Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Marlin Miller, 77th Infantry Division

77th Division crosses Antilao River a week after Lt. Miller was killed on Leyte.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Return/USA-P-Return-19.html

Marlin H. Miller could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 28, 1917 in South Dakota. He had six sisters and one brother. He was on the high school basketball team at Ree Heights High School in 1934. After finishing high school he worked in a CCC camp, and later worked in a post office and then a farmers' elevator.

Miller joined the army on March 17, 1942 as a private and during the course of the war became a first lieutenant in the 306th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. In July 1944 he was part of the successful recapturing of Guam. Next, his unit participated in the fighting in the Philippines on Leyte.

Lt. Miller died on the third anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1944. On that day the 306th Infantry Regiment landed near Deposito in Ormac Bay and they destroyed the Kamijo Battalion at Ipil.

Location where Lt. Miller died on December 7, 1944
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Return/USA-P-Return-19.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Thank you Marlin for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Marlin.


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!

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Monday, February 27, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Minoru Nakayama + JFK Assassination Tie-In

Sgt. Nakayama served in the Cannon Company, 442nd Infantry Regiment with these soldiers.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/435934438904209833/

Minoru Nakayama could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 27, 1917 in California. His parents were both born in Japan. His father was a house gardener. Minoru had an older brother and sister. He had three younger brothers and a younger sister. By 1940 he had completed all four years of high school and was still living with his parents while working as a gas station attendant.

Minoru enlisted in the army on July 9, 1941, before the war began. After the war started his family was sent to an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. Minoru rose to the rank of tech sergeant in the storied all Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment. cannon company. He would have provided artillery support with either 105mm howitzers or 155mm howitzers.

He was wounded in July 1944, but stayed with his unit. Casualties in the cannon company were lower than the losses in the rifle companies, but there were still seven cannon company soldiers who died during the war including Sgt. Nakayama who died of wounds on April 16, 1945, just three weeks before the war ended in Europe. This was during the regiment's last major offensive to crack the Gothic Line in Italy.

His remains were returned to be buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery.

Thank you Minoru for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Minoru.


Kennedy Assassination Tie-In
WW2 Navy vet John Connally rides with President Kennedy the day Kennedy was killed.
http://usstracer.info/nov1963.html
Unlike Sgt. Nakayama, Navy officer John Connally survived the war and went on to a distinguished government service. This is the same Texas Governor John Connally who was seriously wounded in the presidential convertible with President Kennedy by the same bullet that shot Kennedy. Connally was born on February 27, 1917, just as Minoru Nakayama. Connally served in the US Navy during World War 2. Early in the war he was an aide to Admiral James V. Forrestal and he also worked on the invasion of North Africa planning for General Dwight Eisenhower. He transferred to the South Pacific were he served on carriers and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After serving as governor of Texas, Connally went on to serve as Secretary of the Treasury for Richard Nixon. He died in 1993. 


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Sunday, February 26, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Arthur Isken, 3rd Armored Division, MIA 55 years

Soldier from Pvt. Isken's 36th Armored Infantry Regiment near Stolberg, Germany where Isken died.
http://36thair3ad.homestead.com/OriginalPhotos36thAIR.html

Arthur C. Isken could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 26, 1917 in Illinois. His parents were also both born in Illinois. His father was a farmer. Arthur had an older brother. By 1940 Arthur was living with his widowed mother. With an 8th grade level education, we worked as a laborer.

Arthur was a private in the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. The 3rd Armored arrived in Normandy two weeks after D-day. It was part of the First Army. By September it was approaching the German border in the vicinity of Aachen.

Pvt Isken was reported killed on September 26, 1944 near Stolberg, but his body was never found. Forty-one years later, construction workers found his dog tags.  Further investigations found human remains nearby and subsequent DNA matching was able to ID it as Pvt. Isken. 

The location of the 3rd Armored Division a couple of weeks before Pvt. Isken died.
http://home.scarlet.be/~sh446368/3rd-armored-breaching-siegfried-line.html

His remains were finally returned to be buried at Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Bethalto, IL in 1999.

Thank you Arthur for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Arthur.


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!

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Albert Castagnoli, 85th Infantry Division

Pvt. Castagnoli's 339th Infantry Regiment advances on Formia during the month he died, May 1944.
http://user.pa.net/~cjheiser/ct9/339main.htm

Albert F. Castagnoli could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 25, 1917 in Illinois. His mother was also born in Illinois. His father was born in Italy and worked as a coal miner. Albert had two younger brothers and two younger sisters. Albert completed one year of high school and was working as a machinist before the war.

