Saturday, August 19, 2017

WW2 Saipan Fallen - Donald Mikeles, 27th Infantry Division

Soldiers of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division gaze upon Purple Heart Ridge
around the time Pfc. Donald Mikeles was killed on Saipan.
http://www.avalanchepress.com/Saipan8.php
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3785295&ref=acom
Donald Mikeles never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on August 19, 1917 in Indiana. His parents were also both born in Indiana. Donald had a younger sister who died when one year old. By 1940 Donald was no longer living at home. He worked as a hired farm hand in Union, Indiana. He married his wife Verl Elkins on June 28, 1941.

He travelled from Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky and enlisted in the army on September 17, 1941, giving up a job as a driver. He became a private first class in the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.

The 27th Infantry Division was the first division to be deployed in World War 2. It was in Hawaii by May 1942 and fought in battles at Makin Atoll and Eniwetok Atoll. On June 16, 1944 it was part of the initial landing on Saipan. By June 24, the Marine divisions on the flanks of the 27th ID were critical that is was not able to keep up the advances being made by the Marines. It precipitated the removal of the general commanding the 27th ID. The new leadership got the troops to probe and attack strongly held enemy positions colorfully named as Hell's Pocket, Death Valley, and Purple Heart Ridge.  Pfc. Mikeles died in the process of these attacks on June 27, 1944. The Americans lost more than 3,400 soldiers and marines during the 24 days of the Battle of Saipan.

His grave is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. His widow remarried after his death and died in 2011.

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

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lYNow more than 200 fallen have been profiled with more than 200,000 visits. Is there interest in seeing a video highlighting those from the group of second 100?

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

WW2 Fallen - B-17 Bombardier Orin Christenson + Cold War Victor

Lt. Orin Christenson was the bombardier on a B-17 in the 327th Bombardment Squadron.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=88553076&ref=acom 
Orin E. Christenson never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on August 18, 1917 in Minnesota. His parents were also both born in Minnesota. All four of his grandparents were born in Norway. His father worked as a harness maker and later worked repairing horse gear. Orin had three older sisters. By 1940 Orin had completed four years of high school. He was married and worked on a farm he rented.

He enlisted in the army on April 23, 1942, later volunteering for the Army Air Corp. He became a second lieutenant and bombardier in the 327th Bombardment Squadron, 92nd Bombardment Group. The 92nd Bomb Group was equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses. It was engaged in bombing missions over Germany and elsewhere over continental Europe by May 1943.

On September 13, 1944 Lt. Christenson's B-17 was shot down by enemy aircraft and crashed near Brandiz, Germany. Two of the crew survived and became POWs. The other eight, including Lt. Christenson, were killed.

His grave is at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Madelia, Minnesota. I am not sure what happened to his widow.

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

Casper Weinberger

On the same day Orin was born in Minnesota, a California couple had a second son they named Casper. His poor health as a child did not affect his schooling and he excelled enough to be accepted to Harvard where he edited the student newspaper and graduated in 1938. He stuck around and earned a law degree from Harvard in 1941.

Casper joined the army as a regular private after finishing law school. His skills were noticed and he was sent to Officer Candidate School and ended up as a captain. He served in the 41st Infantry Division in the Pacific but by the end of the war he was on General Douglas MacArthur's intelligence staff.


Casper Weinberger as Secretary of Defense and as a captain working intelligence for General MacArthur.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspar_Weinberger
http://corregidor.org/gallery/gallery2/g2_07.htm
After the war he focused on law and politics. He had increasing important roles serving California governor Ronald Reagan and then President Richard Nixon. When Reagan became president, he called on Weinberger to serve as his Secretary of Defense. Weinberger oversaw the massive rebuilding of America's military strength which led to the demise of the Soviet Union.

Weinberger died in 2006.

The 400,000 fallen who died between 1941 to 1945 were denied the opportunity to further serve our country as Weinberger. Our country is better for their wartime sacrifice but also poorer for what they were not able to do since then.

