Sunday, July 22, 2018

WW2 Fallen - B-17 navigator Leo Tomaso

Lt. Leo Tomaso served as a B-17 navigator in the 100th Bombardment Group.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63075590/leo-tomaso
https://100thbg.com/index.php?option=com_bombgrp&view=personnel&id=2061&Itemid=122 
Leo Tomaso never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 22, 1918 in Texas. His parents Sam and Rosa were both born in Italy. His father worked as a barber and died in 1925. Leo was the oldest child in his family. He had one younger brother. Leo attended Texas A&M and SMU.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942. He became a second lieutenant and navigator in the 351st Bombardment Squadron, 100th Bombardment Group which as equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses.

Lt. Tomaso's crew joined the 351st BS on January 9, 1945. He flew 17 missions.

His final mission was on March 23, 1945 with a target of Marburg, Germany. His plane was hit by flak and collided with another bomber that crumpled the right wing. The B-17 spun to the ground and exploded on impact. All nine crew on board were killed.

His grave is at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas.

Thank you Lt. Tomaso for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Leo.

Last year on this date I profiled Samuel Ogden, commander of the 3rd battalion, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. You can read about Samuel 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

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“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Saturday, July 21, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Annapolis grad and Silver Star hero Richie Henderson, USS Wahoo

Lt. Cmdr Richie Henderson served on all seven patrols of the USS Wahoo. Its wreck was found in 2006.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28091253/richie-neale-henderson
http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/wahoo-navy-release.htm 
Richie Neale Henderson never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 21, 1918 in Maryland. His parents John and Mai were born in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, respectively. His father worked as a farmer. RIchie had one older brother and two younger sisters. His parents divorced in November 1929. 

Richie attended the US Naval Academy where he was captain of the basketball team. He graduated in the class of 1940. He steamed to the Pacific later that year to serve in the Pacific fleet. He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on one of the battleships attacked by the Japanese (I wasn't able to find out which one.) He was sent back to the states where he trained as a submarine officer. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to the USS Wahoo, destined to be the most successful submarine in the US Pacific Fleet. He served on Wahoo for all seven of her patrols.

Wahoo is one of the best known American submarines of WW2. It has been the subject of many books. Once Dudley Morton became captain in 1943, Wahoo's five 1943 patrols sunk as many as nine enemy ships per patrol for a total of seventeen, far more than the average.

By September 1943 Richie had reached the rank of lieutenant commander for what would become the seventh and final war patrol for Wahoo. After sinking four enemy ships Wahoo was caught returning from the Sea of Japan and sunk by a combination of air and sea attacks on October 11, 1943. The wreck of Wahoo was located in 2006.

Lt. Cmdr. Henderson was posthumously awarded the Silver Star as well as a Gold Star.

His Silver Star citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Richie Neale Henderson (NSN: 0-85127), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the line of duty and in a position of great responsibility while serving on the U.S.S. WAHOO (SS-238), during the SEVENTH War Patrol of that Submarine in enemy patrolled waters from 9 September to 11 October 1943. 

He assisted his Commanding Officer in penetrating dangerous, confined and patrolled enemy waters where he contributed to the known destruction of one important enemy vessel. Other damage inflicted upon the enemy by his submarine in this area is unknown since his vessel failed to return from this patrol and it is presumed that he gave his life for his country. 

His conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

He is remembered at the Honolulu Memorial, Courts of the Missing.

Thank you Lt. Henderson for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Richie.

Last year on this date I profiled Bataan Death March survivor Paul Basinger. You can read about Paul 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Friday, July 20, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Kermit Becker, 34th Infantry Division, and his brother Eugene

Pfc. Kermit Becker served in the 34th Infantry Division while his brother Pvt. Eugene Becker served in the 85th Infantry Division.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/94876802/kermit-becker
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/94876236/eugene-walter-becker
Kermit Becker never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 20, 1918 in West Virginia. His parents Arnold and Ada were also both born in West Virginia. His father worked as a farmer and later as a watchman. Kermit had three older sisters and two older brothers. By 1940 Kermit had completed eight years of schooling and was employed as a fire worker while living at home. Within the next year he married Ruth Lee Cade.

He was drafted into the US Army on June 5, 1941. Kermit became a private first class in the 34th Military Police Company attached to the 34th Infantry Division. His father Arnold died in 1942.

