Sunday, April 30, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Norman LaPointe, 84th Infantry Division

This photo of 334th Infantry Regiment jeeps was taken 5 days after Pvt. LaPointe was killed.
https://www.pinterest.com/bokphilsberry/us-_84th-infantry-division-railspliters-in-wwii/

Norman S. LaPointe never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 30, 1917 in New York. His French speaking parents were also both born in New York. His father was a barber. Norman had two older sisters, two younger sisters and a younger brother. By 1940 Norman had completed an 8th grade education, had married his wife Sylvia, and was working as a stone quarry laborer. Norman and Sylvia had a son who was born in 1939.

Norman did not enlist in the army until April 8, 1944, meaning he was probably drafted.

Norman became a private in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division (The Railsplitters). The Railsplitters arrived in France in November 1944 and entered combat by mid-month. In December it helped push back the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. During this advance the division captured the towns of Beffe and Devantave. It was while engaged in this fighting that Pvt. LaPointe was killed on January 5, 1945.

His remains were returned to be buried at St. Josephs Cemetery in Plainville, Ct. His son died in 1996. If his wife were still alive today, she would be 97 this year.

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


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Saturday, April 29, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Sidney Berk, B-17 Navigator

Lt. Berk was the navigator on the final mission of "Terry and the Pirates" when it crashed near Paris.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougsheley/3268151475 

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

He was born as Sidney Berkovitz on April 29, 1917 in Florida. His Hebrew speaking parents were both born in Romania and came to America in 1908. His father was a grocery store proprietor and later a retail clothing merchant. Sid had four older sisters and two younger sisters. By 1940 Sid had completed four years of college and was working as a sales clerk.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 8, 1941. Perhaps he had relatives in Romania, repressed by the Nazis, that caused him to enlist before America was attacked.

He became a first lieutenant and B-17 navigator in the 367th Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group, 8th Army Air Force.

On December 20, 1942, Lt. Berk was the navigator on the B-17 Terry and the Pirates when it was sent on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine. It was shot down by enemy fighter planes and crashed near Paris. Seven crewmen survived the crash and were made POWs, but Lt. Berk and two others were killed.

His remains were returned to be buried at the Old Jewish Center Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL.

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


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Friday, April 28, 2017

WW2 Fallen - James Hagler, 2nd Infantry Division

2nd Infantry Division troops in door-to-door fighting in Brest where Pvt. Hagler was killed.
https://www.pinterest.com/ab4790/2nd/ 

James E. Hagler never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 28, 1917 in Alabama. His parents were also both born in Alabama. His father was a farmer who died when James was seven years old. His mother remarried and James and his older brother and two older sisters where raised with his stepfather.

James joined the army on January 5, 1944. He had one year of high school, was married at the time, and had been working in a manufacturing job. He became a private in Company D, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 2nd Division was already in Europe when Pvt. Hagler joined the army so he joined Company D as a replacement soldier at some time. The 2nd Division landed on Omaha Beach on D+1. It was fully engaged in the Allied effort to break out of Normandy. It's next assignment was to take Brest, a major port for German U-Boats. The Germans had plenty of ammunition and were defending a city with many defensive positions. It took six weeks of house-to-house fighting to defeat the Germans. Pvt. Hagler was killed during the fourth week on September 3, 1944, one of more than 4,000 American casualties.

His remains were returned to be buried at Methodist Church Cemetery in Louisville, Alabama.

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

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Keith Garvie, KIA in Alaska

Pvt. Keith Garvie, Oglala Sioux.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=102182870 

Keith N. Garvie never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 27, 1917 in Nebraska. His mother was born in South Dakota and his father was born in Minnesota. Both his parents had Sioux parentage. His father was a day laborer and later a carpenter. Keith had five older sisters and two older brothers, plus one younger sister. By 1940 Keith and his parents were living in Yankton, South Dakota. He had completed two years of high school and had not worked for the past year.

