Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Ney Wagner, 35th Infantry Division + Butterfly Effect

Pfc. Ney Wagner served in the 35th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=33670610
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkYqIvhz8JM 

Ney Cecil "Buddie" Wagner never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 23, 1917 in Texas. His mother was born in Arkansas. His father was born in Texas and worked as a farmer. Buddie had two older sisters and a younger sister. By 1940 he had completed two years of high school and was still living with his parents while working as a laborer. His parents probably planned on pass their farm on to him.

Buddie was married his wife Gracie by the time he enlisted in the US Army on March 17, 1944. 

Gracie Wagner.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=42914738 

He became a private first class in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 320th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division (Santa Fe Division). The 35th Division suffered 15,822 casualties during the war so it was in constant need of replacements and Pfc. Wagner was one of them. 

Pfc. Wagner participated in the Battle of the Bulge when the 35th Infantry Division was part of the American effort to relieve Bastogne. It got there the day after Christmas 1944. Specifically, the 35th Infantry Division was tasked with pushing the Germans out of nearby Villers-la-Bonne-Eue. It took 13 days, but the Germans were forced out by January 10, 1945. Throughout the battle Pfc. Wagner and the rest of Company L had to deal with zero degree temperatures, waist deep snow, and fanatic SS panzer troops in excellent defensive positions. Every house, hill, and wood had to be taken separately. Captured SS troops were found with vials of acid they were suppose to throw on the faces of the Americans if captured. The brutal nature of the fighting resulted in many killed G.I.s. Pfc. Wagner was one of them. He was killed on January 7, 1945.

His remains were returned to be buried at Blanco Cemetery in Blanco, Texas. His widow never remarried and died in 1999. She is buried next to her husband. They had one son who is probably still living.

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


THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Also born on May 23, 1917 was Edward Norton Lorenz. He was a gifted student of mathematics at Dartmouth College and Harvard University before the war who enlisted in the army in 1942. He put his math genius to work by serving as an army meteorologist. 


http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-when-a-butterfly-flutters-its-wings-in-one-part-of-the-world-it-can-eventually-cause-edward-norton-lorenz-107-79-51.jpg

After the war he earned two degrees from MIT. He became a pioneer in chaos theory and coined the term butterfly effect to describe how small causes can have large effects. He died in 2008.

The accomplishments of Lorenz serve as a reminder of the missed accomplishments of all the fallen who never came home.


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!

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

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY

Monday, May 22, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Robert Burrows, 42nd Infantry Division

Pfc. Robert Burrows served in the 42nd Infantry Division with these troops.
http://www.mywarhistory.com/browse/printPreview.aspx?serviceHeroId=2 

Robert E. Burrows never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 22, 1917 in South Carolina. His parents were also both born in South Carolina. His father was a farmer. Robert had six older sisters and one older brothers, plus one younger sister and one younger brother (who also served during the war). By 1940 Robert had completed high school (where he was valedictorian) and moved from his parent's farm to Charleston where he worked as a salesman and lived with his wife Ruth and daughter.

Robert enlisted in the US Army on March 25, 1944. He shipped out for Europe in January 1945. He became a private first class in the 142nd Engineers Combat Battalion attached to the 42nd Infantry Division.

On March 15, 1945 the 42nd Infantry Division launched an attack in the Hardt Forest to break through the Siegfried Line that would last seven days. Pfc. Burrows died on the first day of the advance.

His remains were returned to be buried at Williamsburg Presbyterian Cemetery in Kingstree, South Carolina. I don't know what happened to his widow or daughter.

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


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!

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

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY


Sunday, May 21, 2017

DRAFT: WW2 Fallen - Jack Knight 5/29

This profile will be shared on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017. It is published here as a draft so organizations interested in highlighting this for Memorial Day can see it in advance.

Lt. Jack Knight commanded an infantry unit in Burma that included two younger brothers.
http://www.cbi-theater.com/knight/knight.html 

On this Memorial Day we honor Medal of Honor recipient Jack L. Knight who never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 29, 1917 in Texas. His parents were also both born in Texas. His father worked as a farmer. Jack had five younger brothers (three of whom served during the war) and one younger sister. By 1940 Jack had graduated from Weatherford Junior College and was working on the family farm.

On November 18, 1940, Jack and his brother Curtis both enlisted in the Texas National Guard.

