Saturday, February 17, 2018

WW2 Fallen - B-17 Bombardier Kenneth Foote

2nd Lt. Kenneth Foote was the bombardier in the B-17 Myna Myra, 96th Bombardment Group.
http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/5429 
Kenneth Warren Foote never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 17, 1918 in Arizona. His mother Annie was also born in Arizona while his father Clarence was born in Utah. His father worked as a farmer and later as a home building contractor and carpenter. Kenneth had three younger brothers. By 1940 Kenneth had completed two years of college and was still a student.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces and became a second lieutenant and bombardier in the 338th Bombardment Squadron, 96th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, which was equipped with B-17s. The 96th BG arrived in England in May 1943. Lt. Foote likely joined at a much later time.

On February 7, 1944 Kenneth married Ruth Bybee from Idaho in Arkansas of all places.

Lt. Foote's final mission was on May 12, 1944 when the target of the mission was Zwickau, Czechoslovakia. Lt. Foote was flying in the B-17 Myna Myra. It was shot down that day along with 11 other 96th BG bombers. Only 14 returned to base. This was the worst one day loss for the 96th BG among 320 missions flown during the war. Six men from Lt. Foote's plane survived and became prisoners of war. Foote and the other three men at the front of the plane were all killed, suggesting that was where the plane was fatally struck.

Two of Kenneth's brothers joined the armed forces after his death and came home alive.

His grave is at Safford City Cemetery in Arizona. I don't know what happened to his widow.

Thank you Kenneth for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Kenneth.

Last year on this date I profiled Michael Stratigos, 30th Infantry Division. You can read about Michael here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Friday, February 16, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Silver Star hero Raymond Schwein, 3rd Armored Division + The Andrew Sisters

Sgt. Ray Schwein, 3rd Armored Division was born on the same day as Andrew Sisters lead singer Patty Andrews.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/93179451/raymond-rudolph-schwein
https://www.cmgww.com/music/andrews/ 
Raymond Rudolph Schwein never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 16, 1918 in Kansas. His mother Hannah was also born in Kansas of Russian born parents and his father Henry was born in German speaking Russia. His father worked as a farmer and later as an odd job laborer. Raymond had five older brothers, one older sister, one younger brother and one younger sister. By 1940 Ray had completed three years of college and was working as an attendant. He married Margaret Griggs and they had a daughter in 1943.

He was drafted into the army on June 30, 1941. He became a staff sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. The 3rd AD arrived in England in September 1943 and was sent to Normandy in late June 1944. It took heavy casualties in the Battle of St. Lo. While the division was closing the Falaise Gap, Sgt. Schwein was wounded on August 17 during the hard-fought attack on Fromental. His actions that day resulted in him earning a Silver Star. I was unable to find out more details but the division completed its objective the next day.

Sgt. Schwein recovered from his wound and returned to his unit. It was fighting in the Hurtgen Forest in December. Sgt. Schwein was killed on December 13, 1944 when his unit was fighting near Hoven, Germany.

His grave is at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium. I don't know what happened to his widow.

Thank you Raymond for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Raymond. 

Last year on this date I profiled U-Boat victim Milton Burford, Merchant Marines. You can read about Milton here.

PATTY ANDREWS

Also born on the same day as Ray Schwein was Patty Andrews, the youngest of the famous Andrew Sisters singing group and their lead singer. It is hardly possible to watch a program about World War 2 without hearing the Andrew Sisters sing. Who hasn't heard Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy? The Andrew Sisters were the most popular female singing group of the first half of the 20th Century. They sold up to 100 million records and had 46 top 10 songs. They were big supporters of the war effort, touring in all theaters and across America. Patty Andrews died in 2013.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Thursday, February 15, 2018

WW2 Normandy Fallen - Raymond Thornton, 35th Infantry Division

Staff Sergeant Raymond Thornton survived only one week in combat with the 35th Infantry Division in Normandy.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/51698296/raymond-bert-thornton
http://www.35thinfdivassoc.com/Normandy/the-story_3.shtml 
Raymond Thornton never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 15, 1918 in Kansas. His parents William and Carrie were also both born in Kansas. His father worked as an oil field machinist and later as a street laborer and then as a custodian. Raymond had an older sister, four younger brothers (at least one served in the war), and a younger sister. By 1940 Raymond had completed four years of high school. He was living at home, working as a butter maker.

