The 126th Cavalry Regiment is presently a unit of the Michigan National Guard. During World War II, the regiment was an infantry unit, and was part of the United States Army‘s 32nd Infantry Division. The regimental motto is “Courage Without Fear” (Latin: Courage Sans Peur).
On December 15, 1944 in combat near Limon, Leyte in the Philippines, two of the regiment’s soldiers embodied the motto and received the Medal of Honor. They were Sergeant Leroy Johnson and Private First Class Dirk J. Vlug.
Continue reading “Courage Without Fear” – Johnson & Vlug (December 15, 1944)
Robert Burton Nett was born in New Haven, Connecticut on June 13, 1922. He enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard in 1940 while still 17 years old. He was activated for federal service with the United States Army on February 24, 1941 and attended Officer Candidate School during 1942 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
Continue reading Captain Robert B. Nett, USA (December 14, 1944)
Ova Arthur Kelley was born on March 27, 1914 in Norwood, Missouri. He was a farm hand who had completed only three years of high school when he was drafted into the United States Army on October 15, 1943 at age 29.
After completing training, Kelley was placed in Company A, 1st Battalion, 382nd Infantry Regiment as part of the 96th Infantry Division. The division’s first action would be the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines.
Continue reading Private Ova A. Kelley, USA (December 8, 1944)
Elmer E. Fryar was born on February 10, 1914 in Denver, Colorado. His enlistment record isn’t among those preserved in the National Archives, but we do know he in part volunteered for service as he was a United States Army paratrooper.
Continue reading Private Elmer E. Fryar, USA (December 8, 1944)
William A. McWhorter was born on December 7, 1918 in Liberty, South Carolina. His enlistment record doesn’t appear in the records held by the National Archives, so we don’t know when his wartime service in the United States Army began.
Continue reading Private First Class William A. McWhorter, USA (December 5, 1944)
Richard Ira Bong was born in Superior, Wisconsin on September 24, 1920. He was a college student and already under instruction as a civilian pilot when he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet on May 29, 1941.
Bong received his pilot’s wings and a commission as a Second Lieutenant on January 19, 1942 and was posted as an aerial gunnery instructor. He would go on to become the top ace of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
Continue reading Major Richard I. Bong, USAAF (October 10 – November 15, 1944)
Charles E. Mower was born on November 29, 1924 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. His enlistment record not among those preserved by the National Archives, but he clearly showed leadership once he joined the United States Army because he quickly attained the rank of Sergeant by this day seventy years ago. Mower was just 19 years old and three and a half weeks shy of his 20th birthday.
Continue reading Sergeant Charles E. Mower, USA (November 3, 1944)
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.
Continue reading Privates First Class Leonard C. Brostrom & John F. Thorson, USA (October 28, 1944)
Ernest Edwin Evans was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma on August 13, 1908. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with the class of 1931 and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. He commanded two destroyers during World War II. Early in the war, he was captain of the USS Alden (DD-211). Later he was the first and only captain of the USS Johnston (DD-557) [featured image].
It was as captain of the Johnston during the Battle off Samar in the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf that he was decorated with the Medal of Honor for his great courage.
Continue reading Commander Ernest E. Evans, USN (October 25, 1944)
Harold Herman Moon, Jr. was born on March 15, 1921 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was drafted into the United States Army on August 5, 1942 at age 21 and assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division after training.
Moon was known as a troublemaker and spent time under arrest. His disciplinary problems almost got in the way of him landing with his unit on the Philippine island of Leyte in October 1944. It is well that they did not.
Continue reading Private Harold H. Moon, Jr., USA (October 21, 1944)