He enlisted in the army on May 21, 1942 and became a private in Company F, 339th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division which had been activated six days prior. His unit first saw action in Italy in March 1944 on the Minturno-Castelforte front. With his background, it is likely that Pvt. Castagnoli would have been asked to communicate with the Italian civilians encountered by his company.

Facing the Gustav line, the 85th Division launched an attack on May 11, taking Solacciano, Castellonorato, and Formia. Pvt. Castagnoli died on May 12, 1944.

Map showing area where Pvt. Castagnoli was killed.
http://www.custermen.com/History85.htm

His remains were returned to be buried at Rock Island National Cemetery.

Thank you Albert for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Albert.


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Friday, February 24, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Leonard Tracy, 88th Infantry Division

G.I.s from 88th Infantry Division, Pvt. Tracy's unit.
https://www.pinterest.com/bokphilsberry/us-_88th-infantry-division-blue-devils-in-wwii/

Leonard B. Tracy could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 24, 1917 in Vermont. His parents were also both born in Vermont. His father was a laborer in a lumber mill and later a sawyer in a saw mill. Leonard had three older sisters and a younger sister. By 1940 Leonard was still living with his parents. He had completed high school and was working as a salesman.

Leonard enrolled in the army on July 10, 1942. He was a private in the 88th Infantry Division which was activated five days later as one of the first all draftee divisions in the war. It first saw action in Italy at Monte Cassino in January 1944. It was the first unit to enter Rome in June. 

Pvt. Tracy died on September 25, 1944 when the 88th assaulted the Gothic Line.

Position of 88th Infantry Division the week Pvt. Tracy was killed.
http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/Donovanpapers/maps/

Pvt. Tracy's remains were not returned to America. He is buried somewhere in Italy.

Thank you Leonard for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Leonard.


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!

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Ira Wilson, USS Atlanta

Ira Wilson (left), captain of Cornell University boxing team, later Lt (jg) USS Atlanta.
photo from 1937 Cornell University yearbook

Ira Washington Wilson could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 23, 1917 in New York. His mother was born in New Jersey and her parents were both born in Russia, which may explain why she would pick Washington as Ira's middle name in tribute to her family's new home country. His father was born in Pennsylvania and worked as a high school teacher. Ira had one older sister. By 1940 Ira had completed 4 years of college at Cornell University, were he had been captain of the boxing team, and was working as a buyer in the men's furnishings industry. He was still living with his parents.

Ira became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, US Naval Reserves. He served on the light cruiser USS Atlanta
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Atlanta_(CL-51)

During a night action that came to be know as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the Atlanta was part of an America naval force that engaged two Japanese battleships, one cruiser and six destroyers on November 12-13, 1942. A torpedo from one of the Japanese destroyers struck Atlanta's forward engine room on the port side. Shortly thereafter Atlanta suffered friendly fire from the USS San Francisco and was hit by an estimated nineteen 8-inch shells. A third of the crew was killed including Lt. Wilson.

Painting depicting the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942
http://imgur.com/gallery/pXT1e

His is honored at an Arlington National Cemetery grave site. The death date on his headstone is off by one year and one day reflecting a practice of not giving a date of death on missing sailors until one year had passed without a recovered body.

Thank you Ira for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Ira.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Carmelo Parisi, Saipan Medic

Private Parisi was a medic on Saipan like this corpsman treating an injured soldier.
https://www.pinterest.com/blt6129/pacific-theater-2nd-division/

Carmelo Parisi could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 22, 1917 in New York. His parents were both born in Italy. At the time of the 1920's census, Carmelo was not living with his parents, so it is possible he was an orphan. He was living with dozens and dozens of other young boys age 13 or younger, including a Charles Parisi who could have been his brother. Ten years later the census showed he was living at the Boys Home Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mt. Loretto Institution. 

Carmelo Parisi became a private and served as in the Medical Department, which meant he would have been trained as a medic. Pvt. Parisi was assigned to the 27th Infantry Division which arrived on Saipan on D-day plus 1. Due to the nature of their work, hundreds of medical corpsmen became casualties during the Battle of Saipan. Pvt. Parisi died on July 9, 1944, two days after a major Japanese banzai attack overran elements of the division and the last official date of the battle.

His remains were returned to be buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2780246&ref=acom

Thank you Carmelo for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Carmelo.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Arthur Burke, 26th Infantry Division

Soldiers who served with Major Burke in 328th Infantry Regiment.
https://www.pinterest.com/bokphilsberry/us-_26th-infantry-divsion-yankee-in-wwii/

Arthur W. Burke could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 21, 1917 in Massachusetts. Ancestry.com did not have any census data on Arthur.

