|Sgt. Wilfred Humphrey served in the 128th Infantry Regiment in New Guinea.|
Wilfred G. Humphrey never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on August 31, 1917 in Wisconsin. His parents were also both born in Wisconsin. His father worked as plumber and later as a carpenter. Wilfred had two younger brothers, one of whom also served in the army during the war. By 1940 he had completed two years of high school and was working as a department store clerk while living at home with his parents and four-year-old youngest brother.
On October 15, 1940 Wilfred gave up a job as a filling station attendant to join the infantry. In time he became a sergeant in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division (Nicknamed "Red Arrow Division").
Although originally slated for Europe, the 32nd was sent to Australia in May 1942 to take the place of an Australian division left to fight in the European theater. General Douglas McArthur sent the 32nd to New Guinea to begin his offensive operations against the Japanese.
The Battle of Buna-Gona pitted the insufficiently trained Americans against veteran Japanese soldiers. The tropical jungle terrain and weather was other-worldly for men who mostly came from Wisconsin. Sgt. Humphrey was killed on December 17, 1942 while the 128th Infantry Regiment was finishing its attack in the Buna area. He was one of 586 Americans killed in action during the battle. The jungle conditions sidelined more men than death or wounds -- an incredible 7,000+ succumbed to tropical illnesses such as malaria.
Sgt. Humphrey's grave is at Wautoma Union Cemetery in Wautoma, Wisconsin.
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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 similar video highlighting those from the group of second 100?
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