|As part of
constructing the South Dakota World War II Memorial, we
want to preserve the stories of South Dakotans during that
period. Please share with us a story of your experience
during that time.
than 50 years have passed, but it seems like yesterday.
I have relived the experience countless times.
World War II was raging.
The Battle of the Bulge was finally over, and we were now
pressing more deeply onto Enemy territory.
An infantry replacement, I had been assigned as partner
to a young soldier who carried a B.A.R. (Browning Automatic
Rifle). I was to
help carry some of his ammunition together with my M.I.
(Military Issue) rifle and gear.
and I soon became close friends.
He being from the East and I from the upper Midwest, our
backgrounds, faith, and nationality (he was Jewish) were
entirely different. But
those things were soon forgotten in the close relationship
formed during front-line combat.
We lived, ate, and fought together; we were never
separated for any length of time.
never forget the Siegfried Line with its dragon teeth and
heavily fortified concrete pillboxes guarding it.
Although it was a formidable obstacle, we were able to
break through. A
few enemy soldiers were losing heart, but the war was far from
over. Many battles
were yet to be fought with thousands of casualties before final
victory could be won.
Infantry Division was given the assignment to capture
Schwammenauel Dam. An
important objective, it controlled a large area that would be
devastated by floods should the enemy demolish it.
The valleys below would be flooded and further progress
would be difficult. We
moved toward the objective and found ourselves early one morning
on a wooded hillside.
paused, our first assignment was to dig a foxhole.
We needed protection.
Yet even in foxholes, protection was limited.
Artillery or mortar shells hitting the branches of trees
nearby would scatter shrapnel everywhere, striking those even in
the deepest hole.
particular morning a strange quietness prevailed as dawn broke.
My partner and I started digging the foxhole we would
share. The going
was slow because the ground was hard and rocky.
We began taking turns digging until I was weary, and the
hole was only about 2 Ĺ feet deep.
approached me and said, ďIíll rake your place for awhile.Ē
Sitting at the edge of the hole, I had been using my
shovel as a pick to break through the hard ground.
Without hesitation, I willingly changed places.
He sat down in the exact position where I had been and
began to dig.
I turned and
walked up the hillside about 50 feet when, suddenly without any
warning, an exploding shell shattered the stillness.
After a few minutes, all was quite again.
I called to my friend who still sat with his shovel held
fast in his hands.
There was no response, so I hurried to his side.
He was dead!
He had been killed instantly by a large piece of shrapnel
piercing his steel helmet.
realized he had taken my place.
His life was gone; mine had been miraculously spared.
I will never forget my friend.
He died for me.
sights and sounds have long since faded, the experience is
indelibly imprinted on my mind.
As a combat infantryman, I had come close to death many
times during World War II, but no experience compared to this on
night of terror.
As part of the 78th
Infantry (Lightning) Division, we soldiers were assigned to a
place in the heart of Germany and were pressing forward rapidly. Late in the evening, we thought we had arrived at our
stopping place for the night at the base of a hill.
For protection, we began to dig a foxhole.
Usually, two men were paired off as a team, but since my partner
had been killed earlier that day, two other soldiers and I
became a party of three.
Bill was a gentle, likable fellow from Oklahoma.
The other man was well known for his carousing and
cursing, but he was quite adept with a shovel.
No sooner had we dug our foxhole and made preparations to settle in
for the night when we were given orders to move to the top of
the hill about 100 yards away.
At the top, we
immediately removed our gear and started to dig another foxhole.
The ground was rocky and hard.
We had dug about two feet when, without warning, intense
artillery fire set in. Our
only recourse for safety was our shallow hole.
We piled in, wedged together, with our faces to the
Shells fell closer.
Words cannot describe the sensation of hearing a shell
fired then the screaming sound intensifying as it nears its
target, and finally the deafening explosion with shell fragments
We could do nothing but lie there and wait, listen and shudder.
The shelling lasted about 10-15 minutes with one round
after another in rapid secessions.
Even with our eyes closed and our faces pressed into the ground, we
could see flashes of light as exploding shells came near.
It was a miracle that none of the tree bursts struck us.
During that time, there was one thing no one had to tell us to do.
We prayed earnestly.
shelling stopped. We
decided to go back to the hole we dug at the foot of the hill.
While collecting our gear, Bill found that shrapnel had
shattered the stock of his rifle.
