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Stories from Honor Flight Northland Flight III May 2012

Edited by Patra Sevastiades With the assistance of Kalee Prince

Published by Veterans Memorial Hall A program of the St. Louis County Historical Society Duluth, MN -2012-

A day to honor Northland veterans


On May 15, 2012, eighty-four veterans from the Northland pulled into the airport in Duluth, Minnesota, before dawn. They congregated in a reception area. Each wore a gold polo shirt emblazoned with Honor Flight Northland. As the veterans checked in, they were given lanyards, Honor Flight Northland pins, and American Legion poppies. Some, anticipating the flight, had not slept well the night before, they said; but they were smiling. The smell of fresh coffee filled the room, and doughnuts beckoned from pastry boxes. Guardians dressed in pale blue polo shirts checked people in. Their smiles reflected the excitement of the day. The guardians made certain that all were accounted for. Then, as morning dawned, everyone boarded the airplane. In Washington, D.C., the weather was beautiful. The Northland veterans stepped into an airport full of applause and handshakes from Representative Chip Cravaack, local service members, and other airline travelers, who stopped their activity to honor them. The visitors boarded four buses, each with a volunteer tour guide. A police escort brought them to the World War II Veterans Memorial. Next was a visit to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, where lunch was served. After lunch, the veterans witnessed the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery and visited the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans Memorials. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken greeted them on a grassy slope and thanked them for their sacrifice. Throughout the day, veterans were often approached by well-wishers expressing appreciation for all that they had done. Tired but happy, four busloads of visitors rode back to the airport. Upon landing in Duluth, veterans were greeted by the Honor Guard, bands, and family and friends. The stories of these veterans follow. Some are brief, some lengthy, but each is a gem of a lifes experience. We honor these service members sacrifices, ingenuity, and sheer grit.
Honor Flight Northland honors World War II veterans, as well as a smaller number of Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, by bringing them to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor, at no cost to the veterans.

The Veterans of Honor Flight Northland - Flight III -

Thomas Ralph Barthell


His rank was Pharmacists Mate; this designation was changed to Hospitalman 3rd Class in 1948. Mr. Barthell was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal. He was born in 1928 in Waukon, Iowa, the son of Leonard and Martha Barthell. He graduated from high school in 1946.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Barthell served in World War II. He joined the U.S. Navy on July 20, 1946. He was trained as a Hospital Corpsman at the U.S. Navy Training Center, Bainbridge, located at Port Deposit, Maryland. Mr. Barthell was subsequently assigned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he served until he was discharged in July 1948.

Boot camp, July 21 to September 30, 1946, at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. About three weeks out-going unit (OGU), Great Lakes. Hospital Corps School, Bainbridge, Maryland (sixteen weeks). Assigned to ward duty at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, from February 1947 until discharge, July 1948.

Julien Henry Berntson


Julien Berntson served in World War II in the Southwest Pacific. He served in the U.S. Army beginning on March 2, 1942. Mr. Berntson was assigned to B Battery, 116th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Infantry Division. He served on Morotai Island, Dutch New Guinea (now Eastern Indonesia Moluccas), and Mindanao, the Philippines. He was discharged on Decem- ber 27, 1945. His rank was Sergeant, T-4. Mr. Berntson was born in 1919 in Hov- land, Minnesota, the son of Knute and Ida Berntson.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Served in New Guinea, Morotai, and Mindanao, the Philippines, with the 31st Division.

William H. Beste
Mr. Beste served in World War II in the European Theater. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in May 1942 and began serving on October 15, 1942. He was assigned to the 447th Bomb Group, 708th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force, based in England. Mr. Beste was part of the Jocko crew, which flew several different aircraft. He flew in thirty-one missions between May 29 and October 6, 1944. He was discharged on October 2, 1945. Members of his unit carried photographs of themselves in civilian clothing, in case they were shot down. Mr. Beste was a Radio Operator/Gunner. His rank was Technical Sergeant. Mr. Beste was decorated with the Dis- tinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African-Middle East Service Medal, and an overseas service bar. Mr. Beste was born in 1922 in Virginia, Minnesota. He is the son of August A. and Nettie L. Beste. He graduated from Virginia High School in 1940.

In Uniform: Fortress Gunner Beste Gets DFC, Virginia Daily Enterprise, November 20, 1944

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); article from the Virginia Daily Enterprise (below); and the original entry on the VMH website (below)

Veterans account

447th Bomb Group, 708th Squadron radio operator gunner (ROG), B-17 bomber, Rat- tlesden Airbase, England, crew Jocko. Our pilot, Lt. Lowell F. Simmons, died on his first (indoctrination) mission with an- other crew, June 21, 1944. Bailed out when plane on fire. Jocko crew intact with replacement pilots: Lts. Lakeman, Noonan, Zammett. Two crews, Leitch and Bowers, quarter- ed with us, were also shot down. Many losses.

An Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, Eng- landTechnical Sergeant William H. Beste, 22, of Virginia, Minn., has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extra- ordinary achievement as a radio operator and gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress during the Eighth Air Force attacks on industrial and military targets in Germany. Sgt. Beste is a member of the 447th Bomb. Group, a unit of the 3rd Bomb Divi- sion, the division that was cited by the President for the now historic England- Africa shuttle bombing attack on the Mes- serschmitt plant at Regensburg, Germany. He has taken part in many attacks on vital military targets in Aachen, Dusseldorf, and Cologne that prepared the way for the entry of American troops into Germany. In addition, he flew with the Eighth Air Force when they attacked the oil refineries in Merseburg and Leipzig and the marshalling yard in Munich. The DFC was presented by Sgt. Bestes commanding officer, Lt. Colonel William J. Wrigglesworth of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The official citation accompanying the award commented on the courage, coolness and skill shown by the Virginia gunner during his many missions over Nazi-held Europe. In addition to the DFC, he holds the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal. The son of Mr. and Mrs. August Beste, of Virginia, Sgt. Beste was graduated from Virginia High School in 1940. Before enter- ing the Army Air Forces in May 1942, he was employed as a printer at the Little Press, Inc., in Minneapolis. He received his gunners wings in January 1944, at Las Vegas, Nevada, gunnery school.

Original entry on VMH website

William M. Beste enlisted in the Army Air Corps on May 11, 1942. He was a technical sergeant and a radio operator and gunner aboard B-17 bombers with the 708th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group (M), 8th Air Force, based at Rattlesden, England. In his words: "I flew thirty-one combat missions over German-occupied Europe from June to October with B-17 crew 'Jocko.' This crew assembled in January 1944 at MacDill Field, Florida, with ten members from Maine, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connect- icut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Wis- consin, and New York. We were assigned to B-17s at Hunter Field, Georgia, and flew to North Ireland. The pilot was killed on the first mission; crew assigned new pilot and co-pilot. Strategic missions included northern and southern France, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich,

Bremen and the Rhineland. We assisted ground forces of U.S. and Britain across Europe, Holland, Belgium, etc." He returned to U.S. in 1944 and served as gunnery instructor, and then was "assigned to turret gunner school for B-29s. Assigned again to full-time flight duty at Pueblo, Colorado, as the war ended. Also flew mis- sions on the original Fuddy Duddy. A restored B-17 Fuddy Duddy is now at Genesee, New York, in the National War- plane Museum. No injuries, no wounded-- although aircraft was badly shot up by flak several times." He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, European- African-Middle East Service Medal, and an overseas service bar. He was discharged on October 2, 1945.

William H. Blair
He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 until 1946. He was assigned to the 750th Engineer Heavy Shop Company, Army Corps of Engineers. They served with the 8th Air Force. Mr. Blairs unit was transported on the U.S. Army Transport ship Uruguay to Glasgow, Scotland, in August 1942. They boarded a train to London and from there traveled to Southampton. They crossed the English Channel to France and made their way to Berlin, Germany. Mr. Blair saw com- bat. His rank was Master Sergeant. Mr. Blair was born in 1924 in Superior, Wisconsin. He is the son of William O. and Clara Blair. He graduated from high school in 1942.

Mr. Blair served in World War II in the European Theater.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

I was drafted in 1942. After basic training, we were shipped to the European Theater

on the USS Uruguay troop ship. We docked at Glasgow, Scotland, then we left the ship and boarded a train for London, England. After this, we went to Southampton to cross the English Channel to France on our way to Berlin, Germany. At that time, the war ended in Europe. Then we were ship-

ped out of Marseilles, France, through the Panama Canal on a troop ship. We were on it for sixty-eight days to Okinawa. Then they dropped the A-bomb, and the war was over. After this, we were shipped home in December 1946.

Elmer Bodeen
Elmer Bodeen served in World War II in the European Theater. He served with the U.S. Army until Dec- ember 3, 1945. He was assigned to the 50th Fighter Control Squad operating out of Duxford, England. Mr. Bodeen was decorated with the Rifle Marksman distinction, the Meritorious Unit Award, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Theater Medal, the European- African Service Stripe, the Middle Eastern Theater Medal, the Distinguished Unit Badge, and five overseas service bars. His rank was Staff Sergeant. Mr. Bodeen was born in 1919 to August and Masrea Bodeen in Port Wing, Wiscon- sin.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Harry L. Brady
Mr. Brady served in World War II in the European Theater. He joined the U.S. Army Air Forces on March 15, 1942. He was assigned to the 385th Bombardment Group, 549th Squadron, 8th Air Force. This was a B-17 Flying Fortress unit stationed at Royal Air Force Great Ashfield, England. He was discharged on August 30, 1945. His rank was 2nd Lieutenant. He was a Pilot, and he flew B-17s. Mr. Brady was born in 1922 in Minnea- polis, Minnesota. He is the son of Harry and Margaret Brady. He graduated from high school in 1940.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; th veterans account (below); 385 Air Expeditionary Group, Wikipedia

Enlisted at age nineteen. Went to various flight schools. Graduated as a pilot in class 44F. I was sent to England til the end of the European war. Flew B-17s. Returned to USA for B-29 training. The big bomb was dropped in Japan. I was told to stay home. The war was over.

Roderic J. Campbell
Mr. Campbell served in World War II in the European Theater. He served in the U.S. Army from May 11, 1943, until September 7, 1945. He was assigned to the infantry. Mr. Campbell was part of the 114th Infantry, Company G, 44th Division. His rank was Private 1st Class. He was decorated with the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, two Bronze Star Medals, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Euro- pean-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.

Mr. Campbell was born in 1925 in Superior, Wisconsin. He is the son of Myra and Bruce Campbell. Mr. Campbell gradu-

ated from Superior Central High School in 1942.


Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Carl Casperson
Mr. Casperson held various positions in the Stewards Department. He was decorated with Merchant Marine bars from all theaters of war. Mr. Casperson was born in 1925 in Ash- land, Wisconsin. He is the son of Hans and Julia Casperson. He graduated from Ashland High School in 1943.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Casperson served in World War II in the European and Pacific Theaters. He served in the Merchant Marine, an auxiliary of the Navy during wartime, from mid-1943 until mid-1946. He trained at the Merchant Marine training base in Sheeps- head Bay, New York. He served aboard six Liberty Ships that transported wartime sup- plies, from provisions to matriel.

I traveled to the Merchant Marine training base at Sheepshead Bay in New York the day after I graduated from high school. I was a crewmember on six different Liberty Ships carrying the cargos of war to all theaters of activity: six round trips on the Atlantic to England, Omaha Beach, and Belgium. Two trips to Cuba to carry raw sugar to England. Trip to Calcutta, India, with poison gas contained in 500-lb. bombs as part of the cargo. Coastal trip in Cal- ifornia to unload unneeded cargo at wars end. Traveled in convoy as well as alone.

Curtis Christianson
Mr. Christianson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He joined the U.S. Navy on September 15, 1944. -Mr. Christianson served aboard the USS Dorchester (APB-46) for twelve months, including an assignment in Sasebo, Japan, shortly after the end of the war. He was discharged on June 15, 1946. His rank was Ships Cook 3rd Class. Mr. Christianson was born in 1926 in Superior, Wisconsin, the son of Clarence and Esther Christianson. He graduated from high school in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Joined the U.S. Navy in September 1944 and inducted at Great Lakes Naval Station. Was assigned to USS Dorchester (APB-46). The ship was built and launched in Evans- ville, Indiana. Our ships crew sailed the ship down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and then through the Panama Canal. Our ship served in the Pacific for twelve months. Our ship was in Sasebo, Japan, one week after the Japanese sur- render.

Robert Delich
Robert Delich served in World War II in the European Theater. He served in the U.S. Army beginning on April 1, 1943. He was assigned to the Med- ical Corps, 10th General Dispensary, in the European Theater. Initially, he was sta- tioned in London, but after D-Day he was reassigned to France. He also served in Belgium and in post-war Berlin, Germany, from September 1945 until April 1946, as part of the Occupation Forces. His rank was Staff Sergeant, T-3. He served as part of the Medical Corps. Mr. Delich was discharged on April 11, 1946. He was born in 1924 in Kinney, Minne- sota, the son of Thomas and Mary Delich. He graduated from Buhl High School in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Gaylord M. Dewey
Mr. Dewey served in World War II. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on November 2, 1942. Mr. Dewey was sent to Camp Wolters, Texas, for two months of basic training and then to an Army base in Pennsylvania for further training. He was assigned to the 60th Infantry Training Bat- talion, Company B. He was discharged on October 17, 1945. His rank was Corporal (T-5). He was decorated with the Bronze Battle Star, Overseas Service Bars, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Purple Heart. Mr. Dewey was born in Freetown, Indi- ana, in 1920. He is the son of A.M. and Edna Dewey.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veteran photograph; veterans account (below)

From basic training to Pennsylvania for a short time for training. Went to New York

to board a ship to Casablanca (eleven-day trip). Put on rail cars to join the fighting in

Tunisia. The day before we arrived, that operation was over. We met the troop trains coming out. Our company was split up and put into replacement. I spent fifteen months in North Africa doing cleanup. This

is where I received my Purple Heart in the air raid. Then spent fifteen months in Italy (Naples). I was a cook until I was dis- charged.

