Sunday, June 17, 2018

WW2 Fallen - B-24 gunner Louis Kne and his brother Joseph, 3rd Armored Division

Sgt. Louis Kne was the tail gunner on the B-24 Chug-a-Lug in China.
His brother Cpl. Kne served in the 3rd Armored Division.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118165611/louis-kne
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/117953153
https://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=17760
Louis Kne never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 17, 1918 in Minnesota. His parents Frank and Marija were both born in Slovenian speaking Austria-Hungry and came to America in 1909. His father worked as a grocery clerk and later as an iron miner. Louis had an older sister, an older brother, and nine (yes, nine) younger brothers. At least five of the Kne brothers served in the Army or Navy during WW2. By 1940 Louis had completed four years of high school and was working as an interior decorator while living at home. 

He was drafted into the Army in June 1942 and he volunteered for the Army Air Forces. He became a staff sergeant in the 425th Bombardment Squadron, 308th Bombardment Group, 14th Air Force which was based in Kweilin, China. Sgt. Kne was trained as a B-24 tail gunner.

Sgt. Kne volunteered to substitute as the tail gunner on the mission aboard the B-24 Chug-a-Lug on August 24, 1943. During the mission, a head-on attack from Japanese fighters grievously damaged the bomber with over 200 cannon and machine-gun holes. Four of the crew were seriously injured. Sgt. Kne shot down a Japanese plane, but he was wounded by a shot from its tail gunner as it went down. Sgt. Kne gave up his oxygen mask to a crew mate with a severed air line. 

Chug-a-Lug escaped into cloud cover and managed to return to base relying on the memory of the navigator since the maps had blown out of the plane. The pilot made a successful high speed crash landing. Sgt. Kne was the only one who died.

Sgt. Kne's older brother Joseph joined the army a year earlier that Joseph and served in the 3rd Armored Division in the European Theater as a TEC 5. On October 20, 1944, Cpl. Kne was driving some supplies to front line near Aachen, Germany when he was killed by a German artillery barrage.

Louis's grave is at Calvary Cemetery in Chisholm, Minnesota. His brother is buried in Belgium.

Interestingly, their family home still has a gold star displayed outside.

google maps
Thank you Louis and Joseph for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for the Kne brothers.

Last year on this date I profiled Clyde Boyd, USS St Louis kamikaze victim. You can read about Clyde 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”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

WW2 Guadalcanal Fallen - Gerald Roberts, Americal Division

Pvt. Gerald Roberts served with the 164th Infantry Regiment on Guadalcanal.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63213389/gerald-william-roberts
http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=13440
Gerald William Roberts never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 16, 1918 in South Dakota. His parents John and Anna were born in Iowa and South Dakota, respectively. His father worked as a farmer. Gerald had a twin brother (who became an army WW2 vet), three younger sisters, and a younger brother (who died in 1938). He lived in Pleasant Lake, South Dakota and probably watched the work to carve Mount Rushmore. By 1940 Gerald had completed four years of high school and was living at home.

Gerald was drafted into the Army on April 28, 1941 and became a private in Company M, 3rd Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment, Americal Division. The 164th IR was one of the first army units deployed overseas in WW2. It was sent to New Caledonia in the South Pacific in January 1942. With two other regiments they combined to form the uniquely named Americal Division. 

The 164th IR arrived on Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942 to reinforce the Marines defending Henderson Airfield from the Japanese. Two weeks later they turned back a major Japanese attack to breakthrough and retake the airfield.

Japanese cruisers bombed Henderson Field on the night of November 30 / December 1. Pvt. Roberts died December 1, 1942. I am not sure if he was a casualty of this attack, or if his death was from some other cause.

His grave is at Lakeview Cemetery, Atkin, Minnesota.

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

Last year on this date I profiled Battle of Midway DFC hero Robert Brazier. 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
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, June 15, 2018

WW2 Fallen - A-36 Apache pilot John Claus, Distinguished Flying Cross nominee

Captain John Claus flew A-36 Apaches in Italy with the 526th Fighter Bomber Squadron.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/76327079/john-g-claus
http://raf-112-squadron.org/86th_fg.html
John G. Claus never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 15, 1918 in Illinois. His parents John and Rosy were born in Indiana and Ohio, respectively. His father worked as a railroad laborer and later as a locomotive engineer. John had two younger sisters. By 1940 John had completed three years of college and was living at home.

He enlisted in the Army on January 13, 1942 and volunteered for the Army Air Forces. He became a captain and operations officer in the 526th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 86th Fighter Bomber Group, 12th Air Force. Captain Claus flew A-24 Banshees and A-36 Apaches. The squadron's main role was to provide air support for the Allied ground troops in Sicily and Italy.

Operating out of Serretella Airfield, in Italy, Captain Claus was part of a mission to Nepi, Italy on October 28, 1943. The flight he was with was jumped by 20 Me 109s. The Americans claimed three downed enemy fighters. During the dogfight, Captain Claus went missing in action near Civita, Castellano. His remains were identified at a later time. He was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross but I don't know if it was ever presented.

His grave is at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.

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

Last year on this date I profiled George Marcum, 7th Armored Division. You can read about George 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, June 14, 2018

WW2 Iwo Jima Fallen - John Purvis, 4th Marine Division

Pvt. John Purvis served with the 24th Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/67237714/john-gordon-purvis
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:24th_marines_wwii_iwo_jima.jpg
On this Flag Day we honor John Gordon Purvis, Sr.  John never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 14, 1918 in Georgia. His parents Lucious and Florence were also both born in Georgia. His father worked as a carpenter. John had two older sisters and two younger brothers. By 1940 John had completed eight years of school. He was living at home and worked as an auto mechanic. He married Emma Jo Chance in September 1940. They had a son named after his father and a daughter.

