In Memory of
Gene J. Borel
Britton, South Dakota
April 2, 1925 – April 14, 1945
Killed in Action over Tinian Island, Marianas
Gene J. Borel was born on April 2, 1925, in Neuchatel,
Switzerland, to Mr. and Mrs. William Borel. In 1931, at the age of six, he came
to America with his family, settling in Britton, South Dakota, where he attended
grade school until the age of 14, at which time he entered high school in 1939.
Gene was selected as one of the boys to represent Britton at “Boys State Week”
in Aberdeen, S.D. Throughout his youth, Gene attended the English Lutheran
Church. In 1943, at the age of 18, he graduated from Britton High School.
According to former classmate Arlene Bush, Gene was a “smart, studious, shy,
serious person.” She also remembers that his parents ran a jewelry store in
Britton in the 1940’s.
On July 8, 1943, Gene enlisted in the U.S. Army and was
sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for his basic training. Upon completion of his
training, he was next stationed at Starling, Texas. On May 20, 1944, he
graduated as an aerial gunner receiving his silver wings and private first class
rating. Borel was then sent to Harvard, Nebraska, where he successfully
completed a course in radar. On October 25, 1944, Sgt. Borel was promoted to
corporal. In December of the same year he joined a crew of a B-29 as a
radar-gunner and was sent overseas on B-29 Flying Fortress.
While on a combat mission to Japan from Tinian Island in
the Marianas, Sgt. Gene Borel was reported missing along with his crew. One
year later after they still hadn’t found any trace of Sgt. Borel, his crew, or
his plane, the War Department declared Sgt. Gene J. Borel officially dead.
According to Eva Kurth Johnson, a cousin, Gene Borel’s
remains were later recovered, and he is now buried in the National Cemetery,
Punch Bowl Crater, Honolulu, Hawaii.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Allison M. Honomichl, 8th Grade West,
Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, October of 2000. Information
for this entry was provided by Arlene F. Dinnetz Bush, Britton, South Dakota,
class- mate of Army Sgt. Gene Borel, and Eva Kurth Johnson, Germantown,
Maryland, second cousin of Army Sgt. Gene Borel.