Dwight W. Elder never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on March 22, 1918 in California. His parents Harold and Flora were born in California and Kentucky, respectively. His father worked as a farm laborer and later as a general store merchant. Still later he worked as a truck driver. Dwight had an older brother and sister, two younger brothers (both became WW2 vets), and two younger sisters. By 1940 Dwight had completed four years of high school. He was living with his family and worked as a gas station attendant.
He was drafted into the army on January 21, 1941. He became a sergeant in Company K, 3rd Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Elder's unit first saw action in Attu Island, Alaska in May 1943. It next fought on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands in February 1944. From November 1944 through March 1945 it fought in the Philippines.
Sgt. Elder's final battle was on Okinawa. His united landed on April 1, 1945. After 39 days of continuous action and heavy casualties, the 7th ID was pulled off the line and sent to the reserves. Back on the line with fresh replacements, the 7th ID made slow progress against a well concealed enemy that sometimes gave up no more than 300 yards a day. It was during this period of difficult fighting that Sgt. Elder was killed on June 15, 1945.
His grave is at Mountain View Cemetery in Reno, Nevada.
Last year on this date I profiled Leroy Cooper, 26th 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.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100