Friday, April 20, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Medal of Honor hero Arlo Olson, 3rd Infantry Division

Captain Arlo Olson earned the Medal of Honor while serving in Italy.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7931824/arlo-laverne-olson 
Arlo Laverne Olson never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 20, 1918 in Iowa. His parents Frank and Vera were also both born in Iowa. His father worked as a bank cashier. He moved his family to South Dakota where he was also a bank cashier. Arlo's paternal grandparents were from Sweden. Arlo had one younger sister. By 1940 Arlo had graduated from the University of South Dakota where he participated in ROTC.

Arlo married Myra Boudreaux. They had one daughter.

He enlisted in the army on June 9, 1940. He became a captain in the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. The 3rd Infantry was one of the first US Army units to see action in the war. It helped free French Morocco in late 1942. Captain Olson would also have participated in the invasion of Sicily and Salerno. Things only got tougher when the 3rd Infantry took part in the fighting in Italy. 

On October 13, 1943 the 3rd Infantry attacked across the Volturno River. Once on the other side of the river, the 15th Infantry Regiment went on to take the high ground. His leadership over the next two weeks showed he did not keep to the rear at the company command post. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Captain Olson's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 

On October 13, 1943, when the drive across the Volturno River began, Capt. Olson and his company spearheaded the advance of the regiment through 30 miles of mountainous enemy territory in 13 days. Placing himself at the head of his men, Capt. Olson waded into the chest-deep water of the raging Volturno River and despite pointblank machine-gun fire aimed directly at him made his way to the opposite bank and threw 2 handgrenades into the gun position, killing the crew. When an enemy machinegun 150 yards distant opened fire on his company, Capt. Olson advanced upon the position in a slow, deliberate walk. Although 5 German soldiers threw handgrenades at him from a range of 5 yards, Capt. Olson dispatched them all, picked up a machine pistol and continued toward the enemy. Advancing to within 15 yards of the position he shot it out with the foe, killing 9 and seizing the post. 

Throughout the next 13 days Capt. Olson led combat patrols, acted as company No. 1 scout and maintained unbroken contact with the enemy. 

On October 27, 1943, Capt. Olson conducted a platoon in attack on a strongpoint, crawling to within 25 yards of the enemy and then charging the position. Despite continuous machinegun fire which barely missed him, Capt. Olson made his way to the gun and killed the crew with his pistol. When the men saw their leader make this desperate attack they followed him and overran the position. 

Continuing the advance, Capt. Olson led his company to the next objective at the summit of Monte San Nicola. Although the company to his right was forced to take cover from the furious automatic and small arms fire, which was directed upon him and his men with equal intensity, Capt. Olson waved his company into a skirmish line and despite the fire of a machinegun which singled him out as its sole target, led the assault which drove the enemy away. While making a reconnaissance for defensive positions, Capt. Olson was fatally wounded. Ignoring his severe pain, this intrepid officer completed his reconnaissance, supervised the location of his men in the best defense positions, refused medical aid until all of his men had been cared for, and died as he was being carried down the mountain.

His grave is at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota. His widow and daughter have since died, but he has living grandchildren and great-grandchildren who never met him.

Thank you Arlo for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Arlo.

Last year on this date I profiled B-17 crewman William Hammack. You can read about William here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

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“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Charles Coggeshall, Bataan Death March POW

Sgt Charles Coggeshall survived the Bataan Death March only to die seven months later in a POW camp.
(Photo of painting was taken by Philip Garcia, Mar 18, 2010, DBC office in Camp Aguinaldo)
https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/1265/40391_247254-00152
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17531467/charles-allen-coggeshall
https://bataancampaign.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/bataanpainting.jpg
Charles Allen Coggeshall never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 19, 1918 in New Mexico. His parents Charles and Veva were born in Kansas and Indiana, respectively. His father worked as a railroad conductor. The younger Charles had a younger brother and a younger sister. By 1940 Charles had completed two years of college at the University of New Mexico and was living at home. 

He served in the New Mexico National Guard and his unit was federalized on September 4, 1940. He was corporal in the 200th Coastal Artillery Regiment which was sent to the Philippines in August 1941. It was supposed to be a one year posting but the Japanese invasion changed that. 

Corporal Coggeshall's unit provided anti-aircraft defense when the Japanese bombed Philippine targets a few short hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The anti-aircraft units were credited with shooting down 85 Japanese planes in the next four months. 

