|As part of
constructing the South Dakota World War II Memorial, we
want to preserve the stories of South Dakotans during that
period. Please share with us a story of your experience
during that time.
Eric was a major in the U.S. Army.
Edmund served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.
Gale served in the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant from May 3, 1944
to July 9, 1946.
Lorne entered active duty on June 1, 1942 and was relieved from
active duty on December 20, 1945.
He served in the European/African Campaign and the Middle
Eastern Theaters of Operation.
He received the Purple Heart.
He achieved the rank of Captain with his service to
Company C. 376th Infantry, 94th Division.
Williard was with the 506th Bomb Group in Italy with the
U.S. Army Air Corps.
Kenneth was a 1st Lieutenant with the Army Air Corps.
He was a B-24 pilot and flew over 40 missions in the
Harold was a Coxswain in the U.S. Navy. He served on board the USS Bridge and USS Arctic.
Gerald was drafted and sent to Jefferson, Missouri for training.
He served in the Air force as a top tourit gunner on a
B-17. He served in
England until the end of World War II.
James served on the USS Ancor as a radio operator.
Lucille served in the Navy Waves from 1943 to 1946.
She was honorably discharged as a Chief Yeoman.
Harold served in the U.S. Navy as a second class gunner aboard the
Aircraft Carrier, the Bon Homme Pichard, with the Third Fleet.
Robert was drafted on June 17, 1943 and served until November,
1945. He served
with 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th
Infantry Division in Europe.
Basil enlisted in the Navy on September 1936 and was discharged In
Margaret served in the WAVES in the U.S. Navy.
was inducted into the army at Ft Snelling, MN on May 19 1945.
He was transferred to Jefferson Barracks in St Louis MO,
then onto Camp Walters, Mineral Wells, TX where he completed his
3 months basic training.
In August, 1945, he was transferred to Camp Hood, TX
where he completed his advanced sniper training.
In September, 1945, he was transferred to Ft Ord, CA for
duty to the Pacific. While
on maneuvers contracted blood poisoning and couldn’t go to the
Pacific but instead was sent to Camp Pickett, VA for duty to
sailed across the Atlantic in military transport and landed at
Lucky Strike Lehavv France.
In February, 1946, once landed in France, he was assigned
as a Military Police to transport general American GI prisoners
to a US Military Command Post in Wurzburg, Germany.
In May-June 1946, while in France, he joined the regular
Army as you were given a date out if you enlisted.
He then became a Sergeant T5.
He was shipped to Bremen Haven Germany then onto Ft Dix
NJ and honorably discharged in November 1946.
Maurice was a Lieutenant in the 131st AAA Gun Battalion
with 3rd, 9th, & 1st Armies in Europe including the Battle
of the Bulge, the liberation of Paris and was responsible for
guarding (captured) Germany SS troops at Berchtesgaden, Germany.
C. Short, Jr.
enlisted in the US Navy January 10, 1942. Having a Brother whom
had survived the attack on Pearl Harbor this was the thing he
had to do. He took my Boots in San Diego. After Boot Camp, he
was transferred to an Aviation "A" school at Great
Lakes, IL and Detroit MI. After the school he was transferred to
an Aviation "B" school in Chicago, IL where he
specialized in Hydraulics and Rigging. In December of 1942 he
was assigned to Torpedo Squadron 9 of Air Group 9. In January of
1942 they went aboard a brand new Aircraft Carrier, CV9 the USS
Essex After a shake down cruise they went through the Panama
Canal and into the Pacific. Their first mission in the Pacific
was the raid on Marcus Island, which is only 989 miles from
Japan, after which came the raid on Wake Island. On Armistice
Day, November 11, 1943, was a big show for us. The whole fleet
got the see most of the action
was the raid on Rabaul Harbor. Besides the damage to Japanese
shipping in the harbor, Air Group 9 set a record of shooting
down 62 aircraft while loosing only two of ours. We got both of
our pilots’ back. Then it was on to the Gilbert Islands and
Tarawa. Then came the raid on Kwajalein and the occupation of
the Marshall Islands. It was here that they joined Task Force
58. In February 1944 we were in on the First Raid on Truk Island
and later the first Raid on Saipan. In March 1944 they were
ordered back home to go into dry dock for 30 days. When he got
back to the ship after 15 days leave he had been transferred off
of the Carrier along with the rest of the Air Group. His new
orders were to go to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit # 4 on the
Puninia Navel Air Station on the Island of Maui in Hawaii where
he stayed until the war ended. He was discharged on November
enlisted in the Navy in the summer of 1941. He had gone to
California to seek work and wound up in the Navy. He took his
boots in San Diego and was sent to Sub Base in Pearl Harbor
right after Boot Camp. He spent the next three years plus
servicing the U S Navy’s Sub Fleet in the Pacific. He survived
the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most of the Japanese Aircraft came
in right over the Sub Base to get at the Ships in the Harbor.
