assembly 3 miles from their Air Base in Little Walden, England.

HAL H. DUPUY

Torpedoman 3rd Class Hal H. Dupuy served aboard the submarine USS Shark (SS-314). The Shark failed to return from her third war patrol. She was officially listed as missing in action on November 7. 1944.

The Shark 's last contact was made with the USS Seadragon on October 24th, when she stated she had made contact with a single freighter and was preparing to attack. A short time later the Japanese Hellship Arisan Maru, carrying 1800 American Prisoners of war, was sunk by a torpedo from an American submarine.  No other submarine reported this attack, and it can only be assumed that the Shark made the attack on the Arisan Maru, and perished during or after the attack.

Dupuy was from Duncan, Oklahoma.

 

 

 

VINTON J. EARLE

Seaman 1st Class Vinton J. Earle served aboard the USS Golet (SS-361). The Golet failed to return from her second war patrol. After the war, found Japanese records indicated a successful anti-submarine attack was made on a boat on June 14, 1944 within Golet's assigned patrol area. It is assumed that it was indeed Golet that was sunk on this date.

Earle was from Lisbon Falls, Maine.

 

JOHN L. EGNEW

Aviation Machinist Mate Second Class John L. Egnew served with Navy aviation squadron V-205, flying PBM-3s Martin Mariners out of Trinidad.  While on anti-submarine patrol on 6 August 1943, Egnew's aircraft spotted the German U-boat U-615. At approximately 1320 hours, Egnew's aircraft reported that they were attacking the U-boat. Five minutes later they reported their position, and stated they had damaged the boat. A few minutes later a third report came in stating "DAMAGED, FIRE." His aircraft was never heard from again.

After a two day running battle with the U-boat, the U-615 was eventually sunk. Surviving crewmembers of the boat, in interviews recorded after their rescue, told of shooting down Egnew's PBM, which crashed into the sea nearby the U-boat.

 

ellison2.jpg (66184 bytes)

ellison3.jpg (39909 bytes)

 

ALBERT J. ELLISON

1st Lt Ellison, Co. E, 511 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division was killed in action February 8, 1945 while attempting to rescue trapped troops during the assault on Manila near Nichols Field.  Ellison was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic actions on 10 December 1944 during a counterattack against Japanese positions.  

Interestingly, Albert's son, Robert J. Ellison, who he never met, went on to become an award winning photojournalist during the Vietnam War, and was killed in action on March 6, 1968 near Khe Sanh, two weeks before his feature photographs were published in Newsweek

ARTHUR D. ERWIN

Lt. Erwin  was KIA 20 June 1944 over Misburg Germany while serving with the 838th Sq., 487th BG. Lt. Erwin was from Texarkana, Arkansas. On 20 June 1944, Lt. Erwin was the pilot aboard B-24H serial number 42-95217 on a bombing mission against the oil refinery and storage depots at Hannover-Misburg, Germany. While over the target Lt. Erwin's plane took a direct hit from enemy flak which tore off its tail.

Lt. Erwin was originally interred in the German military cemetery at Hannover-Limmer. His remains were repatriated and his final resting place is at Woodlawn Cemetery, Texarkana, Arkansas.

 

feuer1.jpg (79815 bytes)

feuer01.JPG (255185 bytes)

 

WALTER A. FEUER

S/Sgt Feuer served with the 337th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group. On June 13, 1943, acting as right waist gunner, his B-17 was attacked by 3 FW-190's off Kiel, Germany.  With the aircraft on fire and out of control, the crew bailed out.  Two of the crew survived to become POW's, while the others landed in the Baltic Sea and were presumed to have drowned. 

S/Sgt Feuer's remains were found on the Kiel shore, and he was repatriated to Cedar Park Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

 

 

 

RAYMOND P. FISHER

Parachute Rigger 2nd Class Fisher served aboard the escort carrier USS Liscombe Bay. On November 24, 1943, the Liscombe Bay was struck by by two torpedoes launched by the Japanese submarine I-175. The carrier sank within 30 minutes, with the loss of life of 646 officers and men.

Fisher was listed as MIA and officially declared dead on November 25, 1944.  He was from Nebraska.

 

 

 

WILLIAM C. FOSTER

Staff Sergeant William C. Foster served with the 764th Bomb Squadron, 461st Bomb Group. Foster was killed in action on October 4, 1944, when his B-24J "Lucky Lady" was downed by flak over West Marshalling Yard at Munich, Germany.

Foster was from Pennsylvania. He is buried at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.

 

 

MARVIN P. FRINK

Marvin Polk Frink was born on April 14, 1941 in Fresno, California. He graduated from the University of Florida in June 1941 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Frink applied for a commission in the US Naval Reserve. After assignment to the Naval Training School (Aeronautical Engineering) at the California Institute of Technology, he was ordered to report to the Sixteenth Naval District at Cavite, Philippine Islands. Official records show that Ensign Frink survived the initial Japanese attacks on Cavite, and reached Corregidor, and was there at the time of capitulation.

Ensign Frink was carried on the roster of those missing in action, until he was officially declared dead on December 17, 1945.

Frink was from Tallahassee, Florida.  He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

 

EDWIN GLANTZ

Pvt. Edwin Glantz served with Company B, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division. Glantz was killed in action on January 21, 1944, as two regiments of the 36th Division attempted to cross the Rapido River near Sant' Angelo, Italy. Faced with accurate and deadly artillery and small arms fire, the attack was easily repulsed by German defenders on the opposite shore over a two day period.

The subject of Congressional hearings in 1946, the Rapido River crossings were called  "one of the most colossal blunders of the Second World War," a "murderous blunder" that "every man connected with this undertaking knew...was doomed to failure" before it took place.

Pvt. Glantz is buried at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.  He was from Scranton, PA.

 

KERMIT W. GOSS

Tec/5 Kermit W. Goss served with the 16 Cavalry Recon Squadron, and died of wounds on 15 March 1945, from injuries received the previous day.  The 16th Cavalry Recon Squadron was a short lived unit during the war, first entering the combat zone on 13 March 1945, as part of the 316th Provisional Cavalry Brigade.  On the day he was wounded, the 16th Cavalry Recon Squadron was involved in intense house to house fighting against a German strongpoint in the town of Waldrach, Germany, approximately 10 miles east of the Germany/Luxembourg border.

Goss was originally from Clifton, New Jersey.  He is buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

 

 

SYLVESTER T. GREENWALD

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Sylvester Theodore Greenwald was killed in action on July 1, 1944, while serving with the HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division on Saipan.