My canteen had been pierced and water ran out when I
picked it up. Our
rifled and canteens had been lying at the edge of the hole!
after we settled back in the larger foxhole, the shelling began
again. However, we
felt much more secure this time.
Early the next morning, we began moving forward again.
When we walked past the shallow hole where we had huddled
the night before, we were shocked by what we saw!
An enemy shell had made a direct hit in that very spot.
Had we not exited when we did, none of us would have
survived. God again had spared us form the certain death in
answer to prayer.
For eight days thousands of American troops moved crossed
the Rhine River in Germany over the Ludendorff Bridge.
It was March 1945. The
Ludendorff was the only bridge remaining, the only one the
Germans during World War II had not blown that up in their vain
attempt to keep our American forces from advancing.
The day after my
platoon had crossed the bridge; we were engaged in a battle in
which we suffered heavy losses.
We walked into an area that was strongly fortified.
It was something like an ambush.
When the fog suddenly lifted, most of our men were out in
the open and quickly cut down by waves of enemy rifle and
machine-gun fire. I
will never forget seeing the bodies lying side by side after
they were carried off the field of battle.
The next day as we
pressed further into enemy territory, we were walking
single-file through a partially wooded area.
Suddenly the young man in front of me turned.
His eyes were wide with fear as he said to me, ďLetís
get out of here! Weíll never make it through alive.Ē He was 18, a native of Texas, and ready to turn and run.
I replied, ďGod
has seen us through this far, and He is able to help us the rest
of the way.Ē That
word of encouragement was enough to turn him back into the
column and help him continue moving forward.
More of our men were killed that day, but the Lord was
there to help us.
A few days later
this same young man was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery in
helping to knock out a machine-gun nest.
It was utterly
day, March 8, 1945, stands out as the most terrifying day by far
of anything we had previously experienced. Our L Company, 309th
Regiment, part of the 78th Infantry Division, had
just crossed the Rhine River in our march across Germany during
the final months of W. W. II.
Although defeat was imminent, the German army still
offered stiff resistance.
They tenaciously defended this last natural barrier by
blowing up all the bridges.
Only one bridge remained intact, the Ludendorff Bridge at
the little town of Remain.
We marched all
night to reach the bridge, which had been captured the day
before in a brilliant swift move.
The 78th Division was then called to take
advantage of this unexpected achievement.
I remember the dramatic sight in early morning looking
down from the hills just above Remagen and seeing the bridge
below. Through the
heavy overcast a German dive-bomber broke through the clouds,
dropping its bomb in a vain attempt to demolish the bridge.
We watched as the bomb overshot its mark, falling
harmlessly into the river.
Bridge had been built years before as a railroad bridge.
Upon capturing it American soldiers placed heavy planks
across the rails to facilitate crossing by infantry, tanks,
trucks, and jeeps. We
got to the bridge, pausing momentarily, waiting for a lull in
shells hitting the superstructure.
We then dashed across, and soon occupied the little
village of Erpel on the far side.
from a brief night patrol, sleep came fitfully, with artillery
shells continually rocking the house we occupied.
Early next morning we moved forward, intent on taking a
hill from which another unit had been driven back the day
before. Heavy fog
lay over the landscape obscuring our vision.
We captured a few German soldiers who warned of strong
resistance ahead. Upon
reaching the top of the hill, orders were given to spread out
and dig in. My
squad leader, Sgt. Luther Raine, just ahead and to my right,
signaled me to join him in a shell hole, which offered some
protection and also made digging far easier. The other men in our platoon hurriedly moved out and across
the open area to our left, little realizing what awaited them.
My squad leader
and I removed our backpacks and started digging, when suddenly
the fog lifted. At
that same moment rifle and machine gun fire began sweeping the
hillside. Our men
in the open had no chance of escape.
I ducked low in the shell hole and began firing back,
when suddenly a bullet careened off my steel helmet making a
crease on the right side. An
inch or two further toward center would have finished me off.
I had witnessed previously that shrapnel or bullets could
quite easily penetrate steel helmets.
Almost as quickly
as it had lifted the fog again settled down.
Gunfire stopped. All
was quite except for agonizing cries of strong men in the throes
of death. It is a
sound that will always remain vividly in memory.
No wonder war has been likened to hell.
After a few minuets my squad leader, badly shaken by it
all, said ďLetís get out of here; weíll never survive
that, he leaped for a hedgerow nearby.
