The World War II Dead of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
More than 260 UCLA students, faculty and alumni were killed in World War II; only Harvard University suffered more casualties. As a two-time graduate of UCLA, I was honored to research every one of their stories in order to memorialize their sacrifices, their humanity, and their often heroic last acts.
A summary of how and where they died provides a snapshot of the American military experience in World War II. My files consist of many hundreds of pages of military service records, official and personal correspondence, lists of personal items, and various previously classified documents. If you would like more information about any of those listed here, if you are a veteran who served alongside these great Americans, or if you are a surviving family member, fellow student, or friend, please get in touch with me and let me help you share your stories.
To all of the veterans of the Greatest Generation,
I add my humble thanks to countless others whose freedom you bought with your lives…
Four of the Bruins were killed in flight training accidents, prior to the War. The first was Lieutenant NATHAN H. CODDINGTON, who was killed on June 7, 1938, when his bomber-trainer aircraft crashed near Zuehl Field, TX. His death was followed by that of Aviation Cadet JOHN WELDEN (“Weldon”) McNICHOLS, who was severely injured in a flight training accident at Pensacola, FL, on July 25, 1940, and who died seven days later on August 2, 1940. The next was Flight Cadet CALVERTON COLES, who was killed on November 11, 1940, when his Army Air Corps trainer crashed at 12 miles west of Poteet, TX. The final pre-war death was 2nd LT CURTIS R. VANDER-HEYDEN. He was killed when his Marine training aircraft crashed near Lillian Bridge, FL on November 17, 1941, only three weeks before the War began.
As the War began for America at Pearl Harbor, so UCLA’s first combat loss was there as well.
Seaman 2nd Class ROBERT F. CONRAD was killed in the sinking of the battleship USS Arizona on December 7, 1941; his remains were never found. As combat came to the Philippines, two other Bruins were lost this month. 1st LT GLEN M. ADLER was shot down by Japanese pilots over Pampanga Province on the 10th, and 1st LT HENRY D. MARK was killed on the ground while serving with the Philippine Scouts on the 24th.
One Bruin was killed in the first month of 1942. MARION FLAY BAUGH was technically a civilian, but in realty a military pilot serving with the renowned “Flying Tigers”. He was killed in a flight training accident in Ying Ping Hsien, China, on the 2nd.
Eight flyers were lost in varying circumstances in February. On the 1st, Ensign DANIEL SEID, serving with Fighter Squadron 6 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, was downed over Roi on the atoll of Kwajalein. A naval Destroyer-Escort was later named in his honor. One the 7th, 2nd LT HUBERT R. MARCH died in a crash at Natal, Brazil. Two flyers were lost on the 11th. One was 1st LT EARL R. STONE, JR., missing in action over Mt. Mariveles on the Bataan Peninsula. The other was Aviation Cadet WELDON W. WOODS, who was killed in a training accident near Lemoore, CA. Aviation Cadet Woods was only the first of many Bruins to die in flight training accidents. On February 19th, 2nd LT JACK R. PERES of the 33rd Provisional Pursuit Group was downed in combat with the Japanese over Darwin, Australia. 1st LT RUDY J. BINDER was killed on the 20th when his aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff at Grays Harbor, WA, on February 20, while on a coastal patrol mission. The same day, 2nd LT HERBERT A. HAYDEN of the 9th Bomb Group was downed over Belmont, Queensland, Australia, while a passenger on an administrative flightm . The final death occurred on the 26th, when 2nd LT ROBERT O. JESSUP was killed when the P-40 fighter he was ferrying crashed into Skullton Mountain, PA.
The months of March and April provided a short respite. There was only one loss in May. On the 8th, CAPT ANGUS C. MAC PHEE was killed when the dive bomber he was piloting crashed into Puget Sound, WA.
There were three deaths in June, all of a non-combat nature. On the 2nd, CAPT RALPH A. PLATE, of the 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, died as a POW at Camp O’Donnell on the island of Luzon. On the 7th, 2nd LT HERBERT H. BALLEW was killed when his BT-14 trainer crashed at the R.E. Hillburn ranch near Lovington, NM. The next day, ARTHUR BAINBRIDGE WYSE, a UCLA faculty member, was killed in a test of naval blimp capabilities off the New Jersey coast.
There was only one death in July. This occurred on the 21st when ROBERT H. HOTALING, rank unknown, died due to leukemia at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco, California.
Three Bruins died in August. The first was 2nd LT ROBERT E. HALPRIN who was killed in a training crash at Muroc Dry Lake, CA, on the 3rd. The second was Yeoman, 2nd Class GENE V. STROMBERG, who lost his life when his vessel, the heavy cruiser USS Quincy, was sunk at the Battle of Savo Island on the 9th. The last was 2nd LT ROBERT A MARIAM, killed in a training crash near Quincy, FL on the 29th.
On September 9, Marine flyer 1st LT WILLIAM B. DEUTERMAN, of Fighter Squadron VMF-111,went missing on a combat mission over the coast of the Samoan Islands. On the 27th, Seaman 1st Class PHILIP E. SMITH lost his life while serving with a Naval Armed Guard unit aboard the SS Stephen Hopkins when it was sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Brazil. Then, perhaps the most unusual non-combat death occurred. Gunners Mate 1st Class RICHARD W. ANDES, assigned to the submarine USS Swordfish, was killed on the 30th in a horseback riding accident while on leave in Australia.