He joined the army on his 20th birthday in 1937. He was a major in the 328th Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. The Division arrived in France in September 1944. It was part of the 9th Army and by October was reassigned the the 3rd  Army. It participated in the Battle of the Bulge. 

Major Burke died on March 14, 1945 when his unit was advancing from the Saar River to the Rhine River. There would not have been more than a dozen majors in the 328th Infantry Regiment, so I was surprised I did not find more details about the death of Major Burke. Perhaps he was a victim of a sniper since he would not normally have been in a dangerous position on the front line.

His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/awburke.htm

Thank you Arthur for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Arthur.


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!

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Monday, February 20, 2017

WW2 Fallen - USS Arizona Brothers Eugene & Charles Skiles

Eugene Skiles and his brother Charles were both killed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
http://japanese-aviation.forumeiros.com/t40-22-pearl-harbor-raid-hiryu-s-high-level-bombers

Eugene Skiles could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 20, 1917 in Missouri. His parents were also both born in Missouri. His father was a coal miner who later became a farmer. Eugene had two older sisters, two older brothers, three younger sisters and one younger brother named Charles, six years his junior. By 1940 Eugene was a high school graduate but did not show as having been employed.

Eugene became a sailor on the USS Arizona. So did his brother Charles. On December 7, 1941, both Eugene and Charles were killed when the Arizona was destroyed by Japanese bombs and torpedoes. They were one of 23 sets of brothers on the Arizona that all died. A cousin of the Skiles brothers, Gerald Skiles, died that day on the USS Oklahoma.

The brothers' remains are still entombed in the USS Arizona.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/10/the-uss-arizonas-last-surviving-officer-has-died-how-the-pearl-harbor-hero-recalled-the-day-of-infamy/?utm_term=.d69e29cb8653

Thank you Eugene and Charles for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Eugene and Charles.


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Sunday, February 19, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Harold Booth, 12th Armored Division


These soldiers served in the same company as Pvt. Booth.
http://www.12tharmoredmuseum.com/photoalbum_02.asp?c=17th%20Armored%20Infantry%20Battalion

Harold G. Booth could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 19, 1917 in Nebraska. His mother was born in Illinois and his father was born in Iowa. His father was a farmer who died when Harold was 4 years old and Harold's mother kept the farm going. Harold had an older sister, three older brothers and one younger brother. By 1940 he had completed 3 years of high school, and was working as a laborer on government projects.

He was a private in Company C, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Division. 

The 12th Armored Division arrived in France on November 11, 1944 and was engaged along the old Maginot line by early December. In late January, the 12th Armored Division was part of the Allied efforts to defeat the Germans in the Colmar Pocket. It attacked and captured the town of Hattstatt on February 4, 1945, the day Pvt Booth died, two weeks short of his 28th birthday.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Riviera/USA-E-Riviera-29.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Nebraska.

Thank you Harold for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Harold.


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Saturday, February 18, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Richard McMullen, 6th Armored Division, Battle of the Bulge

50th Infantry Battalion Half Track at Battle of the Bulge were Pvt. McMullen was killed.
http://www.super6th.org/50thAIB/Bulge.html

Richard J. McMullen could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 18, 1917 in West Virginia. His father was also born in West Virginia while his mother was born in Ohio. His father was a railroad yard switchman who later became a yardmaster. Richard had two older sisters and an older brother. He also had three younger brothers. His brother Arlie also served in WW2. After completing high school Richard worked as a foreman.

Richard enlisted in the Army on October 13, 1942. Enlistment records show he was married, but no details were found.

Pvt. McMullen served in Company B, 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division. The 6th Armored was called on to counterattack the Germans who attacked the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. The 50th Armored Infantry Battalion moved into a position a mile east of Bastogne on December 31, 1944 with plans to attack the next day. During the American attack, the troops encountered strong enemy resistance and at one point were being hit by artillery from three sides. Pvt. McMullen died on January 1, 1945, most likely during this attack.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Ardennes/maps/USA-E-Ardennes-X.jpg

His remains were returned to be buried at Grafton National Cemetery.

Thank you Richard for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Richard.


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Friday, February 17, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Michael Stratigos, 30th Infantry Division

Troops from 30th Division in Normandy the month Sgt Stratigos was killed.
https://www.pinterest.com/armandhendriks/30th-infantry-division/ 

Michael P. Stratigos could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 17, 1917 in Illinois. His parents were both born in Greece and came to America in 1911. His father worked in a hotel and later as a waiter in a restaurant. Mike had  one older brother and three older sisters. By 1940 he had completed two years of high school and was still living with his parents while working as a salesman.