I followed close after him.
We had gone but a few steps when a mortar shell burst
directly in front, knocking us to the ground.
Picking myself up it felt as if I had been hit over my
entire body. I was
certain ďthis was it,Ē but soon discovered my wounds were
superficial, with nothing but a trickle of blood running down my
My squad leader
lay completely still, except for heavy breathing.
His steel helmet lay on the ground beside him. He was bleeding profusely from a huge gaping wound that had
removed a portion of his skull.
Totally, unconscious he continued breathing heavily.
Although I knew nothing could save him I removed his
first-aid bandage and placed it over the flowing wound.
I watched as strength left his body and as he soon
breathed his last. I
looked at my hands; they were covered with blood.
A strong man lay dead.
Iíve often thought of his wife and little children back
in Louisiana who would never have the joy of welcoming him home.
Somewhat in a daze
I wandered back to the area we had so recently left. One of our tanks rolled up and a tank observer came to meet
me on foot. He
inquired as to where the enemy was entrenched.
After pointing the tank gunner who lobbed two or three
shells into the area. Moments later a stream of 70 to 80 German soldiers in long
overcoats hands upraised and placed behind their heads, came
streaming out of the wooded area.
The battle was
over, but at a heavy cost of precious lives.
Almost half our platoon lay dead on the field.
Later that day their bodies were carried off and laid
side by side, almost reminding me of cordwood.
But these were human beings, my close friends whom I had
come to know and love. During
the next few days we tried to regroup and continued on.
The war wasnít over yet and there would be more battles
to fight, more lives that would be lost, but nothing quite
compared to that day.
1900 - Time for me to take over the watch.
Allis quiet on the line.
That is as far as any real action is concerned.
There is an occasional rifle shot or the sharp explosion
of a hand grenade going off and over it all is the artillery
fire. The hissing
of the shells as they pass overhead followed shortly by the
report. You stop
momentarily and listen for the explosion as they hit.
No, all shells donít hiss as they go over.
Some make a sort of snapping sound and some whistle.
At any rate they sound like they are passing through the
tree tops just overhead and you think boy, am I glad they are
going the other way.
Itís getting dark now. Everyone
has stopped talking and smoking and is getting ready for the
have much time to dig in tonight, just a shallow skimpish
trench. Three shots
ring out. Sounds
like an M-1. Wonder
if some nip slipped through the line.
Probably some guy got a little trigger happy.
My partner is rolled up in his paunch and asleep already.
He must be tired. Glad
I got a good partner. He
doesnít snore, stays awake on watch, and isnít
reach over, feel your grenades to assure yourself that they are
handy, and loosen the knife in your belt; careful of the rifle,
if this sand gets into it, it would be just too bad.
The moon is up early tonight and itís not very dark.
A couple of burst of machine gun fire, the deep boom of
an M-1, and a couple of hand grenades off to the left.
I wonder if the nips are trying to break through the
lines. What a lot
of racket in these jungles at night.
You couldnít tell if somebody was coming.
It rains every day and the trees keep dripping all night. Every time a drop falls on a leaf it sounds like someone took
a step. At least it
could be. All the
strange bird calls and insect noises.
What was that strange noise?
Never heard it before.
Might be a signal. There is an answer from the other side. Sounds like someone tapping a rifle barrel.
You crouch lower. Who is that snoring? Wish
somebody would stop hem. Heíll
give away our position. A branch snaps out in front. Another one. A
cold shiver runs up and down your spine.
You crouch lower. Rifle
at the ready. Finger
on the trigger. Strain
your eyes. Is that something in the shadows? I didnít see it before.
Did it move? Canít
be sure. Believe it
did. You fight back a wild impulse to cut lose at it.
Got to be sure. Donít be trigger happy.
Another branch snaps off to the left.
What was that? Ought
to wake my partner. But
Iím not sure. May
not be anything there. I
wonder if everybody that is supposed to be is awake?
Canít check up now anyway.
Give away our position if there is anybody around.
Anyway, the moon is bright. I
can see a little. Whatís
someone turned over and rustled his pancho.
Everything is quiet.
You relax slightly.
But you keep staring at the jungle to the front trying to
pierce the shadows. Whatís
back there? If
there was a whole army back there, you couldnít see them until
they were right on top of you.
Wonder what time it is.
You look at your watch.