Gordon Everett
opposite sex when not acting as a jazz club. He sat at a small round table, neatly clad in a jacket, shirt, suspenders, dress pants, and leather shoes with rubber soles. These soles make it hard to dance up there, he said. Half a glass of beer sat in front of him. Onstage, a jazz guitarist, bass player, key- board player and drummer performed Who Can I Turn To. Everett took a sip of beer. I was born in 1923, he said. I started doing vaudeville when I was fifteen. A woman threaded her way through the tables to where Everett was seated. Please remember to sing My Baby, she purred. Ill sing it for you, he promised. In ones, twos, and threes, people walked in and took a seat, some of them waving to Everett. He got his start through Tommy Wil- liams, an uncle who had been a member of a New York vaudeville troupe in the 1920s and 30s. Williams retired from that circuit and returned to Michigans Upper Penin- sula, where he organized a traveling vaude- ville troupe. In the summers of 1938, 1939, and 1940, Everett performed with them in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, danc- ing and singing in barns and other low- budget venues. I got paid about $9 a week plus expenses, he recalled. Everett was a Denfeld High School junior when Norman Cecil Johnson, director of vocal music for the Duluth Public Schools, said, You should be singing on radio. He took Everett to KDAL to audition. I was shaking in my boots, Everett recalled. I had no chance because I was afraid I wasnt good enough. KDAL turned him down.

Mr. Everett served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Army beginning in 1943. He was assigned to the 164th Infantry as a machine gunner. He participated in three major operations over the course of three years of service, and he spent most of his time in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. His rank was Private 1st Class. Mr. Everett was decorated with a Bronze Star and a Combat Infantrymans Badge. Mr. Everett was born in International Falls, Minnesota, the son of Harvey and Ruth Everett. He graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School in 1941.

Source: Interview with the veteran; Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; article from Duluth Budgeteer (below)

Honor Flight Veteran: Putting a Life to Music, Duluth Budgeteer, May 19, 2011

If you like jazz, you might stop by Club Saratoga some Saturday afternoon to listen to Gordy Everett croon. Youll also get to see him do softshoe on stage. Im the oldest guy thats ever been on that stage, Everett, 89, said of the venue, better known for hosting members of the

He helped form a quartet, the Four Sharps, when he was at the Duluth State Teachers College (now the University of Minnesota Duluth). They competed in the Minneapolis competition Stairway to the Stars. The organizer, who was friends with Arthur Godfrey, was impressed. Godfrey wanted the quartet to come to New York to sing on his show, Everett said, but no plans were ever made. There was another chance at stardom. John Stone, Everetts voice teacher at the Orpheum Theater, told him, I want you to try out for the Lawrence Welk Show. Stone arranged the audition, but Everett didnt go. Hed convinced himself, Im not good enough, so Im not going to go. The truth, he says now, is that he had no confidence and was afraid of crowds. In 1943, Everett joined the Army. He was assigned to the infantry as a machine gunner and served in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. Everett participated in three major operations over the course of three years. Of his many service medals, he is most proud of his Bronze Star and Com- bat Infantrymans badge.

Everett returned to Duluth and worked in the administrative offices of U.S. Steel. When he was about fifty, something changed. What the hell, he thought, Why am I holding back? He began to sing in the Duluth Superior Symphony Chorus, the DSSO opera chorus, Gilbert and Sullivan productions, and a barbershop quartet. He was also involved in the Northland Male Chorus, said friend and fellow singer, Robert Ballou. Gordy used to sing at the Hotel Duluth, the Flame, and piano bars, added Urania Zorbas, whose late husband, John, was a jazz musician who sometimes performed with Everett. Everett retired in 1983, giving him an opportunity to pursue music whole-heart- edly. He even tried out for Americas Got Talent in 2011. This past Tuesday, he went on the Honor Flight, which recognizes World War II vet- erans by flying them to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Veterans Memorial. At the Lincoln Memorial, he was given another honor: leading the group of nearly 100 veterans and their guardians in singing the national anthem.

Virgil M. Everson
Virgil Everson served in World War II and in the Korean War. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1943, as a recruit, he attended two sem- esters at Gustavus Adolphus College and was then sent to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, in 1944. Mr. Everson was assigned to Camp Le Jeune, where he became part of an Officers Candidate School class. He was commis- sioned in 1944. Mr. Everson was subsequently assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, 4th Mar- ine Division on Maui, the Hawaiian islands. His division eventually boarded ships and participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima. His rank was 1st Lieutenant. After the war, he joined the Army Reserve and, having become a dentist, was part of the Medical Service Corps. In 1950, Mr. Eversons unit, the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade, was activated to go to Korea. He participated in the invasion of Inchon. Mr. Everson was discharged on February 11, 1962. His rank was Captain. Mr. Everson was born in Highland, Wis- consin, the son of Albert C. and Nora Adams Everson. He graduated from high school in 1940.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

I graduated from Lone Rock (Wisconsin) High School in 1940. In the fall of 1940, I

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enrolled at Superior State Teachers College. I enlisted in the USMCR at Superior Tea- chers College in 1943. Was called to active duty at Gustavus Adolphus College and attended two semesters there before reporting to Parris Island boot camp in 1944. I was then sent to Camp Le Jeune to wait until going to Quantico, but before that happened a special OCS [Officers Candidate School] class of 400 was formed at Camp Le Jeune. We trained there and were com- missioned in 1944. I was then sent to Camp Pendleton for a few weeks training at tent camp San Onofre, California. Then I was sent to the 4th Marine Division on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. The division was sent to Iwo Jima for the invasion. After World War II, I went to Dental School and went into the Army Reserve. Was a 2nd lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. In 1950, I graduated as a dentist from Marquette University and was pro-

moted to 1st lieutenant. I was sent to Fort Lawton, Washington, but the Korean War broke out, and I was sent to Port Townsend, Washington with the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade. The brigade was sent to Japan and on to Korea for the invasion of Inchon. We went up in North Korea on the east coast at Iwan. Our unit operated the landing there and then went to Hamhung, Hungnam. We stayed there til the Chinese came down from the Chosin Reservoir. We then went down to Pusan for a few days and then back to Inchon for awhile. We were then sent back to Japan, and I was sent back to the States. I was sent to Fort Ord, California, and got out of the service active duty. I was married to Virginia J. Walters in Superior, Wisconsin. We had five children, and I practiced dentistry in Superior for about 38 years. I have been retired since 1989.

William Folman
Mr. Folman served in World War II in the Asiatic-South Pacific. He served in the U.S. Army beginning on September 15, 1944. Mr. Folman was as- signed to the 33rd Division, 8th Army. He served in several operations as well as in the Occupation Forces in postwar Japan. Mr. Folman was discharged on November 30, 1946. His rank was Corporal (T-5). Mr. Folman was decorated with the Army of Occupation Medal, Japan; the Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal; one Bronze Battle Star; the Philippine Liberation Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Good Con- duct Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; and the Sharpshooter Marksman- ship Badge with M1 Rifle. He was born in 1926 in Virginia, Min- nesota, the son of John and Myrtle Folman. He graduated from Virginia High School in 2000, fifty-five years after the war ended.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Gerald Gagne
Mr. Gagne served in World War II. He served in the Merchant Marine, a war- time auxiliary of the U.S. Navy, beginning in March 1943. Mr. Gagne served aboard a number of ships carrying materials in sup- port of the war effort. He was discharged in November 1945. His rank was Able Seaman. Mr. Gagne was born in Duluth, Minne- sota, in 1922, the son of Arthur and Ellan Gagne.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

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Winter of 44, convoy, taking P-38s [Light- ning fighter aircraft] on our freighter across the English Channel: We hit a major storm while I was at the wheel. Three Liberty

Ships were lost during the storm. The waves would raise our ship over the top of the ship in front, making it look like we would come down on top of them.

George T. Gregorich
Mr. Gregorich served in World War II in the South Pacific. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on June 14, 1942. Mr. Gregorich went to Camp Crowder, Missouri, for basic training. He studied Typing and Morse code at Tyler Commercial College in Tyler, Texas. He was subsequently assigned to the Signal Corps Headquarters Company, 3119th Signal Ser- vice Battalion, stationed in New Caledonia, where he stayed for approximately three years. Mr. Gregorich was discharged on November 19, 1945. His rank was Staff Sergeant. Mr. Gregorich is the son of Thomas and Mary Gregorich. He was born in 1920 in Duluth, Minnesota. He graduated from Morgan High School in 1938.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Basic training, Camp Crowder, Missouri. Typing and Morse code training, Tyler Com- mercial College, Tyler, Texas. Camp Beal, Marysville, California. Nearly three years on island of New Caledonia, South Pacific. Worked in fixed radio station. Slept in a tent for the duration. Glad to have servedwould do it againGod bless America. My five sons have all served in the military. Also, two grandsons now serving.

Thomas E. Hamilton
Mr. Hamilton served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in May 1943 and was assigned to the 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Division (or Red Arrow Division). He was discharged in Nov- ember 1946. In December 1944, he was shot through the right arm. Mr. Hamiltons rank was Sergeant. Mr. Hamilton was decorated with the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Rifle- mans Badge. Mr. Hamilton was born in Bigfall, Minne- sota, in 1924. He is the son of Everette and Florence (Godard) Hamilton.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Verlyn Durnel Hanson


Verlyn Hanson served in World War II and in the Korean War. He attempted to enlist in the Navy in 1943 at age seventeen but did not pass the physical because he had a perforated right eardrum. He tried again at age eighteen, but again was classified 4F. Mr. Hanson was not deterred. He had worked as a seaman on the Great Lakes ore boats. He could have his seamans papers changed from freshwater to saltwater vessels by means of Coast Guard regula- tions. He did, and that is what enabled him to join the Merchant Marine, an auxiliary of the U.S. Navy during wartime.

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His rank was Able Seaman. Mr. Hanson served in the South Pacific from February until August 1945. He was assigned to the Marshall Islands and to Peleliu in the Palau Group. While there, he contracted an ear infection. It was briefly treated on the island, but because he was boarding a ship for San Francisco a few days later, nothing else was done for it. Mr. Hanson was discharged on August 3, 1945, and he returned to Minnesota. In the meantime, his infected ear healed, forming scar tissue over the previously perforated area. Six years later, Mr. Hanson requested military reclassification and successfully passed the Army physical. On March 13, 1951, he was sworn into the U.S. Army. He served aboard a freight supply ship, part of the 110th U.S. Harbor Craft Company, 110th Transportation Company, 5th Army. His rank was Corporal; his job was Boatswain. Mr. Hanson was discharged on March 13, 1953. Mr. Hanson was born in 1926 in Eddy Township, Clearbrook, Minnesota, the son of Edwin and Alice Hanson. He graduated from high school in 1944 in Bagley.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

My military history actually begins in July 1943. As soon as I reached the age of seven- teen, I enlisted in the Navy. I did not pass my physical due to a perforated eardrum in my right ear. Then a year later when I turn- ed eighteen I volunteered to be drafted. I wanted to go for my physical at the same time two of my buddies were going; again I did not pass. As I had experience as a sea-

man on Great Lakes ore boats I could, through Coast Guard regulation, have my seamans papers from the lakes changed to saltwater vessels. This enabled me to become a merchant seaman. In February 1945, I was on a ship docked in Boston when I received a message from home advising me that one of my buddies had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge. I got off the ship that I was on and shipped out on a Liberty ship that was bound for the southwest Pacific. This voyage took me to the Marshall Islands and to Peleliu in the Palau group. While down in the hot humid weather, I got a fungus infection in my right ear. I was treated at an aid station on the island. The ship that I was on was going to sail back to San Francisco in a few days, so nothing else was done for my ear. I was discharged on August 3, 1945, in San Francisco and returned home to Minnesota. The fungus infection gradually cleared itself, and as it healed it formed a scar tissue over my eardrum. This eventually led to my serving in the Army years later. Six years later: I had never liked carrying a 4F classification from the Selective Ser- vice. I now had a chance to change it. When I returned from Alaska in the fall of 1950, I went to the Selective Service office and requested to be reclassified. I was quite confident that I would now pass a physical. I did, and on March 13, 1951, I was sworn into the Army. I spent two years in the Army and served as a bosun on an Army FS, a freight supply ship. Ironic, to say the least.

Paul T. Hanten
Paul Hanten served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater, in the Aleutian Islands, and in the United States. He was inducted on June 11, 1943, and was assigned to the 47th Construction Bri- gade Battalion. Mr. Hantens first assign- ment was Supply Worker, working toward

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Storekeeper 3rd Class. He was stationed in Adak, the Aleutian Islands, and he worked supply. He was transferred to Camp Endi- cott, Rhode Island, where he was assigned to Station Force and Welfare/Recreation. From August through December, 1945, he served in the Philippines, and he was again assigned to the Welfare/Recreation service. He was discharged on December 28, 1945.