Late in the War he was transferred to the Sub Base in New
was a PFC and a machine gunner.
He came back on the Queen Elizabeth after serving in the
European Theater. Some
war stories we were told like, I saluted General Eisenhower, and
we stuffed straw in our boots to keep our feet warm. Many years
later, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Donald, Herbert and Joyce Harms
and Mrs. Harms have three sons and a daughter in the army, and
all are graduates of Tripp High School. Cpl. Fred H. Harms
entered the army in January 1942, and left the United States in
September 1943, for Ireland.
He went from England to France and was in the invasion on
D-Day. Sgt. Herbert
Harms entered the army in August 1942, and has been located in
all parts of the United States.
Lt. Donald Harms entered the army in October 1942, and
left the United States in January 1944, for Hawaii, and is now
in New Guinea. Miss
Joyce Harms is a cadet nurse and entered in June 1944.
Mr. and Mrs. Harms received word from the war department
March 10 of the death of their oldest son, Sgt. Fred Harms, 30.
The notice stated he was killed in action February 27.
He was a member of a reconnaissance group.
He had just been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds on
his hands when a booby trap exploded while he was on patrol duty
in Germany. Apparently he recovered sufficiently to return to action on
the German front and then lost his life.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Harms received word their son Lt.
Donald had been killed in action in Luzon.
A few months ago they received a similar message telling
of the death of another son Fred in France.
This is a double blow for this family and one can well
imagine their grief. Another
son is expected home this week.
His outfit is about ready for overseas service.
Donald received the Purple Heart for wounds received in
action east of Olongapo. He
recovered from his wounds and was back in action when he was
killed. Lt. Harms
was a platoon leader of Company F, 152nd Infantry,
and saw action in his regiment’s 16-day battle for strategic
and heavily fortified Zig Zag Pass, east of Olongapo, which
opened another route to Manila.
He was with the 38th (cyclone) Division on
Luzon. He also received the Asia-Pacific ribbon with three Bronze
Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead and the Philippine ribbon with two
bronze stars. These
ribbons were awarded to him prior to March 21.
While stationed at Luzon, Don contracted Dangue fever and
was hospitalized. He
recovered after two weeks, and was sent back into active duty
until his death.
served in the U.S. Army, the 104th Infantry Division,
which fought in Belgium, Holland, and Germany.
He was wounded in action November 20, 1944.
He was discharged in August 1946.
served in the U.S. Navy, from September 1943 to August 1945.
served in the U.S. Marines, from May 1946 to June 1947.
served in the war as nurse during the war.
was sworn in with the U.S. Army at Fort Smelling, Minnesota on
August 14, 1944. He
served in the 10th Mountain Division in the Italy
area in 1945.
served in the Navy, Occupation Forces in Japan.
served in the Airforce. He
was drafted in August 1941 and served 25 years or longer.
He retired as a Master Sargent.
served in WW II.
(Rol) E. Kebach
served in war service. He
served from January 1, 1942 to June 1, 1943, in Anchorage and
Nome, Alaska, 81st Field Artillery (Cpl.
June 10, 1943 to November 1, 1944, he served at Camp Hale,
Colorado, 10th Mountain Division – 605 Field
Artillery (Communications Chief).