On October 7th, SGT WILLIAM F. ROWELL of the 185th Infantry Regiment was accidentally killed while his unit was on training maneuvers at Knudsen’s Gap on the island of Kauai. The next day, Captain DON BROWN, son of actor Joe E. Brown, was killed when the aircraft he was ferrying to another base crashed near Palm Springs, CA. The final casualty this month was Marine Major GORDON A BELL. He was killed at his base at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, when the airfield was shelled by cruisers of the Japanese Navy.
On November 1, another Bruin was lost to a flight training accident. 1st LT WILLIAM E KYLE was killed when his B-26 ‘Marauder’ crashed on landing at MacDill Field, FL. PVT ROBERT S. JONES died while in training at Camp Blanding, Florida, on the 5th. On the 13th, Ensign CURTIS L. RINEY and LT SEYMOUR D. RUCHAMKIN were both killed when their ship, the destroyer USS Cushing, was sunk in Ironbottom Sound near Guadalcanal in the Third Battle of Savo Island. Like Daniel Seid, a naval Destroyer-Escort was named in Ruchamkin’s honor. The final loss for the month was on the 16th, when a B-24 heavy bomber, copiloted by 2nd LT WILFRED A. JOHNSON, went missing on a training mission over the Gulf of Mexico.
The next month, December, saw the loss of two Bruins. In yet another flight training accident, 2nd LT JOHN E. WILLIAMS was killed when his B-26 ‘Marauder’ crashed into Tampa Bay, FL, just after takeoff on the 8th. On the 12th, LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE LISTON R. COMER, JR, flying from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, was killed on a practice flight when his aircraft crashed into Mount Mou on the island of New Caledonia in the Pacific
In the first month of 1943, 1st LT WILLIAM L. ROBINSON of the 37th Bomb Squadron went missing in action on the 15th, while on a combat mission to Oued el Akrit, Tunisia, and 2nd LT JEROME FOREMAN of the 82nd Fighter Squadron was killed in a training crash near Princetown, Devon, England, on the 27th.
There were two combat losses in February. On the 2nd, 2nd LT HARRY E. FRENCH of the 59th Fighter Squadron was downed over Senna Station, Algeria, while on a reconnaissance flight. On February 16, 1st LT HOMER R. ALLEN of the 360th Bomb Squadron was downed off Brest, France, while attacking the German U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France.
Three losses in February were due to stateside flight accidents. On the 1st, 1st LT JOSEPH R. JANOVSKY was killed in a crash near Columbia, SC. 2nd LT HILARY BLACKWELL was killed the next day when his B-25 crashed into Sharp Top Mountain, north of Bedford, VA. Two days later, 2nd LT GEORGE N. VERRY was killed in a crash at Meridian, MS.
Another stateside crash began the month of March when 2nd LT NEMO R. LEEMAN was killed on the 3rd in a crash near Shoemaker, NM. On the same day, Ensign DOUGLAS R. GOFF was killed when his ship, the USS Asheville, was sunk during a Japanese attack south of Java. On March 5th, LT EDWARD P. HAUPT was killed when his submarine, the USS Grampus, was sunk in the Blackett Straight off the island of Kolombangara, near Guadalcanal. On the 11th, another stateside crash took the life of 2nd LT VICTOR L. KOLB, near Lutz, FL. The last death of month occurred on the 28th, when 1st LT SHELBY J. CULLISON, who had previously been captured in the Philippines, died of disease while a POW at Osaka, Japan.
On the first of April, Major RICHARD N. JENSON of the 1st Armored Division was killed at El Guettar, Tunisia. Four days later, TSGT ARNOLD E. HYMAN of the 306th Bomb Group was shot down over Antwerp, Belgium. On the 14th, 2nd LT BENJAMIN S. KIMMELSMAN died while an officer candidate in the 2nd Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, VA. On the 16th, 2nd LT ROBERT R. NULL of the 90th Bomb Group was shot down 30 miles from Bena Bena, New Guinea. Colonel DONALD R. LYON was killed on the 28th while serving with the 14th Army Air Force; he was the highest ranking Bruin to die in the War. The US Army Coastal Freighter FS-215 was named in his honor. The last Bruin killed in combat this month was 1st LT ROBERT E. LONGSTRETH, of the 515th Bomb Squadron, downed over Messina, Sicily on the 30th. There was one non-combat death. On the 24th, Major ALBERT H. BOHNE, a Marine Flight Test officer involved in aircraft production inspection trials, was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed on the runway at Bolling Field in Washington, DC.
The worst month of the war yet was May. On the 6th, SGT DAVID E. WILSON of the 13th Armored Regiment was killed in action near Mateur, Tunisia. The same day, PFC WILLIAM GEORGE WHITE, JR. of the Marines was killed while practicing to become a glider pilot, near Hagerstown, MD. Five days later, Aviation Cadet WILLIAM C. SCHROUDER, JR., was killed in a flight training accident near Glendale, AZ. On the 13th, Marine Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM E. GISE was downed over the Russell Islands in the Solomon Islands group. Three days later, Lieutenant Junior Grade JACK G. GREY of VP-62 was killed when his Navy patrol bomber crashed in Kulak Bay, Adak Island, in the Aleutians on the 24th. The same day, 2nd LT ROBERT A. CALKINS, of the 341st Bomb Squadron, died as a POW in a military hospital at Lucca, Italy.
