Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PVT Howard Louis Griffith

PFC Howard Louis Griffith, b. 30 Jul 1925 - d. 28 Dec 1996, son of Milton Palmer and Edna Violet (Price) Griffith. He is the twin brother of Harold Douglas Griffith and both were assigned to F Company 116th Infantry Regiment (but are not the only twins to serve in the Regiment at the same time). Howard was wounded on 30 Aug 1944 and evacuated but apparently did not return to the unit. Howard rests forever in Arlington National Cemetery

Saturday, December 17, 2016

PFC Charles Orlando Hubbs

PFC Charles Orlando Hubbs was born 11 Apr 1911 in Glen Easton, West Virginia to Charles Samuel and Elizabeth Ann (Mellon) Hubbs. His father was a carpenter.  Grandparents and cousins lived close by the family. In 1935 he married Ethel Allen and the couple had one daughter. Soon thereafter he and Ethel were divorced. On 22 Jan 1939, Charles married Helen Virginia Rine. In 1940 they lived in Moundsville, West Virginia and Charles was working as a "furnace man" likely doing installation, repair and servicing of furnaces. His reported 1939 income was only $300.

Charles was working as a driver when he was drafted in September 1943.  After his basic training Charles was sent to Europe and on 24 Oct 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry.  On 28 Nov 1944, Charles was wounded in the vicinity of Koslar, Germany and evacuated to hospital.  He apparently died of his wounds in hospital in Cambridge, England.

PFC Hubbs was repatriated and now rests forever in Riverview Cemetery in Moundsville, West Virginia.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

SSG Elmer Kleinjans

SSG Elmer Kleinjans was born 25 Nov 1920 in Wyoming, Michigan to Edward and Martha (Moll) Kleinjans. His father worked as a cabinet maker in a furniture factory. 

Elmer was working as a meat cutter when drafted in August 1942. After completing his initial training, Elmer was sent to England and assigned to I Company 116th Infantry.  He trained with the unit for the amphibious assault that would begin the invasion of "fortress Europe" and was with the unit on D-Day, 6 Jun 1944. PFC Kleinjans was wounded on 7 Jun 1944 and evacuated to hospital.  He returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 24 Jul 1944. He was promoted to SGT on 1 Sep 1944 and was again promoted, this time to SSG, on 23 Nov 1944. SSG Kleinjans was wounded on 4 Dec 1944 and again evacuated to hospital where he died of his wound(s) on 10 Dec 1944.

SSG Kleinjans was repatriated in 1948 and now rests forever in Grandville Cemetery in Grandville, Michigan.

Friday, December 9, 2016

PFC Harry Eiduson

PFC Harry Eiduson was born 11 Dec 1924 in Buffalo, New York to Joseph and Ida (Schulman) Eiduson. Joseph was a shoemaker who had immigrated from Lithuania.  He made a fairly good living to support the family of 5, about $1800 in 1939.  Ida was also an immigrant, having come from Poland.  Not knowing which towns they were from they might not have lived that far apart before moving to the U.S.  Harry is not shown as employed on the 1940 census.

When Harry was drafted in June 1943 he was apparently a salesman.  We don't know where he was previously but he was transferred from the replacement depot to B Company 116th Infantry on 10 Oct 1944.  Harry was reported as missing in action on 6 Dec 1944. He was apparently wounded and captured on the 3rd.  He was recorded in the morning report as having died on the 9th of December.  For some reason, even though the internment record gives the date of death as 9 Dec 1944 it was mistakenly given as 1 Dec 1944 on the gravestone. 

PFC Eiduson was returned to the U.S. in 1949 and is buried in Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. 

Brother Louis M. Eiduson also served in WWII. 

SSG Curtis Glenwood Gentry

SSG Curtis Glenwood Gentry was born 2 Jun 1911 in Fluvanna County, Virginia to Harry Dickerson and Annie Estelle (Melton) Gentry. the family farmed.  On 22 Dec 1938, Curtis married Willie Eddie Watts and they had a son a year and a day later. 

Curtis was a PVT in the Charlottesville, Virginia infantry unit when K Company 116th Infantry was federalized in February 1941.  He went through all the training the unit experienced at Fort Meade and Camp Blanding and shipped out with them to England in September 1942.  He then went through all the pre-invasion training the unit had for the amphibious landing that was to happen on 6 Jun 1944 on Omaha Beach.  He survived all that and was wounded on 22 Jun 1944.  Evacuated to the hospital he was not returned to the unit until 16 Nov 1944.  SSG Gentry was wounded again on 8 Dec 1944 and again evacuated to hospital.  He died of his wounds there on 9 Dec 1944. 

SSG Gentry was repatriated in 1949 and is buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Palmyra, Virginia.  Willie did not remarry until 1961, she passed away in 1996.  So far as we know his son is still living.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

PFC Clyde Elmer House

PFC Clyde Elmer House was born 12 Jan 1909 in Garland County, Arkansas to William Jefferson and Sara Lou Elva (Brown) House. The family farmed. On 21 Feb 1932 he married Era May Roach and they had one son.  Clyde also farmed to support his young family.

Clyde was working as a teamster when he was drafted in Jul 1942.  Trained as an infantryman/rifleman, Clyde was sent to Europe and transferred from the replacement depot to I Company 116th Infantry on 29 Oct 1944.  On 1 Dec 1944 PVT House was promoted to PFC.  On 6 Dec  1944, PFC House was killed in action. 

PFC House is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.  There is a cenotaph for him in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Royal, Arkansas. His wife remarried. 