He was drafted into the army on February 22, 1941. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. The 35th ID arrived in England in May 1944 and was sent to Normandy on July 8, 1944. It was on the attack in the Battle of St. Lo on July 11.

On July 14, 1944 Sgt. Thornton's unit continued it's attack against the enemy at La Pte Ferme and La Marel. The Germans had laid numerous minefields and fought from stone buildings supported by 88mm artillery. Regimental casualties that day totaled 127, including 17 killed. Sgt. Thornton was one of them.

His grave is at Highland Cemetery in Winfield, Kansas. In 1973 younger brother James was a Kansas State Highway trooper who was killed in the line of duty by a suspected murder on the run.

Thank you Raymond for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Raymond.

Last year on this date I profiled Fred Gutknecht, 87th Infantry Division. You can read about Fred here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Three WW2 Stories for Valentine's Day

Some of the WW2 fallen and their sweethearts. Follow the link below to read more:
http://ww2fallen100.blogspot.com/2017/06/ww2-fallen-edward-michalski-29th.html
http://ww2fallen100.blogspot.com/2017/07/ww2-fallen-leroy-elliott-37th-infantry.html
http://ww2fallen100.blogspot.com/2017/01/ww2-fallen-harold-barnett.html
http://ww2fallen100.blogspot.com/2017/08/ww2-fallen-himalayan-hump-pilot-elwood.html
When I started this project 408 profiles ago, I was confident that I would find many compelling stories about these mostly forgotten fallen. These are more than just names on a war memorial in their home towns or stars on the Wall of Stars at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. They were sons, sometimes husbands, sometimes fathers. In their mid-twenties they had a future that should have encompassed the rest of the 20th century, most likely shared with someone to love. They had dreams that went unfulfilled. They left girlfriends or wives who lost their sweethearts.

Here are three examples from the stories I have researched so far:
  • The touching message D-Day participant Johnston Wiles's former girlfriend left him 58 years after he died. See here.
  • Medal of Honor hero George Keathley's dying words were: "Please write my wife a letter and tell her I love her, and also that I did everything I could for her and for my country. So long, Dozier, give 'em hell for me, I'm done for." Read about Sgt. Keathley here.
  • P-47 Pilot Claude Rahn's widow Vera never remarried and outlived him by 59 years. She is buried by his side with a touching message on her gravestone. See here.

If you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others. Thanks for your interest!

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen - Irving Hoyt, 41st Infantry Division

Lt. Irving Hoyt served in the 41st Infantry Division in Biak, shown in the painting by Keith Rocco.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/41652979/irving-howard-hoyt
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/4101097828 
Irving Howard Hoyt never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 14, 1918 in Oregon. His mother Minerva was also born in Portland and his father Charles was born in Iowa. His father worked as a laundry manager. Irving had four older brothers. By 1940 he had completed three years of college and was living at home working as a visual educator.

He served in the Oregon National Guard and was inducted into the army as a sergeant on September 16, 1940 for what was to be one year of service. He ultimately became a first lieutenant in the Headquarter Company, 1st Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division.

After Pearl Harbor the 41st ID was stationed for coastal defense in Washington and Oregon. It was then sent to Australia and arrived in April 1942. The 162nd IR first saw action in Salamaua, New Guinea in June 1943. After action at Humbolt Bay in April 1944, the 41st ID was assigned to take Biak Island. It was a three month campaign against 11,000 well defended Japanese. Combat losses were not as bad as some other campaigns. The Americans would lose 474 killed. One of them was Lt. Hoyt who died on June 19, 1944.