On the 20th, 1st LT HENRY E. SMITH of the 240th Quartermaster Battalion was killed at Oran, Algeria. The next loss of this month occurred on the 25th, when 2nd LT ARTHUR C. TILTON, of the 349th Night Fighter Squadron, died in a training crash near Leesburg, FL. The final death occurred when 2nd LT DAVE B. HAGERMAN, of Marine Dive Bombing Squadron 26, was killed in a training crash at Crescent Lake, FL.
Only one loss occurred in June, which was on the 8th, where naval Aviation Cadet JACK R. TABER was killed while flying a gunnery training crash near Kingsville, TX.
There were five deaths in July. On the 15th, Ensign HARLEY E. MERRITT went down near the Coronados Islands off San Diego in a flight training accident. Also on the 15th, Apprentice Seaman JAMES C. ELEY died of polio while in Naval training school at Emory, VA. On the 17th, Ensign RODGER B. WILSON was killed in a mid-air flight training collision near Jacksonville, FL. The sole ground combat loss occurred on July 22nd, when Captain JACK C. CORMACK of the 161st Infantry was killed in on New Georgia Island in the Pacific. On the 25th, Captain JOHN A. VAN WIE of the 360th Bomb Squadron was the only combat flight death when his B-17 was downed over Bad Oldesloe, Germany.
In August, Aviation Cadet GEORGE C. HERREN was killed in a flight training accident near Taft, CA. On the 17th, 2nd LT JACK L. TARR of the 48th Fighter Squadron was shot down on a combat mission over Cape Spartiviento, Italy. On the 27th, 2nd LT KEMPKER CAMPBELL of the 806th Bomb Squadron was killed when the B-24 he was piloting crashed near Cheyenne Mountain, CO, killing all aboard. On the 28th, 2nd LT JACOB SILVERSTEIN of the 550th Bomb Squadron, was killed when his B-17 was shot down over Oscherleben, Germ
There were seven losses in September. On the 4th, Lieutenant WALLACE A. BONAPARTE was killed in the sinking of USS LST-473, 20 miles off Morobe, New Guinea. The same day, 2nd LT HERBERT W. EVANS of the 701st Bomb Squadron was the copilot of a B-24 that crashed near Moville, Iowa, on a training flight. Five days later, 1st LT DONALD L. HESSE, of the Air Transport Command, was killed with his aircraft exploded in mid-air over Accra, in what was then known as the ‘Gold Coast’ area of Africa. On the 11th, 1st LT FARID SIMAIKA of the 530th Bomb Group was downed over Indonesia, and executed by the Japanese at a later, unknown date. He was a silver medal winner in Diving in the 1928 Olympic Games. Ensign THEODORE C. VIAULT died in a training crash near Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL, on the 19th. Perhaps the most tragic death occurred on the 22nd, when Apprentice Seaman ROBERT W. LINLEY, JR., committed suicide in the Los Angeles area. PVT JOHN A. SUMMER died of causes unknown on the 23rd.
Remarkably, there was only one loss in October. On the 9th, Ensign DUDLEY W. CRAWFORD, JR, was killed when his destroyed, the USS Buck, was sunk by a U-Boat off Salerno, Italy.
There were two deaths in November. On the 3rd, Lieutenant Junior Grade THOMAS M LEOVY, JR., was missing in action in the Atlantic, while serving with a Naval Armed Guard unit aboard the Dutch vessel MS Zaandam. On the 29th, Captain WILLIAM REITZ of the 496th Bomb Squadron was killed in the crash of his B-26 bomber over Venlo, Holland.
There were two losses in December. The first was on the12th, when 1st LT JAMES J. HAMER of the 82nd AAF Depot Repair Squadron died in an airplane crash at Lalminarhat, India. On the 30th, Captain HARRY C. ARP was killed on a training mission when his aircraft crashed into a home in Lawrenceburg, IL, killing all aboard and two residents in the house.
The amount of casualties began to greatly increase in 1944. On January 1, naval Lieutenant WILLIAM H. LOSSE, of Patrol Squadron 15, drowned after the aircraft he was piloting crashed 100 feet southwest of Alpha Island, Great Sound, Bermuda. On the 3rd, PFC FREDERIC A. BRACKETT serving with Company A, Postal Battalion at the New York Port of Embarkation, died of appendicitis at Fort Slocum, NY. On the 14, 1st LT GEORGE J. KILGEN died in a flight training accident 3 miles south of Rush Springs, OK. Three days later, on the 7th, two flyers were killed. 1st LT WARREN A. JONES, of the 367th Fighter Squadron, was shot down over Gunderschingen, Germany. Captain FLOYD G. WOOD was killed while a passenger on an administrative flight when his aircraft crashed in bad weather on Bearwallow Mountain, NC.