On September 4, 1943, while acting in his capacity as a military policeman, he died from a fractured skull as a result of an Arab riot in North Africa.

Brother Eugene, six years his senior, was drafted October 20, 1943, no doubt shortly after hearing of Kermit's death. Kermit became a private in Company A, 1st Battalion, 338th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division. He also left a wife behind -- Freida Elizabeth Cade (a sister of Kermit's wife Ruth?). They had two children who both died in infancy, one year apart. Eugene's unit was sent to Italy and moved to the front lines in April 1944. He was given leave to visit Kermit's grave in Oran.

On September 13, 1944, the 338th IR attacked the mountain defenses known as the Gothic Line. Pvt. Becker was killed in action two days later.

Kermit and Eugene are buried at Maysville Cemetery in Maysville, West Virginia.

Thank you to the Becker brothers for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Kermit and Eugene. Eugene's widow remarried and died in 1961. I don't know what happened to Kermit's widow.

Last year on this date I profiled Charles McCoy, 90th Infantry Division. You can read about Charles 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

WW2 Iwo Jima Fallen - Silver Star hero Edmund Yanoushek, 3rd Marine Division

Sgt. Edmund Yanoushek served with these men from the 3rd Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49660399/edmund-r-yanoushek
http://www.americainwwii.com/galleries/iwo-jima/ 
Edmund Yanoushek never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 19, 1918 in Texas. His parents Frank and Annie were both born in Czech speaking Austria. His father worked as a machine shop iron worker and later as a blacksmith. Edmund had an older brother and sister and two younger brothers and four younger sisters. By 1940 Edmund had completed three years of high school and was working as a metal worker while living at home.

He volunteered for the US Marines and rose to the rank of gunnery sergeant in Company K, 3rd Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. The 3rd MD first saw action on Bougainville in November 1943. In July 1944 it landed on Guam and fought to retake the island.

Sgt. Yanoushek and the 21st MR landed on Iwo Jima on February 20, 1945, D+1. Four days later, Sgt. Yanoushek's leadership earned him the Silver Star.

Sgt. Yanoushek's Silver Star citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Gunnery Sergeant Edmund R. Yanoushek (MCSN: 298872), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Platoon Leader, serving with Company K, Third Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, THIRD Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 24 February 1945. 

During a daring assault on a Japanese-held airfield and the subsequent counterattacks repeatedly launched by the enemy throughout the night, Gunnery Sergeant Yanoushek continually exposed himself to fierce hostile gunfire as he moved from one gun position to another, encouraging the crews, placing the guns, directing the fire and, repairing and frequently manning the guns himself. 

His combat skill and aggressive fighting spirit were important factors in the success of his company's operations and reflect the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant Yanoushek and the United States Naval Service.

On February 28, 1945, Sgt. Yanoushek's battalion followed a rolling artillery barrage to take the town of Motoyama and the high ground over Airport #3. Resistance was heavy and taking ground was costly. Sgt. Yanoushek was one of the Marines killed in action that day. The 3rd MD would lose 1,131 killed and four times as many wounded before the Battle for Iwo Jima ended.

His grave is at Evergreen Cemetery in Rosewood Funeral Home and Cemetery in Humble, Texas.

Thank you Sgt. Yanoushek for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Edmund.

Last year on this date I profiled LeRoy Elliott, 37th Infantry Division. You can read about LeRoy 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WW2 St Mere Eglise Fallen - Jack Leonard, 82nd Airborne Division

Pvt. Jack Leonard, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment fought at St Mere Eglise.
The painting shown here is by Larry Selman.
The photo is a newspaper clip from an unidentified source kept by a family member of Pvt. Leonard.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/126244107/jack-r-leonard
https://www.amazon.com/Drop-Zone-Eglise-Selman-Airborne/dp/B01EM1HYII 
Jack R. Leonard never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 18, 1918 in Washington. His parents Luther and Hazel were born in Illinois and South Dakota, respectively. Luther's first wife and all three of his children died within a day of each other in 1915 in what must have been some type of accident. Luther worked as a farmer. Jack's parents separated before 1930. His mom got a job as a cook. Jack had one older sister. By 1940 Jack had completed four years of high school and was living with his mother while working as a plumber.

He joined the US Army on February 27, 1942 and volunteered to serve as a paratrooper. He became a private in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Pvt. Leonard's unit made its first combat jump into Sicily on July 10, 1943. It made its second combat jump at Salerno on September 14. In October the 505th PIR was pulled out of the line and sent to England to prepare for the invasion of France.