He enlisted in the Army on March 22, 1941. He was a private in Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. 

The 4th Infantry Regiment was assigned to Alaska before the war started. In mid 1942, Japanese troops had taken a foothold on some of the Alaskan islands. The 4th Infantry was tasked with eliminating the 2,300 Japanese troops from Attu Island. The G.I.s landed on May 8, 1943. The Japanese dug in at higher elevation to take advantage of the winter weather. 
The 4th Infantry Regiment on Attu.
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Guard-US/ch11.htm

On May 27, Garvie's company was assigned to scale steep cliffs under fire to take the high ground from the enemy. They were successful, and defeat of the Japanese was guaranteed. Pvt. Garvie was killed two days later, one of 60 men from his regiment that died on Attu. Only 28 Japanese soldiers were captured.

After Private Garvie's death, his company commander wrote to his parents:

"Your son Keith N. Garvie, in covering an attack of a Japanese strong point on May 29, 1943, was killed by Japanese gunfire while performing his duties as a rifleman. Keith was held in high regard by all members of the Command. He was a splendid soldier and an outstanding character. His loss will be deeply felt by his many friends."

His remains were returned to be buried at Yankton City Cemetery in South Dakota.

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


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Charles Hedrick, Lost At Sea

Seaman Charles Hedrick was on the USS Jacob Jones when it was sunk by a German U-boat.
http://destroyerhistory.org/flushdeck/ussjacobjones/ 

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

He was born on April 26, 1917 in West Virginia. His parents were also both born in West Virginia. His father was a farm laborer and later a farmer. Charles had two younger sisters and four younger brothers. By 1940 Charles had completed four years of high school.

Charles became a Seaman 2nd Class serving on the USS Jacob Jones, a Wickes class destroyer built in 1918 that had a crew of 149 on it's final patrol.

When the war started, the Jacob Jones acted as convoy protection for ships travelling from Argentina to America and Europe. In February, it was reassigned to anti-submarine duty to find the German subs that were wrecking havoc along the Atlantic coast. Jacob Jones departed New York on the morning of February 27, 1942.  Later that day it searched for survivors from a tanker that had been torpedoed by the U-578.

http://destroyerhistory.org/flushdeck/ussjacobjones/

The next day, in the dark of the early hours, the U-578 surprised Jacob Jones and hit her with two torpedoes. At least 30 men survived the sinking, but many of these were killed when depth charges exploded as the ship dropped to the bottom of the sea. A patrol craft was only able to rescue 12 survivors. Seaman Hedrick was not one of them.

Seaman Hedrick is remembered with a cenotaph memorial at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, West Virginia.

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


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Stanley Bennett, 24th Infantry Division

Pvt. Stanley Bennett.
from the book World War II Young American Patriots 1941-1945

Stanley W. Bennett never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 25, 1917 in West Virginia. His parents were also both born in West Virginia. His father was a coal miner. Stanley had two older brothers, three younger brothers and two younger sisters. By 1940 Stanley had moved to Pennsylvania. He had a wife named Virginia and had a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy, also named Stanley. A third child was born after the 1940 census. He had an 8th grade education and was working as a laborer.

Stanley entered the service on June 8, 1944 and became a private in Company K, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Pvt. Bennett was likely a replacement soldier since the 34th IR was already in the South Pacific when he joined the army. 

He was no doubt already part of Company K when it took part in the invasion of Leyte in October 1944. By January 1945 it was on to the task of retaking Luzon. The 3rd Battalion was given the specific assignment of eliminating the Japanese on Corregidor Island. With the aid of paratroopers who dropped in on the high ground, the 3rd Bn landed on February 16 and found the island to be well defended. 

This map shows the attack on Corregidor that Pvt. Bennett participated in.
http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/rock-force-assault-macarthurs-invasion-of-corregidor/ 

It took 11 days to dislodge the 6,700 Japanese defenders, 6.600 of which were killed. The Japanese conducted repeated banzai attacks. Pvt. Bennett was killed on February 17, the second day of the battle. He was one of 207 troops that were lost retaking Corregidor. 

