Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: PFC Samuel J. Brandstein

A member of the 77th Infantry Division, PFC Samuel J. Brandstein was killed at Okinawa on May 13, 1945.  His name appeared in one of the last WW II Casualty Lists to have been appeared in the Times (on April 21, 1946), while his obituary – one of several published in the Times that year – was published on March 9. 

Born in 1912, he was married to Flora L. Brandstein, and the couple lived at 2675 Morris Ave., in the Bronx. 

PFC Brandstein’s body was never found.  His name is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  Like many American Jewish servicemen, his name is not listed in the book American Jews in World War Two.

__________

Brooklyn Soldier Killed On Okinawa May 13, 1945

Pfc. Samuel J. Brandstein, of Company F, 306th Infantry, Seventy-Seventh Division, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Brandstein of 1835 Seventy-seventh Street, Brooklyn, who was previously reported missing, was killed in action on Okinawa May 13, 1945, according to word received here.  He was 33 years old.

He had also fought on Guam, Leyte and in the Philippines.  Born in Brooklyn, he attended New Utrecht High School and Long Island University.  He left the employ of the Western Union Company to enter the service in March, 1942.  He went overseas in April, 1943.  Besides his parents, he leaves a widow, Mrs. Flora Brandstein, and a brother, Dr. Edward Brandstein.

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Some other Jewish military casualties on Sunday, May 13, 1945 include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Gellar, James M., PFC, 36681494, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army, 99th Infantry Division, 381st Infantry Regiment, F Company
Mrs. Mary Miller (aunt), 111 Rebecca Place, Peoria, Il.
Born 5/14/25
Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii – Plot M-121; Buried 3/9/49
American Jews in World War Two – 100

Samuel
, Gerhard, PFC, 35904219

United States Army, 77th Infantry Division, 305th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Gustav (8/2/87-1954) and Gertrud (Bruck) Samuel (parents), 3750 Carrollton Ave., Indianapolis, In.; Arnold and Susie Samuel (brother and sister); Fred A. Samuel (cousin)
Born in Germany, at Rodalben in der Pfalz; 1/9/26
Mount Olive Cemetery, Solon, Ohio
Aufbau 7/6/45
Over The Front – Summer, 2000
American Jews in World War Two – 124

Killed (Non-Battle)

Landau, Mary M., PFC, A-207742
Mr. Louis Landau (father), Miss Renee Landau (sister), 559 Glenmore Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 12/13/06
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. – Section 70, Grave 16187-89; Buried 6/29/59
News Item 6/10/45
American Jews in World War Two – 370

Naimer
, Belle G., Sgt., A-116702

Mr. David Naimer (father), 136 East 208th St., Bronx, N.Y.; Gus, Harry, and Jack (brothers)
Born 10/31/11
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. – Section 70, Grave 16187-89; Buried 6/29/59
News Item 6/10/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Mary Landau and Belle Naimer were two among the twenty-three crew and passengers who were killed in the loss of a 317th Troop Carrier Group C-47 (41-23952; “Gremlin Special / Guinea Gopher“) during a sight-seeing flight over the Balim Valley of Central New Guinea.  Caught in a down-draft, the aircraft, piloted by Colonel Peter Prossen, crashed, leaving only five survivors.  Of the five, PFC Eleanor Hanna and S/Sgt Laura Besley died of their wounds the next day.  The three eventual survivors, T/Sgt. Kenneth Decker, Cpl. Margaret J. Hastings, 1 Lt. John S. McColum were rescued 47 days late through extraordinary efforts by the Army Air Force and Filipino paratroopers, who evacuated the survivors by glider.  The loss of the plane is covered by MACR 14697.

This compelling story received national news attention in June of 1945.  This was particularly so in New York State newspapers (Albany Times-Union, Binghamton Press, Brooklyn Eagle, New York Sun, and New York Post) probably because survivor Margaret Hastings was from Oswego.  Especially detailed was the story “Mystery Valley of Shangri-La Isolates Plane Crash Survivors”, filed by Associated Press reporter Dean Schedler, which was published in the Sun on June 8.  This two-page article provides a full list of crew and passengers, along with the towns and cities where their next-of-kin resided.

