|Staff Sergeant Ray Kessler served in the 85th Infantry Division and was killed in the vicinity where this photo was taken.|
Ray K. Kessler never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on February 23, 1918 in Pennsylvania. His parents Ralph and Tillie were born in Kansas and Pennsylvania, respectively. His father worked as a butcher. Ray had two older brothers who both served in the war. By 1940 he had completed four years of high school and was working at a paper mill while living with his parents.
He was drafted into the army on May 2, 1942. He became a staff sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 338th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division (nicknamed "Custer Division").
The 85th ID arrived in Italy in March 1943. By April it assumed a defensive position on the Gustav Line. It launched Operation Diadem on May 11 with the objective of taking Solacciano, Castellonorato, and Formia. Sgt. Kessler died on May 12, 1943, the second day of the attack.
His grave is at McKean County Memorial Park in Lafayette, Pennsylvania.
Last year on this date I profiled Captain Ira Wilson, USS Atlanta, who died in the seas off of Guadalcanal. You can read about Ira here.
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!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100