My God, only 8:30. The artillery fire goes on at irregular intervals,
interspersed with occasional burst of machine gun fire, rifle
shots and hand grenades.
Sometimes it starts with a rifle shot or a grenade and
works up to a sort of crescendo until it sounds like a pitched
battle and then it dies down again.
You are getting tired and sleepy.
All if the sudden something rustles the leaves of a tree
in front of you. You
start, grip your rifle, and stare into the shadows.
A large bat flies out into the moonlight.
You breathe a sigh of relief and relax.
Look at the watch. Almost
time to change the watch. You
hear the snap of a hand grenade as the striker is released. Hug the deck. It
goes off and you hear the shrapnel whistle through the trees. Your partner is awake. He
is listening and has his rifle in his hand.
You watch and listen for a few minutes.
It is 10:00 and you hand the watch to your partner.
You lay down on your poncho and lay the rifle at your
side. You are
tired. Have to get
some sleep. Have to
go on again in two hours. The
ground feels hard and uncomfortable.
Oh, would a bed feel good.
You doze off, wake occasionally to the sound of a shot,
listen a little, and doze off again.
Suddenly a branch snaps and you are wide awake.
Your hand finds your rifle and you lay motionless
listening. Then you
rise slightly and see your partner is alert.
You settle back reassured.
Your partner is waking you up.
Whatís wrong? He
hands you the watch. 12:00
already. Time to go on watch again.
You slide into the foxhole and take up your position.
Did anything happen?
No, nothing I could be sure of.
Some suspicious noises, quite a bit of firing off to the
left. Just then,
the air raid siren is heard in the distance.
Well nothing, I can do about it.
Theyíll probably be after the big guns in the rear
anyway. Of course,
canít ever tell. The
moon is bright. Not
much firing going on. Hear
distant motors. Sounds
likeÖyes, it is. Jap
planes coming in. Two
searchlights go on. They
are looking for the plane.
Swinging back and forth across the sky.
They have the lights on him.
The anti-aircraft batteries cut loose with everything
they have. The
bursts are way under and back of the plane.
Why donít they get on him?
The plane passes out of sight, back of the trees.
The firing stops and then the lights are turned off. You can still hear the shells bursting in the distance.
You feel disgusted.
All that ammunition they shot up and never hit a thing.
You still hear a motor.
Either he circled around or there is another one coming.
The roar of the motor increases.
Heís coming in. The
searchlights flash on searching the sky.
The anti-aircraft guns lets loose with everything they
have. The burst are
plainly visible in the sky.
The 20 MMís are firing.
The tracers leave red streaks up in the sky with large
loops on the end where the spent shells give out.
The distance makes it seem like they are traveling
slowly. The roar of
the motor raises to a high crescendo and then suddenly slows
down. There are
several explosions almost as one and you can feel the ground
quiver under you. He
must have dropped quite a load.
Wonder if he hit anything.
The lights are turned off and the firing ceases.
The sound of the motor dies out in the distance.
The night sounds in the jungle go on as before.
Your partner turns over and goes to sleep.
Time drags. Strange
rustlings, bird calls, imaginary movement in the shadows keeps
you tense and alert most of the time.
Finally 2:00 a.m. comes. You
wake your partner and give hem the watch. You are dead tired, lay down, pull the poncho half over you
and go to sleep. Suddenly,
you are wide awake and listening to the screaming motor of a
plane in a power dive. It
sounds like he is right overhead.
You roll over on your stomach, rest your weight on
elbows, and open mouth just in case ready to take up the shock
of a bomb. He is
pulling out of the dive and you hear the snap of the bomb
release as he lets them go.
You count them. 1, 2, 3, 4, and then they hit with a deafening roar.
You feel a shock through the ground as each one hits.
Itís getting dark now.
You turn over and try to go to sleep.
There is a crackling of brush.
You lay tense and listening.
After awhile you doze off again only to be awakened by a
shot. That was
close. Wonder what
that was. Maybe
some nip trying to sneak through the lines.
You lie awake tense and listening.
There is the air raid siren back on the beach again.
I wonder if it is suppose to be an alert or the all
clear. You rise up
partner is tense and staring into the shadows.
He must have seen or heard something.
You settle back, start to doze.
Your partner is waking you up and hands you the watch.
He says to watch it.
There seems to be something moving over to the right
front and there has been quite a bit of shooting going on.
You feel tired and on edge.