SSG Charles Ross Barry

SSG Charles Ross Barry was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on 27 Aug 1924 to Daniel Allan and Ann Barry.  The family moved to the United States in 1926.  2 years later his only sibling was born in Boston.

Charles was drafted March of 1943.  On 15 Jun 1943 he was naturalized while assigned to D Co, 37 Infantry Training Battalion, Camp Croft, South Carolina. He was sent overseas and on 9 Aug 1944 he reported for duty to E Company 116th Infantry.  On 1 Sep 1944 he was wounded, sent to hospital and dropped from the rolls.  On 18 Nov he returned to the unit and on 3 Dec 1944 he was promoted to Staff Sergeant.  SSG Barry was killed in action 6 Dec 1944.

SSG Barry rests forever in the Netherlands American Cemetery.  

PVT Frederick Evans Cassidy

PVT Frederick Evans Cassidy was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania on 5 Jan 1909 to William J and Jennie B (Whittle) Cassidy.  He was the 5th of 7 children.  His father worked in a silk mill.  When old enough Frederick worked in a ship yard and later as a pipe fitter in a refinery. 

In 1935 he married Pansy Mina McGee and they had 2 daughters by Oct 1940 when they divorced.  Frederick had served in 1941 and was recalled to service in September 1943.  He entered service at Fort George Meade, Maryland.

Assigned to B Company 116th Infantry on 17 Jul 1944.  He was in hospital for illness or non-battle injury on 24 Jul, returned to the unit on 28 Jul, wounded on 8 Aug, in hospital until 14 Nov when he was returned to the unit and then killed in action on 6 Dec 1944 near Koslar, Germany.  He rests forever in the Netherlands American Cemetery

Monday, December 5, 2016

PVT Leonard Ray Shaw

PVT Leonard Ray Shaw was born in 1912 in Crawford County, Indiana, youngest child and only son of George Quimby and Sarah Ella (Pierson) Shaw.  He married Dorothy L Moore about 1936 and was the father of George Ray, Betty Frances and Bonnie Fern. In 1940 Leonard was working as a farm hand, probably for Howard Davis of Adams, Indiana.

Leonard was drafted in April 1944 and first assigned to C Company, 116th Infantry 28 Oct 1944 and killed in action on 5 Dec 1944.
  I'm at a loss to understand why he was drafted as farmers and farm labor was exempted.  I suppose his employment must have changed but he is noted at being farm labor.  Leonard and Dorothy had 6 grandchildren and at least 6 great-grandchildren. Dorothy never remarried and died in 1990,  They now rest side by side in Mechanicsburg Cemetery in Mechanicsburg, Indiana.

PFC James Baume Stryker

PFC James Baume Stryker was born 11 Dec 1918 in Evanston, Illinois to Hird Franklin and Ruth Estey (Baume) Stryker.  One of 5 children, James attended Omaha High School and was in the ROTC. 

His father was an attorney and on the University of Omaha board of regents.   His mother was a graduate of Northwestern University.  His brother was also a graduate of Northwestern and attending law school at Michigan when he enlisted.  Sister Barbara would attend the University of Nebraska.  This is a family that valued education and it is certain that James would have had a high education had he survived the war.

James went into the service almost directly out of high school, overseas with the 29th Division and was assigned to K Company 116th Infantry.  He participated in the D-Day landing, was promoted to PFC on 1 Jul 1944.  He was wounded and went to hospital on 11 Jul 1944 (near St. Lo).  On 28 Oct 1944 he was returned to the unit from the replacement depot.  While he was missing in action for a time it was later determined that he had been killed in a German minefield on 5 Dec 1944.

His brother, mentioned in the article, was an actor who enlisted in Washington, D.C. giving his home state as Indiana.  

Buried in Netherlands American Cemetery.

T4 Alex Medina Castillo

T4 Alex Medina Castillo was born 24 Apr 1917 in San Diego, California to Miguel Hernandez and Aurelia Jimenez (Medina) Castillo.  Both parents were born in Mexico.  Alex's dad was a shoemaker/shoe repairer.  Miguel died in 1941. 

Alex was drafted in March 1941.  We do not know where or in what units he served prior to his assignment to K Company 116th Infantry on 3 Sep 1944. He must have had some experience because he was already a T4.  T4 Castillo was killed in action on 5 Dec 1944. 

T4 Castillo was likely repatriated sometime in 1947-1949 and now rests forever with his family in the Holy Cross Cemetery in San Diego, California. 

Alex's mother, Aurelia, lived to be 97 years old.  His brother Ralph served in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1945. 

PFC Millard J. Breaux

PFC Millard J. Breaux was born 4 Mar 1924 in Houma, Louisiana to Harry Etienne and Angele Corrine (Boudreaux) Breaux.  His father farmed sugar cane and vegetables for local sale. 

Millard had graduated from high school and was working as a sales clerk when he was drafted in March 1943. After his training as a medic Millard was sent overseas and on 14 Oct 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to Medical Detachment 116th Infantry.  He was killed in action on 5 Dec 1944.

PFC Millard is interred with his family in the Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery #2 in Houma, Louisiana.

PFC Julian Cerda Robles

PFC Julian Cerda Robles was born to Antonio Lopez and Carmen (Cerda) Robles on 28 Nov 1916 in San Antonio, Texas.  Both his parents were natives of Texas.  His father worked as a cement worker according to the 1931 city directory.  The family lived at 657 Magnolia Avenue for many years.  Julian was named for his paternal grandfather who was born in Mexico in 1834, prior to Texas nationhood.  Before his death but after the 1940 census, Julian married Olivia Jiminez.  Nothing else is known about his wife but we know that she lived at 1043 Shook Avenue, San Antonio, Texas.