He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Greenwald was from Cooksville, IL.

 

 

HAROLD H. GROSSMAN

T/5 Harold H. Grossman served with the 478th Amphibian Truck Company.  In the early morning hours of 28 April 1944, a convoy of LST's formed up in the English Channel near Slapton Sands, South Devon, to perform a rehearsal for the upcoming Normandy invasion   At 0220 on 28 April, this convoy was attacked by German E-Boats which broke through their covering force. LST 507 and LST 531 were sunk in this attack. 1946 servicemen died in this attack, including T/5 Grossman.

Grossman was from Ossining, New York.

 

 

NEAL R. HAFT

Pvt. Neal R. Haft served with the 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division, and was killed in action on July 15, 1944.

Haft was from Mooreheadville, PA. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in North East, PA.

 

GROVER M. HAMBLIN

Machinist's Mate 1st Class Grover M. Hamblin served aboard USS Brownson (DD-518). On 26 December 1943, Brownson was assigned to screen the 1st Marine Division's landings on Cape Gloucester, New Britain.  At approx. 1445 hours Brownson was attacked by two Japanese "Val" dive bombers, and was struck by two bombs amidships. Brownson quickly broke in two and sank within 15 minutes, losing 108 of her 321 man crew.

Hamblin was declared missing in action, and was officially declared dead a year and a day after the sinking.  He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He was from Lubbock, Texas.

 


USS Robalo

 

HOWARD L. HAMILTON

Torpedoman 3rd Class Howard L. Hamilton served aboard the USS Robalo (SS-273). Robalo under Cmdr. M.M. Kimmel, departed Fremantle on June 22, 1944 to conduct her third war patrol in the South China Sea in the vicinity of the Natuna Islands. After traversing Makassar and Balabac Straits, she was to arrive on station about July 6th and stay there until dark on August 2, 1944. On July 2nd a contact report stated Robalo had sighted a Fuso-class battleship with air cover and two destroyers for escort, just east of Borneo. No other messages were received from Robalo and when she did not return from patrol, she was reported as presumed lost.

The following information was received via the Philippine guerrillas and an U.S. Navy enlisted man who was a prisoner of war at Puerto Princesa Prison Camp, Palawan, P.I. On August 2, 1944, a note dropped from the window of the prison cell in which survivors from Robalo were held was picked up by an American soldier in a work detail and given to H.D. Hough, Y2c, USN, another prisoner. On 4 August, Hough contacted Mrs. Trinidad Mendosa, wife of guerrilla leader Dr. Mendosa, who furnished further information on the survivors.

From these sources, he put together the following facts:

Robalo was sunk July 26, 1944, two miles off the western coast of Palawan Island as a result of an explosion of her after battery. Four men swam ashore, an officer and three enlisted men: Samuel L. Tucker, Ens.; Floyd G. Laughlin, QM1c; Wallace K. Martin, SM3c, and Mason C. Poston, EM2c. They made their way through the jungles to a small barrio northwest of the Puerto Princesa camp. They were captured there by Japanese Military Police, and confined in the jail. They were held for guerrilla activities rather than as prisoners of war, it is said. On August 15, 1944, a Japanese destroyer evacuated them, and nothing further is known of their destination or whereabouts. The Japanese may have executed them or the destroyer may have been sunk. At any rate, they were never recovered and their note stated that there were no other survivors.

It is doubtful that a battery explosion could be sufficiently violent to cause the sinking of the ship; more likely Robalo struck an enemy mine.

 

 

 

JOHN M. HANNA

Seaman 1st Class John M. Hanna served aboard the Escort Carrier USS Gambier Bay when it was sunk by Japanese gunfire on October 25, 1944 during the Battle Off Samar.

Hanna is listed as missing in action.  He was from Staunton, Virginia.

 

hanrahan1.jpg.jpg (36393 bytes)

hanrahan01.JPG (331448 bytes)

 

JOHN F. HANRAHAN

2nd Lt. Hanranhan, HQ Company, 19th Engineers, was KIA 14 August 1943 in Sicily. 

Initially buried in Gela, Sicily, he was later repatriated to Fairmount Cemetery, Willow Springs, IL.  Hanrahan was from Chicago, Illinois.

 

hansen-ph.jpg (24204 bytes)

 

HOMER HANSEN

Pfc. Homer Hansen served with the 455th Medical Collecting Company. He was on temporary duty with the 319th Medical Bn., 94th Infantry Division to assist in the evacuation of casualties in the division's drive to clear the Saar-Moselle triangle. Hansen was killed in action on February 8, 1945.

Pfc. Hansen is buried in Luxembourg American Cemetery. He was from Cook County, IL.

 


Harrelson is pictured at upper right

 

WILLIAM E. HARRELSON JR.

S/Sgt. William E. Harrelson Jr. served with the 723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group, and was KIA 3 March 1944, as his B-24, "Maggie Zass," crashed during take off from their base at Manduria, Italy. The pilot attempted to abort the take off half-way down the runway. Eyewitness accounts relate that observers saw the aircraft in a nose-down attitude with wheel brakes smoking. However, the pilot was unable to stop the aircraft in time, and it ran off the runway, setting off 5000 pounds of bombs and a full load of aviation gas, killing the entire crew. Harrelson was from Richmond, Virginia.

Harrelson served with S/Sgt. Charles W. Merrill, and S/Sgt John E. Sullivan, who was also killed in the same accident.  See their groupings below.

 

 

 

JACK HARRIS

2nd Lt. Jack Harris, 423rd Bomb Sq., 306th Bomb Group was KIA 28 July 1943 while on a bombing mission to Wolfun, Germany. Harris was the pilot of B-17F #42-29779. While over target, Harris' aircraft was attacked by German fighters, which shot up two engines and destroyed controls to the tail. Harris was last seen in the pilot's seat, attempting to hold the plane level while he crew bailed out. Four of Harris' crew safely bailed out and became POW's. Six went down with the aircraft, including Harris.

WILBUR D. HART

1Lt Wilbur D. Hart, 4th Information and Historical Service, Ninth Army, was killed in action 10 January. 1945, near Weisweiler, Germany. The role of the Information and Historical Services is described as follows:

Several hundred soldier­historians advanced the Army's historical effort. Their primary focus was the creation and preservation of written documentation, but interviews were used to complement those sources. Historians attached to higher headquarters, as well as members of the Information and Historical Service teams of field armies, moved freely about the battle lines to gather interviews. The collection process occasionally began while units were still in action, but the majority of interviews were conducted about a week to ten days after the action or sometimes even later. After interviewing an individual, part of a unit, or the entire unit, the historians would summarize their interview notes to create a narrative of the specific action.