The first loss in February was Captain HENRY K. EMERSON of the 7th Infantry Division, killed on Ennylagegun Island during the invasion of the Kwajalein group on the 4th. On the 10th, 2nd LT ROBERT C. AYREST of the 712th Bomb Squadron was killed in a takeoff accident at Tibenham, England. The next death occurred when naval LT JOHN W. BAKER, of Bombing Squadron 144, was downed over Tarawa on the 14th. Another flight training death occurred when 2nd LT WILLIAM C. JONES was killed in a crash near Yuma, AZ on the 23rd. The final death of the month was 2nd LT HAROLD R. HOWARD of the 432nd Fighter Squadron, whose aircraft disappeared in bad weather on a patrol mission over the Admiralty Islands on the 29th.
The first loss of March occurred when 2nd LT JOHN E. SCHILLING of the 578th Bomb Squadron went missing in action with the rest of his crew on a mission to Orainienburg, Germany. Two Bruins were lost on the 6th. Major FREDERICK K. KOEBIG of the 5th Bomb Group was killed while a POW of the Japanese when his POW camp at Rabaul, New Britain, was attacked by Allied bombers. The other was 1st LT WALTER L. REGOLI, of the 551st Bomb Squadron whose B-17 was shot down on the first American daylight bombing mission against Berlin. On March 10, Private WILLIAM C. CREMO, of the 246th Field Artillery Battalion, was killed on Bougainville in the Solomons. On the 15th, Captain EDWARD C. COLLINS, of the 10th Air Force, was serving as a cameraman when his B-24 disappeared on a reconnaissance flight somewhere between Kharagpur, India, and Tezpur, India. On the 23rd, LTJG ALBERT L. PETERSON of VB-305 was killed when his plane crashed on return from a mission at the Torokina Airstrip at Bougainville, New Guinea. Next, on the 25th, ORVILLE V.SCHOLTZ, a civilian co-pilot with the Air Transport Command, was downed while flying a cargo aircraft over the Azores. The final death of the month was Captain DORRANCE C. ZABRISKIE, killed in a training crash on the 31st, south of Punta Gorda, FL.
In April, all four of the deaths in the month were flight-related. On April 1, 1st Lieutenant HUGH A. BARDEEN, JR., was killed in a training crash at Ellington Field, TX. The next day, flyer 1st Lieutenant MILES M. GLIDDEN, serving with Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 134, was also missing in action over the Green Islands in the Pacific. On April 6th, 1st LT WILLIAM S. SULLIVAN was co-piloting a B-24 of the 765th Bomb Squadron when bombs aboard the aircraft exploded prematurely. He bailed out over Asinello Island, off the coast of Yugoslavia, and was never seen again. The final flight death of the month occurred on the 17th, when WASP flyer EDITH C. KEEN was killed in a crash at Mission TX.
There was only one death in May, 1944, which proved to be the calm before the storm. This was PVT LEONARD KAPLAN, who died while in infantry training at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA, on the 13th.
June of 1944 saw the Allied invasion of Europe, and with it came a tremendous rise in casualties. Two Bruins were killed in Normandy, France on June 6th, D-Day. They were 2nd LT AARON E. DENNSTEDT of the 16th Infantry Regiment, and 1st LT JOHN R. SIMONS, of the 26th Infantry Regiment. The next three casualties also occurred in Normandy. They were Captain WAYNE K. HARVEY of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment on the 11th, and both 1st LT NORVIN F. CRAIG of the 116th Infantry Regiment and 2nd LT MARSHALL K. GERTH of the 120th Infantry Regiment on the 15th. Meanwhile, above Normandy, 1st LT DEAN J. HILL of the 335th Fighter Squadron was downed over the area of Vitro, France.
On June 17th, 2nd LT JEROME K. NORTHROP of the 72nd Bomb Squadron was missing with the crew of his B-24 on a mission to the Japanese airstrip on Param Island. On the 21st, PFC HERBERT J. CLARK of the 9th Marine Regiment was killed on Guam, while 2nd LT SCHYLER VANRENSSLER of the 81st Fighter Squadron shot down and killed over Chengtu, China, the next day. On the 29th, Corporal ROSCOE R McCREA, JR., of the 319th Bomb Squadron, was killed with his entire crew when their bomber crashed into the water at the end of their landing strip on Wakde Island, New Guinea. Also on this date, Technician Third Grade GLYNN R. BURNS, of the 497th Motor Vehicle Company, died in a bomb loading accident at Mudford, Hampshire, England. A third UCLA man to die this date was 1st LT ROBERT C. HOLTHAM, of 377th Fighter Squadron, shot down over Avrenches, France. Two more Bruins died on the 30th. 1st LT JOHN M. ADAMS of the 58th Fighter Squadron was killed in a takeoff accident at Pangschacheng, China, and Captain JAMES F. JENNINGS was killed in a flight training accident near Palm Springs, CA.