Charles was promoted to sergeant and transferred to Battery B, 515th Coast Artillery Regiment and fought on the Bataan Peninsula until the Americans surrendered. He endured the April 9, 1942 Bataan Death March to the Camp O'Donnell prison camp. There was inadequate medicine and food causing the deaths of hundreds of prisoners. Sgt. Coggeshall died on November 7, 1942. (Update: See first comment below from James Erickson for correction on date of death and additional details.) By the end of the war only half of the original 1,800 men from the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment remained alive to be liberated from Japanese prison camps.

His cenotaph grave is at Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico.

Thank you Charles for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Charles.

Last year on this date I profiled Carlton Carney, 4th Infantry Division. You can read about Carlton here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WW2 Normandy Fallen - Silver Star hero Gerard Bunce, 2nd Infantry Division

Lt. Gerard Bunce served in Normandy with these men from the 2nd Infantry Division.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/141638772/gerard-j-bunce
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/78/15/3b/78153b58d0178b2fca80a32437157ac6.jpg 
Gerard J Bunce never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 18, 1918 in New York. His parents Theodore and Monica had three other sons who all served in the military during World War 2. Gerard spent part of his time growing up in Ohio. He attended Ohio State University and the University of Detroit. He worked as a photographer.

He was drafted into the army in January 1941 and was noted as officer material. He obtained an officer's commission in June 1942. He became a first lieutenant in Company D, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

He was killed in action on July 15, 1944 as the 38th IR was engaged in the Battle of St Lo. At the time of his death he was serving as company commander for Company D. He was awarded the Silver Star for the action that led to his demise. I was unable to find any details about the Silver Star award.

His grave is at Old Saint Michael's Cemetery in Pawcatuck, Connecticut. 

Thank you Gerard for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Gerard.

Last year on this date I profiled submariner Fraser Knight, USS Bonefish. You can read about Fraser here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

WW2 Normandy Fallen - Silver Star hero Harvey Osman, 29th Infantry Division + Oscar winning actor

Silver Star hero Harvey Osman, 29th Infantry Division, shown here with his with Myrtle
was born on the same day as famous actor William Holden.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52339599/harvey-leroy-osman
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/150800287494554102/?lp=true
Harvey Leroy Osman never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 17, 1918 in Pennsylvania. His parents Harvey and Sadie were also both born in Pennsylvania. They had 12 children. His father worked as a railroad brakeman. Harvey had one older brother, two older sisters, five younger brothers, and three younger sisters. At least two of his brothers also served in the army during the war. By 1940 Harvey had completed four years of high school and was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

He was drafted into the army on February 2, 1942. He became a private first class in Company C, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. He married Myrtle Rubendall on July 4 ,1942. They had one daughter born after Pfc. Osman deployed to England. He never saw his daughter.

He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 during the very first wave and somehow survived the murderous fire that killed and wounded so many of the others in his regiment. He survived a month of combat in the Normandy hedgerows and was killed in action on July 6, 1944.

Pfc. Osman was posthumously award the Silver Star. His citation reads:

Company C, after having advanced to improve their position the previous night, was forced to withdraw in the face of superior fire from overwhelming enemy forces.

In order to help cover the withdrawal of his company, Pcf. Osman voluntarily remained at his post and kept firing at the onrushing enemy, While in the performance of this brave act, Pcf. Osman was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire.

As a result of his courageous actions, several lives were undoubtedly saved. The personal bravery and devotion to duty displayed by Pfc. Osman reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.


His grave is at Northumberland Memorial Park in Stonington, Pennsylvania. I don't know what happened to his widow or daughter.

Thank you Harvey for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Harvey.

WILLIAM HOLDEN

Born in Illinois on the same day as Harvey Osman, was the actor William Holden. He had already started his movie career when the war started, but accepted a commission in the Army Air Forces where they had him act in training films during WW2. Holden's younger brother Robert was a US Navy fighter pilot who was killed in action over New Ireland in January 1944.

After the war Holden became one of the most successful leading men in Hollywood for the next two decades. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as a POW in a German prison camp in Stalag 17. He is also well know for epic war movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. He died in 1981 at age 63.

Last year on this date I profiled Donald Garten, 38th Infantry Division. You can read about Donald here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Monday, April 16, 2018

WW2 Fallen - New Guinea Airbase MP Jack McKean

Sgt. Jack McKean was an MP at an airbase in New Guinea.
https://ia801401.us.archive.org/26/items/81stAirDepotGroup/81stAirDepotGroup.pdf
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/48260447/jack-walton-mckean
Jack Walton McKean never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 16, 1918 in Illinois. His parents Lester and Edna were also both born in Illinois. His father worked as a carpenter and later as an automobile cabinetmaker. Jack had one older brother and two younger brothers. All four McKean brothers served in the army during World War 2. By 1940 Jack had completed eight years of schooling and was living with his father while working as a painter. He married Yvonne Smith and they had two daughters.

