Harvey Leroy Osman never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 17, 1918 in Pennsylvania. His parents Harvey and Sadie were also both born in Pennsylvania. They had 12 children. His father worked as a railroad brakeman. Harvey had one older brother, two older sisters, five younger brothers, and three younger sisters. At least two of his brothers also served in the army during the war. By 1940 Harvey had completed four years of high school and was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
He was drafted into the army on February 2, 1942. He became a private first class in Company C, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. He married Myrtle Rubendall on July 4 ,1942. They had one daughter born after Pfc. Osman deployed to England. He never saw his daughter.
He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 during the very first wave and somehow survived the murderous fire that killed and wounded so many of the others in his regiment. He survived a month of combat in the Normandy hedgerows and was killed in action on July 6, 1944.
Pfc. Osman was posthumously award the Silver Star. His citation reads:
In order to help cover the withdrawal of his company, Pcf. Osman voluntarily remained at his post and kept firing at the onrushing enemy, While in the performance of this brave act, Pcf. Osman was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire.
As a result of his courageous actions, several lives were undoubtedly saved. The personal bravery and devotion to duty displayed by Pfc. Osman reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.
His grave is at Northumberland Memorial Park in Stonington, Pennsylvania. I don't know what happened to his widow or daughter.
Born in Illinois on the same day as Harvey Osman, was the actor William Holden. He had already started his movie career when the war started, but accepted a commission in the Army Air Forces where they had him act in training films during WW2. Holden's younger brother Robert was a US Navy fighter pilot who was killed in action over New Ireland in January 1944.
After the war Holden became one of the most successful leading men in Hollywood for the next two decades. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as a POW in a German prison camp in Stalag 17. He is also well know for epic war movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. He died in 1981 at age 63.
Last year on this date I profiled Donald Garten, 38th Infantry Division. You can read about Donald 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.
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