Tuesday, January 31, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Palawan Massacre's John Harris

John S. Harris, Torpedoman's Mate 2S, USS Canopus
http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/harris-j-s.htm

John S. Harris could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 31, 1917 in Georgia. His mother was also from Georgia. His father was from South Carolina and was a superintendent of a cotton gin and saw mill. He later became a public works engineer. John had one older sister and one younger brother.

He joined the navy prior to the war and was stationed in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded. He served as a Torpedoman's Mate, Second Class on the submarine tender USS Canopus.

He was captured after fighting in Bataan, survived the Bataan Death March, and was a POW until he died on December 14, 1944 in the infamous Palawan Massacre. This tragic event was written about in WIlliam B. Breuer's book The Great Raid: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor which was made into the 2005 movie The Great Raid. Harris was among 139 POWs burned alive or machine gunned to prevent them from being rescued by advancing American troops.

Coffins with the remains of those killed in the Palawan Massacre
https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Lined-up-Coffins-Palawan-Massacre


His remains were returned to be buried in a mass grave at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with 122 of his comrades.

https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Lined-up-Coffins-Palawan-Massacre


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


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Monday, January 30, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Max Shirk, 29th Infantry Division

Shirk's comrades from 175th Infantry Regiment in St. Lo where Pvt. Shirk was killed.
http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvmemory/vets/woodsrussell/woodsrussell.html

Max Shirk could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 30, 1917 in Kansas. His parents were both Kansas born. His father Loyd was a farmer who later became a salesman of farm implements. Max had one younger brother. By 1940 he was on his own.

Max enlisted on December 5, 1942. He was a private in 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.

In all likelihood, Pvt. Shirk landed on Omaha Beach shortly after D-Day and fought through the early action to expand the beachhead in Normandy. Pvt. Shirk was fatally injured by shrapnel from a German 88mm shell near St. Lo, France on July 29, 1944 and died the next day.

Front Line Position on the day Pvt. Shirk died.
http://modelsuwemilitaria.blogspot.com/2013/06/puma-14-panzerspahwagen-2342-panzer.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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


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Sunday, January 29, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Mosquito navigator Milford Hopkins

Lt. Hopkins was navigator on this type of plane used by the 653rd Bomb Squadron for weather recon.
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/424493-USAAF-Mosquito-MkXVI-Photo-Recon-Pack-Forums

Milford B. Hopkins could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 29, 1917 in Oklahoma. His mother was also born in Oklahoma. His Texas born father was an oil driller. By 1930 his mother was a widow working as a seamstress for a dry goods store. Milford had one older brother.

Milford completed college and was working as a teacher by 1940 and was supporting his mother who had retired. He had married Vera Ellen Kilpatrick on January 18, 1941.

Milford enlisted in the Army Air Corp on December 2, 1942. He was a 2nd lieutenant navigator flying in deHavilland Mosquitos in the 653rd Bombardment Squadron which had a mission of weather reconnaissance. On November 22, 1944, Lt. Hopkins was killed when a plane engine failed during takeoff in severe weather and crashed in England.

https://www.facebook.com/spitfirepilots/photos/pcb.953289811349131/953289724682473/?type=3&theater

The crashed Mosquito that claimed Lt. Hopkins's life.
http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/160213

His remains were returned to be buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. His widow remarried in 1947 and died in 1997.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3026683&ref=acom

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

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Farnham Flower, 52nd Fighter Group

P-51s flown by Sgt. Flower's unit: 2nd Pursuit Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group.
https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=PublicUnitProfile&type=Unit&ID=651

Farnham J. Flower could have been 100 years old today. 

What kind of a name is Farnham?  Sounds kind of English, yes?

Close.

Farnham was born in Wales on January 28, 1917. His father was English and his mother was Welsh. He had one older sister with the appropriate name of Violet Flower. His family came to America in 1926. The 1930 census shows his father working as a coal miner in Michigan.  

Perhaps feeling some affinity for his native Great Britain, Farnham enlisted in the Army Air Corp on October 10, 1940, when the war in Europe was just one year old and England was standing alone against Nazi Germany. During the course of the war he became a staff sergeant and was serving in the 2nd Pursuit Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group which was stationed in Piagiolino, Italy by the end of the war. This fighter group flew P-51s.

Sgt. Flower had the misfortune of dying on May 5, 1945, a mere three days before the end of the war in Europe. While most pilots were officers, there were some flying sergeants. I was unable to determine if Sgt. Flower died as a pilot or in some accident on the ground.