Historians conducted interviews as close to the actual battlefield as possible in order to stimulate a soldier's recall of events. ... The historian's search for information was not always easy. Although not considered "combat" soldiers, three historians were killed in the line of duty and two others wounded by mines while interviewing front­line troops in the European Theater.

---From Stephen E. Everett, Oral History Techniques and Procedures (Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1992)

 

Hart was from Commerce, Texas. Initially buried at Margraten Cemetery, his remains were returned home in 1948.  He now rests in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Cooper, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN B. HARVEY

2nd Lt. Harvey was KIA 1 April 1944 while serving with 567th Bomb Sq., 369th Bomb Group. On that date Lt. Harvey was the bombardier aboard B-24J SN 42-99977 on a mission to Ludwigschafen, Germany. At approximately 1100 hours over the target the plane took a direct hit from flak and exploded in midair. One crewman parachuted to safety.

Harvey was originally buried in the civilian cemetery at Bodersweier Kreis Kehl, Baden, Germany. His permanent burial place is the US Military Cemetery, St. Avold, France. He was from Borger, Texas.

 

Henry's P-51B


 

 

LLOYD F. HENRY

2nd Lieutenant Lloyd F. Henry flew with the 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group. Henry was lost on 18 April 1944 while flying P-51B 43-6579 named "S.N.A.F.U."

On that date, the 4th Fighter Group, led by Col. Blakeslee, flew a Penetration, Target, and Withdrawal Support mission to Berlin. After engaging over 25 Me 109's and FW 190s as they attempted to attack the bombers, the Group then strafed Juterborg A/D and Fassberg A/D. In the course of this engagement, the 4th Fighter Group sustained three casualties (2 KIA and 1 POW), including Lt. Henry.

Initially buried in Neuville-En-Condroz Cemetery, Leige, Belgium, his remains were later repatriated to a private cemetery in Indiana. Henry was a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

 

LEE A. HODSON

Tec4 Hodson, 90th Signal Company, 90th Division, was killed in action 1 April 1945 near Rodenbach, Germany. 

His Silver Star citation reads:

 While transporting his radio to the rear in a vehicle, Technician Fourth Grade Hodson encountered elements of an enemy division.  In a desperate effort to prevent his equipment from falling into enemy hands, he opened fire upon the troops.  The hostile forces closed in on him, but he continued the firefight until he was mortally wounded.

Hodson is buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland.  

 

 

JAMES T. HOKE

Pfc. James T. Hoke served with Co. M, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. Hoke is officially listed as missing in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On that day his regiment was attached to the 4th Infantry Division for the D-Day landings. Official records show that Hoke was listed as lightly wounded in action, and was told to remain on the beach for treatment by advancing medics. It was assumed that Hoke was later hit by artillery or mortar fire. 

Hoke was from Huntsville, TX and is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery.

WILLIAM W. HOOVER JR.

Sergeant William W. Hoover Jr served with Co. F, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and was killed in action on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Hoover's Silver Star citation reads:

William W. Hoover, Jr., 33137096, Sergeant, Company F, 18th Infantry. For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, 6 June 1944. When the squad he was leading from the beach to an assembly area was fired upon by an enemy machine gun and snipers, Sergeant Hoover, with utter disregard for his personal safety, gallantly exposed himself to better direct his BAR fire upon the enemy. His noble action, at the cost of his life, distracted the enemy and enabled his men to pass without casualties. Residence at enlistment: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Next of kin: Mrs. Bernice Hoover, Mother, 137 E. Third St., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

GO No. 28, Hq 1st Inf Div, 5 July 1944

Hoover is interred at the Normandy American Cemetery, St Laurent-sur-Mer, France. He was from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

WARREN H. HOWLAND

Lt Warren H. Howland served with the 340th Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group. On 9 October 1944 Lt. Howland was flying P-47D serial number 42-28003 on a mission to Ambon Island, Indonesia. While approaching their target, Lt. Howland was seen to turn back towards base, with black smoke streaming from his engine. He was never seen again. 

What is most interesting historically is what happened afterward. In January 1946 
Howland's father began writing to General Carl Spaatz claiming that he knew his son was seen alive on a neighboring island. (One letter is included in his 34 page MACR). These letters spurred a search by an RAAF Catalina and US Graves Registration personnel in September 1946. Howland was not found.

 


The USS Cobia is now a National Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI


Plaque to Houston aboard the Cobia


Houston's gun position showing location of plaque

 

RALPH C. HUSTON, JR.

S1c Huston served aboard the USS Cobia, SS-245.  On 26 February 1945 the Cobia was involved in a surface action against Japanese sea trucks. During the action the submarine was strafed by Japanese machine gun fire, killing Seaman Huston, who was manning a .50 cal. machine gun. S1c Huston was buried at sea the following day.

Huston was from Parkersburg, WV.

 


Katoniks grave at All Saints Braddock Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Pvt. Katonik is memorialized on the Waal River Crossing monument in Nijmegen, Holland

PAUL J. KATONIK

 

Paul J. Katonik was born 22 January 1918. He was inducted into service on 2 December 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served with HQ/3, 504th PIR, 82nd  Airborne Division.

On 20 September 1944 the Third Battalion of the 504th PIR was tasked with making an amphibious crossing of the Waal River in Nijmegen, Holland, in an attempt to encircle German forces holding the Nijmegen railway bridge.

At 1500 hours, approximately 280 men, led by Third Battalion commander Maj. Julian Cook, launched 26 plywood and canvas boats from the southern shore of the Waal River.  After reaching the middle of the 400 yard wide river they were exposed to withering 20mm, 88mm, and small arms fire from the German defenders on the far shore.

This first wave of assault troops suffered over 50% casualties, including 43 soldiers who were killed in action (Katonik being among that number). Only 11 boats were seaworthy enough to return to the southern shore to reload for the second assault wave.

This river crossing was graphically depicted the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, with Robert Redford playing the role of Maj. Julian Cook.

Katonik was initially buried in Holenhoek Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland. His remains were later repatriated to All Saints Braddock Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA.

