In Memory of
Captain Army Air Corps
Henry Lewis Leonhardt
Winner, South Dakota
June 12, 1905 – December 17, 1943
Killed in a Plane Crash Near Port Morseby, New Guinea
Henry "Ed" Lewis Leonhardt was born
June 12, 1905 in Bridgeport, Oklahoma Territory. He was the 2nd of 6 sons born
to John F. and Mildred Hurlburt Leonhardt. The boys were Roland, Harry, Merle,
Glenn, and Duane. Glenn and Duane are still living. Lewis's early years were
spent in Oklahoma and Iowa. In 1918 the family moved to South Dakota and
settle in Beadle County near the town of Cavour. Lewis graduated from Cavour
High School in 1925 and from South Dakota State College, Brookings, in 1929 with
BS in Agriculture Economics and was Commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Army Reserve.
He married Mildred Hoy on December 4, 1930, in Sioux Falls and had four
children, Marilyn, Dona, Robert, and James.
Henry taught at the college the two years and
then was employed by the government Feed and Seed program. He served as
extension agent in McPherson County from 1933- 35. He joined the Soil
Conversation Service in 1935 and in 1937 was sent to the Winner office. He was
called for duty in May of 1942.
Lt. Leonhardt received his call for active duty
on May 4th of 1942 even though he had three children (at that time) and was 34
years old. He reported to Fort Meade in May to take his physical and was granted
five days leave to settle his affairs and move his family. He returned to Winner
and moved to Brookings. From there he went to California and spent a month
getting his shots and what little training he had. By July he was on his way to
the South Pacific and reached Australia in August where he spent three weeks
while the unit was getting organized and by early September they were in New
Guinea. Lt. Leonhardt was with the 8th Photo Squadron of the 5th Air Force where
he was also the PX Officer and did any other job that needed doing. Stationed at
an airfield near Port Moresby, he was promoted to Captain several months before
his death on December 17, 1943.
On September 18, 1943, Captain Leonhardt wrote
home to his brother Fred (Roland) the following,
"Everyone is wondering when the next push
will be and who it will effect-but don't think us for a while.
Captain Henry Lewis Leonhardt perished near Port
Moresby, New Guinea December 17, 1943. He was a passenger in an L-5 plane that
had flown in to look at a wrecked P-17 in a swamp when their wing hit a treetop
and they spun in. Both men were killed instantly. Capt. Leonhardt originally was
buried in the U.S. Cemetery #1 AP0929 in Australia. In 1948, after the war
ended, he was moved to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota.
The Adjutant General sent this telegram informing
Mildred H. Leonhardt, his wife, of his death.
The secretary of war asks that I assure
you of his deep sympathy in the loss of your husband Captain Henry L.
Leonhardt. Report received states that he died Seventeen December in Port
Moresby New Guinea...
The entry was respectfully
submitted by Kyle Long Crow and Lindsay Greer 6th Grade Winner Middle School
March 12,2002. Information for this entry was provided by Marilyn Heesch,
daughter and Robert Leonhardt, son of Captain Henry Lewis Leonhardt