Julian was drafted in June of 1943.  Brothers Jesus (CPT, USAAF), Genaro (CPL, USA) also served.  PVT Robles was apparently assigned to Headquarters 3rd Battalion 116th Infantry prior to D-Day.  He went to the hospital on 11 July as a non-battle casualty.  He was relieved from attachment and returned to the Medical Detachment on 18 July.  On 25 July he returned to the 3rd Battalion and then on the 27th was again relieved of attachment.  On 14 Sep 1944 he went to hospital with a "light" wound (but serious enough to go to hospital).  On 23 Sep 1944 he was returned to duty from the hospital and then promoted to PFC on 13 Nov 1944 to be effective 1 Jul 1944.  He was killed in action on 5 Dec 1944.  We are still looking for information on his Bronze Star medal.

Julian is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery

PVT Vernon Lafayette Richardson

PVT Vernon Lafayette Richardson was born 24 Feb 1918 to Lovell Allen and Maggie Arena (Holcomb) of Bardwell, Texas.  The 3rd of 7 children, he helped his father with the family farm.  Vernon married Clydie Mae Sumrow in Navarro County, Texas on 16 Apr 1938 when he was only 20 years old.  As late as 1940 he was still working on a farm. They had 3 children, 2 of whom are still living, and several grand-children.

We aren't certain when Vernon entered the service but he was assigned to C Company 116th Infantry on 28 Oct 1944.  PVT Richardson was killed on 5 Dec 1944.  He rests forever in the Netherlands American Cemetery

Clydie re-married many years later and passed away in 2001.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

PVT Melvin Donald Butzner


PVT Melvin Donald Butzner (b. 9 Nov 1913 - d. 4 Dec 1944) born in Plymouth County, Iowa to John R (a native Virginian) and Lucy Bell (Swearingen) Butzner and was married to Helen Mathilda Smith. 
Melvin and Helen had one son, Melvin, who died shortly after he was born in 1937. Melvin had a brother, John, who also served in the military in WWII and Korea. 
Melvin enlisted 6 Oct 1943 and reported for duty to A Company, 116th Infantry on 13 Jun 1944. He was apparently wounded on 3 Jul and returned from the hospital on 14 Nov. Initially assigned to B Company, he must have managed to convince somebody to reassign him to A Company on 20 Nov. Initially declared MIA on 7 Dec his date of death was apparently found to be 4 Dec.. His body was not repatriated until 1949 or 1950.  He is now buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in St. James, Minnesota.

His grandfather, John Hunter Butzner served in the Fredericksburg Light Artillery in the Civil War and was mustered out at Appomattox Court House.

PVT George Morris Nester Laine

PVT George Morris Nester Laine, b. 26 Jun 1917 - d. 4 Dec 1944, son of Ambrose Joseph Gilain and Emilie (Stolz) Laine in Kalamazoo, MI. He was assigned to A Company 116th Infantry on 17 Jul 1944, wounded 30 Jul 1944 and returned to the unit 27 Oct 1944. He had two children when he died, George and Bonnie. PVT Laine is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

PVT Edward L. Gruezke

PVT Edward L. Gruezke was born 20 May 1919 in Dearborn, Michigan to Otto Henry and Mary (Kupkowski) Gruezke. The family farmed.  On 28 Sep 1937 he married Kathleen Fourn.

Edward went into military service in March 1944.  He was trained as a rifleman and sent to Europe.  He was transferred from the replacement depot to B Company 116th Infantry on 10 Oct 1944.  PVT Gruezke was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

PVT Gruezke was repatriated in 1949 and was buried in the Marble Park Cemetery in Milan, Michigan. We don't know what became of Kathleen.

SSG Amos R. Buchanan

SSG Amos R. Buchanan was born in Mecklenberg County, Virginia in 1920. 

Amos was a member of the Chase City National Guard unit when it was federalized on 3 Feb 1944.  Assigned to E Company 116th Infantry at the time of the D-Day amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy, France,  he was wounded by shrapnel in his right leg on 30 Jun 1944 but remained on duty.  On 18 Jul 1944 he was promoted to SSG and on the same day was sent to hospital with a non-battle injury.  On 26 Jul 1944 he returned to the unit.  On 4 Aug 1944 he was wounded again and sent back to the hospital. We don't know when he was returned to the unit but he was with the unit when killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

SSG Buchanan is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

PVT Elden Lawrence Kuehn

PVT Elden Lawrence Kuehn was born 19 Jan 1922 in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Herman August and Esther Lucy (Wolff) Kuehn. His father worked as a finisher in a furniture factory and as a laborer for the Works Progress Administration.

After entering the Army and completing basic training, Elden was sent to Europe and transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry on 24 Oct 1944. PVT Kuehn was injured but not in combat on 3 Nov 1944 and evacuated to hospital. He was returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 29 Nov 1944.  PFC Kuehn was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

PFC Kuehn was repatriated in 1949 and is buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

His brother, Robert Gene Kuehn, served as an Army PFC during the war.

PVT Harold Beck

PVT Harold Beck was born 23 Sep 1925 in New York City to Milton and Esther (Spector) Beck.  Harold was their only child.  Milton was a clerk for the US Postal Service. 