His rank was Seaman 1st Class. Mr. Hanten was born in 1924 in Duluth, Minnesota. He is the son of Paul M. and Katharine Hanten. Mr. Hanten graduated from high school in Virginia, Minnesota, in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

George Paul Hendrickson


Mr. Hendrickson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. On January 15, 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the USS Essex (CV- 9), an aircraft carrier. It was the lead ship of the 24-ship Essex class. Mr. Hendrickson and the crew of the Essex were involved in the invasion and occupation of Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, all the major is- lands in the Philippines, as well as Okinawa. They also participated in attacks on the Japanese-held China mainland, including Hong Kong, Hainan, Swatow, and French Indochina, as well as attacks on the islands of Japan. Mr. Hendrickson was discharged on June 5, 1946. His rank was Aviation Radio Technician, Petty Officer 3rd Class. The members of his unit were decorated with a Distinguished Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Mr. Hendrickson was born in 1925 in Tower, Minnesota. He is the son of George and Esther Hendrickson. He graduated from Tower High School in 1943.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Navy Day During the Second World War by G. Paul Hendrickson

I believe a short prologue of my time served in the U.S. Navy is important to the record of my experiences aboard the USS Essex. From the time I was drafted into the service to the end of my time on the Essex,

certain events happened, which at times I call fate, and then maybe the hand of God. The first event happened at the recruit- ing station in Minneapolis where I was drafted. After going through my physical, which I passed, I was asked which branch of service I preferred to serve. My mind was already made up. My wish was to be an aviation radioman gunner on an aircraft carrier. The problem was, I was color blind, able to pick out only one or two numbers out of the colored dot circle. I could be put into the Navy as a SeaBee or a medic. After much pleading, the re- cruiter gave in and swore me into the regular Navy. When asked if there was any special school Id like to go to, my answer was aviation radio school. Another problem came up: my IQ tests were too low. I then ended up in boot camp at Farragut, Idaho. A few days before graduating, I came down with scarlet fever and spent twenty-one days in sick bay and finished training with a new company. Again, was my getting scarlet fever fate or the hand of God? I went home on a fifteen- day leave. Further orders sent me to Bremerton, Washington, where I was to be sent over- seas. My father was working as an electrician in the shipyard. On the only day there, and not knowing how to reach him, I decided to walk around the yard, and as I came to the first ship in dry dock, looking

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down at a 5 turret, I saw someone who looked like my father. I hollered, Dad! He looked up, and it was him! We had lunch together. Again, was this fate, or the hand of God? The next day, I boarded the battleship Colorado, destination Pearl Harbor. From there, we transferred to the heavy cruiser Houston. The trip continued to Majuro in the Marshall Islands, which was a naval base taken from the Japanese a short time before. We disembarked to a small harbor craft heading out into the harbor past cruis- ers, battleships, destroyers. Not knowing on which ship I was to serve, we headed to a large carrier, and that was my destination for the next two years/fifteen months during World War II. Again, was this fate or the hand of God that I was on an aircraft carrier? I wasnt an aviation radioman, but I was put into V1-T Division, whose duties were to assist in launching and landing the aircraft, which consisted of F6 [Helicat] fighters, SB2C [Helldiver] dive-bombers, TBF [Avenger] torpedo planes, and F4U [Corsair] fighters, piloted by Marines. The Essex was the first of its class launched after the beginning of the war. It was 27,100 tons, 872 feet long, maximum width 147 feet, top speed 33 knots. During my war years on the Essex, we were involved in the invasion and occu- pation of Japanese-held islands of Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Iwo Jima, all the major islands in the Philippines, and Okinawa. The Essex was also involved in several attacks on the Japanese-held China main- land, including Hong Kong, Hainan, Swatow, and French Indochina, plus twenty attacks on all major islands on Japan itself. We were engaged in three major engagements with the Japanese fleet. During the sixty- eight combat missions the Essex was involved in, she fought through 375 Japanese air raids and was hit only once, off Luzon, when a kamikaze took out a 20mm gun mount and tire repair station and tied

up flight operations for one-half hour. The AA [anti-aircraft] gun crews shot down thirty-three enemy planes; the plane handl- ing crew manned a 20mm gun mount during these attacks. Her air groups de- stroyed 1,531 Jap aircraft with 800 more probables; they sank twenty-five war ships and damaged 415 more. We were fifteen months in continuous combat except for refueling and taking on supplies. Off Okinawa, we spent seventy- nine consecutive days under attacks by Jap planes without seeing a port; we had the number one naval ace, Commander Camp- bell, who shot down thirty-four Japanese planes, nine in one day. I have a diary I kept during the war years, which was illegal, for which I could have been court-martialed. I was never caught. This is one of the excerpts recorded on October 14. 1944: After we landed our air strikers, about 1200, the Japanese planes started coming in on our Task Force about 1300. The ship went to general quarters. I just got up to the hangar deck when our anti-aircraft opened up. A dive-bomber dove on the Essex, but failed to drop his bomb. He then dropped it on the carrier Lexington but missed. Things quieted down and we secured from general quarters. I was down eating chow, and torpedo defense was broadcast over the PA. I got up to the hangar deck, and a Jap fighter plane had just finished strafing the Essex and several men were wounded. About the same time, two enemy torpedo planes came in on the Essex, dropping their tor- pedoes. The ship turned sharply as the torpedoes seemed to be headed for hits, but one barely missed the bow, the other our stern. Essex gunners shot down one plane and it went in about 35 yards off our fantail. The pilot could be seen getting out, but the gunner was slumped over apparently dead. The other plane crashed on the fantail of the cruiser Houston, which Id traveled on from Pearl Harbor to Majuro. Shortly after

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the torpedo attack, a dive-bomber came in on us but failed to drop his bomb. About ten minutes later, another plane appeared high over us; we opened fire, then he disap- peared. Another plane came in on the Essex, failing to drop his torpedo, flying right over our flight deck. Things quieted down and we secured from general quarters. Another event I would like to relate to you is one that had a lasting effect on the rest of my life. This took place April 14, 1945, during a raid on Okinawa. At that time in the war, all Japanese air attacks were kamikazes (suicide). A large group of enemy planes came in to attack our fleet. I was standing to the rear of the catapult, and our AA [anti-aircraft] firing was into a cloud above the bow when out of the cloud came a Zero fighter plane, a 500-lb. bomb on its undercarriage, traveling about 400 mph at a dive of about 60 degrees, heading right for the catapult where I was standing. I jumped onto the catwalk on the side of the flight deck and prayed, Dear Lord, Im not going to see home again, but if I do, Ill dedicate my life to you. This plane wasnt much more than 150 feet above the ship. I could see the pilot, his goggles and the white scarf the suicide pilots wore. Some unseen power flipped him sideways from his dive, and he crashed into the water on the side of the ship, throwing water and shrapnel under the cat- walk where I stood. The photographer who took a picture of this plane captioned it, He had us cold turkey but couldnt crash. This wasnt fate, it was the hand of God. In closing, I want to leave you with a bit of philosophy that I have lived by and has made me a stronger-willed person. It is important that I tell you where and when this came about.

It was on February 17, 1945, when the ships captain announced over the PA sys- tem, Tomorrow we hit Tokyo. Now this was to be the first raid on the Japanese mainland since Doolittle did it in 1942 from the carrier Hornet. All hands were a little apprehensive. After being relieved of duties that night, I went to my quarters, opened my locker, and in it was a book entitled Mansions of Philosophy. It appeared to have been well used and looked ancient. I had no idea where it came from. That night, I opened it to read, and the first words that came to me were the following. I quote, It is by doing the things you dont want to do that you gain your strength; more, your capacity to enjoy life is greatly increased, for there is no greater satisfaction in life than that which results from the overcoming of difficulties. The days of raids on Japan were launched during heavy overcast skies 125 miles from Japan. Large numbers of enemy planes flew over, but none could find our task force. Again, was this fate or the hand of God? There is no doubt that he is the one that is responsible for my being here. Many carriers that fought along [with] the Essex were severely hit and many lives lost, but the USS Essex came through with a minor hit by a kamikaze. Again, was this fate, or the hand of God?

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Loren Horton
Medal, the American Area Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Mr. Horton was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1925. He is the son of Verna Vikory and Bernie Horton.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account


Mr. Horton served in World War II in the South Pacific. On August 14, 1943, he joined the U.S. Navy. He boarded a ship and left San Francisco three days before his eighteenth birthday. He served aboard the Liberty Ships S.S. Antonin Dvorak and S.S. Stephen Furdek, traveling throughout the Pacific. His rank was Seaman 1st Class. He was discharged on April 18, 1946. Mr. Horton was decorated with the Philippine Liberation Medal, the Bronze Star

I shipped out of San Francisco three days before my eighteenth birthday. We went to Guadalcanal and Chile. We went to every country on the west coast of South America, including Panama. Through the Panama Canal twice. Picked up second ship in Panama City, Florida, went back through the canal. Went to New Guinea. Then to Australia and back to New Guinea and up to Tacloban, Leyte (on one of the islands of the Philippines). I saw MacArthur there. Next was Manila. We went to the city and saw the bombed-out churches and the wall around the city. Came back to San Francisco and almost froze to death. Then to Seattle, Washing- ton, where days later we were in t-shirts.

Roger J. Hull
Mr. Hull served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 25, 1942, and attended boot camp at U.S. Naval Training Station, Farragut, Idaho. Mr. Hull was sent for advanced training to the Aviation Ordnance School, Naval Air Tech- nical Training Center, Norman, Oklahoma, and to Bombsight School, Naval Training School, Jacksonville, Florida. He attended Air Gunnery School at Virginia Beach and was assigned to Headquarters Squadron (HEDRON) 9-2 and to Bermuda as support for Squadrons 207 and Squadron 215, anti- sub patrol PBM flying boat aircraft. Next, he was sent to Alameda Air Base and Shoemaker Processing Center. He was dis- charged on February 27, 1946. Mr. Hulls rank, originally Aviation Ord- nanceman (Bombsight) was changed to Aviation Fire Controlman 2nd Class. Mr. Hull was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal, the American Area Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was born in Shawano, Wisconsin, in 1924, the son of Orvis and Alma Hull.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Boot camp at U.S. Naval Training Station, Farragut, Idaho. Aviation Ordnance School, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Nor- man, Oklahoma. Bombsight School, Naval Training School, Jacksonville, Florida. Rate change from Aviation Ordnanceman (Bomb- sight) (AOM) to Aviation Fire Control (AFC). Then transferred to Norfolk, Virginia. Attended Air Gunnery School at Virginia

Beach. Transferred to Headquarters Squad- ron (HEDRON) 9-2, sent to Bermuda as support for Squadron 207 and Squadron 215, anti-sub patrol PBM flying boat air- craft. Was there fourteen months. Then to California (Alameda Air Base). Then to Shoemaker Processing Center. Discharged at Great Lakes Naval Base.

Richard John
Mr. John served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on January 5, 1945. He attended basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center and did sixteen weeks of advanced training in Signalman School. His unit was sent to Pearl Harbor and from there to Okinawa aboard the USS Admiralty Islands (CVE-99). They then boarded the LST 1015 and were sent to Shanghai, China. There Mr. John served aboard the USS YMS- 49. He later served aboard the USS Repose, a hospital ship. Mr. John was assigned to Oakland Naval Hospital and was transported there on the USS Samaritan hospital ship. He was transferred to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. Mr. John was discharged on March 8, 1947. His rank was Seaman 2nd Class (Signal- man). He was decorated with the American Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Mr. John was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1926, the son of William John and Myrtle E. Doyle. He graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Sworn in U.S. Navy at Ft. Snelling, Minne- sota, January 5, 1945. Thence to U.S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, for basic training plus sixteen weeks of Signal- man School. Now, from Great Lakes to Pearl Harbor, then on to Okinawa. Then from Okinawa to Shanghai, China, for duty on YMS-49. The trip from Hawaii was aboard the USS Admiralty Islands. From Okinawa aboard USS LST 1015. Next is yellow jaundice USS Repose hospital ship. Next, back to USA to Oakland Naval Hospital via USS Samaritan hospital ship. From Oakland Naval Hospital to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. Discharged from hospital and U.S. Navy on March 8, 1947.

Lloyd O. Johnson
Mr. Johnson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. On December 9, 1944, he enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps. After basic training, he was assigned to the Pacific. He served as a truck driver and demolition man with the 3rd Engineer Battalion in Guam and with the 7th Service Regiment in China. He was discharged on October 26, 1946. His rank was Private 1st Class. Mr. Johnson was decorated with the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Service Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal, China, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Mr. Johnson was born in 1926, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert M. Johnson, in Duluth, Minnesota. He would have graduated from high school in 1945, but was overseas. He graduated formally in 2000.

later, I got a call back. 'I have five World War II veterans that are going to graduate this year,' he said. So I received two diplomas, one for 1945 and one for 2000."

Original entry on VMH website

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veteran's account (below); original entry on VMH website (below)

Veterans account

"I called the principal at Denfeld High School in 2000 and told him I wanted to do 'Pomp and Circumstance.' He asked me, 'Didn't you do that in 1945?' I answered, 'No, I was on a ship in China in 1945.' So he said he'd see what he could do. Two days

Lloyd O. Johnson enlisted in the Marine Corps on December 9, 1944. He was a private 1st class and served as a truck driver and demolition man with the 3rd Engineer Battalion in Guam and with the 7th Service Regiment in China. He was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Service Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal (China), and the World War II Victory Medal. He was discharged on October 26, 1946.

Raymond M. Johnson
Mr. Johnson was born in 1925 in Cloquet, Minnesota, the son of Andrew T. and Hilda C. Johnson. He graduated from high school in 1943.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Johnson served in World War II in the European Theater. He enlisted with the U.S. Army on April 7, 1944. Mr. Johnson was assigned to G Com- pany, 2nd Battalion, 76th Infantry Division, based out of Camp McCoy. Mr. Johnson was discharged on April 18, 1946. His rank was Private 1st Class. He was decorated with the Combat In- fantry Badge.

Three brothers in World War II at the same time in the European Theater of Opera- tions: Paul (the oldest), Roland (next), and Raymond (the youngest). Paul was in the 70th Infantry Division, Roland was in the 735th Tank Battalion, I was in the 76th Infantry Division. Paul and my division were near Boston being de- ployed to the ETO and met. Rolands tank battalion was attached to my division across Germany, and after VE day, we spent several days together. And to top it off, Roland and Paul met in Frankfurt, Germany.

Daniel David Kolodzeski


Daniel Kolodzeski served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy from March 1943 until April 1946. Mr. Kolodzeski participated in the Okina- wa Campaign. His rank was Radioman 3rd Class.

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Mr. Kolodzeski was born in 1923 in Mani- towoc, Wisconsin. He is the son of Joseph and Blanch Kolodzeski. He graduated from high school in 1941.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Okinawa Campaign. A seaplane base. Never started. The war ended.