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY


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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

WW2 D-Day Fallen - Bedford Boy Clifton Lee, 29th Infantry Division

Pvt. Clifton Lee, 29th Infantry Division was in the first wave at Omaha Beach on D-Day,
commemorated at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56646817&ref=acom
https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/national-d-day-memorial-set-to-mark-70th-anniversary-of-wwii-normandy-landings-1.286562#.WYTShcaZNmA
Clifton G. Lee never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on August 17, 1917 in Virginia. His parents were also both born in Virginia. His father worked as a farmer. Clifton had five older brothers (including one named Robert E. Lee) and two older sisters. He also had one younger sister. By 1940 Clifton had completed six years of education and was working as a spinner and also served in the National Guard. It was a popular thing to do among the underemployed young men in Bedford, Virginia since it paid them $1 a day - much needed money in a rural town still suffering from the lingering effects of the Great Depression.

On February 3, 1941 Clifton's National Guard unit was activated in the regular army. He became a private in Company A, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. 34 other men from Bedford were also in the 1st Battalion, most in Company A.

The 29th Infantry Division arrived in England at the early date of September 1942. Other units were sent to fight in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, but the 29th Infantry Division stayed in England, training for 21 months and then being selected to be the first to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day at section Dog Green, June 6, 1944. Company A was the tip of the spear -- its men went in on the very first wave divided among seven landing craft.

Pvt. Lee was likely on the same landing craft with Company A commander Captain Taylor Fellers (also from Bedford), a total of 30 men. As soon as the ramp went down Pvt. Lee and the others surged for the beach. The pre-landing bombing and naval bombardment did nothing to take out the enemy in this sector. They faced at least three German MG-42 machine guns that fired more than 1,000 rounds per minute and at least two dozen snipers. All 30 men, including Pvt. Lee, were killed within yards of each other.

By the end of D-Day only 18 of Company A's 230 men were unhurt. The small 3,200 strong community of Bedford lost 22 men in Normandy, 19 on D-Day. It was the greatest loss per size of home town from all of the war. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford commemorates this sacrifice.

His grave is at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France along side many of the other Bedford Boys.

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


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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lYNow more than 200 fallen have been profiled with more than 200,000 visits. Is there interest in seeing a video highlighting those from the group of second 100?

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WW2 Fallen - P-47 pilot John Jerue

Lt. John Jerue flew P-47s in the 347th Fighter Squadron in Italy.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78825926&ref=acom
http://www.lonesentry.com/images/2014/10/p-47s-of-347th-fg.html 
John P. Jerue never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on August 16, 1917 in New York. His parents were also both born in New York. His father worked as a wood mill carpenter. John had two older sisters and one older brother.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corp in September 1942. He became a first lieutenant and pilot in the 347th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group. The 12th Air Force, 350th Fighter Group flew P-39 Airacobras which operated in the Mediterranean theater.The 350th FG planes performed patrol and interception missions, sortied to protect convoys, escorted aircraft, flew recon, engaged in interdictions and provided close air support to ground forces. Later in the war some of the pilots were switched to P-47 Thunderbolts, including Lt. Jerue.

On October 31, 1944 Lt. Jerue flew a mission to bomb the railroad marshaling yard at Isola del Scala, north of the Po River. His plane was hit by AA fire. Rather than bailing out, Lt Jerue attempted to crash land his damaged plane. He was unsuccessful and died in the crash at Canolo, near Correggio, Italy.

His grave is at St Josephs Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleums in Toms River, New Jersey.

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

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lYNow more than 200 fallen have been profiled with more than 200,000 visits. Is there interest in seeing a video highlighting those from the group of second 100?