Harold was drafted in November 1943.  It appears that he was assigned to B Company 116th Infantry before D-Day and survived uninjured until 14 Sep 1944 when he went to hospital.  He returned to B Company on 15 Nov 1944.  Originally thought to be missing in action he was found to have been killed in action on 3 Dec 1944. 

PVT Beck's body was repatriated and he is buried in the Long Island National Cemetery

Milton Beck had served in WWI as a Corporal in C Company 137th Engineers and is also buried in the Long Island National Cemetery.

SGT Edward R. Cawley

SGT Edward R. Cawley was born 21 Jul 1918 in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania to John Francis and Catherine H (Higgins) Cawley. Edward's grandparents, John and Bridget (Nallon) Cawley, had immigrated from Ireland.  Edward's father died in August 1925 when Edward was only 7.  Working as fire boss there was an explosion of gas in the mine and he suffered 3rd degree burns over his entire body.   In 1940 several of the children were working to support the family of 8 and reportedly earned $2090 in 1939.

Drafted in February 1943. He was shipped overseas in mid-September 1944. He was assigned to G Company 116th Infantry on 29 Oct 1944.  SGT Cawley was killed in action 3 Dec 1944.

Younger brother John Francis Cawley Jr served in the Navy during the war (1942-1946 and was overseas 39 months). John Francis served in Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons 19, 23 & 16.

His mother died in 1948. 

PFC Henry A. Jones

PFC Henry A. Jones was born 24 Jun 1920 in Polk, Missouri to Louis Calvin and Mary Evylena (Mattingly) Jones.  His father farmed and died in 1938 of heart disease.

Henry was drafted in September 1943. Sent to Europe he was transferred from the replacement depot to I Company 116th Infantry on 7 Aug 1944. On 5 Sep 1944 Henry was promoted to PFC.  PFC Jones was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944. 

PFC Jones is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

Brother Randall Raphael Jones served Cannon Company 289th Infantry and was awarded the Bronze Star. Brother Philip Floyd Jones also served in the army during WWII.  Brother Pius Bernard Jones served in the Army from 1946 to 1947.

SSG Melvin America Flammia

SSG Melvin America Flammia, b. 23 Jun 1924 - d. 3 Dec 1944. Son of America and Margaret Mae (Hall) Flammia of Richmond, Virginia. Melvin is on our right with an unidentified friend (a SSG) in England. He was drafted in Jan 1943 and ultimately assigned to E Company 116th Infantry.  Promoted to SGT on 18 Aug 1944 and to SSG on the day of his death, 3 Dec 1944.  SSG Flammia rests in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.


Melvin was wounded on D-Day and is shown (but seldom identified) in one of the iconic photos of wounded from that day. This is the second photo we have in which SSG Flammia has been identified (he would have been a CPL or PFC in this photo). He is in the center of the picture. The man facing the camera in front has been identified as Nick Fine.

PVT Ewal Earman Garrett Sr.

courtesy Des Philippet
PVT Ewal Earman Garrett Sr. was born 4 Jan 1913 in Wise County, Virginia to Gilmer and Etta Cordelia (Brooks) Garrett.  His father was a coal miner in 1920 but was farming by 1930.  Ewal married Bonnie Jean Francisco on 25 May 1939, they already had a daughter in January 1939, and was working on a farm according to the 1940 census.

After entering the service, Ewal was assigned to I Company 116th Infantry on 29 Oct 1944.  PVT Garrett was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

PVT Garrett was buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.  Bonnie did not re-marry.

TSGT Robert W. Andrews

TSGT Robert W. Andrews was born in February 1918 in Illinois to Henry William and Lydia Maria Sophia (Ellinghausen) Andrews.  His father worked as a carpenter and so was Robert in 1940.  The family was thus able to have an income of over $3300 in 1939.

Robert was drafted in June 1941.  We do not know to what other units he had been assigned but he was a SGT when transferred from the replacement depot to L Company 116th Infantry on 3 Sep 1944.  The morning report notes his promotion to SSG on 1 Nov 1944 and he was a TSGT when killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.  I should note that it appears that it is believed he was killed by a sniper.  We can not confirm that. 

TSGT Andrews is buried in Trivoli Cemetery in Trivoli, Illinois.

PFC William Austin Harper Jr.

courtesy Des Philippet
PFC William Austin Harper Jr. was born 13 jan 1920 in Iowa City, Iowa the 3rd and youngest child of William Austin and Ruby J. (Ham) Harper.  His father was a machinist and reported a 1939 income of $1300.  In 1940 William Jr. was working as a driver for a bakery and reported a 1939 income of $380.

William was drafted in March 1943.  After training he was sent to Europe and on 19 Jun 1944 transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry.   On 11 Jul 1944 he was wounded and evacuated to hospital. William returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 28 Oct 1944.  He was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

PFC Harper is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.


PVT Ross Phillips Eldredge

PVT Ross Phillips Eldredge was born 27 Jan 1908 in Preston, Idaho to Horace and Hannah Annora (Phillips) Eldredge.  His father farmed. Ross married Ruby Lavina Hayward on 17 Nov 1928.  In 1930, father and son worked as laborers. In 1940, Ross and Ruby were living with her parents and they reported a combined income of $1006 for 1939. 

Ross was drafted in March 1944.  He had been working for a food packer so that might be one reason he was drafted relatively late in the war.  Trained and sent overseas, he was assigned to B Company on 10 Oct 1944.  He was injured on 29 Oct 1944 seriously enough to be sent to the hospital and not return to the unit until 29 Nov 1944.  PVT Eldredge was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944.