 

 

 

ROSS L. KENDLE

Sgt. Kendle was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944 on during the first wave at Dog Green Sector, Omaha beach. Sgt. Kendle served with Co. B, 743rd Tank Bn. His unit was one of the only companies of DD tanks to land on the beach ahead of the incoming infantry troops.

Kendle is buried at the US Military Cemetery, St. Laurent, France. He was from Council Grove, Kansas.

WILLIAM W. KILGORE

Sonarman 2nd Class William Waldo Kilgore served aboard the sub chaser SC-743. He was killed in action on December 16, 1943 when SC-743 was strafed by Japanese aircraft during the landings at Arawe, New Britain.

Kilgores story is told in the book Splinter Fleet: The Wooden Subchasers of World War II by Theodore R. Treadwell:

On 16 December a second echelon of LCTs was assigned to bring renewed supplies across from Finschafen. SC 743, under the command of W.W. Bill Robinson, led this group to provide navigation and additional firepower, such as it was. Also in the group were two APcs and the YMS 50, a minesweeper. Army engineers met the group at the entrance to Arawe harbor and, after instructing the LCTs which beaches to head for, told Robinson to report to the beach master to arrange for the return schedule after the LCTs had unloaded. The APcs also came in to unload, while YMS 50 remained on patrol outside the harbor entrance. 

Just then Lieutenant Robinson, who was leaning over the side windscreen of the flying bridge talking to the beach master, saw a row of splashes zipping towards them across the water, aimed just forward of the pilothouse. At first there was no sound, but suddenly enemy planes had swooped in upon them, strafing and dropping bombs as they flashed by. All ships let loose, smoke filled the air, and the hills reverberated with noise. When it was over, Robinson looked down from the flying bridge and saw a large pool of blood on the deck amidships. Two men of the 743 were down on the foredeck,
 
Kilgore with no apparent mark on him and Gentry face down with the middle of his back completely ripped away. Both men were loaders on the 40-mm gun. When they were knocked down, Worthington Worthy Adams, the executive officer stepped in to load. Kittlesen, on one of the 20-mm guns, had been hit on both inner thighs with a large piece of shrapnel. There were several bullet and shrapnel holes on the ship but no structural damage. The acrid odor of gunsmoke hung in the air. 

Kilgore had been killed instantly, the only sign a tiny bullet hole in his chest, while Gentry had been hit mortally by shrapnel from an antipersonnel bomb. 


Initially buried in USAF Cemetery, Finschafen #1, British New Guinea,
 
Kilgore was later repatriated to West Oaklawn Cemetery in Plant City, Florida.

MARVIN H. KLOTZ

Pfc. Klotz served with the 351st Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division.  He was killed in action on 26 September 1944. 

Klotz was from Lafayette County, Missouri and is buried at Florence American Cemetery, Via Cassia, Italy.

 

lane1.jpg (75167 bytes)

 

WALTER H. LANE

Pfc. Lane served with Co. C., 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and was KIA 31 January 1943 near Djebel Keurn er Rhezala, Tunisia. 

He is interred  in the North African American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunisia. Lane was from Vergennes, Vermont.

 

 

lassiter01.jpg (179352 bytes)

lassiter02.jpg (31811 bytes)

lassiter03.jpg (35435 bytes)

lassiter04.jpg (102631 bytes)

 

GRAYSON B. LASSITER

PhM3c Grayson Blackwell Lassiter, USNR, served with 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division.  On March 1, 1945 Lassiter was severely wounded on Iwo Jima.  He died aboard a hospital ship 3 days later. Included in the group is a United Daughters of the Confederacy posthumously awarded Cross For Military Service.  Lassiter was from Portsmouth, Virginia.

Lassiter's grandfather, T. Augustus Lacy, served with Company I, 1st Virginia Infantry during the Civil War.  Lacy's United Confederate Veterans Southern Cross of Honor is shown on the left.

For additional photos of this group, follow this link.

 



RALPH E. LOUNSBURY JR.

Lieutenant Commander Lounsbury was Commanding Officer of the USS Dickerson (APD-21).

Dickerson (DD-167), a Wickes Class destroyer, was launched in 1919. In 1943 she was converted into a high speed attack transport (APD) and given the new designation APD-21.

Dickerson was southwest of Okinawa on the night of 2 April 1945 when the Japanese attacked in strength. One of the kamikaze planes approached the destroyer in a long, low glide, and slashed off the tops of her two stacks before smashing into the base of her bridge, toppling her mast and starting intense gasoline fires. Almost simultaneously another plane scored a direct hit on the center of her forecastle. The explosion tore a hole in the deck almost the complete width of the ship. Despite immediate fire and damage control measures, Dickerson's crew was forced to abandon ship when the raging fires threatened her forward magazine.

Fifty-four officers and men, including LCDR Lounsbury, were lost. The USS Bunch (APD-79) and USS Herbert (APD-22) stood by to rescue survivors, and Bunch succeeded in putting out the fires which had virtually demolished Dickerson. The smoldering hulk was towed to Kerama Retto, then was towed out to sea and sunk on 4 April 1945.

Lounsbury is officially listed as missing in action. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

 

 

 

PAUL E. McCLUSKEY

2nd Lt. McCluskey was a pilot with the 359th Fighter Sq., 369th Fighter Group, and was MIA presumed KIA while flying P-51C Ser No 42-103743 on 10 August 1944 on a bombing mission near Wingen-Sur-Moder, France.  He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France.

McCluskey was from Edgerton, Kansas 
 

 

 

WILLIAM E. McCRORY

Pvt. William E. McCrory, Co. B, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, was KIA 6 June, 1944 during the initial drop on D-Day. 

Initially interred in Heisville Cemetery, he was later reinterred at Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent, France. McCrory was from San Jose, CA

 

 

FRANK MANSKI JR.

Pvt Manski served with Co. B, 298th Engineer Combat Bn, and was KIA by a gun shot wound to the chest on 30 September 1944.  At that time the 298th Eng. Combat Bn. was attached to the 9th Division and was holding front line positions in the Huertgen Forest.

Manski was from Pittsburg, PA. He is buried at Henri Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium.

 

 

FREDERICK H. MARSHALL

P-51 pilot 2nd Lt. Marshall served with the 26th Fighter Sq., 51st Fighter Group and was KIA 26 March 1945 when his aircraft was shot down over Wu Chang, China. 

His remains were never recovered.  Marshall was from Bethany, CT.