The artillery is firing overhead again.
There is a movement in the brush.
You canít see anything.
Itís pitch dark now.
There is a plane in the distance.
You sit tense watching and listening.
Is that something moving?
You tighten your grip on the rifle, your finger on the
rustles the leaves on the other side.
Then a twig snaps out in front.
You strain your eyes trying to pierce the dark.
But itís no use; you canít see five feet in front of
you. They might be
sneaking up from any direction.
Are you scared? Call
it fear if you want to. Itís
a mighty funny feeling. The
temptation to shoot or throw a hand grenade is almost
irresistible, but you fight it down.
Got to be sure. See something to shoot at.
Might give away my position.
WHO is that snoring?
Why doesnít someone stop him?
The plane is still circling. He
is coming in and right over too.
You crouch lower, wish the hole were deeper and strain
your eyes to see any movement near you.
The plane has passed over.
You hear the whistle of bombs.
He dropped them farther down the line.
You feel the jar of the earth as each one goes off.
The sound of the motor dies away in the distance.
They never fired a shot at him.
You wonder why.
There is a burst of firing to the right, rifles, machine guns, and
hand grenades. Sounds
like a battle. The
firing dies down some. Now
the artillery is firing. They
are laying down a barrage right in front of our lines.
They are landing close.
You crouch low. There
might be a short*. You
hear pieces of shrapnel falling in the trees around you.
Occasionally, a piece comes whistling by.
You can feel the shock through the ground every time one
hits and the hiss of the shells as they pass over.
The mortars are laying out a barrage now.
Well, if there is anybody out there, they are sure
catching hell. The
firing dies down except for an occasional rifle shot.
Itís getting a little light now.
You look at the watch- 5:15 a.m.
How time drags.
What was that? It
sounded like someone stepped on some leaves.
Something moved out there.
You sight in, ready to shoot.
Better challenge before I shoot.
Canít see. Got
to be sure. Strain
you eyes. Canít see anything now.
You relax, look around, and look back.
Still canít see anything.
The light is getting better now and you feel a little
better. This is the real danger period so you stay alert and watch
the retreating shadows and the trees for any snipers that might
have moved in. There
are occasional shots being fired all up and down the line and
now and then a volly. At
last itís 6:00 and daylight.
Youíve examined all the trees and brush around you and
donít see anything suspicious.
You wake your partner up.
You are tired and sleepy so you lay your rifle beside
your slit trench and lay down to get some rest and hope nobody
bothers you for an hour or so.
About 6:30 the squad leader comes around and tells you, you better
eat now if you want to eat.
And be ready to go back after ammunition at 7:15.
So you break out a C ration without much enthusiasm and
prepare to eat chow.
short is a bullet that might fall short of its target.
Ernest J. Noehre, enlisted in the Army in July 1938.
Following training at Bismarck, North Dakota, and Ft. Ord,
California, he joined the Parachute Troops in 1940.
In 1942, he transferred to pilot training; and on August
12, 1943, he graduated as a Glider Pilot with the rank of Flight
February 28, 1944 he was shipped overseas.
While engaged in flight operations over in Germany on
March 24, 1945, he was wounded, and six days later succumbed to
Edward L. OíLeary was the first boy to be lost in the war.
Eddie enlisted at Aberdeen in June 1939; and following
recruit training at the Great Lakes, he was assigned to duty
aboard the USS Indianapolis.
While on sea duty in the Pacific, he was transferred to
the Flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, the USS Houston.
On February 4, 1942, the Houston with a small task force
engaged an enemy fleet off the coast of Java.
Coxswainís Mate OíLeary was killed in action at his
anti-aircraft gun station.
Bruce E. Ruby entered the service from Ipswich, of South Dakota, then
reported for duty at Ft. Snelling on April 26, 1944. He received Infantry training at home camps; and on October
9, 1944, he was shipped overseas to England.
Upon his arrival, he was immediately assigned to combat
duty in France; and on November 9, 1944, he was killed in action
along the Franco-German border.
His body was interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery,
Joseph W. Mastel entered the services on July 15, 1941.
Entering from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, he later trained
at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, and Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.
In November of 1944, he was sent overseas landing at
Marseilles, France, on December 12, 1944. On January of 1945, he was wounded in action near Hatten,
France, while engaged in Infantry combat following a German
break through. He
died on January 13th as a result of his wounds, and
his body was interred at Epinal, France.