PVT Eldredge is buried in the Dayton Cemetery in Dayton, Idaho. He and Ruby had no children. Ruby remarried. 

PFC Henry Ogle Burnett

PFC Henry Ogle Burnett was born 4 Jul 1915 in Asheville, North Carolina to Fred G. and Elizabeth W. Burnett. Fred worked in a cigarette factory and farmed. When he could, Henry worked as a laborer on road construction. 

Drafted in April 1941, Henry was ultimately assigned to E Company 116th Infantry.  We aren't certain at this time but it appears that he came ashore with the unit on D-Day and survived unscathed until he was killed in action on 3 Dec 1944. 

PFC Burnett is buried in the Piney Mountain Baptist Church Cemetery in Weaverville, North Carolina. 

SSG Samuel Marinaro


SSG Samuel Marinaro - b. 12 Oct 1923 - d. 3 Dec 1944. Son of Emmanuel and Margaret E (Reisch) Marinaro, Samuel was born in Pittsburgh, PA (his father was from Sicily). He graduated from Peabody High School and enlisted 15 Feb 1943. On 14 Aug 1944 he was assigned to F Company 116th Infantry as a Private and wounded 1 Sep as the unit moved to capture Brest and promoted to Sergeant. He was wounded again 15 Oct and promoted to Staff Sergeant the next day. He was wounded again 26 Nov and again returned to duty and was still assigned to F Company when he died. SSG Marinaro was survived by his parents and sister Carmela Emma Marinaro. This photo was taken from his high school yearbook. SSG Marinaro is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

PVT Frederick van Dorn Fowler

PVT Frederick van Dorn "Van" Fowler b. 25 Aug 1916 - d. 1 Dec 1944, son of Frederick James and Gretchen (Wertz) Fowler he was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas and drafted 25 March 1944. His real name was Frederick Van Dorn Fowler but he apparently went by "Van" is entire life. He reported for duty with A Company 116th Infantry while they were engaged at Aachen, Germany and was killed during the drive on Julich. PVT Fowler is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery.

PFC Francis Neal DeWitt

PFC Francis Neal DeWitt was born 10 Dec 1924 in Anderson, Indiana to Lester Anderson and Martha Ellen (Hasitt) DeWitt.  A note on spelling of the family name.  It is common to spell this and other such names different ways depending on the person recording the name and DeWitt appears as "de Witt", "De Witt", and "Dewitt". 

Neal attended Alexandria-Monroe High School graduating in 1943. 

He was drafted in July 1943 and on 9 Sep 1944 assigned to A Company 116th Infantry.  Neal (that's what his family called him) was promoted to PFC on 21 Sep 1944.  According to the morning report he was thought to be missing in action 19-29 Oct 1944.  PFC DeWitt was killed 1 Dec 1944. 

PFC DeWitt rests forever in the New Albany National Cemetery in New Albany, Indiana.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

PVT Walter Karl Marks Kaal

PVT Walter Karl Marks Kaal was born Christmas day 1910 in Indianapolis, Indiana to the Dutch born William Baron and Margaret (Donk) Kaal. His father was a cigar maker and the family moved to Chicago before 1920.  In 1940, Walter was working as a paint tester and reported a 1939 income of $1236.

Walter entered Army service on 23 Dec 1943 and after his training was sent to Europe.  He was transferred from the replacement depot to A Company 116th Infantry on 17 Jul 1944. Walter was wounded on 30 Jul 1944 and did not return to the unit from the replacement depot until 15 Nov 1944.  On 20 Nov 1944 he was again transferred, this time to B Company 116th Infantry. PVT Kaal was killed in action on 29 Nov 1944.

PVT Kaal was repatriated and is buried with family in Mount Hope Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Monday, November 28, 2016

PFC Albino Castro Hernandez

PFC Albino Castro Hernandez was born 16 Dec 1915 in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico to Giberto and Catarino (Castro) Hernandez.

Albino entered the service and was sent to England.  We believe he was assigned to G Company 116th Infantry prior to 6 Jun 1944 and participated in the D-Day amphibious assault on Omaha Beach.  He was wounded 8 Aug 1944 and sent to the hospital.  He did not return to the unit, from the replacment depot, until 14 Nov 1944. PFC Hernandez was killed in action just 2 weeks later on 28 Nov 1944.

PFC Hernandez was repatriated in 1948 and now rests forever in San Fernando Cemetery #2 in San Antonio, Texas.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

SGT Martin Benson Love

SGT Martin Benson Love was born 11 Nov 1919 in Leominster, Massachusetts the youngest of three children of Andrew and Margaret Elizabeth (Benson) Love.  Andrew was a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland and Margaret a native of Ballymote, Ireland, and both had immigrated about 1907. The family lived for many years at 9 Morton Street in Leominster. Andrew was janitor/custodian in the Leominster school system reporting a 1939 income of $1562.  Martin was a clerk in a retail store and reported a 1939 income of $936 but was still living with his parents. 

Martin was drafted in February 1942 and was sent to England in October 1942.  He was then assigned to H Company 116th Infantry.  He trained with that unit for the amphibious assault on French beaches in Normandy for the invasion of Hitler's "fortress Europe". PFC Love fought with the unit from 6 Jun 1944 through 25 Jul 1944 when he was promoted to SGT.  He was wounded on 6 Aug 1944 and evacuated to hospital. It may have been in this action that SGT Love carried a wounded comrade 300 yards to the rear, under fire, to ensure that he got life-saving care.  It was for that act that SGT Love was awarded the Silver Star posthumously.  SGT Martin returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 27 Oct 1944.  He was killed in action one month later, on 27 Nov 1944.