USS Halsey Powell being struck by a Japanese kamikaze aircraft

 

LEON W. MAZANEK

Water Tender First Class Mazanek served aboard the destroyer USS Halsey Powell (DD-686). On March 20, 1945 the Halsey Powell was being refueled along side the USS Hancock (CV-19), when a kamikaze aircraft overshot the Hancock and struck Halsey Powell in the fantail, resulting in 12 fatalities and over 30 wounded. 

WT1c Mazanek was buried at sea. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. Mazanek was from Amsterdam, New York.

 

merrill1.jpg (182806 bytes)


Merrill is pictured on lower left

 

CHARLES W. MERRILL

S/Sgt. Charles W. Merrill served with the 723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group, and was KIA 3 March 1944, as his B-24, "Maggie Zass," crashed during take off from their base at Manduria, Italy, The pilot attempted to abort the take off half-way down the runway. Eyewitness accounts relate that observers saw the aircraft in a nose-down attitude with wheel brakes smoking. However, the pilot was unable to stop the aircraft in time, and it ran off the runway, setting off 5000 pounds of bombs and a full load of aviation gas, killing the entire crew. Merrill was from Alameda, CA.

Merrill served with S/Sgt. William E. Harrelson Jr., And S/Sgt. John E. Sullivan, who were also killed in the same accident. See their groupings on this page.

 


Splashes from Japanese shells bracket the Gambier Bay

 

GEORGE MILLER

PhoM2c George Miller was MIA presumed KIA on 25 Oct 1944 when the escort carrier USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) was sunk by Japanese naval gunfire during the Battle of off Samar. The Gambier Bay was the only US carrier to be sunk by gunfire during WWII.

Miller was from Detroit, Michigan

 

USS Hoel
USS Hoel


Minard with his cousin Elinor in 1944


Elinor pointing to Minard's name on the USS Hoel memorial

 

JIMMIE MINARD

Seaman First Class Jimmie Minard was a crewmember aboard the USS Hoel, which was attached to "Taffy 3" (Escort Carrier Task Unit 77.4.3)

At dawn of 25 October 1944 "Taffy 3" was steaming northeast off Samar operating as the Northern Air Support Group in support of the Army's invasion of Leytr Gulf. At 06:45 'Taffy 3's" lookouts observed flashes on the northerly horizon and within 3 minutes were under heavy fire from the IJN's Center Force of 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers.

Hoel and her fellow destroyers Johnston and Heermann, worked feverishly to lay down a smoke screen to hide their escort carriers from the overwhelmingly superior enemy ships. Admiral Clifton Sprague ordered his destroyers to attack the Japanese with torpedoes. Hoel instantly obeyed this order by heading straight for the nearest enemy battleship, Kongo. When she had closed to 14,000 yards she opened fire as she continued her race toward the smoking muzzles of Kongo's 14 inch guns. A hit on her bridge which knocked out all voice radio communication did not deflect her from her course toward the enemy until she had launched a half salvo of torpedoes at a range of 9,000 yards. Although Hoel torpedoes all failed to strike their target, they caused Kongo to lose ground in her pursuit of the carriers by forcing her to turn sharply left and to continue to move away from her quarry until they had run their course. Minutes later Hoel suffered hits which knocked out three of her guns, stopped her port engine, and damaged her fire control director, radar, and bridge steering control. Hoel then engaged the column of IJN heavy cruisers. When she had closed to within 6,000 yards of the leading cruiser, Haguro, Hoel launched a half-salvo of torpedoes which ran "hot, straight and normal." This time she was rewarded by the sight of large columns of water which rose from her target.

During the next hour the ship attempted to draw enemy fire to herself and away from the carriers. In the process of fishtailing and chasing salvos she peppered them with her two remaining guns. Finally at 08:30, after withstanding over 40 hits, an 8 inch shell stilled her remaining engine. With her engine room under water, her No. 1 magazine ablaze, and the ship listing heavily to port and settling by the stern, Hoel's captain, ordered his crew to "prepare to abandon ship." The Japanese fire at the ship continued as her surviving officers and men went over the side and only stopped at 08:55 when Hoel rolled over and sank in 4,000 fathoms.

Only 86 of Hoel's complement survived while 253 officers and men died with their ship.

 

 


The USS Suwannee

 

ROBERT L MINOR

Ship's Cook 2c Robert Minor served aboard the escort carrier USS Suwanee.  Just after noon on October 26, 1944, a group of kamikazes jumped escort carrier group "Taffy 1" off Samar, Philippines. A "Zeke" crashed Suwannee's flight deck and careened into a torpedo bomber which had just been recovered. The two planes erupted upon contact as did nine other planes on her flight deck. Minor was blown overboard in the explosion.  His remains were never recovered.

Minor was from Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

 

MICHAEL MODRAK

Pfc. Modrak served with Co. K, 362nd Infantry Regiment, 91st Division and was KIA 16 July 1944 near Cecina, Italy. Image shows aluminum coffin tag used for identification during repatriation of remains to the US. Also shown is the original dog tag which was attached to his wooden cross during initial burial in Follonica, Italy.

Modrak was from Wilkes-Barre, PA. He is buried at St. Mary's Greek Catholic Cemetery in Dallas, PA.

 


The USS Samuel B. Roberts

 

WILLIAM C. MORT

WT3c Mort served aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts and was KIA 25 October 1944 when his ship was sunk by Japanese Naval gunfire in the Battle off Samar.

Shortly after dawn on 25 October 1944, Samuel B. Roberts was protecting American escort carriers off Samar, when a Japanese task force suddenly appeared on the horizon and opened fire. After joining in a daring torpedo attack on the Japanese cruisers and scoring a torpedo hit on one and at least 40 gunfire hits on a second, Samuel B. Roberts was hit by a salvo of 14 inch shells which tore a hole 40 feet long and 10 feet wide in the port side of her No. 2 engine room. The ship was abandoned and soon sank. The 120 survivors clung to 3 life rafts for 50 hours before being rescued.

Mort was from Detroit, Michigan.

 

 

ROBERT E. MURPHY

Major Robert E. Murphy, Commanding Officer, 559th Bomb Squadron, 387th Bomb Group (M).  Maj. Murphy was killed at St Quentin, France on December 9, 1944. When a returning aircraft crashed after recall, Maj. Murphy along with many others attempted to rescue crewmembers from the burning aircraft.  During the course of the rescue efforts, the bomb load cooked off and exploded, killing 33 of the rescue workers, including Major Murphy. 