From November 15, 1944 to August 20, 1945, Roland was in
Italy with the 10th Mountain Division (Communications
Chief/Acting Communications Officer).
He was awarded the Bronze Star U.S. Army, Military Action
was a first wave veteran on the D-Day invasion.
was in the service 4 years, 9 months, 20 days.
He was drafted for 1 year of service.
He picked up the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and 5
campaign ribbons across Europe.
4th Cavalry Regiment stationed at Ft. Meade for 23
years prior to shipping out to E.T.O., December 12, 1943.
The 4th Cavalry was originally comprised of
men from North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
Elements of 4th landed on Isle’s San Marcouf
off Normandy Coast on two hours minus “H” hour.
The remainder landed D-Day June 6, 1944.
The 4th Calvalry Group crossed Europe, all
five campaigns and met the Russians on the Elbe River.
Some troops took 90% casualties.
Roster of KIA from South
Elveseater, Anton I.
Johnson, Alfred B
Anderson, Arvid C.
Bird Horse, William H.
Chmela, Earl F.
Cooper, Charles H.
DeBoise, Glen S.
Foos, Charles W.
Foster, Leslie W.
of South Dakotans Who Returned Home (4th Cavalry)
Arthur G. Ring Norris
Arnold F. Davis
Homer Red Eyes
June M. Sundstrom Mud
Owen Last Horse
Harold A. Orr
Walter J. Scales
served in New Caledonia and was discharged February 10, 1946.
was killed on April 18, 1945, in Italy. He is buried at the
American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.
Little Story behind the Official Missing Air Crew Report
During a visit to the American
Cemetery at Omaha Beach on the coast of Normandy, I chose a
headstone to stop by and rest for a while.
The almost 10,000 headstones each representing a young
life lost was a rivetingly somber sight.
The name of a First Lieutenant killed on May 14, 1944 was
engraved simply and starkly.
It read First Lieutenant Lester Weiss, Serial Number
0-789843. It also
gave his Bomber Group and his Squadron Group.
He was probably the same age or even younger than I was
during that time. I was far luckier studying Japanese on a college campus.
I wondered if I could get beyond the name on the
headstone and learn something of that young man who was one of
the many casualties. I
wrote to various agencies hoping to find some details about his
personal life from available military records.
I have attached a remarkable file generously copied for
me by Captain Sergio J. Lopez Chief, Air Force Historical
me give you a bit of background on this particular mission from
an 8th Air Force history book.
The bomber on which First Lieutenant Weiss served as a
Navigator was part of a large force of bombers whose mission on
May 11, 1944, was to bomb railroad marshalling yards located in
Troyes, France, as part of a pre-invasion operational program.
The 487th Bomb Group “trespassed”(that was
the official designation; I thought it was a rather benign
description) into a heavy flak area over Chateaudun and caused
much damage. The
raid had to be abandoned. The
plane, a B-24 Liberator which had a crew of ten, on which First
Lieutenant Weiss served, was hit and crash-landed.
The pilot and co-pilot escaped from the plane, which
exploded, on the ground as well as another crewman who bailed
out. The seven
this account gives one a vivid sense of the human faces behind
the official records. The
next-of-kin listing mothers, fathers, and wives from all parts
of our country give a little clue into how ten ordinary American
households were touched. I
believe the drama of what happened on that the almost prosaic
reporting heightens day in May 1944.
These ten as well as so many others deserve if nothing
else our humble remembrance.
Edward Brodsky, Pilot
Captain John Roberts, Co-Pilot
Trenton, New Jersey
2/Lt. Lee Johnson
1/Lt. Lester Weiss
Yonkers, New York
1/Lt. Thomas Pearce
New Holland, Ohio
T/Sgt. Walter Simoni
T/Sgt. Clifford Nance
S/Sgt. William Murphy
Skaneateles, New York
S/Sgt. Elton Tollett
S/Sgt. Bronis Lipskas
on Memorial to the
487th Bomb Group
Eighth Air Force Museum
“I remember you, my young brothers,
As we were, as
This is the resting-place of our memory
As it always will be.”
