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 A few items from my personal Purple Heart collection



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.




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




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.



Zeke crashes into the USS St Lo flight deck.

Secondary explosions aboard the St. Lo.

The USS St. Lo, early 1944



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.





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



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.




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




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.





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.




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




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.




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.




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.

Caywood Purple Heart


S/Sgt Acle B. Caywood, gunner of the B-26 Marauder 42-95851 Vivacious Veronica, took off from Station 166 in Matching Green, Essex, UK on a bombing mission to a  bridge near Nogent-le-Roi, France. The plane was shot down by flak at 1910 hrs.

Caywood is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery,
Nicholasville, Kentucky.

was from Lexington, KY.


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.


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.


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.

Donnelly is buried at Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA


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.





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.



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.


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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


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.


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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





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.





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 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.



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.





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.




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.


USS Robalo



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.





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.  Hanna was from Staunton, Virginia.


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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



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.



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.





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




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.




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.


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.


Lt Warren H. Howland served with the 340th Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group. On 9 October 1944 LtHowland 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



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 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.





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.


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.


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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.


Corporal Warren Lyons,Co. H., 505th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division
KIA 11 July 1943, Biazza Ridge, Sicily


The Battle of Biazza Ridge took place on D+1 of the invasion of Sicily. After being scattered by high winds during their night time drop, Col. James Gavin and elements of his 505th PIR were able to regroup and drove toward their objective: German pillboxes atop Biazza Ridge. On the morning of 11 July 1943, after taking the ridge, Gavin's small group of paratroopers was attacked by a column of infantry and tanks from the Hermann Göring Division. At some time during all day fighting, including hand to hand combat with German infantry and multiple attacks by Mk VI Tiger tanks, Cpl. Lyons was killed by a direct hit from one of the Tigers.


Phil Nordyke, in his book Four Stars of Valor: The Combat History of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II writes:


Private McConnell watched the Company H bazooka team of Private Leland Chief Laye and Corporal Warren Pappy Lyons, the oldest guy in the company, out in front of the line, stalking the tanks. Then, suddenly McConnell saw the turret of the tank rotate toward the bazooka team. They just turned that 88 on them and blew them to hell. These two guys both got killed. They never had a chance.


Initially buried at the US Military Cemetery at Gela, Sicily, Cpl. Lyons remains now rest at Custer Battlefield National Cemetery in Montana. 





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 




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




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.




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.


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Merrill is pictured on lower left



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



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



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



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.


The USS Samuel B. Roberts



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.




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


The USS Edsall



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.




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.



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



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




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.






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.



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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



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



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.


Captain James F Thomas Jr served as the S-3 staff officer of the 23rd Tank Batalion, 12th Armored Division. He was killed in action on Easter Sunday eve, 31 March 1945. While bringing orders forward to advanced units in Boxberg, Germany, he was struck by German machine gun fire.

Thomas was from Keokuk Iowa and is buried in Sunset Memorial Garden in his hometown.


The USS Kete



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




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.





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.



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



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




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.


The USS Muskallunge



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.



Pfc. Frank S. Wilkus served with Co. L, 379th Infantry regiment, 95th Infantry Division.  He was killed in action on 12 December 1944, in the 95th's assault on Saarlautern, Germany.

His Silver Star citation reads:

For gallantry in action against the enemy, on 12 December 1944, in the vicinity of Saarlautern-Roden, Germany. When the advance of his platoon was imperiled by sweeping machine gun and small arms fire from a pillbox to the front, Private First Class WILKUS, with no regard for his own safety, moved forward to a firing position in range of the pillbox apertures. In this bold position he was mortally wounded, but not until his deadly fire had forced the shutting of the apertures, and a consequent reduction in the volume of fire on his advancing comrades. Private First Class WILKUS' great gallantry under fire reflects lasting honor on him and on the military service.

Wilkus was from Chicago, Illinois.  He is buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois





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.



CWO Leonard T. Woods served aboard the USS Indianapolis. He was KIA on July 30, 1945 when the ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine.

One of Woods's fellow radiomen, Jack Miner,  survived the sinking and the four days in shark infested waters, who gave crucial testimony in both the original McVay trial and the 1999 hearings which exonerated the Captain.


