|Pfc. Duane Larsen died in the battle to retake Corregidor Island in February 1945.|
Duane E. Larsen never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on May 13, 1917 in Michigan. His mother was also born in Michigan and had German born parents. His father was born in Indiana and his parents were both from Sweden. Duane's father worked as a paper maker at a paper mill and later as a beater engineer. Duane had two older brothers and one younger brother (who served in the Army Air Corp during the war). By 1940 Duane had completed two years of high school and was working as a clerk.
He enlisted in the army on February 26, 1941 and served as a private in the coast artillery until he transferred to jump school. Pvt. Larsen married his wife Dolores on February 11, 1943. They had one daughter Dolane who was born after he arrived with Battery A, 462nd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion in Australia at the end of March 1944.
This unit saw action in Noemfoor, Leyte, and Mindoro. It was also part of the assault to retake Corregidor Island on February 16, 1945, making the difficult airdrop on the small island. The Japanese fought tenaciously as always, but by February 26 the battle had reached the mopping up phase. The Japanese had packed the caves on the island with explosives. At 11:05 am an American tank fired into one of these caves and probably set of an explosion that lifted off the ridge above the cave. Pvt. Larsen was on that ridge. It was four years to the day from when he joined the US Army. He and many others were killed as a result of the explosion.
Many of the details concerning Duane Larsen were provided by his daughter Dolane for the website http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/462/462_trp.html. Read her tribute here.
His remains were returned to be buried at Calvary Cemetery in Niles, Michigan..
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