He volunteered for the Marines on March 28, 1944. He became a private in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. The 24 MR was already in action in Namur in February 1944. Pvt. joined later as a replacement, the 2nd Battalion having suffered many casualties because of an ammunition dump explosion. Next the 24 MR fought in Saipan and Tinian during the summer of 1944.

Pvt. Purvis landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. He only survived to the second day when he was killed in action when advancing to Motoyama Airfield #1. A total of 652 men from the 24 MR lost their lives in the Battle of Iwo Jima with another 1,053 wounded.

His grave is at Flagler Memorial Park. His widow remarried, and died in 2006. I don't know what happened to his namesake son or his daughter.

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

Last year on this date I profiled Elmer Wald who was killed in the notorious Malmedy Massacre. You can read about Elmer 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, June 13, 2018

WW2 Hollandia Fallen - Medic Alexander Bzowey and his brother-in-law Edward Mihala

Pvt. Alexander Bzowey left his home in Lakewood, Ohio to serve as a medic in Hollandia.
google maps
https://www.2esb.org/04_History/Book/Chapter_07.htm
Alexander Bzowey never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 13, 1918 in Ohio. His parents William and Pelagia "Blanche" were both born in Slovak speaking Galicia. His father worked as a grocery merchant who owned the Bzowey Meat Market. Alexander had an older brother and sister and a younger brother and two younger sisters. By 1940 Alexander had finished one year of high school and was working as a grocery clerk. He married Marguerite Mihala in May 1941 and they had a daughter in 1942.

He was drafted into the army on June 3, 1943. He became a private in Company B, 24th Medical Battalion. It was sent to Australia in September 1943. Pvt. Bzowey was part of the American invasion of Hollandia on April 22, 1944. The coveted airfields were secured by April 26. There still remained the difficult task of eliminating the enemy combatants who were not inclined to surrender. Pvt. Bzowey was killed on April 28, 1944.

The bad news for Pvt. Bzowey's widow did not end with her husband's death. Four months later her only brother Edward, a private in the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was killed in action in France.

Pvt. Bzowey's grave is at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. The location is sections 47; lot 63; grave 3. If anyone can take a picture of this and email it to ww2fallen100@gmail.com, I will add it this profile. His widow remarried after the war.

Thank you Alexander and Edward for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Alexander and Edward.

Last year on this date I profiled bomber pilot Arthur Friesz and his brother Robert. You can read about the Friesz brothers 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, June 12, 2018

WW2 Fallen - P-38 pilot Emmett Gravitt

Major Emmett Gravitt served with the 5th Photo Recon Group with CO Col. Leon Gray (shown here) in Italy.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105693613/emmett-charles-gravitt
http://www.15thaf.org/5th_Photo_Recon/
Emmett Charles Gravitt never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 12, 1918 in Ohio. His parents George and Alice were also both born in Ohio. His father worked as a farm laborer on his father-in-law's farm and later as a garage laborer. Still later he was a machinist. Alice died in 1931. Emmett had two younger sisters. By 1940 Emmitt had completed one year of college and was working as a file clerk while living at home with his father and sisters. He married Dorthadele Greathouse and they had one son.

He enlisted in the army on October 12, 1940 and volunteered for the Army Air Forces. He rose to the rank of major in the 15th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Photo Reconnaissance Group, 12th Air Force. Major Gravitt was trained to fly P-38 Lightnings. He survived crashing an O-47B at MacDill Field in Florida in January 1942. His unit was sent to the Mediterranean Theater and provided recon support for the Allies in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy.

Major Gravitt was flying a mission over Mairensee am Neuwalde, Austria on April 12, 1944 and he failed to return to base. He was reported missing in action.

His grave is at West Chester Cemetery in West Chester, Ohio. His widow remarried and died in 2010. I don't know what happened to his son.

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

Last year on this date I profiled James Garris, 9th Infantry Division. You can read about James 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, June 11, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Bronze star hero Donald Shelton, 34th Infantry Division

Staff Sergeant Donald Shelton served with the 34th Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/169757568/donald-r-shelton
"The 34th Infantry Division: Louisiana to Pisa" 
Donald R. Shelton never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 11, 1918 in Iowa. Donald was most likely an only child to parents Ron and Pearl. In high school the 6'2" Donald was a three sports athlete. He was captain of the basketball team and an all-state center, an all-conference football player, and an award winning pitcher who once tried out for the Pittsburg Pirates. By 1940 Donald was playing semi-pro baseball.

He enlisted in the army on February 10, 1941 when his national guard unit was called up. He became a staff sergeant in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. It was sent to North Ireland in mid-1942 and prepared for the invasion of North Africa. Sgt. Shelton landed in Algiers where the 34th ID defeated the Vichy troops in Oran, Algeria. He fought through the full campaign in Tunisia and then in Italy, beginning in September 1943.

In March 1944 Sgt. Shelton's actions resulted in a Bronze Star. Unfortunately, I don't know the details. Three months later he was wounded near Lanuvio and sent to hospital. He was back with his unit by September and was killed in action when his company attacked the Germans defending Terenza in Tuscany on September 15, 1944.

His grave is at Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, Iowa.

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

Last year on this date I profiled twins Edwin and Erwin Steege. You can read about the Steege brothers 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”