His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=49182780&ref=acom

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


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Friday, January 27, 2017

WW2 Fallen - USS Houston's Kenneth Kollmyer

US Naval Academy 1939 Yearbook

Kenneth Leon Kollmyer could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 27, 1917 in Iowa. His parents were both Indiana born. His father was a machinist in 1920 and ten years later he owned his own machine shop. Kenneth had two older sisters and an older brother. 

Kenneth graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1939. The yearbook commended him for his inherent good humor and endless knowledge of subjects of general interest. He was assigned to serve as a lieutenant junior grade on the heavy cruiser USS Houston.

The USS Houston was in the Philippines when war broke out with Japan. It was sent to Australia to join forces with British, Australian and Dutch warships. In late February 1942, this group of Allied ships were tasked with stopping the Japanese invasion of Java and were outnumbered by the enemy. One by one the allied cruisers and destroyers were sunk. The Houston lasted until February 28 when it found itself low on ammunition and surrounded by enemy destroyers and cruisers in Sunda Strait. Hit by multiple torpedoes, the Houston sunk. Among it's compliment of 1,061, just 368 survived, only to become POWs for the duration of the war. Lt. Kollmyer was among those who died. 

Painting depicting the final minutes of the USS Houston at the Battle of Sunda Strait
http://flattopshistorywarpolitics.yuku.com/topic/3417/Navy-Divers-Survey-USS-Houston-CA30-in-Sunda-Strait#.WIWZaYgrLnA 

The fate of the Houston remained unknown for nine more months and it wasn't until after the war that the details of the Houston's fate became known. The remains of the Houston were discovered by divers in June 2014.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=102296064&PIpi=72625152

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

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

WW2 Fallen - POW Ronald Boston + Unbroken's Louis Zamperini

20th Air Base soldiers as POWs
https://www.vetfriends.com/militarypics/large.cfm?picture=1060

Ronald O. Boston could have been 100 years old today.

He was born on January 26, 1917 in Kansas as was his mother. His father was born in Nebraska was an farmer in 1920 and a farm laborer 10 years later. Ronald had and older brother and sister and four younger sisters and one younger brother.

Ronald enlisted in the Army Air Corp on August 2, 1939. His unit was the 20th Air Base Group, 27th Materiel Squadron which was assigned to the Philippines. He was captured by the Japanese when America lost the battle for the Philippines. He endured the Bataan Death March and was put to work farming, building railroads and air fields.

Ronald was a 1st Sergeant in the Army Air Corp at the time of his death. He died on September 7, 1944 when the cargo steamer Shinyo Maru was sunk by the American submarine USS Paddle off the coast of Mindanao. The Shinyo Maru had no markings that it was a POW transport ship. There were 750 POWs on board. Only 82 survived by swimming to shore.

Shinyo Maru
http://www.powtaiwan.org/archives_detail.php?THE-SEPTEMBER-1944-HELLSHIPS-40

Sgt. Boston remains MIA.

BONUS

Another far better known POW in Japan was Olympian Louis Zamperini. He was also born on January 26, 1917. He wrote about his experience in his book Devil at My Heels. It became even better known when Laura Hillenbrand told his story in Unbroken, which was later made into a movie of the same name by Angelina Jolie.
Angelina Jolie and Louis Zamperini

The movie is worth the time to watch but the books are much better. Highly recommended. We are all better off because Louis made it back. What we have lost because Ronald didn't make it back, we will never know.

Thank you Ronald and Louis for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Ronald and Louis.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Day of Rest

A search of Ancestry.com for any American servicemen or women born on January 25, 1917 found none who died during the war.

With more than 400,000 casualties in World War 2, most days it is easy to find at least one person born 100 years ago on that day who died during the war. The challenge is usually to decide who to highlight and who to leave out. If we assume that most of the casualties were among those born on one of the 4,017 days during the eleven years from 1917 to 1927 we would actually expect an average of 100 per day.

During the 45 months America was engaged in the war, we averaged 355 deaths per day. Obviously deaths increased later in the war as more Americans were engaged with the enemy. As sobering as these high numbers appear, they are nothing compared to the losses suffered by the Soviet Union. Not counting civilian deaths that numbered in the millions, Russian military losses average an incredible 4,000+ a day. Stalin cared less for the lives of his people than America's leaders who had a goal to end the war as soon as feasibly possible in order to stop the killing as soon as possible. Each death created a heartbroken Gold Star mother.

The Greatest Generation is a good moniker for those who fought for America in the Second World War. Adjusted for population growth a similar sacrifice today would be more than 1.2 million fallen. Could we do it again today? I'm not sure. Thankfully, we have for the most part been made safe from such horrors because of the sacrifice of those who did not return. This is what motivates me to bring the sacrifice of the World War 2 fallen to the attention of those who enjoy the freedom the fallen paid for with their lives.