He served as a first lieutenant and was the commander of F Troop, 124th Calvary Regiment, Mars Task Force. His brother Curtis was in the same unit and was it's First Sergeant. Brother Loyd, if you can believe it, also joined the unit. Brother Hershel broke the pattern by serving in the Navy during the war.

In a age of armor and air power, the army didn't know what to do with a calvary regiment. It stayed in Texas until June 1944 when it turned in it's horses and became an infantry unit. In July, it was sent to serve in India. By December 1944 it was part of Mars Task Force, a special unit tasked with the mission of removing the Japanese from North Burma. It required a 200 mile march through mountainous jungles and streams. It must have been quite an adjustment for the three Knight brothers used to dry Texas. Normal resupply was impossible -- they had to get everything delivered by airdrop.

His is the only Medal of Honor earned by someone in the ground forces of the US Army in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War 2.

Carl W. Weidenburner did an outstanding job describing Lt. Knight's last battle. It reads like a scene from a John Wayne movie. The decision to award him the Congressional Medal of Honor was an easy decision. You can read his full article at http://www.cbi-theater.com/knight/knight.html

On the morning of February 2, 1945, Knight and his men started out at 6:20 a.m. Following a barrage, Knight's troop "F" moved 1,500 yards through the Hosi Valley jungle, then up a 250-foot slope towards the objective. Only two Japanese were met on the way. Knight killed them both with his carbine.

Knight and his men reached their objective after 35 minutes. The men began to dig in. Knight reconnoitered the slope at the end of the hill. He spotted an enemy pillbox and grenaded it. He found two more pillboxes and gave them the same treatment.

Knight called to his men, "Come on up. There's a whole nest of them here." His men obeyed. Knight found himself in the center of a horseshoe formation of pillboxes. He threw a grenade into his fourth pillbox, then fired his carbine into it.

Men who later described the scene said Knight acted as if he were out to get every pillbox himself. A Japanese soldier tossed a grenade at the lieutenant. He backed away but the burst caught him full in the face. As he turned around and walked back to Lt. Leo C. Tynan to get more carbine ammunition, the men saw blood dripping from his face.

Another enemy soldier tried to bayonet Knight as he walked past a pillbox. Lt. Tynan killed him. Knight took half of Tynan's ammunition and started forward again. As he broke into a run, he muttered to Tynan, "I can't see."

The troop had caught up with him by then. Concentrated fire came from the pillboxes. Men were falling all around Knight. He regrouped his squads by arm motions and went out in front again.

He grenaded his fifth Pillbox. An enemy grenade landed nearby and wounded him a second time. This time he went down. But as he lay there, he kept shouting encouragement to his men. Lt. Knight's brother, 1st Sgt. Curtis Knight, saw his brother fall and ran forward to lead the troop. But he was dropped by a bullet under the heart.

The lieutenant asked one of the men to get his brother back to an aid station. He continued to encourage his men. Then, on his hands and knees, he started to crawl towards another enemy pillbox. He was hit by a bullet. It was the end for Lt. Jack Knight. His men went on to take the objective. His brother, flown to an evacuation hospital, recovered. 


Brother Curtis earned the Silver Star and the Bronze Star (died in 2013 at age 94). Brother Loyd died in 1987.

His remains were returned to be buried at Holders Chapel Cemetery in Cool, Texas.

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


JOHN F. KENNEDY TIE IN
John F. Kennedy was also born 100 years ago on May 29, 1917. Hundreds of books have been written about JFK including many about his service as a PT boat skipper in the South Pacific. 

His brother Joseph, whom his father had groomed to run for president one day, was one of the fallen. We will never know if others of the fallen may have also run for president had they survived.

In remembering the fallen on Memorial Day, we can do well to reflect on President Kennedy's words: 

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them."

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!

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

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.



WW2 Fallen - Howard Van Hoose, 3rd Armored Division

Pvt. Howard Van Hoose, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39370321 

Howard Van Hoose never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 21, 1917 in Kentucky. His parents were also both born in Kentucky. His father was a grocery merchant and later a lumber merchant. Howard had an older sister. By 1940 Howard had completed 8 grades of education and moved out of his parent's home. He was working as a salesman and was married to his wife Joan. He became the manager of the Louisa branch of his dad's lumber business.

On November 20, 1943 Howard was in Huntington, West Virginia where he enrolled in the US Army as a private. He was originally in the Army Air Corp but later transferred to the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division sometime in 1945.