Anthony L. Kosmerl

Anthony L. Kosmerl served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army beginning on May 14, 1943. He was assigned to M Com- pany, 81mm Mortar Squad, 242nd Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division). Mr. Kosmerls unit arrived in Strasbourg, France, at Christmastime 1944, replacing the 36th Division. They fought the Germans in the Hotten and Haguenau forest area just south of the Battle of the Bulge from January 4 until January 22, 1945. They were relieved by the 79th Division and went into a reserve position in Bourdannay, France, at the end of January. In mid-February, 1945, they relieved the 45th Division in the Haardt Mountains in Alsace. They drove through the west wall and captured Wrzburg, Nuremburg, and Munich by May 2. Days later, the Germans surrendered. After the war in Europe ended, Mr. Kosmerl was part of the Occupation Force in Austria. On March 5, 1946, he boarded a ship at Bremerhaven, Germany, and return- ed to the United States. He was discharged on April 5, 1946. Mr. Kosmerls rank was Staff Sergeant. He was decorated with a Bronze Star. Mr. Kosmerl was born in 1924 in Chisholm, Minnesota, the son of Louis J. and Mary J. Kosmerl. He graduated from Chisholm High School in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); previous VMH website entry (below)

I was inducted into the Army from Chis- holm, Minnesota, on 14 May 1943, and entered service at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on 4 June 1943. I was sent to Fort Leonard, Missouri, for basic training in the combat engineers and afterward had a choice of

either OCS (Officers Candidate School) or ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program). Took ASTP at North Dakota State Agricul- ture College at Fargo, where I studied eng- ineering for five months until the program was discontinued, and then sent to Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, for basic training in the infantry. After basic training, was assigned to M Company with an 81mm mortar squad of the 242nd Regiment of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division. Worked in the company supply room as an armor artificer until we shipped out on November 15, 1944, for New York City and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. We left New York on a Liberty ship on 25 November 1944 and arrived in Marseilles, France, on 8 December 1944, and then [they] took us to a staging area called CPE, north of Mar- seilles. Corporal Rene LeTourneau, our #1 gunner, was called back as an interpreter because he could speak French, so I moved up from #2 gunner as a Pfc [private 1st class] to the #1 gunner position for the rest of the war, and I remained a Pfc! Our scheduled stay in the staging area was cut short by the German breakthrough in the Ardennes, so we moved up to the front lines in a defen- sive position on Christmas Eve 1944 at Strasbourg, France, replacing the 36th Div- ision, holding our positions through the first of the year. We were then sent to the Hotten and Hagenen forest area just south of the Battle of the Bulge, where we fought from January 4 through the 22nd of January 1945 and won a Bronze Star. Task Force Linden had accomplished its mission and held the determined German Army from making a breakthrough in the 7th

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Army front. We were relieved by the 79th Cross of Lorraine Division and went back in reserve position near Bourdonnay, France, at the end of January in Lorraine. During the middle of February, we moved to Wimme- nau in Alsace in the Haardt Mountains, relieving the veteran 45th Thunderbird Division. On March 15, 1945, we jumped off from the Haardt Mountains and drove through the west wall and captured the German strongholds of Wrzburg, Schwein- furt, Nuremburg, and Munich by May 2. On May 12, 1945, VE Day, the Germans had surrendered and the war with Germany had ended. We went into Austria and stayed several weeks in each of the resort towns of Krimml, Gerlos, and Salzburg. We stayed three months in Wald, Austria, where I took over the job of Company M supply sergeant. Had enough points to get out of service and go back home. I received my staff sergeant stripes in September of 1945. As part of the 42nd Rainbow Divisions semi-permanent occupation of Austria, we were in Vienna, Austria, as part of the Four- Power Occupation Forces from January 1946 until March, when I started toward home for a discharge from the Army. When I became the company supply sergeant, I started to write a letter to my folks. After censorship was lifted, that ended up to be a book with over 500 pages describing happenings from the time I left Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, on November 14, 1944, to my discharge from Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, on April 5, 1946. The book, entitled, My Life in the ETO, was never published. I boarded another ship on March 21, 1946, at Bremerhaven and arrived in the States on April 1st.

Original VMH website entry

Anthony L. Kosmerl of Chisholm was induct- ed into the Army on May 28, 1943. He was a staff sergeant, supply sergeant and gunner with an 81mm mortar squad with

Company M, 242nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division. He arrived at Marseilles, France, in Dec- ember of 1944. He moved to the front on Christmas Eve at Strasbourg, France. He later moved to Hatten and the Hagenau Forest area in the Ardennes. His unit was relieved by the 79th Division and moved to a reserve position near Bourdonnay at the end of January 1945. His company then jumped off from Haardt Mountains and drove through the West Wall, capturing German strongholds at Wurzburg, Schwein- furt, Nuremburg and Munich by May 2. He participated in the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. He recalls, "As part of the 42nd Divisions semi-permanent occupation of Austria, we were in Vienna as part of the Four-Power Occupation Force from January, 1946 until March when I started for home." He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African- Middle East Campaign Service Medal with two bronze battle stars, the American Campaign Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and two overseas service bars. He was discharged on April 5, 1946.

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John V. Kramer
Mr. Kramer was decorated with the European-African-Middle Eastern Medal with four Bronze Stars; a Presidential Unit Citation; the Eisenhower Unit Citation with four clasps; the Berlin Crisis Medal; the Wisconsin Long Service Medal with three clasps; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with ten-year device; and the World War II Victory Medal. Mr. Kramer was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1924, the son of John J. and Vera (Boyd) Kramer. He graduated from high school in 1942.

Mr. Kramer served in World War II in the European Theater. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces beginning on March 18, 1943. Mr. Kramer received the lions share of his training at Lowry Field, Colorado, and Midland Army Air Field, Texas. He was assigned to the 15th Army Air Force, 463rd Bomb Group (Heavy). He served in Foggia, Italy, as his main base, working on B-17 heavy bombers, Norden bombsights, and Honeywell auto pilots. After the war, he was discharged. Mr. Kramer then enlisted with the Air National Guard and was assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division, 724th Combat Engi- neer Battalion. His unit was activated in 1961 and 1962 by President J. F. Kennedy in connection with the Berlin Airlift. He spent three months training for winter survival and skiing at Fort Greeley, Alaska. He was discharged in February 1968. His rank was Captain.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Most of my training was at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colorado, and Midland Air Force Base in Midland, Texas. Overseas at Foggia, Italy, as main base working on B-17 heavy bombers, on Norden bombsights, and Honeywell Automatic Pilots. Had rest leaves in Rome, Naples, Milan, and twice in Switzerland. After returning and being discharged, enlisted in 32nd Infantry Division, 724th Com- bat Engineer Battalion, and we were called back into service in 1961 and 1962 by President J. F. Kennedy, and I spent three months at Fort Greeley, Alaska, at the winter survival and ski school. I also am a retired military with over twenty-one years of service.

Robert C. LaGesse

Mr. LaGesse served in World War II. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force Cadet Program in 1944 while still in high school. In January 1945, he was called into active service. He attended basic training and then advanced training in Airplane and Engine Mechanics School, Keesler Field, Mississip- pi. He was assigned to the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion, Orly Field, Paris, where he was a Flight Line Mechanic.

Mr. LaGesse was discharged in January 1947. His rank was Sergeant. Mr. LaGesse was born in 1926 in Super- ior, Wisconsin, the son of Les LaGesse and Edna Noble. He graduated from high school in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); www.scribd.com/doc/ 59414165/Volume-7-Services-Around-the-World

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I volunteered for the Air Force Cadet Pro- gram while in high school in 1944. Called to active service in January 1945. Spent 1945 in basic training and then aircraft mech- anics training in Keesler Field, Mississippi.

Went overseas in January 1946 and spent a year at Orly Field, Paris, France, as a flight line mechanic as part of the 808th Air Engi- neering Division. Discharged in January 1947.

Charles Wesley Lauritsen


Mr. Lauritsen served in World War II. He was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps on August 21, 1945. He was assigned to the Department of the Pacific, San Fran- cisco. He was discharged on August 30, 1946. After World War II, Mr. Lauritsen joined the Marine Reserve, where he served for several years.

His rank was Private 1st Class. Mr. Lauritsen was born in 1927 in Fari- bault, Minnesota, the son of Wesley and LaReine Lauritsen. He graduated from high school in 1945.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

John P. Mahoney
Mr. Mahoney served in World War II in the European Theater. He was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Forces in April 1942. After basic and advanced training, he was assigned to the 451st Bomb Group, where he served as a nose turret gunner on a B-24. Mr. Mahoney participated in the raid on Regensburg, Germany, on February 25, 1944, for which his unit received a Distin- guished Unit Citation. His B-24 was shot down during the mission, and he was captured. He was a POW from February 25, 1944, until April 29, 1945. Mr. Mahoney was discharged in October 1945. His rank was Staff Sergeant. Mr. Mahoney was decorated with the Purple Heart and the Air Medal. Mr. Mahoney was born in Duluth, Min- nesota, the son of James F. and Grace E. Mahoney. He graduated from high school in 1936.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); www.armyaircorps.us/ 451st_Bombardment_Group.cfm

Nose turret gunner B-24 Bomber. Shot down on Regensburg raid, February 25, 1944. POW, Germany, February 25, 1944, until April 29, 1945.

John Meller
John Meller served in World War II in the South Pacific. He served in the U.S. Navy from January 13, 1943, until October 6, 1945. He was assigned to naval shore duty in New Guinea and Australia. His rank was Machinist 3rd Class. He main- tained diesel engines at freezer plants. He also helped inventory, clean, and ship en- gine parts back to the United States at wars end. Mr. Meller was born in 1923 to William and Eathel Meller in Bennett, Wisconsin.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall History Form; veterans account (below)


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Duty at New Guinea and three months in Australia. Was maintaining diesel power for freezer plant. January 4, 1945, to end of

war: was cleaning parts for shipment back to USA from the Admiralty Islands.

Frank Moschet
electronics. His next assignment was B-29 Armament School, Lowry Field, Colorado. He was transferred to the 20th Air Force Training Command and the 244th Army Air Field, Harvard, Nebraska. He was discharg- ed on January 28, 1946, at Patterson Field, Ohio. Mr. Moschets rank was Sergeant. He was born in 1917 in Iron Mountain, Michigan, the son of John and Regina Moschet. He graduated from high school in 1936.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Moschet served in World War II. Mr. Moschet served in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He was inducted into the Army in July 1942 at Fort Custer, Michigan. He then had basic training at Camp Roberts, Cali- fornia. He was assigned to the 77th Infantry, Camp Butner, North Carolina, and then to the 12th Field Artillery, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Mr. Moschet was sent to U.S. Army Air Forces technical school, Seymour Johnson Field, South Carolina, to learn aviation mechanics. He was then sent to Aircraft Mechanics Technical School, Chanute Field, Florida, for advanced

Inducted Fort Custer, Michigan, July 1942. Basic training, 189th, Company A, Camp Roberts, California. Assigned Infantry 77th Division, Fort Butner, North Carolina. Assigned 17th Corps, Field Artillery, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Assigned tech school, Air Force mechanic, Seymour John- son, South Carolina. Advanced Elect., Chanute, Florida. B-29 Armament School School Lowry Field, Colorado, 70th Air Force Training Command. 244th AAF Harvard Air Force Base, Nebraska. Discharged January 28, 1946, Patterson Field, Ohio.

Kenneth O. Mueller

Kenneth Mueller served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy beginning on August 1, 1945. He was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Station, near North Chicago, Illinois. He was discharged on May 31, 1946.

His rank was Seaman 2nd Class. Mr. Mueller was born in 1927 in LaSalle, Illinois, the son of Otto and Bertha Mueller.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

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John J. Musech
Mr. Musech served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy from June 1943 until August 1946. He was assigned to the 126th Construction Battalion. His rank was Ships Cook 2nd Class. Mr. Musech was born in Aurora, Minne- sota, in 1924, the son of Ignatz Musech. He graduated from Hibbing High School in 1943.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Robert Naslund
Robert Naslund served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on September 27, 1943. Mr. Naslund was as- signed to the 1629th Engineer Construction Battalion and served in both the Philippines and Japan. He was discharged on February 28, 1946. Mr. Naslunds rank was Buck Sergeant. He was classified as an Expert Marksman, and he was decorated with the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theater Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal with one Bronze Star. Mr. Naslund was born in 1924 in Two Harbors, Minnesota, the son of John and Anna Naslund. He graduated from high school in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Kenneth Nelson
Mr. Nelson was born in 1917 in Lansford, North Dakota. He is the son of Peter and Goodrin Nelson.

Source: Veteran Memorial Hall veterans history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Nelson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the 15th Construction Brigade (SeaBee) Battalion. He was inducted on January 25, 1945. Mr. Nelson served on Okinawa. He was discharged on February 12, 1946. His rank was Fireman 1st Class.

Im one of six brothers who served in World War II. I am enclosing a picture of my brothers and one brother-in-law in uniform. Two of my brothers were wounded in action and received the Purple Heart.

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Clyde P. Newton
Joined the Air Force Cadet Program in 1943. Went to the University of Akron. Gra- duated from the Cadet Program and then went to Randolph Field in Texas. We started in the flight program and the whole HGO were then sent to Gunnery Programs. After finishing Armament School and Gunnery School I was sent to Florence, S.C., where we made up our air crews on the A- 20 fighter bomber, a low level attack plane. We went overseas on the General A. F. Anderson. We landed in New Guinea at Hol- landia, where we were assigned to the 312th Light Bomber Group. We were in action the next day. From New Guinea we went on to the Philippines, which were our major battles, along with Formosa. From there we went to Okinawa, then the war ended. Along with about a dozen others, was transferred to Headquarters Squadron 5th Air Force. We went to Japan and were stationed at Tachikawa. Came home from Japan in January 1946.

Mr. Newton served in World War II in the South Pacific. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces beginning in 1943. He joined the Air Force Cadet Program and attended the University of Akron. After graduating, he was assigned to Randolph Field, Texas, and attended Arma- ment and Gunnery School. In Florence, South Carolina, he was assigned an air crew on an A-20 fighter bomber. He traveled by boat to New Guinea and became part of the 338th Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force. Mr. Newtons unit saw combat in New Guinea, in the Philippines, and on the island of Formosa. They were sent to Okinawa, and the war in the Pacific ended. Mr. Newton was assigned to Headquarters Squadron 5th Air Force, Tachikawa, Japan. He was discharged in 1946. Mr. Newtons rank was Staff Sergeant. He was born in 1925 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the son of Harry and Ruth Newton. He left high school junior year to join the Army and returned in 1946 to finish and graduate.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans accounts (below)

I went into the Air Force Cadet program in 1934. Went to the University of Akron. From there to Randolph Field, Texas, then to Armament School at Lowry Field, to Flor- ida, to Florence, SC, where we made up our crews on the A-20 Havoc Fighter Bomber. Then overseas to Hollandia, New Guinea, to Biak, to Tacloban, to Floridablanca in the Philippines. We did infantry support, skip bombing on shipping, low level attacks on airfields on Formosa (group Presidential [Unit] Citation for that). Was on Okinawa when war ended. Transferred, Headquart- ers 5th Air Force, went to Tachikawa, Japan.

