|Pvt. Bernard Gokey.|
Bernard J. Gokey never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on May 6, 1917 in Michigan. His parents were also both born in Michigan. His father was a steel work crane operator who later became a foundry foreman. Bernard had two older brothers, two older sister, two younger brothers and one younger sister. By 1940 he was still living with his parents, had finished four years of high school, and was working as a laborer.
Bernard was working as a shipping and receiving clerk when he enlisted in the army on May 25, 1943. He was assigned to the 816th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion in the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division which left for England in December 1943. It saw combat in Normandy a month after D-Day. By mid-August it was part of the attack on Brest. At that time Pvt Gokey had transferred to the 13th Regiment's 1st Battalion, Company B.
The 1st Battalion had been on the front lines for 23 straight days by September 10 when it was relieved. It had broken through four separate fortified enemy lines. It took 839 casualties to advance these 6,500 yards. During the withdrawal from the front, Pvt. Gokey was wounded. He died of his wounds two days later on September 12, 1944, one of 209 13th Regiment G.I.'s killed in the Battle of Brest.
His remains were returned to be buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Muskegon, Michigan.
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