Murphy was from Los Angeles, CA

 

 

PAUL W. PADGETT

TSgt. Padgett, 97th Bomb Sq., 341st Bomb Group, was KIA 17 November 1942, when his B-17 crashed in the Bay of Biscay while en route from England to North Africa due to engine failure. Aboard the aircraft was Brigadier General Asa Duncan, the first commander of the 8th Air Force.

Padgett was from Fairmount, Georgia.

 


The USS Edsall

 

WALTER R. PROUTY

CTM Walter R. Prouty, USN was MIA presumed KIA on 1 March 1942 when the destroyer USS Edsall (DD-219) was sunk by the Japanese battleships Hiei and Kirishima during the Battle of the Java Sea.

Prouty was from Rockland, Massachusetts.

 

 

ERNEST RIVERA

S/Sgt. Rivera, 528th Bomb Sq., 380th Bomb Group, was KIA 21 November 1943 when his B-24, named "Black Widow," was shot down on a bombing mission over Manokwari Harbor, New Guinea. While over the target his formation encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire.  Rivera's plane was seen to drop out of formation with heavy damage to the nose of the craft, continuing to lose altitude rapidly until is was seen to strike the ground.

Rivera is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He was from New York City.

 


The USS Indianapolis, photographed 20 days before her sinking.

 

JACK A. ROLAND

Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class Jack A. Roland served aboard the cruiser USS Indianapolis when the cruiser was sunk on the early morning of July 30, 1945.

After delivering the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island, the cruiser was ordered to report to Leyte Gulf. At 0012 hours Indianapolis was torpedoed by the IJN submarine I-58 in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1198 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and no food or water. The ship was never reported missing, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later only 316 men were left alive.

Roland is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He was from Crawford, Georgia.

 


The USS Hoel

 

RAY T. SANTILLI

RdM2c Santilli was KIA October 25, 1944, aboard the USS Hoel, when the destroyer was sunk by Japanese gunfire in the Battle off Samar. 

Santilli was from Portland, Oregon

 

 

HERBERT E. SHAFER

T/Sgt Shafer served with the 704th Bomb Squadron, 446th Bomb Group (H), as a Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. He was KIA 23 May 1944 aboard B-24H 42-7583 Wee Willie on mission to Orleans, France when the bombardier attempted to drop bombs through closed bomb bay doors. A piece of the broken doors struck the tail, forcing the aircraft into an uncontrollable spin. All 10 crewmembers were killed.

For additional photos of this group follow this link.

Shafer is buried at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France.

 

 


The USAT Dorchester

 

JAMES J. SHEA

Pvt. Shea, Medical Dept., was KIA 3 February 1943 when the troopship USAT Dorchester was torpedoed off Greenland.  This action was made famous by the story of the "four chaplains," who gave up their life jackets to allow others to jump into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

Shea was from Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

EUGENE L. SIEBEN

Pvt. Sieben was KIA 17 June, 1944 while serving with the Medical Detachment, 39th Infantry, 9th Division. On that date the 39th Infantry was advancing north in the Carentan Peninsula toward Cherbourg. They were opposed by the German 77th Division.

Pvt. Sieben was awarded the Silver Star for actions in Sicily.  His Silver Star Citation reads:

For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Troina, Sicily, 4 August 1943. Observing a seriously wounded man lying exposed to intense enemy machine gun fire, Private Siebein [sic] left his place of cover and proceeded to the injured man's aid. His courageous behavior undoubtedly saved the man's life. 

Sieben was from Kansas City, Missouri. Initially buried at St. Mere Eglise Cemetery #1 in Carentan, France, his remains were later repatriated to a private cemetery in Missouri.

 

ALBERT A. SPACIL

S/Sgt Albert A. Spacil served as a ball turret gunner with the 571st Bomb Squadron, 390th Bomb Group. He was KIA 8 September 1944, aboard the B-17G serial number 42-97821 "Chaff Wagon" while on a bombing mission to Mainz, Germany. Spacil's aircraft exploded in mid-air after taking a direct hit by flak.

Spacil was from Harris County, Texas. He is buried in Taylor City Cemetery, Taylor, Texas.

 

 

spriggs1.jpg (89201 bytes)

 

GLENDON L. SPRIGGS

Glendon Spriggs served with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and was KIA 29 April 1945, during the Division's crossing of the Elbe River. 

Spriggs was from Stark County, Ohio. He is buried in Mound View Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Ohio.

 


The USS Jarvis

 

JACK C. STARR

S2c Jack C. Starr served aboard the destroyer USS Jarvis. While in operations off the coast of Guadalcanal the USS Jarvis was struck by a Japanese torpedo.  Severely damaged, she was ordered to a repair facility in New Caledonia, thus barely missing the Battle of Savo Island.  Unfortunately, while steaming towards her repair facility, the Jarvis was spotted by Japanese aircraft.  She was mistaken for an escaping cruiser, and was attacked and sunk on August 9, 1942, all hands being lost. 

Starr was from Portland, Oregon

 


Sullivan is standing in the back row, center

 

JOHN E. SULLIVAN

S/Sgt. John E. Sullivan served with the 723rd Bomb Squadron, 450th Bomb Group, and was KIA 3 March 1944, as his B-24, "Maggie Zass," crashed during take off from their base at Manduria, Italy, The pilot attempted to abort the take off half-way down the runway. Eyewitness accounts relate that observers saw the aircraft in a nose-down attitude with wheel brakes smoking. However, the pilot was unable to stop the aircraft in time, and it ran off the runway, setting off 5000 pounds of bombs and a full load of aviation gas, killing the entire crew

Sullivan served with S/Sgt. Charles W. Merrill, and S/Sgt William E. Harrelson, who were also killed in the same accident.  See their groupings above.

 


The USS Kete

 

KEITH THORN

Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Keith Thorn served aboard the submarine USS Kete. While on her second War Patrol, the Kete reported having sunk three medium sized freighters on March 10, 1945 and firing four torpedoes at another target on March 14th.

 Due to the fact she had only three torpedoes remaining, the Kete was ordered to depart her area on March 20th, and proceed to Midway. On March 19th, she acknowledged receipt of these orders. On March 20th she sent in a special weather report. This was the last message received from her. At normal cruising speed she should have arrived at Midway about March 31, 1945. When she was neither sighted nor heard from by April 16, 1945, she was reported as presumed lost.