Andrew Leboldus, entered the service at Ft. Snelling on February
24, 1942. Having received training for duty in the
Infantry, he was sent overseas in June of 1942, Directed to the
Pacific Theater of Operations. Following active combat
duty on Guadalcanal and New Georgia, he was killed in action on
September 19, 1943 in the Battle of Vella Lavella.
Randolph Pickett received training at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
He was killed in action in the Pacific on December 20,
details of his service were not available.
Thomas F. Archer
Thomas F. Archer reported for active duty on February 10, 1941,
at Brookings, where he was a student at the State College and an
ROTC member. Qualifying
for duty involving flying, Tom received training at Montgomery,
Alabama, and Maxwell Field, Texas; and on June 11, 1942, he was
commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant bombardier at
Midland, Texas. The
following month he went overseas to Africa, and was immediately
assigned to combat missions.
On September 1, 1942, he was killed on a combat mission
Carl Pickett was killed in action in Italy on October 13, 1943.
He had served with the Infantry in North Africa before
engaging in combat duty in Sicily and Italy.
Further details of his service were not available.
James M. Friedrichsen, reported for induction at Ft. Snelling on
June 18, 1941. In July 1943, he departed for duty in the
Pacific where he served with Company B, 63rd Infantry Regiment,
6th Division. His Courageous conduct and leadership in
action in New Guinea and Dutch New Guinea merited his field
promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. On February 26, 1945, he was
killed in action on Mt. Montalban on Luzon.
Pfc. Harold Erbe entered the service at Ft. Snelling on October 27,
1941, being one of the firsts to be drafted by the Selective
training at Camp Wolters, Texas, he was directed to duty in
Hawaii with an Infantry division.
Participating in a series of combat experiences in the
Pacific Theater, he was killed in action on Saipan on July 2,
Lt. Leonard H. Woodworth, entered the service in San Diego on
December 20, 1941. ďBudĒ
reported to Parks Air College in St. Louis for Elementary Flight
Training; was transferred to Randolph Field, Texas, for Basic
Training, and completed flight training at Ellington Field,
Texas, where he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant as
a pilot of attack bombers.
Thereafter, he was sent to Anderson Field, South
Carolina; and during the course of flight duty, was killed in a
plane crash at Eglin Field, Florida, on September 29, 1942.
Edwin J. Dumdei, entered the service in Florida on December 1,
1943. Following training in the Infantry at Camp Blanding,
Florida, he shipped overseas on June 9, 1944. Serving as a
Squad Leader with Company L, 357th Infantry Regiment, he was
killed in action in Alsace-Lorraine on September 11, 1944.
T/5 Adam A. Malsam, reported for duty at Ft, Snelling on the 6th
of March, 1942. Adam
received most of his home based training at Camp Cooke,
California; and was sent overseas to England in January 1944.
ON the 17th of December 1944, he was killed in
action in Luxemburg.
T/5 Plynn K. Duvall entered the service at Portland, Oregon on
September 7, 1942. Following
training at Camp Lewis, Washington, and Camp Van Doren,
Mississippi, he went overseas in January, 1945, attached to
Company A, 263rd Engineer Combat Battalion.
On February 28, 1945, while engaged in laying anti-tank
mines in an area between the Saar and Siegfried Line, Plynnís
entire unit was destroyed by a direct hit of an artillery shell.
He was buried at the Military Cemetery, Epinal, France.
John a. Malsam reported for duty at Ft. Leavenworth on April 14,
1942. Following a period of training at Camp Roberts and
Camp John Knight in California, he was directed to overseas duty
in the Pacific in December 1942. John engaged in active
combat duty with the Infantry in New Guinea; and on December 18,
1944, he was killed in Infantry action near Colasian, Leyte,
E. Schauer entered the United States Navy on September 16, 1940.
Serving aboard the USS Chicago as a Machinistís Mate, Harold
departed the States for sea duty in the Pacific during March
1941. On January 30, 1943, Harold lost his life when the
USS Chicago was torpedoed and sunk while engaged in the Battle
of the Solomon Seas.
Aloysius M. Schumacher reported for induction at Ft. Snelling on
March 15, 1943. Following training at Ft. Kearns, Utah,
and Ft. Pratt, Kansas, he went overseas in February 1944.