Edward Brodsky is with home folks again since Monday, when his
parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Brodsky, met him at Rapid City.
He has 60 days in which to enjoy a visit in his old home
and recuperate from his unpleasant experiences in Germany.
Shot down from a Liberator bomber of which he was the
pilot, luckily one of only two survivors from a crash landing;
spending over 11 months in different Nazi prisons.
Finally, on April 4, escaping with two other men; then
traveling for a period of 12 days to reach the U.S. Army front
(hiding during the daytime and traveling at night, during which
time they subsisted almost entirely on raw potatoes dug from the
fields). Covering a
total distance of some 75 miles in reaching the American lines.
the good news, which has developed since our last issue is the
information, contained in the following telegram received
Tuesday by Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Brodsky from the U.S. War
just received through the International Red Cross states that
your son, Captain Edward J. Brodsky, is a prisoner of war of the
May 24th a laconic message came from the War
Department say that Capt. Brodsky was “missing in action May
11th over France.”
Anxiety over the boy’s fate has since been intense, and
now the fond hope that he might have parachuted to safety behind
the enemy lines has been fulfilled.
enlisted three years ago on June 15, 1941.
After an intensive training period as a B-24 (Liberator)
bomber pilot, he was assigned to a bomber base in England in
March of this year. He
had completed a number of successful missions over enemy
territory with his crew before the big plane was shot down over
following is the description of S/Sgt. Reetz, a member of a crew
flying in the low squadron.
Brodsky’s plane, which was flying no. 2 in the lead squadron,
left the formation, sheering off to the right, with the no. 3
engine on fire and flames streaming back into the wing.
About 15 seconds later it was below the formation and
descending at an angle of approximately 45 degrees; it seemed
that the pilot was still in control of the plane.
The fire had spread over the command deck.
half a minute later there was apparently an internal explosion.
The left wing (not the one on fire) broke off and hung to
the fuselage; the tail broke and hung about at the waist
windows, and the nose broke off about at the flight deck, hung
for a few seconds, and then dropped, about the same time as the
tail. By this time
flames had spread over the remaining part of the plane.
this time a splotch of white appeared at about the waist window.
It was difficult to distinguish but had the appearance of
a streaming, unopened parachute with the person wearing it not
yet free of the plane. No
person, however, was actually seen.
I saw the remains of the plane burning on the ground. There was no sign of any survivors nor did I see any
parachute, either on the ground or in the air in the vicinity.
was taken from a questionnaire of crash.
The order to bail out was not given as an attempt was
being made to save bombs and thus return to England on remaining
the crash he and several other crew members were trapped in
radio compartment due to the escape hatch being jammed and the
passage between the pilot seats being impassable because of the
inter crossing of armor plating.
Weiss was uninjured after crash.
I asked him to hand me the crash axe, which he said he
couldn’t find. Brodsky
and I then tried unsuccessfully to put out several fires, which
broke out on each wing. It
spread swiftly until we were compelled to fall back, after which
the tanks exploded engulfing an area of some thirty or forty
feet in flames. Lt.
Weiss died when the gasoline tanks exploded.
the crash Brodsky and I started to run for a distant stand of
trees but were immediately picked up by a German patrol in a
truck. They too us back to the vicinity of the burning aircraft then
after awhile drove us to a village about a quarter of a mile
away. We stopped
and a group of excited French town’s people directed our
attention to a small pick up or delivery truck.
The said “comrade”, so both Brodsky and I jumped out
of our truck when we saw someone inside, it turned out to be
Tollett who was unconscious and moaning and appeared to be
immediately ordered them to get him to a doctor the best I could
in the little French I knew.
They comprehended what I wanted and two men jumped in the
truck and drove off in the direction of Chateaudon.
That is the last we ever saw of Sgt. Tollett.
I suppose he must have died in a German hospital.
I endeavored to find out more about him after I was taken
to Frankfort, Germany for interrogation.
However I was unsuccessful.
I believe Tollett must have been thrown from the plane
after we first hit the ground and that a short time later he was
found by the French and taken to the above-mentioned village.
by his wife