As devastating to the Bruin family as June was, July of 1944 proved to be the worst month of the War. The first loss was on the 4th, when 2nd LT KEI TANAHASHI, of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was killed in Terriccio, Italy. On the 7th, Corporal YOSHIHARU AOYAMA, also of the 442nd, was killed at Cecima, Italy. The same day, 2nd LT SEYMOUR P. DROVIS of the 105th Infantry Regiment was killed on Guam. On the 11th, Flight Officer FRED B. HERMAN, of the 775th Bomb Squadron, was missing in action on a mission to Munich, Germany. On the 15th, another Bruin was killed in Italy when 2nd LT LESLIE H. ELLIOTT of the 362nd Infantry Regiment was killed at Chianni. The next day, 2nd LT JAMES B. CURRAN of the 134th Infantry Regiment was killed at St. Lo, France, and 2nd LT JACK E. HUGHES of the 94th Fighter Squadron, was shot down on a mission to Vienna, Austria. Another Bruin was lost the next day, when Captain CHARLES L. DONOVAN died on a stateside aircraft maintenance flight at Forestville, MD. On the 18th, ENS JAMES FRANKLIN TAYLOR was killed in a flight training accident near Waldron Field, Corpus Christi, TX. On the 20th, 2nd LT OWEN H. JORGENSON of the 613th Bomb Squadron was shot down over Weimar, Germany, and killed on the ground while attempting to escape capture. On the 22nd, 2nd LT RICHARD R. ROGERS of the 12th Marine Regiment became another Bruin to die on Guam. Two days later, 2nd LT JACK P. WADSWORTH of the 8th Infantry was killed in Normandy, France, as the vicious fighting continued there. The next day, 2nd LT ELM H. HALPRIN, of the 746th Bomb Squadron, was killed in a crash at Zapponetta, Italy on the 25th. On the 26th, 2nd LT DAVID A. LIPOW of the 342nd Bomb Squadron was shot down over Linz, Austria. On the 27th, Captain ROBERT L. FRANK of the 22nd Marine Regiment was killed on Guam, adding to the total of Bruins lost in the campaign for this small Pacific island. The next day, Captain ROBERT T. VILES, of the 318th Fighter Squadron, was downed over Tinian, near Guam. The last death of this bloody month occurred the next day, when Captain ROBERT W. FROBACH, JR., of the 106th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group, was killed at Livorno, Italy.
In August, the pace slowed somewhat. On the 4th, Corporal HAROLD G. JOBE of the 47th Infantry Regiment added to the list of Bruins lost in the “killing zone” of Normandy. His death in Normandy was followed by another in this area on the 8th, when PVT WILLIAM J. GOULD of the 330th Infantry was killed there. Also lost on the 8th was 1st LT ROBERT M. LUNDQUIST of the 785th Bomb Squadron. He was killed in action over Germany, and his body brought back to England by his crewmates, who managed to keep their damaged B-24 airborne. The next day, 2nd LT CHARLES W. SWALLOW was killed when the B-24 he was piloted suffered an in-flight engine fire, and crashed 5 miles southeast of Kiowa, Colorado. On the 13th, PVT STANLEY MAC FARLAND of the 9th Infantry was killed at La Petitere, France, as the US Army finally began to break out of the Normandy. On the 14, 1st LT EDWIN H. KARGER of the 9th Bomb Squadron was killed when his B-24 crashed shortly after takeoff at Kermitola, India. On the 16th, 2nd LT LEELAND KARPE of the 95th Bomb Group, copilot of a B-17 nicknamed “Wrinkled Belly Baby”, was involved in a mid-air collision with another B-17 over Zeitz, Germany. The same day, Major ALBERT J. SCOTT III serving with Headquarters, 20th Corps, was killed in France. The last death of this month occurred when THOMAS TREANOR, a civilian correspondent with the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine, was killed when his jeep was struck accidently by an Allied tank on the 19th, in France.
In September, on the 1st, 2nd LT DONALD J. HOEFFLER of the 849th Bomb Squadron was killed in a mid-air collision off the coast of France. Three of the next four casualties for the month were also in the air, as Captain BURTON N. RODIER, JR, of the 26th Fighter Squadron, was downed over China on the 5th, 1st LT CHARLES F. McINTOSH of the 569th Bomb Squadron was downed over Nurnberg, Germany on the 10th, and 2nd LT VERN C. BROWN of the 330th Bomb Squadron was killed over Vannes, France on the 13th.
On the ground, Private ALBERT HOFFMAN died of heat exhaustion while in training at Camp Roberts, California on the 11th. On the 14th,2nd LT CHARLES R. CRAM of the 32nd Armored Regiment was killed while his unit was attacking the Siegfried Line in Belgium. On the 17th, 1st LT HANFORD A. FILES of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was killed in Holland during part of the airborne attacks in that country known as Operation ‘Market Garden’. On September 24th LT BOB KINGSTON, assigned to Naval Air Station, Daytona, was killed on a practice mission when his fighter collided with his wingman near Bunnell, FL. The next death this month was Major EDWARD E. BAILIE, who was killed on an administrative flight on the 28th when his aircraft crashed 3 miles east of Weatherford, TX. The final death of this month was JOHN B. TERRY, a civilian with the US Public Health Service who died in the Philippines on the 31st.
On September 7th Captain WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN, who had served with the Army in the Visayan-Mindanao Force in the Philippines, and been captured there, died while aboard the Japanese ship Shinyo Maru when it was sunk by the American submarine USS Paddle off the coast of Mindanao.