He enlisted in the army in 1942. He became a sergeant and military policeman in the Army Air Forces. His unit was the 1124th Military Police Aviation Company, 81st Air Depot Group. He arrived in Australia in May 1943 and was transferred to New Guinea in June 1944. His unit provided guard and firefighting duties for the bases it was stationed at.

He died on December 15, 1944 in New Guinea, which at the time was not a combat zone. He had been hospitalized earlier but he was released. I don't know if he succumbed to some illness or died of some other cause.

His grave is at Goose Creek Township Cemetery in De Land, Illinois. His widow remarried and died in 1994.

Thank you Jack for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Jack.

Last year on this date I profiled Ray Backus, 4th Marine Division, who fought on Iwo Jima. You can read about Ray here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

Sunday, April 15, 2018

WW2 Battle of Bulge Fallen - Silver Star hero Stanley Dec, 28th Infantry Division

Cap. Stanley Dec was a company commander with the 28th Infantry during the Battle of the Bulge
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33150103/stanley-dec
 https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/574631233695999027/
Normally, I profile one of the fallen each day on his 100th birthday. That means twenty or more fallen, born on the same day and year are not profiled. It can be a tough choice to honor one and ignore the others who also earned this attention.

Today, there were two stories that especially struck me of worth. I could not decide which to leave out, so in an exception to my normal practice, today I am sharing two profiles. You can read the other one here.

Stanley Dec never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 15, 1918 in Indiana. His parents Paul and Maggie were both born in Austria. Stanley had two older brothers and two older sisters. Stanley attended Indiana University where he majored in accounting and participated in ROTC. Later he married Mary Gardner. They had one daughter.

He enlisted in the army in June 1940 and was first an officer in the 5th Infantry Division when it was stationed in Iceland until August 1943. At some point he was transferred to the 28th Infantry Division where he was a captain and the company commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment.

The 28th ID landed in Normandy in late July 1944. It took part in Operation Cobra and marched through Paris. It took heavy casualties during the Battle of Hurtgen Forest so it was sent to the Ardennes to rest. This put Captain Dec's company in the path of the German surprise attack during the Battle of the Bulge. Completely overmatched by nine enemy divisions, the veteran 28th ID fought a delaying action that threw the Germans off of their timetables to advance.

Captain Dec was reported as killed on December 20, 1944 while the 112th IR was defending the high ground west of the Our River. The book Not Me! The World War II Memoir of a Reluctant Rifleman by Alexander H. Hadden places Cap. Dec's death on December 16 during the initial German attack where Company B lost 95 men, killed, captured or missing. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out any additional information about this award.

His grave is at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis, Michigan. His widow never remarried and died in 2007.

Thank you Stanley for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Stanley.

Last year on this date I profiled Armando Garden, 29th Infantry Division. You can read about Arrmando here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

WW2 Fallen - B-17 flight engineer Gerald Craven

Sgt. Gerald Craven was B-17 flight engineer for the 359th Bombardment Squadron.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/69157288/gerald-huston-craven 
Normally, I profile one of the fallen each day on his 100th birthday. That means twenty or more fallen, born on the same day and year are not profiled. It can be a tough choice to honor one and ignore the others who also earned this attention.

Today, there were two stories that especially struck me of worth. I could not decide which to leave out, so in an exception to my normal practice, today I am sharing two profiles. You can read the other one here.

Gerald H. Craven never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 15, 1918 in Michigan. His parents Charles and Ethen were born in Ohio and Indiana, respectively. His father worked as a factory machinist and later as a tank factory laborer. Gerald had two younger sisters and one younger brother. He married Helen Taylor in 1938 and they had two sons.

By 1940 Gerald was working as a tool room helper.

He was drafted into the army on December 20, 1943 and volunteered for the Army Air Forces. He became a sergeant and flight engineer in the 359th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, which was equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses.

On January 13, 1945 Sgt. Craven's B-17 was part of a 39 bomber mission to bomb the railroad bridge at Mannheim, Germany. While at his station at the top turret gun, Sgt. Craven was hit by flak through the arm and into the chest. Damage to the plane left him pinned in the turret. He did not survive the flight back to base. More details about his final mission were written by his grandson here.

His grave is at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis, Michigan. His widow remarried and died in 1994.

Thank you Gerald for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Gerald.

Last year on this date I profiled Armando Garden, 29th Infantry Division. You can read about Arrmando here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”