Mike joined the army on November 12, 1940. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 119th Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. The 30th Infantry Division landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day + 5.

Sgt. Stratigos died on July 16, 1944 while his regiment was engaged in the Normandy area. On that date his regiment was in reserve so it is likely that he was mortally injured in earlier combat. The regiment had been heavily shelled the day before he died.
Position of 119th Regiment the week before Sgt Stratigos died shown at lower right.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-A-StLo/USA-A-StLo-2.html

His remains were returned to be buried at Rock Island National Cemetery in Illinois.

Thank you Mike for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Mike.


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!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Milton Burford, U-boat victim

Milford Burford was serving on the Rawleigh Warner when it was sunk by a U-boat.
http://uboat.net/allies/merchants/1840.html

Milford M. Burford could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 15, 1917 in Mississippi. His parents were both born in Mississippi. His father was a railroad foreman and died in 1937. Milton had an older sister and a younger brother. By 1940 Milford had completed one year of high school and was still living with his mother.

Milford became a 2nd assistant engineer in the Merchant Marines. He was serving on the Rawleigh Warner, an American tanker with a crew of 33.

According to uboat.net:

At 06.11 hours on 23 June 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Rawleigh Warner (Master Jewel Homer Levingston) was hit by two torpedoes from U-67 about 40 miles south of South Pass, Louisiana. The cargo immediately burst into flames and engulfed the entire length of the ship. The tanker sank in less than ten minutes, leaving no survivors among the eight officers and 25 crewmen on board.

U-67
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-67_(1940)

Milton's remains were never recovered.

Thank you Milton for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Milton.


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WW2 Fallen - Fred Gutknecht, 87th Infantry Division

87th Division moves through St. Hubert, taken a few days before Pvt. Gutknecht was killed.
http://www.in-honored-glory.info/html/stories/ifcordie.htm

Fred E. Gutknecht could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on February 16, 1917 in Argentina.  We don't know the circumstance of how he came to America. 

When he enlisted in the army in Michigan on February 25, 1941 he was single with a grammar school level of education and past work experience in the foundry industry.

Fred was a private in Company C, 346th Infantry Regiment, 87th Infantry Division. The 87th Division was one of the later units that participated in the European theater. It arrived in France in November 1944 and was assigned to Patton's 3rd Army. Its first taste of combat was in the Saar Basin in early December, but soon it was put to work pushing back the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge.

Pvt. Gutknecht died on January 10, 1945, one of 26 men from his regiment who died that day. The 346th Infantry Regiment had been given the assignment of dislodging the Germans from Tillet, Belgium. It had been unsuccessful for days. The ground was too frozen to dig foxholes so it was hard to find protection from enemy fire. Pvt. Gutknecht's company was able to gain a foothold in the town on January 9, but German tanks counterattacked. The Americans were lacking anti-tank weapons at the moment so the infantry suffered casualties that likely included Pvt. Gutknecht.

German map of area where Pvt. Gutknecht was killed. Tillet is at far right.
http://87thinfantrydivision.com/cecil-g-davis/history-of-the-antitank-companies-of-the-87th-division-in-europe

Pvt. Gutknecht was one of 46 G.I.s from Company C that died during the war. His remains were returned to be buried at Barrancus National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida.

Thank you Fred for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Fred.


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!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Three Valentine Stories

World War 2 era Valentine's Day card.
https://www.pinterest.com/chandagaeth/valentine/

As has happened a couple of times on other dates so far, I could not find enough information among the fallen who were born 100 years ago on February 14, 1917 to write up a profile.

So instead, I will bring attention to a few of the fallen with stories that are appropriate for Valentine's Day.

When I started this project at the start of the year, I was confident that I would find many compelling stories about these mostly forgotten fallen. These are more than just names on a war memorial in their home towns or stars on the Wall of Stars at the National World War II Memorial. They were sons, sometimes husbands, sometimes fathers. In their mid-twenties they had a future that should have encompassed the rest of the 20th century most likely shared with someone to love. They had dreams that went unfulfilled. They left girlfriends or wives who lost their sweethearts.

Here are three examples from the stories I have researched so far:
  • What Bernice did after her pilot husband Harold Barnett died: here.
  • The message Johnston Wiles's former girlfriend left him 58 years after he died: here.
  • The dying words from the soldier I will profile on March 10: "Please write my wife a letter and tell her I love her, and also that I did everything I could for her and for my country. So long, Dozier, give 'em hell for me, I'm done for." Check back on March 10 for the story of this medal winning sergeant.
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http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/be-good-darling-wont-long-5152082