Donald Nickolauson
Mr. Nickolauson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy beginning on April 27, 1944. He went to basic training at Farragut, Idaho, and was assigned to the USS Reno, which headed to the Pacific. A month after Mr. Nickolauson boarded the ship, the Reno was torpedoed just off of

the island of Formosa. Fifty-three of Mr. Nickolausons crewmates were killed. The Reno made its way back to the United States and was repaired. The war in the Pacific ended. Mr. Nickolauson was dis- charged on October 23, 1945. His rank was Seaman 2nd Class. Mr. Nickolauson was born in 1926 in Browns Valley, Minnesota. He is the son of Albert and Tolly Nickolauson.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Inducted into the service in 1944. Trained at Farragut, Idaho. Boarded ship months later (the ship USS Reno in Oct. 1944). The ship was torpedoed November 3, 1944, just off Formosa. We spent next eight months bringing ship back to the U.S. (Charleston, South Carolina). Ship got repaired and was ready to go back in service, but fifty-three sailors were killed. A-bomb dropped, and the war ended.

Frank A. Nolan
Mr. Nolan was assigned to a flight crew on a B-24 bomber that flew to the United Kingdom, to North African, and finally to Venosa, Italy, where the unit was based. He flew eighteen combat missions and was as- signed to the center of the fuselage, where it was his job to start the camera that photographed the plane dropping its bomb load. He also filmed other aviation events using a handheld camera as a visual aviation record. After his time in Europe, Mr. Nolan was assigned to MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida, where he was the administrator of the base PX. His unit was slated to be trans- ferred to a B-29 squadron, but this did not happen because the war in the Pacific ended. Mr. Nolan was discharged on Oct- ober 31, 1945. Mr. Nolan was an armorer and worked in the field of military cinematography.

Mr. Nolan served in World War II in the European Theater. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces beginning on March 17, 1943. He reported to Camp Grant, Illinois, and was sent to Keesler Field, Mississippi, for training. He was sent to Lowry Field and then Buckley Field in Colorado, and then to Wendover Field, Utah, where he practiced firing machine guns. He was instructed in the use of a system utilizing a pair of film projectors named after filmmaker Henry Jamison Jam Handy. The Jam Handy machine created a simulation of enemy airplanes attacking. Next, he was part of a crew that was transferred to Mountain Home, Utah, and ordered to construct a target field.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans accounts (below)

I was inducted into the service March 17, 1943. I reported to Camp Grant in Illinois. From there I was shipped to Keesler Field in Mississippi. From there I learned the value of volunteering. There were several hund- red of us on the tarmac, and the officer in charge wanted somebody who knew how to type. After several minutes I stepped forward and said I could type. I was told to

27

go to a certain tent to do the typing for one of the officers. I can recall the many times I saw groups of men coming back from basic training dirty and tired out. After several weeks, I was shipped to Lowry Field in Colorado. I spent some time there and then shipped to Buckley Field in Colorado. From there I was shipped to Wendover, Utah. I chose the classification of armorer. At Wendover we practiced the firing of machine guns. It was also at this time that I was told to learn how to operate the Jam Handy machine. This was two pro- jectors that simulated airplanes attacking other planes. After several weeks I was as- signed to a flight crew. We picked up a B-24 bomber in Topeka, Kansas, and proceeded to fly overseas by landing at several places. First was Manchester, New Hampshire, then Goose Bay in Labrador. Then Green- land, Iceland, Wales in England, and then to Marrakesh, Africa. From there we flew to Venosa, Italy, where we were based. I flew eighteen combat missions prior to the end of the war. I was assigned to the waist section of the plane, where it was my duty to start the camera that photographed the bomb drop. I also had a hand-held camera to photograph anything unusual: planes that were hit, people that were bailing out, and anything else that would shed some light on what was going on.

We were selected to fly a B-24 back to the States. Since we did not get our rest period at the isle of Capri near Vatican City after fifteen missions, the pilot flew us over Vatican City on our way to Africa. From there, we proceeded to fly the southern route to South America, Puerto Rico, then Savannah, Georgia. Eventually I ended up at MacDill Field in Tampa, Florida. I was put in charge of a PX at this place. Although we were slated to be trans- ferred to a B-29 Squadron, this did not materialize, as the war ended in Japan. I was discharged October 31, 1945.

After we had left Africa, we landed at Bari, Italy. Upon landing, we were advised to steal--yes, steal--a tent, or we would be sleeping under the stars. We finally found a nice one, so we took it down and loaded it into our B-24. Upon arriving at Venosa, Italy, our base, another group of officers tried to take it away from us. Our officers intervened and told them to go and steal a tent from someone else. That became our home for the time we were in Italy. Another item I forgot to men- tion: When we left Wendover, we were transferred to Mountain Home Air Base. About twenty of us were assigned to get our food and lumber supplies from Moun- tain Home.

Donald Earl Norlander



Mr. Norlander served in the Vietnam War. He served in the United States and in Asia; in Vietnam, he was assigned to Da Nang, Hue, and Quang Tri. In October 1962, Mr. Norlander began to serve in the U.S. Navy. His first tour of duty was in a mobile construction battalion in Port Hueneme, California. He was transfer- red to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 (ACB-1), Coronado, California. He had various deployments throughout Asia and did shore duty in Naval Air Station

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Glenview, Illinois, and Navy recruiting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His last tour of duty was with Mobile Construction Batta- lion 8 (MCB-8) in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. He was discharged in November 1969. His rank was Construction Mechanic 1st Class, Petty Officer 1st Class. Mr. Norlander was born in 1944 in Virginia, Minnesota. He is the son of Everett and Arline Norlander. He graduated from American School in 1963. He was decorated with the National De- fense Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the 1962. Training, boot camp in San Diego, California. First tour of duty, Mobile Construction Bat- talion, homeport, Port Hueneme, California. Then transferred to Amphibious Construc- tion Battalion One, Coronado, California. Deployments and travels to Philippines, Okinawa, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam. 1967 shore duty tour, Naval Air Station Glenview, Illinois, and Navy Recruiting Station, Min- neapolis, Minnesota. Last tour of duty with Mobile Construction Battalion No. 8, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. Discharged Nov- ember 1969. Some great and some sad experiences. Those years certainly had future direction of life. Left with memories not soon for- gotten.

Gerald N. Nowak
Mr. Nowak served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy beginning in June 1943. He was a Hospital Corpsman. He was discharged in April 1946. Mr. Nowaks rank was Pharmacists Mate 2nd Class. He was born in 1924, the son of Louis and Nell Nowak, in Spooner, Wisconsin. He graduated from high school in 1943. Mr. Nowak was one of seven brothers who served during World War II or the Korean War.

Joseph Army, Korean War John Army, Korean War.


Land, Sea, Air Draw Five Sons (Duluth newspaper, WWII era, undated)

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); article from unidentified local newspaper

Veterans account

Seven brothers: Leonard Army Medical, Europe, Bronze Star Francis Navy Cook on LST, Pacific Vincent Air Force Radio Operator, Pacific Eugene Navy destroyer, Purple Heart, Pacific Gerald Navy Corpsman, USS Solace, Pacific

On the landin the airand on the sea! Mrs. L. J. Nowak of 515 North Eleventh avenue east, has sons represented in each of the armed services. Five stars are now displayed in the front window of her homefive stars which represent the five sons who volunteered their services to help bring this war to an end. The first to answer Uncle Sams call was Eugene, 22, who enlisted in the Navy in May, 1940. As a second-class signalman, he saw action in the Pacific area. Although the war department reported him missing in action in November, 1942. Mrs. Nowak knows that mistakes can be made and she has not given up hope that he will return. The Navy was also the choice of the second son to enlist. Seaman Second Class Francis Nowak, 25, joined up in May, 1942, and is in training at Michigan City, Ind., at the present time.

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Piloting a plane won the interest of Vincent, 23, who did not follow in the foot- steps of his brothers. Stationed quite close to home, hes been in air corps training at Sioux Falls, S.D., since his enlistment in October, 1942. Not to be outdone by his younger brothers, Leonard, the oldest of the boys, entered the army in December of the same year. Taking his basic training at Fort Ben- ning, Ga., he reached the rating of staff sergeant. Leonard has been fighting in the North African campaign.

And yesterday Mrs. Nowak said God Speed to a fifth son, Gerald, who at 19 has enlisted in the Navy and left for Farragut, Idaho. A small, alert woman with silver-streak- ed hair, Mrs. Nowak feels she has been blessed with eight sons. Gallantly, she has smiled as five of the eight have left Duluth to do their part in the war effort. Three younger brothers, Joseph, 15, John, 12, and Lawrence, 8, all wish they were of the age to get into the fight.

Wyllis Olson
Mr. Olson served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 20, 1942. He attended the Pre-Commis- sioning Training Center, Naval Training Station, in Norfolk, Virginia. Mr. Olson was assigned to the USS Susan B. Anthony, a transport ship, for fifteen months, and to the USS YMS-440, a minesweeper, for ten months. He was discharged on November 17, 1945. His rank was Motor Machinists Mate 2nd Class. Mr. Olson was decorated with the American Theater Campaign Medal; two Battle Stars; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. Mr. Olson was born in 1923, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Olson, in Proctor, Minnesota. He graduated from high school in 1941.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; article from Duluth News-Tribune (below)

Mates Proud of Duluthian Who Bagged Dive Bomber, Duluth News-Tribune (WWII era, undated)

With keen eye and steady hand, Duluthian Emery Olson, seaman 1-c, shot down a Jap dive-bomber recently while his ship was

shelling enemy positions in the south Pacific. The sailors shipmates, proud of their comrades feat, wrote The Duluth News- Tribune and Herald asking that he be given some sort of recognition, not only for knocking down the bomber, but also for the calm, relentless, and purposeful manner in which he has carried on since receiving news of his brother, Raymonds, death. His soldier brother, a sergeant, died of wounds in France. This tragedy has given Seaman Emery just one more purpose for fighting this war, say his comrades. Seaman Olson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Olson, 15 North Sixty-fourth avenue west, served all through the New Guinea campaign and has been overseas almost two years. His brother, Royal, served six months in the army and was given a medical discharge. Another brother, Willis, motor machinists mate 3-c, is attending pre-commission school, Norfolk, Va. He has made seven trips overseas in two years of service and is now training on a mine- sweeper.

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Russell Charles Palmquist



He was sent to Shepherds Field, Texas, for basic training and subsequently to Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, for advanced training. He was in the Medical Corps. Mr. Palmquist was discharged on April 16, 1947. His rank was Corporal. Mr. Palmquist was born in 1927, the son of Victor and Mary Palmquist. He graduated from Chisholm (Minnesota) High School in 1945.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans family members account (below)

Mr. Palmquist served in World War II. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on October 31, 1945, at Fort Snelling, Minne- sota, and assigned to the Army Air Forces.

Upon graduation Russell was drafted into the Air Force and sent to Fort Snelling. Then he was sent to Shepherds Field in Texas for basic training. After that, Russell went to Mitchell Field on Long Island, NY. He was in the Medical Corps until his discharge from service.

Sulo E. Panula
Mr. Panula served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on July 1, 1943. He did his basic training at Fort Ord, California, and then was assigned to the Pacific Theater. Mr. Panula traveled to the New Guinea/ Borneo area and was one of a four-man crew that served aboard an LCM landing boat, providing supplies and equipment island-to-island. He was assigned to Com- pany B of the Special Engineer Brigade, which supported the 9th Infantry Division. Mr. Panula was discharged on December 10, 1945. His rank was T-5. Mr. Panula was born in 1919 in Oulu, Wisconsin. He is the son of Jacob and Agna Panula. He was decorated with the Good Conduct Medal, the Bronze Arrowhead, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Induction physical in Milwaukee (July 1943). Troop train to Fort Ord, California, for training. Leave for holidays late 1943. Troop ship under the Golden Gate Bridge en route to New Guinea. Served as one of the four-man crew aboard a LCM landing boat; provided supplies and equipment island-to- island in New Guinea/Borneo conflict area. Returned to the U.S. under the Golden Gate Bridge late 1945 for discharge. Sulo Panula, married with one child (Sandra--just over two years old) was drafted out of Bayfield County, Wisconsin,

July 1943. Following basic training at Ft. Ord, California, which included a very brief seaman training, he returned home on leave just prior to his deployment to the war against Japan in the fall of 1943.

He was assigned to Company B of the Special Engineer Brigade, which was tasked to support the 9th Infantry Division. The 9th, along with the 7th ID, were among the Allied forces commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific area. Sulo served as one of the four crew members of a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM), one of many LCMs which made up Company B. This particular company had the distinction of becoming a part of the task force assigned to support the Austra- lian Forces in the Borneo Campaign of 1945. The Borneo Campaign was one of the most complex operations involving Austra- lian land, air, and sea forces in the war. Borneo had been invaded and taken over by the Japanese in 1942. General MacArthur selected Borneo partly on the basis that bases on the island could be used to support an invasion of Java.