It is known that a number of enemy submarines were in the area through which the Kete was required to pass en route to Midway. The IJN submarine RO-41 was sunk east of Okinawa by an U.S. destroyer on March 23, 1945, and two other Japanese submarines were sunk southeast of Okinawa near this date. Naval historians suggest  that one of these submarines might have torpedoed and sunk her and been unable to report the attack before being sunk herself.
 

Thorn was from Hastings, Nebraska. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

 

 

FREDERICK W. TOD

1st Lieutenant Frederick W. Tod served with the 713th Bomb Squadron, 448th Bomb Group and was KIA March 25, 1945 aboard B-24J, #44-10517, "Eager One"

While on a bombing mission to Buchen, Germany, 1st LT Tod's aircraft was severely damaged by 4 ME-262 jet aircraft.  Unable to return to England due to the extensive damage, Tod attempted to fly his aircraft to neutral Sweden on three engines. Within a mile of the Swedish coast another engine failed and the remaining two began to run wild. Rather than fly overland with the possibility of the aircraft hitting a populated area, Tod maneuvered the aircraft along the coast, holding the plane in the air while his crew bailed out. Unable to stay in the air any longer, the B-24 spun into the sea off Falsterbo.

His Silver Star citation reads:

For gallantry in action on 25 March 1945, while flying as a pilot of a B-24 bomber on a mission over Germany. When his aircraft sustained severe damage from intense enemy antiaircraft fire, forcing him to withdraw from formation, Lieutenant Tod set his course for allied territory. Ordering his crew to bail out over a heavily populated area, Lieutenant Tod, with complete knowledge of the consequences, then headed his plane back to sea where he was unable to bail out due to the low altitude at which he was flying. His self sacrifice and devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

Tod was initially reported as missing in action, until his remains washed up on shore 51 days later.  He was initially buried with full military honors in Malmo, Sweden.  His remains were later permanently interred in Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm. Luxembourg. Tod was from Long Beach, California.

For additional images of this group, please follow this link.

 

 

STANLEY H. TUCKER

Pfc. Tucker served with HQ Company, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division.  He was killed in action on 7 January 1945, as the 513th PIR was attempting to clear German troops from the west of Bastogne.  His Bronze Star citation reads:

For heroic action against the enemy at ****, ****, on 7 January 1945. Although Private Tucker's job was not that of manning a bazooka, he volunteered as an assistant bazooka gunner to help meet an enemy armored attack. While engaged in a duel with a tank, Private Tucker was killed by tank fire. His actions were clearly above and beyond the call of duty and in keeping with the highest traditions of the armed forces.

Tucker was from Portland Oregon.  He is permanently interred at Luxembourg American Cemetery, Hamm, Luxembourg

For additional photos of Tucker's group, follow this link.

 

 

 

DOUGLAS VAUGHN

Pfc. Douglas Vaughn, 44th Surgical Hospital, was MIA presumed KIA on 27 November 1943 when his troopship, HMT Rhona, was sunk off Tunisia.

The British troopship HMT Rohna was lost off North Africa with the deaths of 1,138 people on 26th November 1943. The 8,602-ton Rohna had departed from Oran, Algeria bound for Bombay, India via the Suez Canal, carrying a total of 2,193 (1,988 American troops, 198 crew and 7 Red Cross workers). The Rohna was one of 24 ships of Convoy KMF-26.

A "smart" bomb, which is believed to have heralded the beginning of the missile age, was fired by a German Heinkel 177. The ship exploded, caught fire and sank shortly afterwards. A total of 1,138 people died (1,015 American troops, 120 crew and 3 Red Cross workers). Because of the severity of the loss, the disaster was covered up for the rest of the war and information was only released years later after pressure from the Freedom of Information Act.

Vaughn was from Floyd County, Kentucky.

 

 

LEONARD R. VODICKA

S/Sgt. Vodicka was a ball turret gunner aboard B-17G serving with the 352nd Bomb Squadron, 301st Bomb Group.  On 26 July 1944 he was on a bombing mission to Wiener Neudorf A/C factory, Austria.  Attacked by German fighters, another B-17 went out of control, ramming Sgt. Vodicka's aircraft, slicing it in two.  No chutes were seen to open. 

Vodicka was from Chicago, Illinois. He is buried in a mass grave with his fellow crew members at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St Louis. Missouri.

 

SAMUEL  L. WATFORD

Officer's Steward First Class was aboard the USS Juneau on November 13, 1942, when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Watford is listed as missing in action.

On 8 November 1942 Juneau departed Nouméa, New Caledonia, as a unit of Task Force 67 to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. The force arrived there early morning 12 November, and Juneau took up her station in the protective screen around the transports and cargo vessels. Unloading proceeded unmolested until 1405 when 30 Japanese planes attacked the alerted United States group. The AA fire was effective, and Juneau alone accounted for six enemy torpedo planes shot down. The few remaining attackers were then attacked by American fighters; only one bomber escaped. Later in the day an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force was headed for the island. At 0148 on 13 November Rear Admiral D. J. Callaghan's relatively small Landing Support Group engaged the enemy. The Japanese force consisted of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers.

Due to bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurred in close to pitch darkness and at almost point-blank range as the ships of the two sides intermingled with each other. During the melee, Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo causing a severe list, stopping her dead in the water, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon 13 November, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle- Helena, and San Francisco, left the Guadalcanal area to return to Espiritu Santo for repairs. Juneau was steaming on one screw, keeping station 800 yards on the starboard quarter of the likewise severely damaged San Francisco (CA-38). She was down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knots. A few minutes after 1100 three torpedoes were launched from the IJN submarine I-26. Juneau successfully avoided two, but the third struck her at the same point which had been damaged during the surface action. There was a great explosion; Juneau broke in two and disappeared in 20 seconds. Fearing more attacks from the I-26, the Helena and San Francisco continued on without attempting to rescue survivors. Although the ship went down with heavy loss of life, more than 100 survivors had survived the sinking. They were left to fend on their own in the open ocean for eight days before rescue aircraft belatedly arrived. While awaiting rescue, all but 10 died from the elements and savage shark attacks, including Captain Swenson and the two remaining Sullivan brothers. (The other three died as a direct result of the 2nd torpedo.)

Watford was from New York City.

 

 


Two B-24's from the 392nd Bomb Group low over Holland on 9/18/44

 

EVERETT H. WEISE

2nd Lt. Everett H. Weise was a 20 mission veteran of the 579th Bomb Squadron, 392nd Bomb Group. On September 18, 1944, over 200 8th Air Force bombers were assigned to drop supplies to the Airborne troops who had landed the day before in Holland at the beginning of Operation Market Garden. C-47's, which would otherwise carry out this duty, were being used for dropping reinforcements along the Market Garden corridor.

