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)
Ray Edward Eubanks was born on February 6, 1922 in Snow Hill, North Carolina. He voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army on June 10, 1939 at age seventeen for a three-year hitch. His enlistment was obviously extended by World War II.
Eubanks later volunteered for airborne training, and after receiving his jump wings, was placed with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment and sent to fight the Japanese in the South Pacific.
Continue reading Sergeant Ray E. Eubanks, USA (July 23, 1944)
George W. G. Boyce, Jr. was born in New York City and was living in Town of Cornwall, New York when he joined the United States Army. Very little information is available about his life before his military service.
On July 23, 1944 on New Guinea during the Battle of Driniumor River as a Second Lieutenant with the 112th Cavalry Regiment, Boyce saved the men of his platoon from a Japanese grenade by smothering it with his own body.
Continue reading Second Lieutenant George W. G. Boyce, Jr., USA (July 23, 1944)
Donald Ronald Lobaugh was born in Freeport, Pennsylvania on February 7, 1925. He was inducted into the United States Army on May 15, 1942. His enlistment record marks him as a “Selectee”, but as he was just 17 years old, I’m reasonably certain he was a volunteer.
Regardless, he was posted as an infantryman with the 127th Infantry Regiment, traditionally a unit of the Wisconsin National Guard, which was part of the 32nd Infantry Division.
Continue reading Private Donald R. Lobaugh, USA (July 22, 1944)
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.
Continue reading Second Lieutenant Dale E. Christensen, USA (July 16-19, 1944)
Gerald Leon Endl was inducted into the United States Army on April 16, 1941. His enlistment record indicates that he volunteered for the Philippine Department, but as he wasn’t captured in the Philippines, it’s unlikely he ever served there. A high school graduate, Endl was born in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin on August 20, 1915.
Records indicate that he was also a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, although his enlistment data doesn’t reflect that. Endl served in the South Pacific’s New Guinea Campaign with the 128th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Infantry Division.
Continue reading Staff Sergeant Gerald L. Endl, USA (July 11, 1944)
Jesse Ray Drowley was born on September 9, 1919 in St. Charles, Michigan. His family moved often as he was growing up, and he was living in Spokane, Washington when he enlisted or was drafted into the United States Army (extensive searches don’t turn up his enlistment record!).
Drowley was assigned as an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 132nd Infantry Regiment as part of the Americal Division. The Americal was unique in World War II as it carried a name and not a numerical designation. The division got its name from “American, New Caledonia“, the South Pacific island on which the unit was provisionally formed for defense in May 1942. While officially known later as the 23rd Infantry Division, the Americal name stuck.
Continue reading TFH 1/30 Part 1: Staff Sergeant Jesse R. Drowley, USA