His remains were returned to be buried at Grafton National Cemetery in Grafton, West Virginia.

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


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Monday, April 24, 2017

WW2 Fallen - James Burnett, 29th Infantry Division

Pvt. James Burnett
https://116thregimentrollofhonor.blogspot.com/2016/09/pfc-james-earley-burnett.html#comment-form 

James E. Burnett never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 24, 1917 in Virginia. His parents were also both born in Virginia. His father was a farmer. James had three younger sisters and four younger brothers. By 1940 he had completed a 6th grade level of school and worked as a farm laborer.

James enlisted in the army on April 14, 1941. He became a private in the Headquarter's Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Blue and Gray."

Pvt. Burnett would have participated in the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach where the troops of the 116th Infantry Regiment were the first men on the beach. He would have been involved in the battle for St. Lo and the Normandy hedgerows. Pvt. Burnett was one of the more fortunate G.I.s by the end of the Normandy Campaign. The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy suffered more than 2,500 dead and 8,000 wounded. His luck did not hold out. His unit was next ordered to assault Brest. This lasted from August 25 to September 18. Pvt. Burnett died on September 4, 1944, one of four Blue and Gray men who died that day and one of 624 who lost their lives in the battle for Brest. 

His remains were returned to be buried at White Rock Cemetery in Floyd,Virginia.

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


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Sunday, April 23, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Harold Nussman, P-47 Pilot

Lt. Haorld Nussman posses next to a previous P-47 he flew.
http://hjmarseille.tumblr.com/page/2

Harold C. Nussman never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 23, 1917 in North Carolina. His parents were also both born in North Carolina. His father was a brick burner manager and later a carpenter. Harold had an older brother and an older sister, plus a younger brother and a younger sister. By 1940 he had completed high school and was working as a motor vehicle mechanic.

He was still living at home with his parents when he decided to enlist in the Army Air Corps on July 28, 1941 as a private. Over the next few years he advanced in ranks to 1st lieutenant. He was in the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, 8th Air Force and flew P-47 Thunderbolts.

On February 8, 1944 Lt. Nussman was flying his P-47 Blondie  with four other P-47s in escort of a disabled B-17 returning from a mission to Frankfurt when four German FW-190s surprised them from out of the sun. His plane, and three others, were shot down and crashed near ChaCharlesville-Mezieres in France. Lt. Nussman and the other three P-47 pilots were all killed.

His remains were returned to be buried at Salisbury National Cemetery in North Carolina.

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


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Lester Purcell, Americal Division

Troops from 132nd Infantry Regiment on Mt. Austen where Pvt. Purcell was killed attacking Japanese.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Woundet_Soldier_at_Guadalcanal.jpg
Lester W. Purcell never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 22, 1917 in Illinois. His parents were also both born in Illinois. His father was a farmer who also worked as a garage mechanic. Lester had an older sister and one younger brother. 

By 1941 Lester had completed one year of high school and was working as a farm hand. Lester enlisted in the army on April 25, 1941.

He was a private in the 132nd Infantry Regiment, Americal Division. This was one of the first army regiments sent overseas. It left New York in January 1942 and arrived in Australia by February. By May it was attached to the Americal Division in New Caledonia which was assigned to augment and then relieve the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal.

Pvt. Purcell and the 132nd Infantry Regiment landed on Guadalcanal on December 8, 1942. By the second week on island the 132nd was ordered to drive the Japanese off of Mt. Austen. This hill was high ground that allowed the Japanese to keep an eye on Henderson Field. The Japanese position was their strongest on the island and it took more than a month to clear them off the hill. Pvt. Purcell was killed on December 27, 1942 when the Americans unsuccessfully combined a frontal assault with a flanking maneuver. He was one of 250 troops killed taking Mt. Austen.