SSG Leo was repatriated and buried in the Saint Leo Cemetery in Leominster, Massachusetts. Older brother Joseph Andrew Love also served in the Army during the war, in part at Camp Swift, Texas.

PFC Woodrow William Crabstree

PFC Woodrow William Crabtree was born 20 Mar 1915 in Lebanon, Virginia to Charles Becom and Maggie (Combs) Crabtree.  The family of 8 supported themselves by farming.

Woodrow was drafted in April 1941.  He was assigned to I Company 116th Infantry and participated with that unit in the D-Day landings.  He was wounded on 8 Jun 1944 to hospital.  On 21 Jun 1944 he was dropped from unit rolls. On 16 Nov 1944 he was transferred from the replacement depot to I Company and then on 21 Nov 1944 transferred to B Company 116th Infantry.  On 27 Nov 1944 PFC Crabtree was killed in action. 

PFC Crabtree is buried in the Russell Memorial Cemetery in Lebanon, Virginia.

PFC Robert P. Gandara

PFC Robert P. Gandara was born 20 Jul 1923 in Los Angeles, California to Pedro Mendez and Carmen (Zamora) Gandara.  Both parents were born in Mexico.  His father was working as a stone grinder in 1940 with a reported 1939 income of $102. 

After entering the service, Robert was sent to Europe and was transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry on 19 Jun 1944. He was killed in action with that unit on 27 Jun 1944.

PFC Gandara was repatriated and is buried in Cavalry Cemetery, in Los Angeles, California.

We do not know the details of his military service.  He may have served with the 335th before or during his overseas deployment. 

PVT Tony Heede

PVT Tony (Tonny) Heede, b. 19 Mar 1911 - d. 27 Nov 1944. Son of Alex and Kristine Johanne (Schou) Heede, Tony was born in Kristiansand, Norway and was naturalized in 1938. He lived in East Bridgewater, MA with his wife Joan and daughter June who survived him as did his mother and 9 siblings. PVT Heede was assigned to H Company 116th Infantry 24 Oct 1944. He is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

PVT Robert Jackson Hugentobler

PVT Robert Jackson Hugentobler was born 16 Jul 1925 in Vevay, Indiana son of Madge May (Day). His name at birth was Robert Jackson Hetisimer although his mother had already divorced and married Robert Knoves Hugentobler with whom the family was living in 1930 and 1940.  "Jack" (as he was known) had 6 siblings and half-siblings. The senior Robert Hugentobler worked for the Indiana highway department and, later, as the sexton of a local cemetery where he made $780 in 1939.  Jack was working as a paper boy and made $40 in 1939.

When he was drafted in September 1943, Jack was working as a gas station attendant. His sister, Irene Hugentobler, died 28 Mar 1944. He was sent to Europe after his basic training and on 19 Jun 1944 transferred from the replacement depot to G Company 116th Infantry to serve as a rifleman.  PVT Hugentobler was wounded for the first time on 16 Jul 1944 and evacuated.  He did not return to the unit from the replacement depot until 29 Oct 1944.  PVT Hugentobler was killed in action on 26 Nov 1944.

We don't know where Jack was buried but he is not currently buried in one of the overseas American cemeteries so we are certain that he was repatriated.  It is likely that he was buried in a cemetery, perhaps the same one at which Robert Hugentobler was sexton, near Miamitown, Ohio where the family lived. 


PVT Ralph L. Erickson

PVT Ralph L. Erickson was born 31 Jan 1915 in Youngsville, Pennsylvania to Edward Ludwig and Josephine (Thoresin) Erickson. His father worked in a furniture factory. In 1940 Ralph was farming with two of his siblings.

Drafted in Sep 1943, Ralph was working as a lumberman in Warren County, Pennsylvania.  After training he was sent overseas and sometime  prior to 6 Jun 1944 he was assigned to Headquarters 3rd Battalion 116th Infantry.  He went to hospital for an injury on 2 Sep 1944 and returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 19 Sep 1944.  He was killed in action on 26 Nov 1944.

PVT Erickson was ultimately laid to rest in the Netherlands American Cemetery.   

PFC Charles Thomas J Fletcher

PFC Charles Thomas J Fletcher was born 31 Oct 1924 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Charles Thomas J and Annie Pearl (Crawford) Fletcher.  His father farmed but Charles Sr died in 1928. His mother re-married. Step-father Luther Faris worked as a machinist. 

Charles was drafted in June 1943.  After training he was sent overseas and was assigned to H Company 116th Infantry in time to participate with that unit in the D-Day amphibious assault in which he was seriously wounded and evacuated to hospital. On 5 Aug 1944 he was transferred from the replacement depot back to H Company.  On 11 Aug 1944 he is recorded on the morning report as being promoted to PFC. On 26 Nov 1944 PFC Fletcher was killed in action. 

A note on Charles' rank.  As mentioned above the morning report notes his promotion.  The headstone application was completed using the rank PFC which was crossed out and "corrected" to PVT and as you can see that is what is on the headstone.  I believe this is another one of those errors that seems to have commonly occurred where the personnel action was taken but for some reason the paperwork wasn't preserved/forwarded/recorded at higher headquarters or in personnel records.  We are certain that Charles thought he was a PFC at the time he was killed.

PFC Fletcher is buried in Oak Hill Memorial Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. 