Miner's written statements and testimony were used in the following excerpt in Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis by Pete Nelson:


To function as a flagshipthe Indianapolis had been fitted with extra communications equipment to serve the needs of Admiral Spruance's staff. There were two radio shacks, Radio and Radio II, in rooms about 200 feet from each other. Radioman First Class Joe Moran had gone to Radio I. Also present were watch officer Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Dave Driscoll. Lieutenant Nelson HillRadioman Second Class Clifford Sebastian and Radioman Second Class Elwyn Sturtevant. There was smoke from a fire burning in the corner of the room and debris everywhereLieutenant Orr arrived from the bridge.


"Get a distress message out right away," he said "Captain's orders. Say we've been torpedoed and need help immediately ."


"The phone to Radio two is dead," Driscoll told him.


"What's the situation?" Hill asked.


"I can't get through to Radio two: Driscoll answered, "and we can'send or receive from here-there's no power." The transmitters were in Radio II. Messages could be sent from Radio I, but the signal had to travel along a wire from Radio I to Radio II, and apparently the  explosions had severed the wire somewhere.


"Sturtevant," Hill said. "Go to Radio two and tell Chief Woods to set up on forty-two thirty-five and five hundred kilocycles."




Hill continued. "Moranyou and Sebastian see if you can key from here."


When Sturtevant reached Radio IIwhere the transmitters were housed, he found it an island of tranquility in a sea of disorder. Everywhere, smoke billowed and flames poured down passageways as spilled fuel ignited or magazines explodedMen ran with towels over their headsscrambled topside, felt their way along darkened corridorsburned their hands on white-hot decks and grabbed for life jackets as the ship slowly rolled over to starboard, but in

RadiII. the ventilation was working and the emergenclights were onChief Radio Technician Leonard T. Woods was there, accompanied by Jack Minerwho'd been asleep just around the comer in Battle II. Woods knew more about the electronics aboard ship than anyone. Miner noticed that Woods had been burned, but it wasn'slowing him down any.


"We can'reach you from forward,"  Sturtevant told the chief. "Lieutenant Hill says set up forty-two thirty-five and five hundredWe want to send distress signals."


"The transmitters arc already warmed up," Woods replied"Tell Hill we'll pipe forty-two thirty -five through to him on line three. Bring me copy of the distress message and we'll key it from here on five hundred."


Sturtevant returned to Radio I. With the power supplied on the line from Radio II Moran and Sebastian had found that the transmitters in Radio I seemed to be working but the receivers were notwhich meant they were unable to monitor their own signals to know for certain if any messages were actually going out. They keyed the message on faith, tapping out in Morse code: USS INDIANAPOLIS TORPEDOED TWICE .LATITUDE TWELVE DEGREES NORTH LONGITUDE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE DEGREES EAST NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.


"Chief Woods wants a copy of the message," Sturtevant said when he got back to Radio I. "He says he'll send it from there."


Driscoll wrote out the message on a pad of paper and handed it to Radio Technician Second Class Fred Hart.


"Take this to Woods as fast as you can."


Just as Hart leftthe ship listed further. A piece of heavy equipment fell from the bulkheadDriscoll gave an order. "Everyone out-now!"


In Radio IIChief Radio Technician Woods hadn'waited for anyone from Radio I to return with a copy of the distress messageThe radio receiver/transmitter was a large black cabinet filled with vacuum tubesand though it lacked a transmission key, Woods had jury-rigged a way to send by flipping a toggle switch ordinarilused to test the equipment- he wasin effect, turning the machine on and off to get the signal outHe knew what to saysending as fast as he could to transmit at 500 kilocycles, the international distress signal frequency : SOS LATITUDE 12 DEGREES NORTH LONGITUDE 135 DEGREES EAST.


The signals went out over a powered antenna. Some officers felt the Indianapolis. built before the advent of radar, had had enough antennas and other equipment added to her to make her top-heavy and vulnerable.A meter in Radio II measured the power output of the antenna, such that if a signal was being transmitted, the meter fluctuated. Jack Miner watched over Woods's shoulder as the thin red needle on the antenna meter fluctuated.  It meant a message was definitely being sent. Miner watched Woods send the message at least three times over a two-minute period. Every radio operator around the world was supposed to monitor 500 kilocycles. The question was, would anyone be paying attention? Then the ship listed even more, and Chief Woods told everyone to get life jackets on and to get out while they still could.




The SS Steel Navigator

The USS 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.


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.




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


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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.