Both the Albany Times-Union and New York Sun specifically mentioned Belle Naimer, the Times-Union reporting (in an A.P. story):

MET SAME FATE AS HER FIANCE

NEW YORK, June 8 (AP) – WAC Sgt. Belle G. Naimer of the Bronx, one of 20 persons killed in on May 13 when an Army plane crashed in New Guinea’s hidden “Shangri-La” valley, met the same fate as her fiance, her father, David Naimer, said today.

The attractive, 32-year-old woman had been engaged to an Army Air Force Lieutenant who was killed in a plane crash in Europe while en route to the front, he said.

The father, almost totally blind, said he did not know the lieutenant’s name.

He said he last received a letter from his daughter May 9, from New Guinea.

Both the Sun and the New York Post reported that a funeral service was later conducted by aircraft the crash site by Catholic and Protestant Chaplains, with twenty-one grave markers (one of which was a Magen David) being dropped to the crash site.  In that regard, it is interesting – but not unusual – that while Mary Landau’s name would eventually be listed in American Jews in World War Two, Bell Naimer’s name did not appear in that book. 

In 1959, the remains of eighteen casualties from the crash were re-interred in a collective grave at Section 70, Site 16187-89, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on June 29, 1959.  The image below, by FindAGrave contributor Carol Beck, shows this group’s collective grave marker.  (Three other casualties, including Sgt. Besley and PFC Hanna, are buried in individual graves.)

The following article about Belle Naimer, provided by FindAGrave contributor Astrid, can be found at Sgt. Naimer’s FindAGrave biographical profile.  This biography notably differs from the item published in the Albany Times-Union in reporting that her fiance was killed in October or November of 1944, during a crash at or near the Mississippi River. 

Unfortunately, his name is unknown.

  ____________________

Writer Mitchell Zuckoff, author of 13 Hours in Benghazi and Frozen in Time, has fully chronicled the story of the Gremlin Special / Guinea Gopher in his book, Lost in Shangri-La, which is directly available through his website. 

References

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

C-47A 41-23952 (PacificWrecks)

Lost in Shangri-La, by Mitchell Zuckoff

PFC Mary M. Landau (FindAGrave.com)

S/Sgt. Belle G. Naimer (FindAGrave.com)

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Flight Officer Leonard H. Busch

Flight Officer Leonard H. Busch, an aerial navigator, was killed in Philippines on Monday, January 29, 1945.  His name appeared in a Casualty List published in the Times on March 20, 1945, while his obituary – transcribed below – was published on April 5. 

However, his story is otherwise enigmatic.  Very enigmatic.   

There is no Missing Air Crew Report pertaining to him, and a check of the varied internet databases (government and private) covering WW II military aircraft losses or American military casualties, yields no records concerning his death, or, any relevant entry for a 5th or 13th Air Force C-46 or C-47 aircraft on January 29, 1945.

His obituary follows…

__________

Flight Officer Killed on Mission in Pacific

Mr. and Mrs. G. Walton Busch of 217 Haven Avenue have been notified by the War Department of the death of their son, Flight Officer Leonard H. Busch, 21 years old, at Leyte, in the Pacific, while on a troop-carrier mission Jan. 29.

Flight Officer Busch was a graduate of George Washington High School, and at the time he entered the service, October, 1942, was employed as a commercial artist.  He was trained as a radio technician at Scott Field., Ill., as an aerial gunner at Laredo Field, Tex., got his pilot’s wings at Jamestown College, Jamestown, N.D., and studied navigation at Santa Ana, Calif., and Hondo, Tex.  He went overseas last November.

In addition to his parents he is survived by two brothers, Merwin and Raymond.

____________________

The Busch family residence at 217 Haven Ave., in the Washington Heights neighborhood (as seen at Apartments.com) is shown below.

____________________

Another Jewish military casualty on January 29, 1945, was 1 Lt. Frank F. Oppenheimer (0-722672), a B-26 Marauder bombardier in the 558th Bomb Squadron, 387th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, who was severely wounded by flak. 

Born in Del Rio, Texas, on September 25, 1915, he was the son of Libby F. Oppenheimer, and brother of Alex and Max, and lived at 211 East Dewey Place, in San Antonio.  He passed away in France, from a heart attack, on October 7 of that year.  (Reported in the San Antonio Express on August 23.)  He is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, in San Antonio.  (Section T, Grave 72)

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: PFC Montrose (“Monte”) M. Brenner

PFC Montrose M. (“Monty”) Brenner, a member of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was killed in action at Okinawa on April 22, 1945.  The son of Nathan and Ida Brenner, he was the brother of Seymour Brenner and Pauline (Brenner) Speckler.  His obituary accompanied a Casualty List published in the Times on August 16, 1945.  He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. 