Let's earn it for all those World War 2 fallen.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Hubert Hoenck, 4th Marine Division + Ernest Borgnine

Marines on Saipan where Hubert Hoenck was killed on June 22, 1944
http://morleyevents.weebly.com/saipan.html

Hubert Gregory Hoenck could have been 100 years old today.

He was born on January 24, 1917 in California. His parents were both Minnesota born. His father worked a packer for a fruit company. Hubert was their sixth child. He had three older sisters, two older brothers, and a younger sister. His father was not living with the family at the time of the 1930 census and he died in 1932. Hubert completed high school and was working as a painter in 1940.

He died on June 22, 1944 during the Battle of Saipan. He was in the Regimental Weapons Company, 25th Marines Regiment, 4th Marines Division. Private Hoenck was one of nearly 3,500 marines killed during the battle.

The location of the 25th Marine Regiment on the day Pvt Hoenck was killed.
http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Saipan/index.html

His remains were returned to be buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.


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


BONUS

Also born on January 24, 1917 was Ernest Borgnine, the Academy Award winning film actor who was also well known for the 1960's TV show McHale's Navy.




Borgnine enlisted in the Navy after high school and served 5 years. He finished his service in mid-1941. The ship he had served on was in the Hawaiian area the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, but not in the harbor. Borgnine reenlisted the next year and served another 5 years in the Navy. Because of his past experience he was mainly in training positions and served along the eastern seaboard.

Borgnine lived to be 95. 


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Monday, January 23, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Philippine tanker Quincey Humphries

M3 Stuart Tank, the type Pvt Humphries used.
http://aviationshoppe.com/us-m3-stuart-light-tank-p-1384.html

Quincey Albert Humphries could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 23, 1917 in Oklahoma. His parents were both Arkansas born. His father was a farmer. Quincey was their fifth child. He had two older brothers and two older sisters. He also had at least four younger sisters and two younger brothers.

Quincey enlisted in the army on March 19, 1941. He had a grammar school education and was working as a farmhand before joining the army. His unit was shipped out to the Philippines.

Pvt. Humprhries unit before he joined it. Company B 192nd Tank Battalion.
http://www.lindavdahl.com/Photo%20Gallery%20and%20Images/Company%20B,%20192nd%20Tank%20Battalion%20Ft.%20Knox,%20Kentucky%20in%201941.htm

The war was barely three weeks old when Pvt. Humphries was lost on December 29, 1941. According to findagrave.com:

Pvt. Quincey Humphries was a member of B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. During the withdraw into Bataan, his tank was knocked out of action by the Japanese. His tank crew was ordered out of the tank and told to run. As they ran the Japanese fired on them. Quincey made it into a sugarcane field but was never seen again.
He also is listed among the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

(http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=66019119&ref=acom)

Thank you Quincey for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Quincey.
If you think more people should take a moment to learn about the sacrifice of Quincey and the other World War 2 fallen, be sure to share this and other daily profiles. Thanks for your interest in the World War 2 Fallen 100 project and thanks for reading!

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Stanley Glowacki, USS Joseph T. Dickman

The U.S. Coast Guard supported the D-Day invasion.
http://footage.framepool.com/en/shot/616064247-united-states-coast-guard-welding-d-day-marine

Stanley A. Glowacki could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 22, 1917 in Michigan. His mother was born in Poland and his father was born in Michigan with parents from Poland. Stanley's father owned his own farm. Stanley had two older sisters, one younger sister and four older brothers. In high school he was in the orchestra.

Stanley Glowacki in high school orchestra, 1933

By 1940 Stanley had completed two years of high school and was working as a mess steward in a camp kitchen.

Stanley was servicing in US Coast Guard Reserves when he died June 7, 1944. He was a Seaman First Class on the USS Joseph T. Dickman and participated in the D-Day invasion at Utah Beach. He was one of 15 Coast Guard sailors killed supporting the landing, including one other on his ship.

USS Joseph T. Dickman, where Stanley A. Glowacki was a Seaman 1st Class
http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/03/03013.htm

His remains were returned to be buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.

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


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Saturday, January 21, 2017

WW2 Fallen - B-24 navigator William Sippel

Lt. Sippel
http://www.dvrbs.com/monuments/audubon/AudubonWW2-WilliamSippel.htm

William F. Sippel, Jr. could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 21, 1917 in Indiana. His parents were both born in Wisconsin. He had one older brother. His father owned a restaurant in 1920. By 1930 he worked as a piano finisher and by 1940 he was a shipper's assistant.