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

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


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Friday, April 21, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Stephen Monson, 8th Air Force

Lt. Monson (third from left) is standing with the officers of his B-17 crew.
https://www.fold3.com/document/32148491/ 

Stephen M. Monson never had a chance to be 100 years old today. Instead, he lost his life in the service of his country during World War 2.

He was born on April 21, 1917 in Utah. His parents were also both born in Utah. His father was an oil company laborer and later a sheep herder. Stephen had three younger brothers. By 1940 Stephen had completed four years of high school and was working as a filing clerk.

Stephen enlisted in the Army Air Corps on January 23, 1942 as an aviation cadet.

He was a second lieutenant in the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force where he had the position of bombardier. 

On September 6, 1943, Lt. Monson's B-17 ditched in the English Channel after running out of gas on the return flight from it's bombing mission. Three crewmen died but Lt. Monson and seven other were rescued to return to duty.

On October 4, 1943 Lt. Monson was not so lucky. He was part of a mission with five planes from his squadron to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Two planes aborted and two planes returned, but Lt. Monson's plane crash landed in Belgium. The nine other crewmen were captured by the Germans, but Lt. Monson was killed.

His remains were returned to be buried at the American Fork City Cemetery.

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


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

WW2 Fallen - William Hammack, B-17 Crewman

Sgt. William Hammack was an engineer on B-17s in the 26th Bomb Squadron such as these.
http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b-17-flying-fortress/b-17f-of-the-26th-bs-11th-bg-enroute-to-raid-on-buka-airfield/ 

William L. Hammack could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 20, 1917 in Indiana. His parents were also both born in Indiana. His father was a farmer and later a bus driver. William had two younger brothers and two younger sisters.

William became a sergeant in the Army Air Corp. He was part of a B-17 crew in the 26th Bombardment Squadron, 11th Bombardment Group.

On August 4, 1942 Sgt. Hammack was the engineer on a B-17 that took off from Espiritu Santo on a bombing mission against Tulagi in support of the Guadalcanal invasion. Japanese fighters intercepted the B-17s. One damaged Japanese fighter collided with Sgt. Hammack's bomber sending both planes crashing into the sea below. There were no survivors. This was the first US plane lost in the Guadalcanal campaign.

Sgt. Hammack is memorialized at Deer Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Tell City, Indiana. The year after his death, his father died at age 50.

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


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Carlton Carney, 4th Infantry Division

Lt. Carlton Carney, 4th Infantry Division, landed on Utah Beach on D-Day.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=30752069 

Carlton Eugene Carney could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 19, 1917 in North Carolina. His parents were also both born in the Tar Heel State. His father was a railroad conductor. Carlton had two older sisters and three younger sisters. 

By 1940 Carlton had completed four years of high school and was working as a bookkeeping machine operator. He enlisted as a private in the army on September 16, 1940. 

Over the years of the war Pvt. Carney rose to the rank of 2nd lieutenant in Company M, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. While in the service he married Doris Smith Carney.

Excluding the paratroopers who jumped in during the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 8th Infantry Regiment troops landing at Utah Beach were the first American infantry to set foot in France on D-Day. During the fighting to clear the Cotentin Peninsula over the next few days and weeks, Lt. Carney was captured by the Germans. The details are unknown, but while a POW, Lt. Carney was killed on June 22, 1944.

His remains were returned to be buried at Wilmington National Cemetery. I don't know what happened to Carlton's widow.

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


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Henry Pollreis

Henry Pollreis prior to enlisting in Coast Artillery.
Photo shared with ancestry.com

Henry G. Pollreis could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 18, 1917 in Colorado. His parents were both born in Austria. His father was a farmer. Henry had two older sisters and one older brother. By 1940 Henry's mother had passed away.

On November 12, 1941, Henry, who was living in Montana, traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington and enlisted in the army. Prior to enlisting he had completed one year of high school and was working as a farm hand. Over the next year he rose to the rank of corporal.