US Military forces were on the attack on many fronts in the month of October, and the casualties continued. On October 1,1st LT NICHOLAS T. ANGELES of the 137th Infantry Regiment died of wounds at 35th Evacuation Hospital in France. On the 3rd, 2nd LT CLAUDE S. WELLS of the 182nd Infantry Regiment was killed on the island of Bougainville, in the Solomons group. On the 5th, 2nd LT WILLIAM E. GUYER of the 405th Bomb Squadron was downed over Seleman Bay in the Indonesian Archipelago. Another WASP flyer, MARJORIE DAVIS, was killed in a flight accident near Walnut, Mississippi on the 16th. Another non-battle death occurred this day when 2nd LT GEORGE VALENCIA, JR. was killed in a vehicle accident near Taft, CA, close to the base where he was serving as a flight instructor. On the 22nd, CAPT FRANCIS B. WAI (pictured at right) of the 34th Infantry was killed on San Pedro Beach on the island of Leyte, in the Philippines, as the invasion of that island group began. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. The last Bruin to be killed this month was PFC LESLIE N. EWING Jr., of the 135th Infantry Regiment, at La Valle, Italy, on the 24th.
The last casualty of the month was TEC5 LARRY A. NEPOMUCENO serving was the 1st Civil Affairs Unit, who went missing in action in the Philippines on the 27th.
The last casualty of the month was TEC5 LARRY A. NEPOMUCENO serving was the 1st Civil Affairs Unit, who went missing in action in the Philippines on the 27th.
On November 1, Ensign WALSTANS S. ROBSON was killed when his destroyer, the USS Abner Read, was hit by a kamikaze in Leyte Gulf. On the 3rd, 1st LT EDWARD A. RIMPAU of the 109th Infantry, died of wounds at Rotgen, Germany. On the 8th, CAPT ROBERT J. LANDIS of the 317th Infantry Regiment was killed in Italy. The next casualty was PFC THOMAS R. MANN, Jr., of the 317th Infantry, killed at Aube, France on the 9th. On the 16th, 2nd LT THOMAS J. JOHNSTON of the 734th Tank Destroyer Battalion was killed at Kerkrade, Germany.The same day, 2nd LT JEROME ROSENTHAL, copilot of a B-24 in the 23rd Bomb Squadron was shot down on raid against the Japanese fleet at Brunei Bay, Borneo. The following day, Major HUBERT L. DRAKE was killed in action in the Hurtgen Forest, while commanding the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Infantry Regiment. On the 22nd, Lieutenant Colonel of ROBERT B. WESTBROOK of the 339th Fighter Squadron was downed over the Makassar Straight in the Pacific, while attacking a Japanese gunboat.
In December, the Allied armies moved further on the advance, and some hoped that victory in Germany was in hand, but it was not to be. The first loss this month was on the 5th when Technician 3rd Grade HERBERT A MILES of the 929th Field Artillery Battalion was killed in Germany. 2 days later, PFC EDWARD K. ERRET, JR., of the 114th Infantry, was killed at Grenelbruck, France. On the 11th, Ensign RICHARD G. LEPPERT was killed aboard the destroyer USS Reid when it was strafed by Japanese aircraft south of the island of Leyte in the Philippines. On the 13th, Major THOMAS E. HARRIS of the 324th Infantry Regiment was killed in Germany. On the 15th, 3 Bruins were lost in the sinking of the Japanese “Hell Ship” Oryoku Maru. They were naval personnel LT WARREN A. GARWICK and ENS PAUL W. FRENCH, along with MAJ HUGH R. NUTER of the 4th Marine Regiment. The ship went down in Takao Harbor, Taiwan
Four more Bruins were killed this month; most of their deaths were associated with the German offensive into the Ardennes Forest, known as the Battle of the Bulge. December 13th saw the death of 1st LT SEWARD P. MILES of the 310th Infantry Regiment at Lammersdorf, Germany. On the 19th, 2nd LT EDWIN M. SAMUELSON of the 346th Infantry Regiment was killed at Retit-Rederchingen. The next day, 1st LT WILLIAM E. LATHAM, of the 110th Infantry Regiment, was killed at Fishbach, Luxembourg. Also serving with the 110th this day was 1st LT RICHARD P. WOODS, killed nearby at Clearvaux, Luxembourg. The last death of the month occurred on Christmas Eve. Captain HAL F. CRAIN of the 262nd Infantry Regiment was aboard the HMS Leopoldville when it was sunk in the English Channel by a German submarine. The 262nd was being rushed into combat due to the extreme casualties being incurred by American units fighting the Battle of the Bulge.
In the Pacific, LTCMDR BRADFORD M. BROOKS (pictured at left) of VPB-117 was killed when his PB4Y-1 patrol bomber was downed by Japanese aircraft off Negros Island, in the Philippines.
The Battle of the Bulge continued into January of 1945, taking the lives of PFC THOMAS M. CLIFFORD of the 56th Armored Battalion at Chenogne, Belgium, on the 2nd; 2nd LT ROBERT H. REBER of the 275th Infantry Regiment at Phillipsbourg, France on the 4th; 2nd LT ROBERT H. WARDELL of the 276th Infantry Regiment at Wingen-sur-Moder, France on the 5th; CPL WALTER E. STERZ, JR. of the 274th Infantry Regiment in the Neider Bonn Forest, Germany and PFC JOSEPH B. STREET of the 63rd Armored Infantry Battalion near Longchamps, Belgium, on the 13th, 1st LT WILLIAM B. CHRISTIAN of the 314th Infantry Regiment in Germany, 1st LT JOHN L. PERKINS of the 47th Tank Battalion at Hatten, France, 2nd LT FRANK J. WILLIAMS of the 291st Infantry Regiment at Grand Halleaux, Belgium on the 15th, and, on the 17th, PFC JOHN A. D. SPEERS of the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion at Herrlisheim, France.
