In Memory of
Army Pfc.
Woodrow Robert Blase
Wentworth, South Dakota
Lake County
February 2, 1919 – February 16, 1945
Die of Wounds in Belgium

Woodrow Robert Blase

Woodrow Robert Blase, eldest so of Frank and Clara Blase, was born on a farm near Wentworth, Lake County, South Dakota on February 2nd, 1919.  He was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in Wentworth.  Woodrow attended rural schools in the vicinity; upon completion of his education, he entered into farming with his farther.

Woodrow was the first of eight children in the blase family.  He had three brothers, Elden, Bud, and Dean, and four sisters, Lois, Lavonne, Jean, and Bernice.  Woodrow’s younger brother, Elden wrote that he and Woodrow were “real close” and hunted, trapped, and farmed together.  Elden also said that Woodrow enjoyed fishing and roller-skating.

On January 21, 1942, Woodrow was inducted into the Army.  He received training at Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Sill; Okalahoma; Houston, Texas; and Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.  Early in October 1943, Pfc. Blase went to Ireland, then to France taking part in the D-day invasion.  He served as ambulance driver in Company B, second medical battalion 23 rd infantry regiment, and was awarded the oak leaf cluster to the bronze star for courage, initiative, and heroism while under enemy artillery fire at Murriagen, Belgium, in December 12th, 1944.

The citation that accompanied the award read as follows:

On 12 December 1944, at 0330 hours a Murriagen, Belgium, 983020, Pfc. Woodrow R. Blase, 37140852, ambulance driver, ambulance platoon, company B, second medical battalion in support of the first battalion, 23rd infantry regiment, with unswerving devotion to duty, and utter disregard for personal safety, after he had been ordered to abandon his ambulance, and had walled about a mile along the road, returned under enemy artillery shelling and small arms fire to get his ambulance and drive it out of the battle area.  The courage, initiative and resourcefulness of Pfc. Woodrow R. Blase reflects highest credit upon his organization and the medical department of the United States army.  Presented 11 Feb. 45

The presentation was made five days before Woodrow’s death.  He had sent a box home to his parents the day before he was reported killed.  In the box were the bronze star and the oak leaf cluster for which the citation was given.

Army Pfc. Woodrow Robert Blase died in Belgium on February 16th, 1945 as a result of wounds received in action.  He was buried in Henri Chapelle Cemetery in Eupen, Belgium.  Memorial services for Pfc. Woodrow Blase were held a 3 PM on Sunday, March 3, 1945, at the Presbyterian Church in Madison.  In 1947, at the request of his family, Woodrow’s body was returned to the United States aboard the army transport, Joseph V. Connolly.

 The Bronze Star

The Bronze Star
Courtesy of

This entry was respectfully submitted by Greg Hartman, 10th Grade, West Central
High School, Hartford, South Dakota, February 8th, 2002.  Mr. Elden Blase, Madison, South Dakota, brother, and Mrs. Jean Whealy, Kent Washington, sister, of Army Pfc. Woodrow R. Blase, provided information for this entry.