His army internment records identify he served in the 707th Coast Artillery AA Battery. There is little information about this unit. I found one other serviceman from this unit that died during the war. One source place his November 26, 1942 death in New Guinea. Whether his death was related to combat, accident, or illness is unknown.

His remains were returned to be buried at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery in Nebraska.

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


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Monday, April 17, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Submariner Fraser Knight, USS Bonefish

Lt. Cdr. Fraser Knight served on the USS Bonefish's final patrol.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56113220

Fraser Sinclair Knight could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 17, 1917 in Florida. I was unable to find any background on his family.

Fraser was assigned to surface vessels of the Navy in 1939 after graduating from the US Naval Academy that same year. In 1941 he transferred to submarine duty where he served until his final patrol on the USS Bonefish as one of it's senior officers with the rank of lieutenant commander.

USS Bonefish
http://www.submarinesailor.com/Boats/SS223Bonefish/Patrol4Crew.htm

The Bonefish began it's final patrol on May 28, 1945. It sunk a Japanese transport and and a freighter in the Sea of Japan. When it did not return, it was classified as lost at sea. After the war, Japanese war records showed that a submarine destroyed by depth charges on June 19 was no doubt the Bonefish. The full crew of 85, including Lt. Cdr. Knight were lost.

Lt. Cdr. Knight's sacrifice is honored at the Honolulu Memorial.

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

Thanks to Darillyn Lamb Starr for recommending that Thomas be profiled.


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WW2 Fallen - Donald Garten, 38th Infantry Division

151st Infantry Regiment in action on Caraboa Island the month before Pvt. Garten was killed.
http://www.ww2online.org/image/company-1st-battalion-151st-infantry-carabao-island-philippines-16-april-1945

Donald F. Garten could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 17, 1917 in Indiana. His father was also born in Indiana and his mother was born in Illinois. His father was a master woodworker. Donald had one older brother, plus a younger brother and sister. By 1930 the Great Depression hit the Gartens especially hard. His father was unemployed and Donald was sent to the St. Vincents Orphanage in Vincennes, Indiana, 

Donald joined the Indiana National Guard on January 17, 1941. Prior to that he had completed three years of high school and was working as a clerk. After the war started Donald became a private in Company M, 151st Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division.

The 38th Division landed and fought in Leyte in December 1944 and then Luzon in January 1945. It cleared the Japanese out of the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island in February. By late May the Japanese had for the most part been eradicated in and around Manila. However, Pvt. Garten was killed by a hold-out Japanese sniper near Manila on May 22, 1945.

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

https://cs.billiongraves.com/grave/Donald-F-Garten/12140490

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


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Ray Backus, 4th Marine Division, Iwo Jima

Pvt. Backus served with these marines from the 23rd Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima.
https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=18884 

Ray E. Backus could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on April 16, 1917 in Ohio. His parents were also both born in Ohio. His father was a timber cutter and later a coal miner. His mother had been previously married and had four daughters and three sons with her first husband. Ray had one older brother with the same father. 

Ray became a private in the 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. I don't know if he was with this unit when it participated in the battles of Kwajalein, Saipan, and Tinian. He was serving in the 23rd Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima. It landed on Yellow Beach on February 19, 1945. Pvt. Backus and his fellow 23rd Marines were able to reach Airfield No. 1 by the end of the first day. A fellow Marine, Darrell S. Cole, died earning the Medal of Honor during this advance. Pvt. Backus endured nine more days of brutal fighting until he was killed on February 28, 1945 as the 23rd Marine Regiment cleared the Japanese away from Airfield No. 2 and Hill 382. 

This map shows were the 23rd Marine Regiment was when Pvt. Backus was killed on February 28, 1945.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/USMC-M-IwoJima-8.html

Pvt. Backus was one of 6,821 Americans who died in the battle. Fighting continued until victory was declared on March 26, 1945.

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

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


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