Stationed at Calcutta, India, he served with the Army Air
Forces, being attached to the 44th Bombardment Group. An
aircraft explosion on January 22, 1945 killed him.
Lt. Calvin C. Miller entered the service at Ft. Snelling on
February 20, 1941. Following
initial training at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he transferred to the
Army Air Corps; and in June 1943, graduated as a 2nd
Lieutenant at the Army Air Base, Marfa, Texas.
Going overseas in February 1944, he served as a pilot of
a ďFlying FortressĒ in the North Africa campaigns.
On April 2, 1944, he was killed in action over Steyr,
Austria, and is buried at the Military Cemetery at Metz, France.
Theodore Feiock entered the United States Navy in February 1941.
Following recruit training, he was assigned to submarine
school and went to sea with the rating of Torpedoman Third
aboard the USS Pickerel attached to Submarine Division 44, he
was reported missing in June 1943; and was declared lost in
action on August 1945.
Pfc. Lloyd Blow entered the service at San Diego, California, on
December 14, 1943. Following
his home base training in the Marine Corps, he was shipped to
the Pacific, where he served with Company F, 2nd
Marine Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine
Division. He was
killed in action on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima on February 22,
G. Price entered the service at Aberdeen on September 15, 1942.
Following recruit training at the Naval Station, Great Lakes, he
subsequently attended training schools in Chicago, Norfolk, and
Charleston. Serving overseas aboard the USS Yms-21, he
participated in the invasions of Sicily and Salerno. On
September 1, 1944, he was lost at sea when a mine destroyed his
ship. His body was later recovered and buried at a
Military Cemetery near Toulon, France.
Private Bernard L. Williams entered the service at Ft. McArthur,
California on February 15, 1942.
Serving overseas with Company A, 312th
Engineer Battalion, 87th Infantry Division, he
experienced combat duty in the ďBattle of the Bulge,Ē and
was killed in action on January 11, 1945, near Lebramont,
Robert H. Leidholdt reported for induction on April 12, 1942.
After receiving basic training at Williams Field, Arizona, he
served at an air base in South Carolina until October, 1944, at
which time he shipped overseas to India. On June 12, 1945,
he was killed as a result of a plane crash in India.
Harold M. Walth entered the service at Aberdeen in October,
1939. Following flight training at Army Bases in
California and New Mexico, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant,
serving as a pilot of a B-24. In June 1943, he went
overseas and before his death had completed more then fifty
combat missions over China, Burma, and Siam. He was killed
in a plane crash near Kweilin, China, on January 15, 1944.
Reinhardt J. Keppler at the age of eighteen, enlisted in the United
States Navy. He
kept up continuous service, worked and studied, advancing
through various enlisted ratings to Boatswainís Mate First
Class. His next
promotion would have made him a Chief Petty Officer.
Keppler was twenty-two when he reported for duty aboard
the U. S. S. San Francisco in May of 1940.
He was twenty-four when on the night of November 12-13,
he gave his last drop of blood for his shipmates, his ship and
his country. He
fell unconscious and died because all of the blood from his
veins had run out of his body through wounds cut by Japanese
steel in the terrible, gallant battle of Savo Island.
Nevertheless, before his heart was drained dry, Keppler
had saved the young lives of many comrades, the wounded and
stricken. He saved
likewise the life of his beloved ship and all of the souls
aboard. He was on
the after machine-gun platform when the Japanese pilot, his
plane shot out of control, and crashed.
American boys died, others were wounded.
It was Kepplerís immediate care and supervision of
these wounded that saved their lives.
He was just a boy becoming a man in the heat of battle,
caring for his own. Reinhardt
Keppler charged with the passion to save the lives of his crew
and his ship began to fight the fire.
Single-handed he led a hose into the blazing area on the
star-board side and fought the fire.
One stubborn kid ringed by flame.
Choking smoke, fumes and rivers of running fire faced
him. Behind him,
the enemy shells roaring out of the darkness crashed through the
steel skin of the ship and blew up into deadly frafments.
Keppler brought the fire under control.
Reinhardt Keppler, died that dark November night, for his
country, his crewmates, and his ship.
Private Louis V. Wise enlisted in Infantry on September 5, 1944.
He was shipped overseas on August 17, 1944, where he
served in the European Theatre. His engagements were in Villers, Lo, Bonne, Eau, and Belgium.
He was awarded the Purple Heart, and was killed in action
on January 1, 1945.