Pvt. Leonard and his fellow paratroopers boarded C-47 transport planes on the evening of June 5, 1944 for the flight over Normandy. Enemy flak scattered the planes causing most men to drop away from their planned drop zones. Pvt. Leonard ended up at St Mere Eglise, the first village liberated by Americans in the fight through France. On D+1 Pvt. Leonard was caught in a open field and killed by enemy artillery. A commemorative plaque at the site is still there (shown above).

His grave is at Riverside Memorial Park in Spokane, Washington.

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

Last year on this date I profiled Lt Commander Walter Hering, a USNA grad who served on the destroyer USS Hazelwood. You can read about Walter 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Silver Star hero Cecil McMahan, 2nd Armored Division company commander

Captain Buddy McMahan was the company commander of Company A, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/78276511/cecil-e.-mcmahan/photo
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/538672805415568860/?lp=true 
Cecil E. "Buddy" McMahan never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 17, 1918 in Alabama. His parents Sam and Cecil (yes, it seems he was named after his mom) were also both born in Alabama. His father worked as a railroad engineer. Buddy had three older brothers, one older sister, one younger brother, and one younger sister. By 1940 Cecil had completed three years of college at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) where he was quarterback of the football team and participated in ROTC.

He enlisted in the army on May 20, 1941. He reached the rank of Captain in Company A (where he was the company commander), 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Division. Captain McMahan's unit fought in North Africa and Sicily. It landed in Normandy three days after D-Day. The engineers bulldozed roads from the beaches and used the blades on the front of their tanks to break through hedgerows.

After a week off of the line, the 2nd AD was assigned to break through the St Lo - Vire River line on July 25, 1944. Two days later Captain McMahan and five other men from his unit were killed by an enemy artillery barrage.

Captain McMahan was awarded the Silver Star at some point between November 1942 and July 1944. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any details about how he earned the medal.

His grave is at Oakwood Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

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

Last year on this date I profiled B-17 pilot John Reeve. You can read about John 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Monday, July 16, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Medal of Honor hero and medic Laverne Parrish, 25th Infantry Division

Cpl. Laverne Parrish was a medic assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in the Philippines.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7675400/laverne-parrish
http://www.ww2online.org/image/wounded-25th-division-soldier-helped-aid-station-philippines-1945 
Laverne Parish never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 16, 1918 in Missouri. His parents Clatious and Wealthy (what names!) were born in Missouri and Kansas, respectively. His father worked as a farmer, first in Missouri and then in Montana by the mid-1930s. Lavern had two older brothers and one younger brother. By 1940 Laverne had completed eight years of schooling and was living as a laborer.

He was drafted into the army on March 4, 1941. He became a T/4 medic assigned to 161st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (nicknamed "Tropic Lightning"). The 25th ID was in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In November 1942 it relieved the Marines fighting on Guadalcanal. In September 1943 it captured Vella Lavella. It landed on Luzon on January 11, 1945. Cpl. Parrish's time in service was early enough that he could have participated in all these actions.

Over the next two weeks Cpl. Parrish repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to treat and rescue many wounded soldiers. His unselfish actions cost him his life, for which he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

His Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

He was medical aid man with Company C during the fighting in Binalonan, Luzon, Philippine Islands.

On the 18th, he observed 2 wounded men under enemy fire and immediately went to their rescue. After moving 1 to cover, he crossed 25 yards of open ground to administer aid to the second. 


In the early hours of the 24th, his company, crossing an open field near San Manuel, encountered intense enemy fire and was ordered to withdraw to the cover of a ditch. While treating the casualties, Technician Parrish observed 2 wounded still in the field. Without hesitation he left the ditch, crawled forward under enemy fire, and in 2 successive trips brought both men to safety. He next administered aid to 12 casualties in the same field, crossing and re-crossing the open area raked by hostile fire. Making successive trips, he then brought 3 wounded in to cover. After treating nearly all of the 37 casualties suffered by his company, he was mortally wounded by mortar fire, and shortly after was killed. 

The indomitable spirit, intrepidity, and gallantry of Technician Parrish saved many lives at the cost of his own.

His grave is at Ronan Cemetery in Ronan, Montana.

Thank you Cpl. Parrish for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Laverne.

Last year on this date I profiled B-26 tail gunner Wetzel Kimball. You can read about Wetzel 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
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”