William had a high school education. Before joining the Army Air Corp he worked as a billing clerk.

William enlisted in the army air corp on January 15, 1942. He was 6'1" and weighed 191 pounds. He became a B-24 navigator in the 400th Squadron, 90th Bomb Group.

Lt. Sippel died on November 17, 1942 in a tragic takeoff accident at the Iron Range air strip in Queensland, Australia. His plane was the eleventh in line to take off for the squadron's first bombing mission to Rabaul. The airstrip was in poor shape and dust raised by the earlier planes obscured the pilot's vision. While still moving on the ground the plane veered off the runway and crashed into three parked bombers. The B-24 caught fire and its bombs exploded, killing all eleven men on board including Lt. Sippel.

This B-24 was damaged in the collision that claimed the life of Lt. Sippel.
http://www.dvrbs.com/monuments/audubon/AudubonWW2-WilliamSippel.htm

His remains were returned to be buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery Park. 

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


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Friday, January 20, 2017

WW2 Fallen - A-20 gunner Joseph Joyce Jr.

The Joker painted by Jack Fellows.
Joseph Joyce was killed on a similar mission in an A-20 Havoc one week before the events depicted in this painting.
http://www.jackfellows.com/Aviation/aviation-056.html

Joseph H. Joyce, Jr. could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 20, 1917 in Pennsylvania to parents who were also Pennsylvania born. According to census records he had two younger brothers and two younger sisters. His father worked with pipe products as a machinist.

By 1940 was a high school graduate working as a messenger. He was still living with his parents in Pennsylvania. When he enlisted two years later on January 26, 1942, he signed up for the Army Air Corp.

Fliers from 312th Bomber Group who would have known Sgt Joyce, photo probably taken July 1945
https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/8092019905/in/photostream/

Joseph became a Staff Sergeant with the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, 5th AAC which was active in the Philippines at the time Sgt. Joyce died. Sgt Joyce flew on Douglas A20 Havocs, a two engine light bomber with a crew of three. He was the gunner on his plane. On January 7, 1945 A20's attacked Clark Airfield, then under Japanese control, in a mission with 120 planes. Clark Field was defended by 400 anti-aircraft guns. The planes flew in low, dropping bombs slowed by parachutes (parafrags) to slow down the bombs and give time for the plane to fly away. Sgt. Joyce was on one of the 11 planes lost on that mission.

His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

WW2 Fallen - B-17 pilot Harold Barnett

Harold S Barnett and wife Bernice
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=25020409

Harold S. Barnett could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 19, 1917 in Missouri to Missouri born parents. According to census records he had an older brother. Harold's father was a farmer in 1920. By 1930 he was a farm laborer, divorced but still living with his sons. By the 1940's census Harold was living with his uncle and had completed 2 years of college

Harold enlisted in the Army Air Corp on November 22, 1940. He was a 6' 1" single man but at sometime before his death he married Bernice Marie Boone.

At the time of his death, Harold was a 1st Lieutenant and pilot of B-17s serving in the Pacific. The plane he was flying when he died was called "Pluto".

http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-17/41-24543/1943/pluto-noseart.html#axzz4VyQYxGST
The website pacificwrecks.com has done an excellent job documenting the mission where Lt. Barnett was killed:

On June 30, 1943 at 1:30 am this B-17 took off from Dobodura as part of a strike force from the 43rd Bomb Group including fourteen B-17s and four B-24s on a overnight bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield. Takeoffs and bombing runs were made independently by each individual aircraft. ... Over the target, this B-17 was spotted and intercepted by a J1N1 Irving piloted by Shigetoshi Kudo, who opened fire with his oblique 20mm cannons and observed the bomber's crash into the mountains southeast of Cape Lambert. Read full account here.
http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/part2/03_walker.html

His remains were returned after the war and buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. His wife never remarried and died fifty-one years later in 2004 at the age of 91.

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

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

First of Pearl Harbor Fallen - Leo Gagne

Private Gagne was killed where the first bombs dropped in the Pearl Harbor attack fell at Hickam Field.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/7Dec41/7Dec41-5.html

Leo A. E. Gagne could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 18, 1917 in Massachusetts. His mother was from Maine and his French speaking father was from Canada. According to census records he was the baby of the family with two older brothers and five older sisters. Leo's father was a stitcher in a shoe factory in 1920. He held the same position 20 years later.

Leo had a high school education. Before joining the army air corp he worked as a laborer.

