Herschel Floyd Briles, nicknamed “Pete”, was born in Colfax, Iowa on February 7, 1914. He joined the United States Army on his 27th birthday in February of 1941. By November of 1944, he was a Staff Sergeant with the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion and was fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe.
Arthur Otto Beyer was born in Rock Township, Mitchell County, Iowa on May 20, 1909. He was living in Saint Ansgar, Iowa when he volunteered or was drafted for service in the United States Army during World War II.
Ralph George Neppel was born on October 31, 1923 in Willey, Iowa. He entered the United States Army in March 1943, and by December of the following year he was fighting in the area of Birgel, Germany as a Sergeant and machine gun squad leader with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division.
Seventy years ago today during the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines near Dagami, two United States Army soldiers went above and beyond the normal call of duty as members of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.
They were Leonard C. Brostrom (born November 23, 1919) and John F. Thorson (born May 10, 1920). Both brave Americans gave their lives in the defense of freedom and were killed in action on October 28, 1944. Both men posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
Darrell Robins Lindsey walked into Fort Des Moines, Iowa on January 16, 1942 and volunteered his service as an Aviation Cadet in the United States Army Air Corps. He was 22 years old, having been born in Jefferson, Iowa on December 30, 1919.
Dale Eldon Christensen was born in Cameron Township, Iowa on May 31, 1920. He was living in California when he volunteered for service with the United States Army on October 15, 1940. His enlistment was in the Medical Corps for assignment to the Philippine Department.
His wartime service wasn’t in medicine however or in the Philippines. He was later commissioned as an officer and led men in combat as a platoon leader with Troop E, 2nd Squadron, 112th Cavalry Regiment.
Paul F. Riordan was born in Charles City, Iowa on November 8, 1920. Like so many of the men who fought for the United States during World War II, much of the details of his life are lost to history. He moved with his family from Iowa to Missouri in 1937, and volunteered for the United States Army in 1940.
By February 1944, Riordan was a Second Lieutenant with the 133d Infantry Regiment, part of the 34th Infantry Division. Riordan and the “Red Bull” division were locked in combat in Italy in the early phases of the Battle of Monte Cassino.