PVT Robert B. Allen

PVT Robert B Allen was born 16 Jun 1925 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Roy M. and Gladys J. (Brant) Allen.  His parents divorced early in his life and he and his sister and mother lived with his maternal grandparents. 

Drafted in September 1943, he was assigned to G Company 116th Infantry.  This was likely before D-Day.  On 13 Jul 1944 he was wounded and evacuated to the hospital.  On 4 Nov 1944 he returned to the unit from the replacement depot.  On 26 Nov 1944 PVT Allen was killed in action. 

PVT Allen was repatriated, probably in 1948, and is buried in Somerset County Memorial Park in Somerset, Pennsylvania. 

We have to note that while the grave marker indicates his rank as SGT (Sergeant) there is no record of him ever being promoted to that rank.  All the documents we can find note his rank as PVT (Private). 

PFC Edward J. Lippert

PFC Edward J. Lippert was born 22 Mar 1922 in Mascoutah, Illinois to John Adam and Lizzie Dora (Pleitner) Lippert. His father was a miner for Schubert Coal Company and he reported a 1939 income of $850.

Edward had 1 year of college and was working as a cashier when drafted in December 1942.  After training he was sent to the European theater and transferred from the replacement depot to G Company 116th Infantry on 3 Jul 1944.  Edward was wounded on 18 Jul 1944 and evacuated to hospital.  He returned to the unit from the replacement depot on 13 Nov 1944. PFC Lippert was killed in action on 26 Nov 1944.

PFC Lippert was repatriated in 1948 and buried in Mascoutah City Cemetery in Mascoutah, Illinois.

PFC Harvey Roy Corum

PFC Harvey Roy Corum was born 31 Aug 1924 in Tennessee to Melvin Benjamin Kansas and Flora May (Bagwell) Corum.  In 1942 he married Geneva Irene Pratt.  They had one daughter.

Harvey was living in Cuyahoga County, Ohio when he was drafted in June 1943.  After training he was assigned to H Company 116th Infantry and landed with that unit on D-Day.  He was lightly wounded on 6 Jun 1944, by a bullet in the chin, but remained on duty.  On 12 Jun 1944 he was promoted to PFC.  On 26 Nov 1944 PFC Corum was killed in action.

PFC Corum was returned to the states and buried in Marietta National Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.

Geneva remarried in 1950.  The daughter has passed away. 

PFC Joseph J. Fanello

PFC Joseph J Fanello was born in Chicago, Illinois on 28 May 1911 to Nicola and Rosina (Dispenza) Fanello.  Nicola was born in San Nicola-Dacrissa, Italy and Rosina was born in Palermo, Italy.  Nicola worked on the railroad to support his family of 6.  Later he owned and operated his own grocery.  In 1940 Joseph was working for the railroad. 

Joseph was drafted in May 1942.  At some point in time he was assigned to Headquarters 3rd Battalion 116th Infantry, probably before the D-Day landings.  Life was uneventful until 26 Nov 1944 when he was killed in action. 

PFC Fanello is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

CPL Sherman Luther Ayars Jr

CPL Sherman Luther Ayars Jr, born 9 Nov 1920 in Ramsey County, Minnesota to Sherman Luther and Berdella Clara (Anderson) Ayars.  He had 2 sisters.  Sherman and his father were both typesetters although Sherman didn't go past 2 years of high school.  Both of Sherman's sisters graduated from high school.

In May 1942 Sherman enlisted.   He was assigned to Cannon Company 116th Infantry before D-Day.  On 28 Aug 1944 he was promoted to Corporal.  He was killed in action 26 Nov 1944.

CPL Ayars is buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

PFC Sebastian S. Faggione

PFC Sebastian S. Faggione was born 2 Jan 1922 to Joseph L and Concettina (Sblico) of Middletown, Connecticut. Both of his parents were Italian immigrants.  Joseph worked as a "track worker" on the city trolley and later in road construction. 

Sebastian still had only a grammar school education and was working in textile manufacture when he was drafted in December 1942.  After training he was assigned to H Company 116th Infantry and was with that unit on D-Day.  On 12 Jun 1944 he was promoted to PFC.  Sebastian was killed in action on 26 Nov 1944.

PFC Faggione was repatriated in 1948 and is buried in the Saint Sebastian Cemetery in Middlefield, Connecticut. 

PVT Murrell D. Ivens

PVT Murrell D. Ivens was born 14 Sep 1912 in Madisonville, Tennessee second of four sons of Charles Henry and Beuna M. (White) Ivens.  His father worked as a carpenter and mechanic. Beuna died in 1919 of septic peritonitis. His father re-married. Charles died in 1932 of unknown cause, he was found dead in the street. In 1930, Murrell was working for Knox Glove Company in Knoxville, Tennessee.  On 24 Mar 1934 he married Eloise Jane Newman.

Murrell was drafted in June 1943.  After basic training he was sent to Europe and on 24 Oct 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry.  PVT Ivens was killed in action on 26 Nov 1944.

PVT Ivens was repatriated in 1949 and is buried in the Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee. Brother Ray also served in the Army during the war.


Friday, November 25, 2016

PFC Donald Eugene Hunter

photo by Doc Wilson
PFC Donald Eugene Hunter was born 24 Apr 1925 in Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania to Eugene Virgil and Harriet (Davis) Hunter.  His father was a coal miner whose reported income for 1939 was $300. 

Donald began his service in June 1943.  After training to be a rifleman he was sent to Europe and transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry on 24 Oct 1944.  PFC Hunter was killed in action on 25 Nov 1944. 