Three Bruins died aboard Japanese “Hell Ships” thismonth. On the 7th, CAPT RICHARD A. ROSHE of the 31st Infantry Regiment died in Takao Harbor, Formosa, in the sinking of the Enoura Maru. Some reports stated was beaten to death and thrown overboard into the ocean. On the 17th, PFC JAMES C. RUBY, an Army medic, died and was thrown overboard from the Brazil Maru, somewhere in the Pacific between Taiwan and Moji, Japan. Between the 9th and the 15th, ENS PAUL W. FRENCH and MAJ HUGH R. NUTTER of the 4th Marine Regiment died in the sinking of the Oryuku Maru, again in or around Takao Harbor
In ground combat, 1st LT EUGENE L. TALBOTT of the 160th Infantry Regiment was killed in action at Bamban on Luzon in the Philippines on the 30th. On the same day, 1st LT VICTOR G. RYLAND of 493rd Bomb Squadron was killed at Suichan, China, on the 30th. His aircraft was landing at this field in darkness when it was shot down in a friendly-fire incident.
Five combat deaths occurred in February. On the 1st, 1st LT LAWRENCE H. KING of the 35th Infantry Regiment was killed at San Roque in the Philippines. The next combat death occurred on the 12th, when 1st LT WESLEY W. WILLIAMS of the 414th Infantry Regiment was killed in Germany. On the 17th, 1st LT FREDERICK A. SCHMIDT of the 347th Infantry Regiment was killed at Hergersburg, Belgium. On the 24th, 1st LT FRANK X. GEHRIE, JR., of the 65th Troop Carrier Squadron was killed on the ground on Luzon in the Philippines by enemy sniper fire. The final combat death occurred with PFC CLARENCE F. SHAW, JR (“Tim”) of the 345th Infantry Regiment was killed in Germany on the 25th.
There were also two non-combat deaths. 1st LT PAUL L. GEORGE died as a POW at Camp Fujuoka in Japan on the 8th, and Hospital Apprentice MARILYN WEEKS died of an infection at the Naval Hospital in Seattle on the 10th.
The drive into Germany continued in March. On the 14th, 2nd LT BAREND J. ALBERS, Jr., of the 47th Infantry Regiment, was killed at Nutscheid. PVT DAVID B. JENNINGS of the 409th Infantry Regiment was killed at Bergzabern on the 23rd and 1st LT CHARLES B. PIKE of the 120th Infantry Regiment was killed at Speyer the next day. There were two flight deaths this month. On the 15th, Major RICHARD N. JENSEN of the 500th Bomb Squadron was shot down 15 miles northwest of Hong Kong. On the 25th, 1st LT FRANCIS W. GODFREY, of the 404th Fighter Group, was shot down over Wissen, Germany.
In the Pacific, SGT DONOVAN G. KENDALL of the 12th Cavalry Regiment was killed in the Philippines on the 29th. In the Pacific, 1st LT JOHN T. ARMITAGE of the 25th Marine Regiment was killed on Iwo Jima on the 7th, and 2nd LT ERWIN R. COHEN of 24th Marine Regiment was killed there four days later, on the 11th
In the Pacific air war, SSGT VICTOR COTTAN of the 879th Bomb Squadron was killed on the 11th when his B-29 crashed shortly after take-off from Tinian.
In April, on the 4th,1st LT ROBERT C. SIGEL of the 187th Glider Infantry Regiment was killed at Mount Macolod, on Luzon, in the Philippines. 2nd LT JAMES E. TARBELL of the 71st Infantry Division was killed at Mourmelon-le-Grand, France; the same day, 2nd LT IRVING G. WEIDE of the 309th Infantry Regiment was killed near the Ruhr River in Germany on the 7th. Also killed this day was 2nd LT KIRKLY L. SINCLAIR, JR., in Germany, when his jeep ran over a mine. The next day, 2nd LT DANIEL R. SHULER, of the 273rd Infantry Regiment was killed at Munden, Germany. On the 17th, 2nd LT JACK R. STRAHAN of the 165th Infantry Regiment was killed on Okinawa. On the 21st, 2nd LT HITOSHI YONEMURA of the 442nd Regimental Combat team became the last Bruin death in Italy when he was killed at Marciano. The last death for the month was Technician 3rd PHILLIP J. CORWIN of the Headquarters Company of the European Theatre Command, who was killed in a jeep accident at Trier, Germany, on the 30th.
The last victim of combat in Germany was 2nd LT JAMES P. PANDEL of the 5th Infantry Regiment, who died of wounds received two weeks prior on May 12th. He died in a military hospital in Pecking, Austria.
Three Bruins were killed in the Okinawa campaign this month. The first was 1st LT ROBERT E. LOPEZ of the 7th Marine Regiment, killed on the island on the 7th. On the 19th, 2nd LT GERALD W. BELL of the 383rd Infantry was killed at Tobaru. On the 27th, Major ROBERT C. MAZE of Marine Squadron VMF-511, flying from the USS Block Island, was downed over Ishigaki.