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WW2 Okinawa Fallen - Harvard grad Charles Ruch, 6th Marine Division

Lt. Charles Ruch served in the 6th Marine Division in Okinawa.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=55926820&ref=acom
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Okinawa/USA-P-Okinawa-6.html 

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

He was born on August 15, 1917 in Rhode Island. His mother was born in Ireland and his father was born in New Jersey. His father worked as a lawyer. Charles had a younger sister. Charles graduated from Harvard in 1938.

Charles enlisted in the Marines in December 1942. He became a first lieutenant in the 6th Marine Division. He arrived in the Pacific in January 1944. The 6th Marine Division took part in the amphibious landing on Okinawa on April 1, 1945. Within two weeks it had advanced 55 miles. With the northern part of the island cleared, the 6th Marine Division turned south to help the army break through the Machinato line where the Japanese had focused much of their defensive efforts.  Lt. Ruch was wounded and died from his wounds on April 23, 1945, the day before the Machinato line was finally breached.

His grave is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

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


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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lYNow more than 200 fallen have been profiled with more than 200,000 visits. Is there interest in seeing a video highlighting those from the group of second 100?

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Fred Bigbee, 78th Infantry Division

Cpl. Fred Bigbee, 78th Infantry Division was one of the first Americans to cross the Rhine River
after taking the bridge at Remagen.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20585205&ref=acom
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d1/d0/d7/d1d0d7bf49bfb819a20698de805129ec---mars-division.jpg 

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

He was born on August 14, 1917 in Missouri. His parents were also both born in Missouri. His father worked as a retail grocery salesman and later as a meat cutter. Fred had two younger sisters. By 1940 Fred had completed four years of high school and was still living with his parents, working as a sales clerk.

He enlisted on September 16, 1940 in the Coast Artillery Corps. He became a corporal in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. The 78th arrived in France in late 1944. It was in combat in the Hurtgen Forest and attacking the Siegfried Line by December. The 310th Infantry Regiment took part in the successful capture of the Ludendorff Bridge that spanned the Rhine at Remagen on March 8, 1945, making Cpl. Bigbee one of the first Americans to cross the Rhine River.

The 78th ID was assigned to clear up the Ruhr Pocket which took from April 2 to May 8. There were over 300,000 German soldiers surrounded but not ready to surrender. Cpl. Bigbee was killed in action on April 6, 1945.

His grave is at Forest Park Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri.

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


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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY


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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

WW2 in the Pacific Fallen - Charles Robinson, USS Luce

Storekeeper Third Class Charles Robinson was killed when a kamikaze plane sunk the USS Luce.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3790546&ref=acom
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Luce_(DD-522).jpg 

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

He was born on August 13, 1917 in North Dakota. His mother was born in Illinois and his father was born in Canada. His father worked as as a barber. Bennie had one older sister. He probably had no younger siblings. By 1940 Bennie was married to his wife Florence and they had one daughter. He had completed four years of high school and was still living in North Dakota where he worked as an automotive assistant manager. His mother was single at the time, likely due to widowhood. She lived in a nearby boarding house and worked as a hotel chamber maid.

I was unable to determine when Bennie joined the Navy but he became a storekeeper, third class on the USS Luce.

The Luce began its service in World War 2 in the fall on 1943. She first operated in the Alaska area. By the fall of 1944 it was operating in the South Pacific including the return to the Philippines.

On March 24, 1945 Luce left Leyte as part of Task Force 51 on a mission to bring heavy artillery to support the landings on Okinawa. On May 4, Japanese kamikaze planes spotted the Luce on radar picket duty. Two planes got through the flak and American fighter planes. The first was finally shot down by Luce but not before the bomb it was carrying exploded which resulted in a power failure that silenced her guns. The second kamikaze then crashed into the aft section of the ship. The port engine was knocked out, the rudder was jammed, and the engineering spaces were flooded. She sunk within minutes that caused the death of 126 of her crew, including SK3 Robinson.

His cenotaph grave is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. His widow remarried after Bennie died and she passed away in 1991.

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


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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY


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