The crews were assigned a Quartermaster Corps dropmaster to fly with each aircraft, and the day prior to the mission was spent practicing low-level supply drops over England. The ball turrets on each bomber were removed to allow for one more hole (called the "Joe hole") from which to drop supplies.

2nd Lt Weise was the co-pilot aboard B-24 #42-50673. While approaching Eindhoven at less than 500 feet altitude, his aircraft began taking accurate flak and small arms fire. When the bomb bay doors became jammed, and the #4 engine caught fire, the pilot gave the bail out order. The pilot had to climb to 1000' to give his crewmen enough altitude to bail out successfully.

Although Lt. Weise exited the aircraft successfully, he apparently became tangled in his own shroud lines and was strangled. Of the ten crewmen aboard the aircraft, five evaded capture and were returned to England, two became POW's, and three were KIA, including Lt. Weise.

Weise was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Originally buried in Lichtaart, Belgium, his final resting place is in Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium

 

 

LeROY B. WENNEVOLD

Pvt. Wennevold was KIA 8 November 1944 while serving with Co. A, 112th Infantry, 28th Division in Kommerscheidt, Germany.

Wennevold is permanently interred in Elmhurst Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois.

 

 

CARL B. WESTERBERG

Pfc. Carl B. Westerberg served with the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and was KIA on June 15, 1944 in Normandy.

Westerberg was from Burlington County, New Jersey.  He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in St. Laurent Sur Mer, France.

 


The USS Muskallunge

 

CHARLES H. WHITMAN

EM3c Whitman was KIA on 8 August 1945 while serving aboard the USS Muskallunge. On that date the submarine was involved in a surface action against Japanese vessels. EM3c Whitman was manning a .50 cal machine gun when a Japanese .30 caliber round struck his gun and deflected upward into his brain.

He was buried at sea off the Kurile Islands later that day. Whitman was from Mayfield, New York.

 

 

TRUITT H. WILLIAMS

S/Sgt. Truitt H. Williams served with the 68th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group. He was killed in action on August 1, 1943, during the attack on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Williams was a waist gunner aboard the lead B-24, V Victory Ship, piloted by Capt. John H. Diehl, Jr., and commanded by Lt. Col. James T. Posey.  On that day Posey's twenty-one aircraft were assigned to destroy "Blue Target," the Creditul Minier refinery at Brazi. While on approach to the target at treetop level, V Victory Ship was hit by numerous 37mm rounds, which shot off part of the tail and mortally wounded Williams.

Williams' crewmembers attempted to put him in a parachute and drop him over Romania, hoping he would receive medical treatment for his injuries. Williams died before this could be completed. V Victory Ship returned safely to Libya.

Truitt H. Williams is buried at the North Africa American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia. In addition to the Purple Heart, he was also awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal (location unknown). Williams was from Amarillo, Texas.

 

 


The SS Steel Navigator


The USS Yokes

 

WILLIAM J. YOKES

S2c William J. Yokes was part of the Navy Armed Guard detachment aboard the merchant ship SS Steel Navigator. Yokes was killed in action when the ship, a straggler from Convoy ON-137, was sunk by the German U-Boat U-610 on October 19, 1942. Official records show that Yokes was aboard the #3 lifeboat when it was capsized by the wake of the sinking Steel Navigator. Yokes received a posthumous commendation from the Chief of Naval Personnel, who cited the seamen's "courageous and unfailing devotion to duty... fortitude, skill and bravery" in conduct "in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service."

William John Yokes was born on 15 November 1918 in Franklin, Pennsylvania. He enlisted on 3 January 1942 while living in Youngstown, Ohio. After serving his training at USNTS Great Lakes and the Armed Guard Training Center in Little Creek, Virginia, he was detached to duty aboard the US Armed Merchant Vessel SS Steel Navigator on August 17, 1942.

On 22 August 1943 the Destroyer Escort USS Yokes was laid down at Orange, Texas.  She was reclassified and commissioned on 18 December 1944 as a high speed attack transport (ADP-69). The Yokes earned one battle star in WWII.  She was decommissioned in 1946 and later sold for scrap in 1965.

Research from original documents held at the National Archives, National Personnel Records Center, indicate that Yoke's widow received one Purple Heart in March 1944, while his mother received a second Purple Heart in July 1946.

JOHN ZAMBRANO

Tec/4 John Zambrano served with HQ Troop, 14th Cavalry Recon Group, and died of wounds on 17 December 1944, after being wounded earlier in the day. 

On 16 December 1944 the 14th Cavalry Group was attached to the 106th Infantry Division, and was holding front line defensive positions in the Schnee Eifel and Losheim Gap in the Ardennes Forest. Placed to the left flank of the 106th ID, the Group and the Division would receive the brunt of the German attack on the opening morning of the Battle of the Bulge. After fighting delaying skirmishes against the oncoming German forces, the 14th Cavalry Group fell back to the town of Poteau, Belgium. It was there on 17 December that Zambrano was severely wounded by incoming enemy mortar fire. Zambrano was transported to a 106th Division medical clearing station near LaRoche, Belgium, where he died of his wounds approximately 5 hours later. 

Zambrano was from West Paterson, New Jersey. Initially buried in Henri-Chapelle Cemetery, Eupen, Belgium, his remains were later repatriated to a private cemetery in New Jersey.

 

 

HERBERT L. ZILS

2nd LT Herbert L. Zils served with the 69th Fighter Squadron, 58th Fighter Group. On August 5, 1945 Zils was taking off from Madona Strip, Okinawa, in his P-47D, serial number 44-90238.  His engine lost power on takeoff, and Zils attempted to get his aircraft off the ground.  His left wingtip hit the ground, setting off napalm tanks. His aircraft was completely engulfed in flames and Zils was unable to be rescued from the burning wreckage.

Zils was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is permanently interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii

 

zinn1.jpg (75136 bytes)

 

THOMAS F. ZINN

2nd Lt. Zinn, F Co., 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division was killed in action on 27 September 1944 near Grafwegen, Netherlands. While on patrol on that date Zinn's patrol was hit by German machine gun fire.  Zinn and his Sergeant were killed instantly. 

Buried near the farmhouse where they fell, Zinn was later reinterred at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland.  Zinn was from Russell, Kentucky.