His grave is at Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

Thank you Irving for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Irving.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Paul Tulloch, USS Canopus

Paul Tulloch served on the USS Canopus, drawn here by a crewmate, and died a POW in Hoten, Manchuria.
https://bataancampaign.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/the-lucky-old-lady-of-bataan/
http://battlingbastardsbataan.com/bbbpics6.htm 
Paul Sanford Tulloch never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 13, 1918 in North Dakota. His mother Enid was born in Ohio and his father Robert was born in New York. His father worked as a trapper. Paul had an older brother. By 1930 Paul was living with his mom's brother. His mother had moved to Minnesota and ten years later identified as a widow living in Montana.

He enlisted in the navy on his 16th birthday in 1934. His final assignment was as a watertender 2nd class on the submarine tender USS Canopus. Canopus was in Manilla Bay when the Japanese attacked the Philippines mere hours after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  It had a compliment of 314 men. Canopus worked on fitting the submarines of the Submarine Squadron 20 so they were seaworthy to escape to Australia. She was hit by a Japanese bombs on December 29 and again on January 1, after which she was disguised as a wreck but continued to service other ships during the night. Her crew was sent to Corregidor Island in February 1942 where Tulloch and his fellow sailors joined the beach defense there. The island surrendered on May 6, 1942 and the Americans became prisoners of war. 

Tulloch was sent to a Philippine POW camp, but was later put on a transport and sent to a POW camp in Manchuria. He died on November 20, 1942. He was one of 212 men from Canopus who never made it home.

His grave is at Mountain View Cemetery in Billings, Montana

Thank you Paul for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Paul.

Last year on this date I profiled Kwajalein medic Robert Cox. You can read about Robert here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Monday, February 12, 2018

WW2 Ploiesti Mission Fallen - Medal of Honor hero and B-24 pilot John Jerstad

Major John Jerstad led the 93rd Bomb Group on the Ploiesti Mission flying Hell's Wench,
shown here in this painting by Roy Grinnell.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8080299/john-louis-jerstad
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/4101092226 
John L. Jerstad never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on February 12, 1918 in Wisconsin. His parents Arthur and Alice were also both born in Wisconsin. His father worked as an auto factory bookkeeper and later as an assistant cashier at a malted mill. John had one younger sister. By 1940 John had graduated from Northwestern University and was working as a teacher while living at home.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces on July 12, 1941. In flight school he was trained to fly B-24 Liberators and became a captain in the 328th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group in October 1942 which operated out of England as part of the 8th Air Force. It was transferred to the 12th Air Force and moved to North Africa in December. In April 1943 he was promoted to major and became the chief operating officer for the 2nd Bomb Wing.

Although Major Jerstad had completed more missions than needed to return home, he stayed with his men and continued to fly.  On August 1, 1943 he volunteered to lead a formation in the ill-fated bombing mission of the oil refineries in Ploiesti, Romania known as Operation Tidal Wave. He was flying a plane named Hell's Wench.

Major Jerstad's official Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. 

On 1 August 1943, he served as pilot of the lead aircraft in his group in a daring low-level attack against enemy oil refineries and installations at Ploesti, Rumania. Although he had completed more than his share of missions and was no longer connected with this group, so high was his conception of duty that he volunteered to lead the formation in the correct belief that his participation would contribute materially to success in this attack. 

Maj. Jerstad led the formation into attack with full realization of the extreme hazards involved and despite withering fire from heavy and light antiaircraft guns. Three miles from the target his airplane was hit, badly damaged, and set on fire. Ignoring the fact that he was flying over a field suitable for a forced landing, he kept on the course. 

After the bombs of his aircraft were released on the target, the fire in his ship became so intense as to make further progress impossible and he crashed into the target area. 

By his voluntary acceptance of a mission he knew was extremely hazardous, and his assumption of an intrepid course of action at the risk of life over and above the call of duty, Maj. Jerstad set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Americans lost 60 out of 177 bombers and more than 500 men on this mission.

His cenotaph grave is at Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial, Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.

Thank you John for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for John.

Last year on this date I profiled B-17 flight engineer Edwin Rechlin. You can read about Edwin here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100