As the 3rd Armored Division approached the Elbe River, it discovered the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp on April 11, 1945 where slave laborers helped to build V1s and V2s. They found more dead then living. The local German citizens were made to dig the graves. As the troops moved on they noticed the German Army was well entrenched to defend the Hartz Mountains. They decided to bypass and continue on to the Elbe River. Pvt. Van Hoose was reported missing on April 15, 1945. On this same day the 3rd Armored Division was ordered to halt it's advance. Pvt. Van Hoose's body was discovered later and his status was changed to Killed in Action. He was likely one of the last of the 1,810 men from the 3rd Armored Division killed in the war.

His remains were returned to be buried at Wells Buckingham Cemetery, Paintsville, Kentucky. His wife never remarried and died in 2004. They had one son.

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


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!

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.




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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Walter Kreklow, 88th Infantry Division

Lt. Walter W. Kreklow, 88th Infantry Division began his service as a private.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9299101 

Walter W. Kreklow never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 20, 1917 in Wisconsin. His parents were also both born in Wisconsin and his father's parents were both from Germany. His father was a farmer. Walter had three younger sisters and three younger brothers (the older two served in the Army Air Corp during the war). By 1940 Walter had completed 8 years of schooling and had moved away from home. He was working as a farm laborer on the farm owned by the parents of his future wife. He later worked as an upholsterer.

Records show he enlisted in the National Guard in 1937 and in the US Army on July 12, 1941 (in Florida) with the rank of sergeant. A year later, in August, he attended O.C.S. and was commissioned a second lieutenant. In November 1942 he married his wife Elaine.

He advanced to the rank of first lieutenant in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 349th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division. He left America for the North African theater in October 1943. He saw action in Africa and also Italy and was wounded three times. In mid-October 1944 the 88th ID was assigned to take Mount Grande in the cold and mud. Lt. Kreklow was killed in action on October 18, 1944. The 88th ID lost more than 6,000 men to death, wounds, and missing during the 44 days they were on the front lines for this campaign.

His remains were returned to be buried at Union Cemetery, Jefferson, Wisconsin. I don't know what happened to his widow.

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


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!

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.



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

Friday, May 19, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Robert Putnam, 35th Infantry Division

Sgt. Robert Putnam, 35th Infantry Division.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=73053283 

Robert Putnam never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 19, 1917 in Pennsylvania. I was not able to find any information about his parents or siblings. By 1940 Robert was living in Michigan, had completed four years of high school, was working as a salesman, and was married to his wife Virginia. He enlisted in the US Army on October 11, 1940.

He rose to the rank of first sergeant in the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. The 35th ID arrived in Normandy a month after D-Day. After breaking out of the Cotentin Peninsula in early August, Sgt. Putnam's unit was part of the effort to dislodge German troops near Mortain on August 7, 1944. The next day German SS Panzers broke into the rear areas of the American position and attacked the 2nd Battalion HQ. Sgt. Putnam was likely wounded in this engagement and he died of his wounds before the day ended.

His remains were returned to be buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska. His wife remarried after his death and died in 1972.

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


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!

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Audrey Harris, 37th Infantry Division


Pfc. Audrey Harris.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=46075510 

Audrey Harris never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on May 18, 1917 in Alabama. His parents were also both born in Alabama. His father was a farm laborer. Audrey had a younger brother (who joined the army in February 1945) and a younger sister. By 1940 his parents were not living together. His mom was working as a housekeeper and Audrey, who completed one year of high school, was working in a saw mill and lived with her.

Audrey enlisted in the US Army on December 31, 1942. He was married at the time. He was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division and had the rank of private first class. Pfc. Harris may have joined his unit in time to serve in the Battle for Bougainville in the spring of 1944. The 145th Infantry Regiment participated in the invasion of Luzon in January 1945 and helped secure Manila in March 1945.

CORRECTION: In an early version of this story I reported that Pfc. Harris died May 12, 1945 when the 37th Division was resting and resupplying. I have since learned from the 37th Infantry Division in WWII (@37thidwwii) that on May 12, 1945 the 145th Infantry Regiment was actually fighting a very bloody battle at Mount Pacawagen and the Wawa Dam sector. It is likely that Pfc. Harris was killed due to this action.

His remains were returned to be buried at Orange Cemetery in Clarke County, Mississippi. I did not find any information about his widow.

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


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