Donald Mikeles never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on August 19, 1917 in Indiana. His parents were also both born in Indiana. Donald had a younger sister who died when one year old. By 1940 Donald was no longer living at home. He worked as a hired farm hand in Union, Indiana. He married his wife Verl Elkins on June 28, 1941.
He travelled from Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky and enlisted in the army on September 17, 1941, giving up a job as a driver. He became a private first class in the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.
The 27th Infantry Division was the first division to be deployed in World War 2. It was in Hawaii by May 1942 and fought in battles at Makin Atoll and Eniwetok Atoll. On June 16, 1944 it was part of the initial landing on Saipan. By June 24, the Marine divisions on the flanks of the 27th ID were critical that is was not able to keep up the advances being made by the Marines. It precipitated the removal of the general commanding the 27th ID. The new leadership got the troops to probe and attack strongly held enemy positions colorfully named as Hell's Pocket, Death Valley, and Purple Heart Ridge. Pfc. Mikeles died in the process of these attacks on June 27, 1944. The Americans lost more than 3,400 soldiers and marines during the 24 days of the Battle of Saipan.
His grave is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. His widow remarried after his death and died in 2011.
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. Now more than 200 fallen have been profiled with more than 200,000 visits. Is there interest in seeing a video highlighting those from the group of second 100?
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100