The recapture of Java from the Japanese would formally restore control of the Netherlands East Indies to the Dutch. It was hoped the Allies would also be able to capture the many oilfields in Borneo. Three distinct operations were con- ducted. The first was on the island of Tarakan off northeast Borneo. It was to be captured and airfields established there. The operation was code-named OBOE 1. One of the primary objectives of landing on Tarakan island was the construction of airfields to cover subsequent operations. However, airfield construction proved a much more difficult task than had been an- ticipated. The existing airfields were badly damaged and the excessively boggy ground in the area selected for new airfields im- peded construction. The LCMs were used in multiple ways, for example, to transport equipment and supplies from ship to shore and to push steel ramps as far onto the shore as possible in order to provide a solid foun- dation (over the soft muddy shoreline) for the movement of vehicles brought to shore by the Landing Ship Tank (LST). Sulo remained deployed until after the end of the war (August 15, 1945). He was released from active duty on December 10, 1945, and returned home to Iron River, Wis- consin. Thats when he saw, for the first time, his 16-month-old son, David. Sulo and wife Jean will celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary on June 29, 2012. They birthed six children: Sandra, David, Michael, Timothy, Lawrence and Susan. Michael and Susan both died in 2009. Sulo and Jean are members of Bayside Baptist Church in Superior, Wisconsin. May 15, 2012, Sulo will be honored with the opportunity to board the Northland Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to view the World War II Memorial, along with 85 other veterans of that war. Son David is honoring his dad by going along as a guardian on that trip.

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Marvin Adrian Peterson


graduated from Proctor High School in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall Veteran History Form; veterans account (below)

Marvin Peterson served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 26, 1943, and he entered into active service on July 11, 1943, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He went to Camp Roberts, California, on July 11, 1943, for basic training for seventeen weeks. He was assigned to Battery A, 147th Field Artillery Battalion. Mr. Peterson served in battles and campaigns in New Guinea, Luzon, and the southern Philippines. He was separated on January 9, 1946, at Camp McCoy, Wiscon- sin. His rank was Staff Sergeant. He was a Supply Sergeant. Mr. Peterson was decorated with the Purple Heart, the Philippine Liberation Medal with one Bronze Star, the Bronze Arrowhead, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ser- vice Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Mr. Peterson was born in 1924 in Solway Township, St. Louis County, Minnesota, the son of Verner A. and Ruth J. Peterson. He

Went to Fort Ord, California, for one month, then to Camp McDowell, California, and departed for overseas service. Sailed on the Monticello (a converted Italian cruise ship) out of Angel Island, San Francisco Bay. There were approximately 5,000 men on the ship, and it sailed for eighteen days before Christmas 1943, destination Milne Bay in New Guinea. From Milne Bay went to Finchaven, New Guinea, for a short period in preparation for landing at Wakde Sarmi on the north side of New Guinea. The landing on the beach at Wakde Sarmi of equipment and men was accom- plished with LSTs [landing ship, tanks]. The campaign lasted a couple of months, rest camp included. From Wakde Sarmi, the 147th Field Artillery, after being relieved by the 6th Army, continued on to the Noemfoor Operation. This operation lasted from July until December 1944. Then they left for Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, the Philippines. Here in January 17-23, the 147th was engaged in many skirmishes with Japanese infiltrators and suffered heavy losses. Mr. Peterson was injured on January 19. He recovered in Hollandia for about two weeks. From January to July 1945, he spent time in several replacement camps and then made it back to the 147th in Legaspi. The 147th was planning to land in Japan when the war ended. They did occupation duty in Japan from October until the end of December 1945. They then traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington, and then made their way to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. They ar- rived on January 9, 1946, for separation.

Andrew Punjak

Andrew Punjak served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was assigned to Marine Transport Squadron 352 (VMR 352). He began his service on December 14, 1945, and was discharged on December 13, 1948. His rank was Sergeant. Mr. Punjak was born in 1928 in Minnea- polis, Minnesota, the son of John and Anna Punjak.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Patch of Marine Transport Squadron 352

No story. Just glad I got home.

Carl Arthur Renoos


Mr. Renoos served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army from May 9, 1945, until October 8, 1946. He was assign- ed to the 544th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, but two weeks later, after the regiment was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, they were ordered home. Mr. Renoos was transferred to the 168th Combat Engineers, and his units assign- ment was to destroy munitions. Two of the men in Mr. Renoos unit died in one of the munitions burnings. Mr. Renoos was as- signed to the 130th Infantry Regiment, 33rd Infantry Division, and two months later was transferred to the 800th MP Battalion, Kyoto, Japan. He was selected to serve on the honor guard that welcomed General Eisenhower. Mr. Renoos was born in 1927 in Superior, Wisconsin, the son of Even and Ingeborg Renoos. He graduated from high school in 1945. Mr. Renoos was decorated with the Good Conduct Medal.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Trained in the horse cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas. Went to Japan in September 1945. Joined the 544 EBSR. Two weeks later, they were presented a Presidential Unit Citation and ordered home. I went to the 168th Combat Engineers. Our job was destroying munitions on an airfield. The flames would go hundreds of feet in the air. During the fourth burning, there was an accident, and two nineteen- year-olds died. I was [transferred] to 130th Infantry, 33rd Division. Two months later, I joined the 800 MP Battalion in Kyoto, Japan. I became one of twenty-one MPs who was on honor guard for General Eisenhower when he visited in 1946. He spoke to each one of us.

James Ritter
Mr. Ritter served in World War II and the Korean War. He served in the U.S. Army. Mr. Ritter signed up for the Army Air Forces during his senior year of high school. When he graduated from high school in 1945, the Air Forces contacted him: they had filled their quota. He could either stay with the Army Reserve or be discharged and then be drafted. He chose the Army and trained to be in a tank destroyer company at Camp Hood, Texas. He was assigned to Germany in December 1945 and assigned to the 3507th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company. When Mr. Ritter was discharged, he joined the Reserves. His unit was activated during the Korean War to train a National Guard Battalion. When his unit was deacti- vated, he stayed with the Reserves. His rank was Sergeant. Mr. Ritter had nine years active and reserve duty. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

I joined the Army Air Force Reserves in September 1944. When I finished high school in the spring of 1945, they called and said Air Force had filled their quota and I could either get into Army Reserve or get out and be drafted. I chose the Army and went to Camp Hood, Texas, to train in a tank destroyer company. In June of 1945 after training, the war in Europe was over. That December, I was sent to Germany to find the tank destroyer unit had been closed out, and I was assigned as a sergeant in the 3507th Ordnance Motor Pool. At the time of my discharge, I thought we might have trouble with the Russians, so I rejoined the Reserves for three more years. I was called back to active service during the Korea conflict as cadre to train National Guard Battalion. When that was finished, I went back to the Reserves. I had nine years active and reserve time.

Albert H. Rock
Mr. Rock served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. He served in the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II. During the Korean War, he served in Korea. He also was stationed in several states. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army from May 19, 1941, until January 1, 1946. He was assigned to the 7th Chemical Depot Company, Edgewood, Maryland; the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Colorado; the Schenec- tady Depot, New York; Fort McClellan, Alabama; and the Memphis Depot, Mis- sissippi. Mr. Rocks rank was Lieutenant Colonel. He was the Commanding Officer of the 7th Chemical Depot Company. Mr. Rock was decorated with two Bronze Star Medals, an Army Commendation Me- dal, and nine other service medals. He was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1918 to Albert H. and Margaret E. Rock.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

The 7th Chemical arrived in England in December 1942 to establish and maintain the largest chemical warfare storage area in the European Theater. Mustard, lewisite, phosgene gasses were stored in one-ton containers, 500-lb. bombs and artillery shells, as well as white phosphorous, shells and grenades, flame thrower fuel, just to name a few.

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The company landed in France, July 1944, and participated in the five major campaigns, ending in Germany. The com-

pany received the Unit Meritorious Service Plaque from the Theater Commander. I was CO of the 7th.

Carl Edward Ruhanen


Carl Ruhanen served in World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters. He served in the U.S. Army from June 4, 1944, until May 11, 1946. He was assigned to the 400th Engineer Maintenance Com- pany, 5th Army. His rank was Technician 3rd Class. Mr. Ruhanen was born in 1926, the son of Gust and Elinna Ruhanen. He graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Bill Schleppegrell

His rank was 2nd Lieutenant. He was the pilot of a P-47 Thunderbolt. Mr. Schleppegrell was decorated with the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the POW Medal. Mr. Schleppegrell was born in 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the son of Victor and Marie Schlappegrell. He gradu- ated from Littlefork High School in 1940.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Mr. Schleppegrell served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on December 7, 1942. He was assigned to the 371st Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, based in England and France. Mr. Schleppegrell flew in seventeen missions before he was shot down while dive-bombing near Saarbrck- en, Germany. He was a POW in Stalag I, Barth, Germany, until the end of the war in Europe. He was discharged from the Army in December 1945.

Enlisted on December 7, 1942; out in Dec- ember 1945. Flight Training at Michigan State; San Antonio; Oklahoma City; Enid, Oklahoma; Victoria, Texas (wings); Rich- mond; Bradley Field, CT; Shrewsbury, England. Combat Bases: Dijon, Dole, Nancy in France. Flew P-47 Thunderbolt. Shot down by anti-aircraft fire on 17th mission while dive-bombing near Saar- brcken, Germany. POW at Stalag I, Barth, Germany till end of war in May.

Elizabeth C. Pelzer Schmidt


Mrs. Schmidt (then Ms. Pelzer) served in World War II in the European Theater. She served in the U.S. Army from Oct- ober 5, 1944, until January 24, 1946. She trained as a nursing student in the Cadet Nurse Corps. After graduating, she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. Mrs. Schmidt was assigned to Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado. She was then transferred and sent overseas.

36

Mrs. Schmidt served at the 137th Evacuation Hospital and the 85th Evacuation Hospital, both of which were in the European Theater of Operations.

Mrs. Schmidt was born in 1922 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the daughter of John F. and Kathryn A. Pelzer. She graduated from high school in 1940.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)


nd

Mrs. Schmidts rank was 2 Lieutenant. She was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal.

In 1943, they started the Cadet Nurse Corps. I joined as a nursing student. They paid for our books, tuition, and a small sti- pend. It was understood that we would en- list in the Army Nurse Crops after gradua- tion. I did join. I enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant (October 1944). Following basic training, I was assigned to Fitzsimons General Hospi- tal, in Denver, Colorado. I was sent to the European Theater of Operations in March of 1945 with the 137th Evacuation Hospital. Later, I was transferred to the 85th Evacua- tion Hospital. I was separated from service on January 24, 1946. It was a great experience. Im glad I did it.

William Rollin Schnuckle


Garner Field, Uvalde, Texas; basic flight training at Eagle Pass Army Air Field, Texas, and advanced flight training at Enid Army Air Field, Oklahoma. He was commissioned an officer shortly after the war in Europe ended. Mr. Schnuckle was discharged in about December 1945. His rank was 2nd Lieutenant. Mr. Schnuckle was decorated with the Sharpshooter Badge and the Good Conduct Medal. He was born in 1925 in Duluth, Minne- sota. He is the son of Rollin Phillip and Mable Leona Schnuckle. He graduated from Duluth Denfeld High School in 1943.

Mr. Schnuckle served in World War II. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces Cadet Program on April 19, 1943. He did infantry training at Camp Roberts, California, for seventeen weeks and was then sent to San Antonio, Texas, for pilot training. After attending college courses at Texas A&M, he had his preflight training at

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below); original entry on VMH website (below)

Enlisted April 19, 1943, Air Force Cadet Program. Shipped from Fort Snelling to

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Camp Roberts, California, for seventeen weeks of infantry training. Finally sent back to Texas for pilot training program, San Antonio, Texas. To college training at Texas A&M. Primary flight training at Uvalde, Texas. Basic training at Eagle Pass, Texas (AT-6 aircraft). Advanced school at Enid, Oklahoma (B-25 medium bomber). Com- missioned 2nd Lt. June 1945. Atomic bomb dropped. Held everything up and got discharged about December

1945. Total service about two years, eight months--no combat.


Original entry on VMH website

William Rollin Schnuckle entered the Army Air Corps on April 19, 1943. He attended Air Cadet training and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant. He served as a pilot and flight instructor of B-25 Mitchell bombers in the U.S. He was discharged in Nov. of 1945.

James Semmelroth
Mr. Semmelroth served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy on the tanker Y0-171, which Mr. Semmelroth referred to as a floating gas station. He was mainly stationed at Ulithi but was also at Guam and Saipan. His rank was Electrician 3rd Class.
Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

took another two weeks to get my mother to sign for me. After boot camp and school, I was in a shipload of replacements headed for the South Pacific, where I was assigned to a small tanker. Mostly we carried diesel fuel and refueled landing craft and smaller ships. By May of 1946, we were stationed off Iwo Jima. Thats where I left the ship, came home, and was discharged.

Shortly after seventeenth birthday, in Nov- ember of 1944, I enlisted in the Navy. It

Richard Seseman
Richard Seseman served in World War II and in the Korean War. He served in the U.S. Navy two times: from March 2, 1944, until August 2, 1946, and again from May 20, 1951, until August 2, 1953. During World War II, Mr. Seseman was assigned to the USS Alcor (AD-34), a destroyer tender that initially served in the

Atlantic Ocean and then was reassigned to the Pacific Theater. Mr. Sesemans rank was Machinists Mate 3rd Class. Mr. Seseman was born in 1927, the son of Earl and Mary Seseman.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Peter G. Sovil
Mr. Sovil served in World War II in the Pacific. Mr. Sovil enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 13, 1943. He was sent to Farragut Naval Station, Idaho, for boot camp for six weeks. He was sent to the Naval Construc- tion Training Center (NCTC), Camp Peary, Virginia, for construction training.

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He was assigned to the 25th Special SeaBees Battalion. His unit was sent by train to Port Hueneme, California, for combat training. In February 1944, they went north to San Francisco and boarded the USS Monticello, bound for New Guinea. The ship held a total of 11,000 service members from each of three branches: Army, Navy, and Marines. In his time in the Navy, Mr. Sovil served on Construction Battalion Detachment #1101, the 25th Naval Construction Battal- ion, and the 35th Naval Construction Battalion. He returned to the United States on the USS Sanborn (APA-193). He was discharged on May 24, 1946. Mr. Sovils rank was Storekeeper 3rd Class. He was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Pacific Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal, Asiatic-Pacific campaign Medal, and the Philippine Libera- tion Medal. Mr. Sovil was born in Calumet, Minne- sota, in 1926 to Dan and Antonia Sovil.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

In 1943, I turned seventeen, and I could hardly wait to get to the recruiting office in Hibbing. So along with two friends, Bill Guzzy Weber and Lawrence Jessy Tanner, we all went together. We were told to go to St. Paul and Fort Snelling for our physical. I, along with my buddies, went home and packed. But waitmy being only seven- teenmy dad was required to sign papers that would allow me to join. You had to be eighteen to be considered an adult. I followed and begged my dad to sign. Well, I won, and he signed; poor guy was crying while signing. I was sent to Idaho and Farragut, which was a Navy boot training camp, in October 1943. After about six weeks of boot camp training, we were allowed to go home on leave. Boy, did I think I was hot stuff. Little did I know what was ahead!