PFC Hunter is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery. His father served as a CPL in L Company 61st Infantry, 5th Division during WWI. 

2LT Elmer Raymond Koontz

courtesy of Nancy Ann Mull Buchanan
2LT Elmer Raymond Koontz was born 7 Feb 1920 in Detroit, Michigan to Locke E. and Nellie Katherine (Hill) Koontz.  His father worked as an assembler in an auto factory. In 1940, Elmer was living with his maternal grandmother and working as a shipping clerk with a reported 1939 income of $900.  Elmer married Fern Elizabeth Black in early 1942 and the couple were living in Huntington, West Virginia.

Elmer was drafted in June 1942.  After initial training he was identified as a candidate for officer training which he attended.  2LT Koontz was sent to Europe and on 24 Oct 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to G Company 116th Infantry to serve as a platoon leader. 2LT Koontz was killed in action on 25 Nov 1944.

2LT Koontz was repatriated and now rests forever in Wilson Cemetery in Newark, Ohio. He and Fern had no children and she re-married in 1947 to Glenn Edward Werts, a career Navy Warrant Officer.  They have passed on and are buried together in Arlington National Cemetery.

PVT Thomas Edward Govero

PVT Thomas Edward Govero was born 26 Aug 1908 in Saint Francois County, Missouri to William Daily and Martha Emeline (Moses) Govero. His father was a miner who died in 1926. William is recorded as an orphan on the 1880 census and was working to support himself.  Thomas worked in glass manufacture and as a trucker or driver.  On 31 Aug 1940 he married Victoria Kerrigan.  They would have a son in 1942.

Thomas was apparently drafted in January 1944.  We don't know when he was assigned to G Company 116th Infantry but he was killed in action while serving with that unit on 25 Nov 1944.

PVT Govero is buried in Blackwell Masonic Cemetery in Washington County, Missouri. Victoria re-married and had 2 more children.  Their son also had children who are still living.

PFC James Wythe Brummett

PFC James Wythe Brummett was born 14 Aug 1923 in Wise County, Virginia to Samuel and Bertha (Johnson) Brummett.  His father worked in a coal mine. 

When he was drafted in April 1943, James as working as a miner in Logan County, West Virginia.  Sent overseas he was assigned to M Company 116th Infantry on 28 Aug 1944.  On 1 Nov 1944 he was promoted to PFC.  He was killed in action on 25 Nov 1944.

PFC Brummett is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

SGT Andrew L. Hauser

SGT Andrew L. Hauser was born in Cincinnati, Ohio 13 Dec 1917 the only child of Andrew and Marie (Glunz) Hauser.  His father was a native of Wurttemberg, Germany, a bookbinder and died in 1925. His mother was born in Baden, Germany.  After his father's death his mother took in lodgers to make ends meet.  Andrew managed to attend 2 years of college, worked as a clerk at Lunkenheimer Valve Company and married. 

Andrew was drafted in December 1943.  He was sent overseas and on 9 Aug 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to E Company 116th Infantry.  On 11 Aug 1944 PVT Hauser was again transferred, this time to F Company 116th Infantry.  On 14 Sep 1944 he was promoted to SGT.  SGT Hauser was killed in action on 25 Nov 1944.

SGT Hauser is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

PFC William P. Kotchick

courtesy Des Philippet
PFC William P. Kotchick was born in 1924 in Endicott, New York the third of six children born to Joseph and Irene M. (Schlossar) Kotchick. His parents were both natives of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. His father worked in a shoe factory and managed a restaurant.

William was drafted in March 1943.  After his initial training, William was sent to Europe.  He was already a PFC when transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry on 24 Oct 1944. PFC Kotchick was killed in action one month later on 25 Nov 1944.

PFC Kotchick is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

PFC Wilhelm A. Hilse

courtesy Russ Pickett
PFC Wilhelm A. Hilse was born 22 May 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland to Erich and Mabel Hilse.  His father was a native of Germany and a coal dealer. 

Wilhelm was drafted in March 1943 at which time he was working as a farm hand.  After his initial training he was sent to Europe and on 24 Oct 1944 was transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry.  PFC Hilse was killed in action on 25 Nov 1945.

PFC Hilse was re-interred in the Baltimore National Cemetery in 1948.

SSG Raymond G. Jahns

SSG Raymond G. Jahns was born 1 Aug 1918 in Kenosha County, Wisconsin to Adolph August and Elizabeth Margaret (Baechle) Jahns.  His father was a patrolman for the county highway department.

When drafted in March 1941, Raymond had been working as a farm hand.  After his initial training, he was eventually sent to Europe.  PVT Jahns was transferred from the replacement depot to F Company 116th Infantry on 22 Jun 1944. SSG Jahns (we do not know when he was promoted) was wounded on 31 Jul 1944 and evacuated.  He did not return to the unit, again from the replacement depot, until 28 Oct 1944. SSG Jahns was killed in action on 25 Nov 1944.

SSG Jahns was repatriated in 1948 and is buried in Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Slades Corners, Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

PVT Emilio Garza Cabrera

PVT Emilio Garza Cabrera was born 9 Oct 1914 in Nueces County, Texas to Bridigo and Antonia Cuevas (Garza) Cabrera.  His father was a laborer.

After entering the service, Emilio was assigned to F Company 116th Infantry from the replacement depot on 24 Oct 1944. PVT Cabrera was killed in action one month later on 24 Nov 1944.

In 1949, PVT Cabrera was repatriated and buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.