Leo enlisted in the army air corp on September 19, 1940 with assignment to Hawaii. It must have been exciting to travel to an exotic destination like Honolulu and work with the new technology of flying machines. He served as a private in the 22nd Material Squadron, 17th Air Base Group. He was at Hickam Field on the morning of December 7, 1941. 
http://dingeengoete.blogspot.com/2014_11_01_archive.html

Hickam was the first target attacked by the Japanese, even before they attacked the ships at anchorage in Pearl Harbor. That means Private Gagne and the other 138 soldiers killed at Hickam field that day were the very first American servicemen who died in World War 2. They mostly died while America was still at peace with Japan because the Japanese declaration of war came later in the day.

A week later his family in New Hampshire received a Christmas package he mailed before the surprise attack. It said in part, "I am sorry I can't be with you for Christmas."

As the first casualties of the war, Private Gagne and the other fallen are represented by the very first of the 4.048 gold stars on the World War 2 Memorial in Washington DC.

His remains were buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3775467&ref=acom

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


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Hollis Hamilton, 7th Infantry Division

Comrades of Hollis Hamilton at Battle of Kwajalein.
http://sciencepole.com/battle-of-kwajalein/

Hollis T. Hamilton could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 17, 1917 in Mississippi to parents who were also Mississippi born. According to census records he had three older brothers. He also had a younger brother and sister. His fathered owned his own farm.

By 1940 he had a seventh grade education and worked as a reforestation laborer for the government. He was still living with his parents in Mississippi. When he enlisted two years later on December 29, 1942, he was married and working as a farmer.

Private Hamilton served in Company F, 184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

Private Hamilton died on February 3, 1944 near the end of the Battle of Kwajalein in the south Pacific.
Private Hamilton's regiment position on the day he died.
http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Gilberts/index.html

His remains were returned to be buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3776851

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

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Monday, January 16, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Henry Krajna, 4th Armored Division

4th Armored Division half tracks in France, the transportation used by T/5 Krajna's unit
http://stukasoverstalingrad.blogspot.com/2013/11/m3a1-half-tracks.html

Henry F. Krajna could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 16, 1917 in New York. His mother was also New York born. His father was from Poland. According to census records he had three older sisters, two older brothers, two younger sisters and a  younger brother. His farther worked in the dairy industry, first as a dairyman and later as a milkman.

Henry was a high school graduate, tall for his era at 6' 1". Before joining the army he was a manufacturing foreman. He enlisted in the army on May 11, 1941.

Henry was a TEC5 Corporal at the time of his death, suggesting he had some special training and extended time in service. He was in the Headquarter Company of the 51st Armored Infantry Battalion in the 4th Armored Division which landed in Normandy a month after D-Day. At the time of his death on September 24, 1944, Corporal Krajna's unit had advanced to the Lorraine area and was facing experienced SS Panzergrenadier brigades. September 24 was a Sunday and at 800 hours the HQ company came under heavy artillery fire. Three officers and 13 enlisted men including Corporal Krajna were felled.

Location of 51st Armored Infantry Battalion the day after T/5 Krajna was killed
http://www.privateletters.net/featured_arracourt.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Woodlawn National Cemetery.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=888683

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


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Harold Willman

With more than 400,000 casualties in World War 2, most days it is easy to find at least one person born 100 years ago on that day who died during the war. The challenge is usually who to highlight and who to leave out.

However, for January 15, the only fallen serviceman I found was Harold L. Willman, but there was not a lot of information on him. We know he was an army private who died on November 4, 1944, but I couldn't find out what unit he was with.

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

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Alaska airman Frank Cranston

A P38 in Alaska, like the ones in Sgt Cranston's squadron
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/WorldWarIIPlaneMaintenance/IMG_2356.html

Frank H. Cranston could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 14, 1917 in North Dakota. His mother was from South Dakota and his father was from Canada. According to census records he had a younger brother and younger sister. Frank's father was a farm laborer in 1920. By 1930 he farmed his own land. Frank had moved out before the 1940's census.

Frank had a high school education. Before joining the army air corp he worked as a salesperson.

Frank enlisted in the army air corp on March 14, 1941. He became a sergeant in the 18th Army Air Force Fighter Squadron which flew P-38s.

That unit was assigned to Alaska and participated in the Aleutian Islands Campaign to dislodge Japanese who captured some of the islands in June 1942.

Sgt Cranston died on March 13, 1943. As an enlisted man, he would not be flying P-38s. I was unable to find out if his death was due to an accident or illness.

A far better known enlisted man who also served in Alaska during the war was Charlton Heston who went on to become one of the best known actors in movies. Heston was a sergeant in the 77th Bomb Squadron.

Charlton Heston during WW2
http://www.agamemnon.com/page/about/charlton/charlton.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. 

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

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