Van L. Payne never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on June 28, 1917 in Iowa. His mother was also born in Iowa and his father was born in Nebraska. His father worked as a farmer. Van had one younger sister and three younger brothers. (All three of his brothers served in the army during the war and returned safely home.) By 1940 Van had moved off the farm. He worked for a meat packing business in Ottumwa.
He was married to Sarah Louise Anderson Payne. She died of double lobar pneumonia on June 11, 1940. They had one son who died before Van.
He enlisted in the army on March 18, 1942. He became a staff sergeant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division (nicknamed "Tough 'Ombres").
The 90th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach on D-Day through D+4. It took part in heavy fighting in Normandy and across France.
Sgt. Payne was wounded during July and was awarded a Purple Heart medal. His wound was not serious enough to keep him out of the fighting so he returned to his unit.
Sgt. Payne died on September 10, 1944 when the Tough 'Ombres were advancing from Verdun to Metz.
His grave is at Pattison Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa.
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!
To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY
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