After my leave, I was told to report to Camp Peary, Virginia, for construction train- ing. While at Camp Peary I was put into the 25th Special SeaBees Battalion. After a few weeks of training, we boarded a troop train headed cross-country to Port Hueneme, California, to get what was called advanced combat training. Around the later part of February we again boarded a troop train and went north to San Francisco. There, we boarded a confiscated Italian liner, which had been converted to a troop ship. It was named the USS Monticello. When this ship left port, there were 11,000 troops aboard: Marines, Army and Navy SeaBees. The ship had been refitted into many 500-person compartments. There was a Marine guard stationed at the one and only door. His job was to keep order, and if enemy subs or ships were spotted, he was to close the door and seal it shut. It stayed this way until the alert was over. We were down on F deck and razzed about being torpedo section. The ship had to travel a zigzag course, which required a change in direction every seven minutes. Id ordinarily not mention this, because there were at least 10,999 other souls on board, but we in F deck had to suffer much more than those in decks above us. There was a lightweight pipe coming from above that went through each deck above us. The troops above us would punch holes in the pipes to get more air coming through, so by the time it got to F deck there wasnt much air left. After about seventeen miserable days, we pulled into a port on the island of New Caledonia, where troops either got on or got off. We still had no idea where we were going. Five days later, we sailed into what we were later told was Milne Bay, the southernmost part of New Guinea. Since there were no docking facilities for a ship as large as the Monticello, a rope cargo net was put over the side of the ship so that all of our gear and us could go down the side

39

of the ship. Everything went down this way, including our personal stuff (mattress, blan- kets), then our rifle and pack. There were no second trips. The landing craft at the bottom of the cargo net was going up and down in what, I guess, were 8-foot swells. But it could be that I was so concerned about myself I didnt see what was going on around me. We didnt know if we would face any hostilities, but soon learned that the Army had driven the enemy out months earlier. Our job here was to make sure supplies got to the troops in the fight up north. We loaded and unloaded ships, built and main- tained the muddy roads. We lived in six-man tents with only a floor and canvas roof (no sides) during the rainy season, which seemed to be all year. The canvas on the tent became water- logged and would leak like a sieve. We would need to dump our cots over to get rid of the water and go to sleep under wet ponchos. The only thing that kept us from feeling sorry for ourselves was we knew the Marines and Army had it many times worse up north. Here are a couple of stories Id like to share with you: I and maybe four others boarded a boat headed for a ship that was aground and abandoned by her crew. There were medical and other supplies aboard that needed to be taken off to deeper water and sunk. When we got to the ship there was a large barge tied to her. We got off our boat and onto the barge. There was what they called a Jacobs ladderrope ladderover the side of the ship. Our crew chief, Gilroy, was a short husky 32-year-old coal miner from Pennsylvania. He discussed the mis- sion with us, and since the swells were 8 to 10 feet high, we were told to go up one at a time and to wait until the barge was at its highest point before reaching for the ladder. He was to go first. He did as he told us to do, but for some reason couldnt hold on to the ladder and fell into the water as

the barge was going down in the valley of the swell. We all ran to where he had fallen in but no sign of him. As the next swell was lifting the barge and the water was rising between the ship and the barge, up popped Gilroy, his corncob pipe still in his mouth. Two of our crew pulled him out by his raised arms just in time before the barge closed the gap and banged up against the ship. His next words were, Lets get the hell out of here! I dont know what ever hap- pened to this ship or cargo. Another experience worth mentioning was a trip across the bay to what was called Gili Gili. We were to go to an abandoned Army engineering camp, load, and bring back a load of lumber on the barge we were on. If I remember correctly, we loaded up a good load of lumber and had some extra time, so Wally OHara and I decided to explore. We were walking around the abandoned Army camp. Nothing was left except a large Quonset hut. The door wasnt locked, and when we opened the door we were surprised to see a warehouse full of Army clothing. We were about to leave when a door in the back opened and out came three Oriental-looking individuals. This is the time you dont know if you should run, poop, or go blind. Before I had a chance to make a decision, these guys were bowing to us. They got us bags and indicated we should help ourselves, which we did. I ran into a man that was in the unit that was stationed at Gili Gili. They killed sev- enty-five Japanese and captured three. The three prisoners eventually had the run of the camp. When this unit left, they didnt know what to do with them, so they left them theredont know if this last part is true, but makes for a good story. Maybe Wally and I should go back to see if they are still there? There is a little more to tell about this trip. On crossing the bays back to Gama Dodo, we ran into one of the storms that

40

come up late in the afternoon. You get hurricane winds that may last for only fifteen minutes then clear up. Well, on our return trip, we ran into one of the squalls. Must have been water in the fuel, but one engine on the barge quit, and the pilot couldnt get it going. The wind and waves were washing and blowing some of the lumber overboard, and there was nowhere to go to be safe. The lumber in the water was attracting the sharks; you could see their dorsal fins skimming the water. In another five minutes, the sun was out and the sky clear. We left New Guinea, I believe, in late 1944 or early 45. Again we were not told where we were going, but the U.S. was preparing for the invasion of Japan. When we arrived in the Philippines, we joined a mass of ships as far as you could see. Hundreds, maybe a thousand, were prepar- ing for the invasion of Japan. But after the second atomic bomb was dropped, Japans unconditional surrender was accepted, and the war was over. Our mission changed somewhat, and we started to help the Filipinos rebuild their roads. We built screened market structures to keep flies off the produce and more. I slept in a crane on the deck of an APA all the way to the Philippines with a stop at Manus Island. After spending almost a year in the jungle of New Guinea, we thought we were in heaven when we got to our new camp in Ologapalwhich was actually a filthy, cor- rupt, and dangerous place. While there, we built barracks and unloaded ships. We also built barracks for ourselves. Sure was nice sleeping inside and not getting wet. There was still a war going on in the mountains, but it wasnt with the Japanese who had been driven out, but with the Huks, a Muslim group looking for power. One interesting part of my stay was talking to Marcos, who would become the future president of the Philippines. He was a captain in the Philippine guerrilla army at

the time and was under the protection of the U.S. military, since he had enemies out to assassinate him. He lived in the middle of our camp. Wally and I decided wed catch a ride through the Zigzag Pass, as it was called, and go to Manila. We never made it all the way there, and since it was getting late, we caught a ride with a couple of Army soldiers driving a weapons carrier. At the time all bridges were guarded by a soldier and a Filipino. When we stopped at a bridge, the soldier checked us out and gave us the OK to continue. We moved no more than 10 feet when the Filipino jumped in front of us with his rifle pointed at us. He said it was stolen. They marched us through some tall elephant grass to an outpost. Wally and I were panicked. We didnt know what was going to happen to us and pleaded with the soldier to let us go because we were just trying to get back to our camp. A sergeant came up to us and told [us] that he would turn his back to us and that we had better run for the road and dont look back. We ran as fast as we could to the road. We managed to catch a truck. We crawled up into the box and the next 20-25 miles almost killed us because this truck didnt have springs. My guts felt like they were about to drop out. This was an adventure I wouldnt repeat. My older brother Emil joined the Navy in 1938. I hadnt seen him in at least five years when I may have been thirteen. While in the barracks someone shouted, Pete! Someone to see you. I walked by a man I didnt recognize, and he said, Where are you going? Im your brother Emil. I got weak with excitement. He told me that he had to leave his Navy uniform behind because Navy personnel were not allowed to go inland after a certain point. I dont know how, but he made it by putting on Army clothes. Our visit had to be cut short because his destroyer was in port only to refuel and would be leaving in late after- noon. As he got back to Manila, his ship was

41

leaving. He managed to get a sailor to take him to catch the ship. He was a chief petty officer, so I supposed he pulled rank on him. Emil was in seven naval battles and was close to losing his chief rank when he got back on board. I got my 3rd class petty officers rate. Since the 25th Special Battalion was dissolv- ed, it no longer existed. I was put in charge of part of the supply yard. The remnants of the 25th were going back to the states for discharge. That is, all but me. Since I had a storekeeper rate, I was required to stay to inventory and distribute materials. Wally told me some years later about seeing me at the end of the dock as the ship was sailing off. He said it was a sad site. He was right: you get attached to your buddies when you share a tent for a couple of years. Sometime around January 1946, I was sent home on leave. I had lost a lot of weight. My mother was shocked to see me all yellow from the tablets Id been taking for a couple of years to ward [off] malaria. I was told to report to Seattle. When I got there, they put me on a hospital ship. I believe I spent a couple of weeks on it. I could eat any time I wanted to and as much as I wanted. I gained at least 20 lbs. in three weeks. I was released and told to report to the USS Sanborn (APA-193). I was put into the supply div. My first assignment was to type up the menus for the week. It didnt take long for me to fill the wastebasket since Id never typed before. When the officer in charge of the supply depot came in, he saw that I couldnt

type. He said I couldnt work in the office, so he put me in charge of general stores. As far as Im concerned, it was the best duty on the ship. I was nineteen years old at this time, around February 1946. We were to take troops to Adak, Alaska, so I and the chief warrant officer went to the warehouse to buy food for the trip. This poor officer had a drinking problem, so he handed me his grocery list. He went off to quench his thirst. On the list were some- thing like 500 lbs. of flour, powdered milk, 200 dozen eggs. I dont really know the amounts, but to let you know that I was a nineteen-year-old who had this much authority. On our return trip, we docked at San Francisco on Mare Island. We were to put USS Sanborn into retirement (mothball it). I was to take inventory. It was May some- time. I was really homesick, so I lied a bit and told the executive officer that my dad had a large farm in northern Minnesota and needed my help. It worked. I got my orders for discharge. I arrived at Fort Snelling, and who should I see but my old school teacher, Pete Zanna. He said he would interview me. He was a chief petty officer. He asked me what I wanted to do. I said I didnt know. He told me flat out that school probably wasnt for me, since I wasnt a very good student. He suggested I take the government offer of homestead land and $40,000 and take up farming. It went in one ear and out the other. So ends my time with the SeaBees.

Harold I. Stevens
Harold Stevens served in World War II, in the Korean War, and during the Vietnam War. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater. He enlisted in March 1945 and was assigned to the 38th Construction Brigade (SeaBees). Mr. Stevens was discharged from the Navy on December 2, 1946. During both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Mr. Stevens served in the U.S. Army. He served in the 25th Infantry Division from November 11, 1947, until December 1,

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1966. His rank in the Army was Sergeant 1st Class. Mr. Stevens was born in 1928 in Kelsey, Minnesota.

He is the son of William J. and Lottie May Stevens.


Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Frank James Swanberg


Mr. Swanberg served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942. Mr. Swanberg trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Illinois. When he was serv- ing aboard the USS Arlington, he developed scarlet fever and was transferred to the USS Bountiful hospital ship. After he recovered, he was reassigned to duty aboard the Bountiful. After the war, Mr. Swanberg was present at the Bikini Island atomic bomb testing. He was discharged in 1946. Mr. Swanberg was a Coxswain. He was also assigned to duty as an Armed Guard. Mr. Swanberg was born in 1924 in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. He is the son of Otto and Esther Swanberg.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans familys account (below)

He was aboard the USS Bountiful hospital ship. Was at the Bikini Island atom bomb tests. He was on the USS Arlington when he got scarlet fever and was transferred to the Bountiful. When was well, he became part of the ships company.

Eugene Carroll Taplin


Japan from August 1945 until November 1946. Mr. Taplin joined the U.S. Army in Nov- ember 1944. He was sent to Camp Fannin, Texas, for basic training. While there, he fractured his foot. Consequently, instead of being sent to Europe as originally planned, he was reassigned to a unit that was bound for service in the Pacific after his foot recov- ered. He was assigned to the 12th Calvary, C Troop. Among other assignments, Mr. Taplin was in charge of Athletics and Recreation in Tokyo, Occupied Japan. He was discharged in November 1946. His rank was Corporal. Mr. Taplin was born in Fairmont, Minne- sota. He is the son of George and Martha Taplin.

Mr. Taplin served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He was assigned to the Philippine Islands during the war. He served in Occupied

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

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I was sixteen years old when Japan bomb- ed Pearl Harbor in 1941. My family knew I would have to go into the service when I turned eighteen. I was the last of nine child- ren, all the rest married with families of their own. I lived on a small farm with my elderly parents, and Dad wanted me to be there to take care of them. Dad and another large farm owner next door got me a deferment so that I could help on the local farms during the spring, summer, and fall months. In winter, I helped with a state program that sieved rough fish from the lakes. When my father died on September 1, 1944, I didnt put in for another deferment and was drafted in November 1944. I trained in Camp Fannin, Texas. I was heading for Europe at the time of the Battle of the Bulge. In training, I got a fracture in my foot, and when I got out of the hospital, I was put in a different troop that was training to go to Manila in the Philippines. Fighting was still going on in the islands north of where we were, so we were sent south and started training to invade Japan. We were all trained and ready when the atomic bombs were dropped and the war was over. Our outfit, the 12th Calvary, was at the harbor when the armistice was signed, and we were the first troops in Tokyo. Japan was so badly bombed that there was nothing for us to do except clean up. We cleaned up a great area and were ready to settle down there, but they gave that spot to the Air Force and moved us to another place. The authorities wanted some enter- tainment for the troops and asked for GIs who knew how to box. I had been in the Golden Gloves, so I volunteered. We didnt have to do any other work since we entertained the troops. I got a cracked rib and ended up in the hospital. The doctor said that I should not box for a while, so I was put in charge of the sports equipment. The man who was in charge there was

transferred to another place, and I was then put in charge of Athletics and Recreation. A 2nd Lieutenant was in charge of me, but he was really enjoying Japan, and I seldom saw him. I did all of the work, with many Japanese workers helping me. I had a very good interpreter and a book of instructions on sports. [The complex] included: a race track; baseball diamond; pole vault, high jump, and broad jump pits; volleyball court; swimming pool; and basketball [court]. The Red Cross shared my gymnasium to start with, until my Japanese workers built a building for them on the same grounds. After everything was built and operating nicely, the Red Cross ladies spoke to my captain. They told him that Taplin did the work, but he [Mr. Taplins superior] got all the promotions. So I, a private, was sent to get a promotion to corporal. I was told that so many non-commissioned officers were sent to our outfit when their troops went home on points that they couldnt give me what I had earned, and that was staff sergeant. They said that if I would stay in for six more months, I would be upgraded, but I didnt. I went home in November 1946. Our outfit was due to invade Japan first, and we were sure it would be a very hard battle. Most of us felt that we wouldnt live through it. I was concerned for my safety and felt if the Lord allowed me to live and get back to the USA, I would make a Christian home and do what I could for the Lord. I didnt have a high school education, so when I got back to Minnesota, I took corres- pondent work and finally got my high school diploma at the age of twenty-nine. I graduated from Bible College in 1953 and went to more years of schooling to get my BTh degree. I preached for forty-five years and also drove a school bus for thirty-eight years, until I was eighty-seven years old. I am eighty-seven now and still preach when needed. I was married for fifty-seven years to a great wife who died four-and-a-

44

half years ago. We had three children; one son is a teacher, one son is a preacher, and our daughter is a dentist. I have ten grand-

children, and nine of them have been home schooled. The Lord has been good to me!

