Donald Eugene Rudolph was born in South Haven, Minnesota on February 21, 1921. He fought as a member of the United States Army‘s 6th Infantry Division against the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II.
Laverne Parrish was born on July 16, 1918 in Knox City, Missouri. He was living in Ronan, Montana when he was drafted for service in the United States Army prior to our entry into World War II on March 4, 1941. Parrish served during wartime in the 25th Infantry Division in the Pacific, and was a medical aidman with the medical detachment of the division’s 161st Infantry Regiment.
Robert Earl Laws was born on January 18, 1921 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He was living there and had completed college when he was drafted at age 21 for service in the United States Army during World War II on July 1, 1942.
By January 1945, Laws was a Staff Sergeant and a squad leader in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 169th Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division.
William Arthur Shomo was born in Jeannette, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1918. He was working as a mortician when he volunteered and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet. He completed his flight instruction and earned both his pilot’s wings and an officer’s commission. Shomo flew reconnaissance aircraft in the Pacific theater against the Japanese.
As a member of the United States Naval Academy class of 1934, George Fleming Davis assuredly learned the immortal words of Captain James Lawrence of the frigate USS Chesapeake in 1813: “Don’t give up the ship!”
Davis was born on March 23, 1911 in Manila, the Philippines. His first service with the fleet was on destroyers. In mid-1941 he was promoted to Lieutenant and posted to the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37). In the opening moments of the United States in World War II, Davis had to give up his ship as she capsized and sank from multiple strikes from Japanese torpedoes at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Oklahoma took 429 of her more than 1,300 crew with her.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.