There were four more casualties of the Okinawa campaign in June. The first was 1st LT KEVORK V. TASHJIAN of the 6th Marine Division, killed on the 10th. On the 16th, LT BURTON B. HARRIS was killed when his vessel, the destroyer USS Twiggs, was hit by a Kamikaze. On the 17th, 1st LT ERWIN W. KRUEGER of 184th Infantry Regiment was killed. On the 20th, 2nd LT CLARENCE C. CARSTENS of the 5th Marine Regiment died, of wounds received over a month earlier.
The last death of the month occurred on the 22nd, when Private DAVID K. MANSON of the 172nd Infantry Regiment was killed at Gahiham, on Luzon in the Philippines.
Five Bruins lost their lives in July. On the 3rd, 1st LT DONALD E. MARSH of the 792nd Bomb Squadron was the copilot of a B-29 that crashed just after takeoff near Tinian, on a raid to Japan. On the 9th, aboard a B-29 like LT Marsh, 2nd LT LEONARD B. SIECK of the 402nd Bomb Squadron went missing over the Pacific on a raid to Tokyo. On the 11th, 1st LT HUGH F. SHELDON of the 9th Bomb Squadron died when his aircraft crashed at Hsinching, China, on a fuel hauling mission. 2nd LT HAROLD L. PULLIAM, of the 449th Fighter Squadron, was killed in crash 9 miles from Mengtze, China. The final death was Lieutenant Junior Grade DAVID L DRISCOLL, killed when the USS Indianapolis was sunk in the Philippine Sea on the 30th.
In August, 2nd LT ROY F. VERNIER, JR., 291st Infantry Regiment, died in the crash of an administrative flight 25 miles south of Manta, Ecuador. On the 7th, 1st LT THEODORE A. KURKJIAN of the 396th Bomb Squadron was the last Bruin to die in combat, when his B-25 was downed over the Chiran Airfield on Kyushu, Japan. On the 17th, 2nd LT GORDON E. MYERS was killed when his B-29 collided with another over Weatherford, TX.
September saw the deaths of the last two Bruins to die in World War 2. 2nd LT OWEN B. CLAYMAN of the 20th Weather Squadron went missing on September 6, while on an administrative flight somewhere over the Philippines. The final death occurred when 1st LT SEYMOUR FREED of the3970th Quartermaster Truck Company died of illness at Ledo, Assam, India.
–This post has been edited to correct the vessel to which Gunner’s Mate Richard W. Andes assigned. The name of the vessel was the USS Swordfish.
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- Hi Patricia: Thank you for this inquiry. Do you mean you are trying to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Rasor, or are you seeking information on his service? Thanks Bill
- Bill, we are trying to find Robert Ambrose Rasor from Onsted, Michigan, but born in Ohio. We think he was a mechanic on Shoo Shoo Baby and served in the 464th bomb grp. and the 779 squadron. We cannot verify this. Can you help us?
- Hi Chip: Looks like you've done some great research work here. Let me know if I can be of any research assistance. I remember the story of LT Whitaker, F/O Phillips and the rest of crew very well. Best, Bill
- Bill, My name is Chip Corley and my Aunt is Cynthia Wolfe. My Great Aunt was Helen Ruth Berch and was Lawrence "Whit" Whittaker's widow. They were married seven months to the day of the July 2, 1944 mission. My aunt contacted you either directly or through Roger Phillips. In 2000 my aunt contacted me and told me that Helen Ruth had been married to a pilot who died in the war and that's the first time anyone in my family. When Helen Ruth remarried she never spoke of it until her second husband passed. she asked me if I might be interested in doing some research since I've always been a WWII aviation buff and a long time aviator and I was in. I did my research on trying to find out who shot down Whit's and the other five bombers from the 456th that morning. I've decided to get in my closet and dig up all my stuff since the disk I had scanned it on has vanished. I interviewed Sgt James Riley by phone and recorded it and had it transcribed. At some point in our search for John Wark we heard he had died in 1971 after choking on a sandwich or something like that. I haven't dug up anything yet as today is the first time since October 2003 When the three of us went to Maryland to visit Paul Edlund. I purchased a book on J/G 302 by Willi Reshke and his claim on two of the B-24s matches the record of the 456th> would like to get in touch with Leslie Wark as I have a letter her father sent Helen Ruth after he got out of POW camp describing to her what happened to Whit and the crew. You may have a copy as I think that's where the quote about Hyslop is from, but until I dig everything back up. One other thing is that the Hungarian "Puma" group claimed those six one minute before but doesn't match and a researcher from Slovokia told me the Hungarians made a claim for almost every aircraft that went down in Hungary. In 2001 I sent a letter to Willi Reshke and he replied a couple days after 9/11.
- Hi Michael: I just sent a response to your personal e-mail address. Best, Bill
- Bill, The father of a school aged friend was a co-pilot on a B24 that was shot down during the Ploesti raid. As young boys back in the late 50s my friend told me many second hand stories that I always considered as half truths. Several years ago I was on a work related trip that took me to Ploesti. I recalled those boy hood memories and now am curious about the detail. My friends father's name I believe was Robert Wayne Snyder. I recall my friend showing me a book written about the raid with his dad's name in it. Any chance you could point me at details that would validate my old friends claims about his dad? Thank you in advance for your help.