George Edison Taylor


radio repair. There he spent half of his time in class and half in combat readiness train- ing. He expected that he would be assigned to the European Theater. Instead, he was assigned to Composite Group 509, a classified Army Air Forces unit established in December 1944 that was tasked with developing a way to deliver an atomic weapon by airplane against targets in Germany and Japan. They used mostly modified B-29s, and they trained at Wend- over Army Air Field in Utah and elsewhere in the southwest. Unbeknownst to Mr. Taylor, FBI agents had interviewed family and friends in Duluth to determine whether he was a security risk. Within Composite Group 509, Mr. Taylor was assigned to the 1027th Matriel Squad- ron. The squadron already had radio repair support personnel, so he primarily took care of inventory, tracking incoming and outgoing matriel. Composite Group 509 was sent to Tinian and Saipan in the Mariana Islands. Although his aviation radio repair work was limited, Mr. Taylor did work aboard the Enola Gay. His unit flew several combat missions with airplanes armed with conventional bombs that were consistent with the size speci- fications of atomic bombs as well as rehearsal drops of inert replicas of atomic bombs. His group dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan, one on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and one on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Mr. Taylors rank was Corporal. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1922, the son of Arthur John and Violet (Montgomery) Taylor.

Mr. Taylor served in World War II. He joined the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943 and served until 1945. The first time he received a draft notice, he received a deferment: His father was disabled follow- ing a naphtha gas explosion at the dry cleaning shop that the family owned. In the meantime, Mr. Taylor was hired by the National Youth Administration, a New Deal program that was originally part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It focused on educating and hiring Americans between the ages of sixteen and twenty- five. In that capacity, he helped construct the tennis court at Duluth State Teachers College Old Main campus, now the Univer- sity of Minnesota Duluth. After receiving a second draft notice, Mr. Taylor was sent to Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi, for basic training in the Army Air Forces. He was assigned to the Eastern Signal Corps Training Center in Fort Mon- mouth, New Jersey, for training in aviation

Source: Interview with staff of Veterans Memorial Hall; veterans account (below)

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People have sometimes said, 'Dont you feel bad about being involved in dropping the bomb on Japan? Mr. Taylor noted that this has been hard to hear. Ive always answered that my primary concern, my job, was taking care of Ameri- can lives. But on the Honor Flight in May 2012, he spoke with another veteran, one who had served in Europe. He had a different take on Mr. Taylors impact on the war. Mr. Taylor recounts, On the Honor Flight, I was speaking with a veteran who

was sitting behind me. He had been in the Battle of the Bulge and in another major offensive in Europe. When the war in Europe ended, his unit was going to be sent to the Pacific to fight against the Japanese. I told him that my unit had been involved in the bombing of Japan. Mr. Taylor continued, This veteran told me, I dont know if I could have taken being in major combat a third time. So when we heard that you guys had bombed Japan--I felt like you saved my life.

Edward D. Thornton
Mr. Thornton served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He served in the U.S. Navy beginning on September 10, 1943. He went to boot camp at the Naval Training Station in Farragut, Idaho, and trained at the Communication School. Mr. Thornton was initially assigned to the Training Command Amphibious Forces, US Pacific Fleet (PhibTrainPac). Later, he was assigned to US Navy #3011; US Navy #145; Naval Communications (NavComnpers); US Navy #3256; USS Chukawan (AO-100); USS Briareus (AR-12), and the USS Mona Island (ARG-9). His rank was Signalman 3rd Class. Mr. Thornton was born in 1926 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the son of Edward L. and Ada (Nelson) Thornton.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Raymond F. Thorpe
Mr. Thorpe served in World War II in the European Theater. He joined the U.S. Army on June 25, 1945. Mr. Thorpe was assigned to the 51st Consta- bulary Squadron and served in Occupied Germany. He was discharged on February 12, 1947. His rank was Technician 5th grade. Mr. Thorpe received the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, Germany, and the Cold War Medal. Mr. Thorpe was born in Starkweather, North Dakota, in 1927, the son of Fritz and Betsy Thorpe. He graduated from Oklee (Minnesota) High School in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

James L. Timmerman
Mr. Timmerman served in the Vietnam War and during the Cold War. He assisted with the Iran hostage crisis and with the Korean ceasefire. Mr. Timmerman joined the U.S. Air Force on July 31, 1969. He was trained at Mather Air Force Base, California. He attended bombing-navigation-radar school. He was

46

assigned to 2BMW, a combat crew at Barks- dale Air Force Base, Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1971. In 1971, Mr. Timmerman was deployed to Vietnam, where he served for two years. He flew 138 combat missions from bases in U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand, and Guam. He returned to the United States and was assigned to K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mar- quette, Michigan. While there, he earned his masters degree. Mr. Timmerman was deployed to Guam, where he commanded missions in support of the Iranian hostage crisis. He also com- manded several missions in support of the Korean ceasefire when assigned to Ander- sen Air Force Base, Guam. He served in 379BW at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Oscoda, Michigan, where he was a Chair for the Major Plans Department for NATO Exercises and War Plans. Mr. Timmerman retired on July 31, 1989. His rank was Major. Mr. Timmerman was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, seven Air Medals, and sev- eral combat medals. Mr. Timmerman was born in 1947, the son of Leo and Angeline Timmerman. He graduated from high school in 1965.

B-52 nav-bomb school in California. As- signed to combat crew at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, in 1971.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Commissioned in 1969 through University of Wisconsin, Superior, ROTC. Attended

Deployed to Vietnam in 1971 and flew 138 combat missions from Thailand and Guam through 1973. Awarded Distin- guished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, seven Air Medals, and numerous other combat medals. Transferred to K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base and earned a masters degree in 1976. Deployed to Guam and commanded mis- sions in support of the Iranian hostage crisis. Assigned to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and commanded many missions in support of the Korean ceasefire. Moved to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, and was a Major Plans Depart- ment Chair for NATO Exercises and War Plans. Retired 1989.

Leonard Vanous
Mr. Vanous served in World War II in the South Pacific. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from December 30,1941, until Oct- ober 1945. Later, he joined the National Guard. He served in the 479th Service Squadron. They were transported to Brisbane, Austra- lia, then sent to Charters Towers. They traveled to northern Australia, where they built a B-24 base. Mr. Vanous drove a truck in the Motor Pool. His next assignment was Ward Airstrip in New Guinea. A year later, Mr. Vanous was part of a unit assigned to build an airstrip inland. In December 1944, he returned to the United

47

States and was assigned to the Ontario Army Airfield, California. Mr. Vanous highest rank was Sergeant. He was decorated with two Battle Stars. Mr. Vanous was born in Driscoll, North Dakota, in 1921, to Emil and Minnetta Vanous. He graduated from Steele High School in 1939.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

Sworn in 30th December, 1941, and sailed 1st or 2nd January 1942. At sea two weeks before anyone knew about 200 recruits

were on the ship. Twenty-six days on ship and landed in Brisbane, Australia. Spent a week there, then took a train to Charters Towers. After an interview, I was assigned to a motor pool driving truck. From there we went to northern tip of Australia and opened a base for B-24s. After six months went to New Guinea, Ward Airstrip. A year later, opened another base inland. Came back to states December 1944. Was assigned to Ontario (California) Airbase to finish service.

Frank Vegar
Mr. Vegar served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy from Sept- ember 27, 1944, until June 11, 1946. He was assigned to the USS Le Hardy (DE-20) and USS Rupertus (DD-851). Mr. Vegars rank was Fireman 1st Class. Mr. Vegar was born in 1926 in Duluth, Minnesota, to John and Katherine Vegar. He graduated from high school in 1944.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form

Theodore James Viskoe


erts, California, for eight weeks, preparing to be a replacement for troops in Europe. He was sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and boarded a ferry that took him to a Liberty ship with 4,000 other service mem- bers. They landed at Le Havre, France. Once there, they boarded 40-by-8 boxcars and traveled for five days, sleeping on the boxcar floors. They were transported to Bamberg, Germany, and later to Linz, Austria. In April 1946, he was attached to the 42nd Infantry Division, the Rainbow Division. Many service members of his division paint- ed rainbows on local houses and barns. Two months later, his unit went 20 miles northwest of Linz to Bad Schallerbach, Aus- tria, where Mr. Viskoe became part of the Constabulary Unit. He was a map reader. One evening at 8:00 pm, he was summoned and told to report to the colonel Right now! He was told to collect all of his

Mr. Viskoe served in World War II in the European Theater. He served in the U.S. Army in the infantry. He received training at Camp Rob-

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gear and take it with him. His colonel told him he was being assigned to the European Theater Intelligence School (ETIS), a classifi- ed facility. He was to be trained as a foreign liaison, learning Russian language and culture. Mr. Viskoe was directed to take a streetcar to Oberammergau, Germany (near Garmisch-Partenkirchen), where ETIS was located. For five months, he studied at ETIS, from July until October 1946. He graduated and received a diploma. He was then returned to his infantry unit at Bad Schallerbach. He went to Linz and then to Bremer- haven, Germany. There he boarded the USS General Taylor, which transported him back

to the United States. He was discharged at Camp Kilmer on June 22, 1947. His rank was T-5, and he initially special- ized in cartography. Later, he was trained in espionage relating to the Soviet Union. Mr. Viskoe was decorated with the Occu- pation Medal, Germany, and the World War II Victory Medal. Although he studied at ETIS, no mention of it is made in his discharge papers because it was classified. Mr. Viskoe was born in 1927 in Ino, Wis- consin, the son of Joseph and Mary Viskoe. He graduated from high school in 1945.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; interview with veteran

Curtis Wicklund
Curtis Wicklund served in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army in the European Theater. He was drafted when he turned eighteen and was sent to San Francisco. There he spent six months training for nocturnal ambulance driving and six months receiving medic and rescue instruction. Mr. Wicklund was sent to Normandy, France, where he was assigned to the 595th Medical Ambulance Company. He and another medic were assigned to an ambulance used to deliver injured American and German soldiers from the front line to one of five hospitals throughout Europe.

Source: Veterans account (below)

I quit high school at seventeen to work on the boats in the Lake Superior harbor to help support my mother, dad, and family. However, as soon as I turned eighteen that April, I was drafted to fight in World War II. Most of the high school teachers were drafted as well; the men were headed for Europe as long as they were under thirty- five years of age. I was sent to southern San Francisco and underwent six months of nocturnal ambu-

lance driving training, followed by six more months of medic and rescue instruction. Shortly, I was shipped to Normandy, France, where two of us manned an ambulance built to deliver injured American and Ger- man soldiers from the front lines to one of five hospitals throughout Europe. The Free French would stop our ambulance and demand the release of the German soldiers, who would be immedi- ately shot. Ten years of German occupation was finally being revenged. Some of my favorite memories were: climbing the first floor of the Eiffel Tower (the top was occupied by U.S. radio oper- ators), sending used parachutes back home for brides to make wedding dresses out of, and finally, while taking over a castle in Czechoslovakia, the bombing suddenly stopped, bullets ceased to flythats when the war ended. My unit, the 595th, had met for fifty-two years, the last reunion being in 2008. My buddies are gone; only three of us remain in Superior. Hopefully, Ill meet some of my comrades in Washington, D.C., at the vet- erans reunion in May.

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Deslove Zakula
Mr. Zakula served in World War II and the Korean War. During World War II, he served in the Merchant Marines, a wartime auxiliary of the U.S. Navy. He was in the Merchant Marines from 1943 until 1946. During the Korean War, Mr. Zakuka served in the U.S. Air Force, from 1950 until 1952. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1923. He is the son of George and Dorothy Zakula. He graduated from high school in 1942.

Source: Veterans Memorial Hall veteran history form; veterans account (below)

In service to our country in World War II and the Korean War, we had six men and one daughter in the service. These units are the 82nd Airborne, the 106th Infantry Div- ision, minesweepers, the U.S. Air Force, the WAVEs, and the Merchant Marines. All are deceased. I am the only surv- ivorone was killed in service. I would like to represent and honor my brothers and sister, who served their country with great distinction.

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Endnote
In addition to the veterans whose stories are presented in this volume, fifteen other veterans participated in the Honor Flight Northland flight in May 2012. They are: Donald Bolen William Caron Dale Crocker Paul Gableman William Godmare Kenneth Hage Toivo Hill Rudolph Intihar Roy Janssen Ernest Johnson Phyllis Kukar Kenneth Lovaas Kenneth Ohlund Robert Ralston Robert Swanson Although we do not have the background materials needed to include their stories, we honor their service to the nation and are grateful for their participation in Honor Flight Northland.

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