Pfc. Monte M. Brenner, 21-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Brenner of 1555 East Ninth Street, Brooklyn, was killed on Okinawa Island on April 22, according to word received here.

He served with Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and after being transferred to the Pacific Theatre was stationed on New Caledonia.  He took part in the invasion of Leyte and was a member of the Seventeenth Infantry Regiment, Seventh Division, during the landings on Okinawa.

He attended New York University before entering the Army.

____________________

PFC Brenner was buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery, in Flushing, on February 4, 1949.  His grave location is Werenczanker Bukowin Society, Block 45, Reference 4, Section H/I, Line 6, Grave 8/6.

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Sunday, April 22, 1945, include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Bernstein, Melvin, PFC, 17078056, Purple Heart
United States Army, 10th Mountain Division, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, G Company
Mr. Harry Z. Bernstein (father), 2515 Country Club Ave., Omaha, Ne.
Born 1922
Florence American Cemetery, Florence, Italy – Plot E, Row 5, Grave 31
American Jews in World War II – 220

Bretholtz, Sidney, Pvt., 42033699, Purple Heart
United States Army, 85th Infantry Division, 337th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Leon Bretholtz (father), PFC Jack Bretholtz (brother), 2395 Morris Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 5/15/45
American Jews in World War II – 283

Brownstein, Melvin I., Pvt., 32623022, Purple Heart
United States Army, 9th Armored Division, 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized
Mr. Max Brownstein (father), Mr. Bob Brownstein (cousin), 990 Aldus St., New York, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 5/31/45
American Jews in World War II – 285

Ezra
, Joseph, Pvt., 32964854, Silver Star, Purple Heart

United States Army, 10th Mountain Division, 20th Armored Infantry Battalion
Mrs. Anne Ezra (wife), 77-79 Division Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, N.Y. – Life & Charity Society, Inc. Section, Block 109, Reference 20, Line PP-4, Grave 1 (Buried 8/17/48)
Casualty List 5/31/45
American Jews in World War II – 304

Weiner, George A., 2 Lt., 0-2007276, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army, 96th Infantry Division, 383rd Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Norma B. Weiner (wife), 3300 Lake Shore Drive, Apt. 9E, Chicago, Il.
Student at Northwestern University
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
Casualty List 6/4/45
American Jews in World War II – 120

Welgus, Morton, PFC, 39339990, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army, 27th Infantry Division, 105th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Pauline Welgus (mother), 151 North Ainsworth St., Portland, Or.
Born 8/7/25
Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii – Plot O-346; Buried 3/9/49
American Jews in World War II – 507

Wounded in Action

Levenson, Harold, Pvt., Purple Heart; Wounded on Okinawa
United States Army
Mrs. Fannie Levenson (mother), Pvt. Roy L. Levenson (brother), 275 Merton Road, Detroit, Mi.
Born Indianapolis, In., 1924
Student at University of Michigan
The Jewish News (Detroit) 6/8/45
American Jews in World War II – 193

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Sergeant John E. Brand

Sgt. John E. Brand was the radio operator of a B-24 Liberator in the 23rd Bomb Squadron of the 5th (“Bomber Barons”) Bomb Group of the Southwest-Pacific based 13th Air Force.  His aircraft, B-24L 44-41549 (“Maiden Montana“) piloted by 1 Lt. Wallace R. Montgomery, was one of six 23rd Bomb Squadron Liberators assigned to bomb Japanese position at Saint Abtaleil Plantation at Mindanao Island, in the Philippines, on March 12, 1945.  Lt. Montgomery’s plane was last seen entering clouds half-way between Samar Island and Mindanao, but never emerged.  Another 23rd Bomb Squadron B-24 (44-49840, piloted by 1 Lt. William L. Rau) was missing under the same circumstances.  As described in Missing Air Crew Report 13311, searches for the two planes on March 14 and 15 yielded no results.   

Sgt. Brand’s obituary appeared in the Times a symbolic year later (on March 11, 1946), while his name appeared in a Casualty List published in the Times on March 22.  The recipient of the Purple Heart, he entered the Army in 1940, under serial number 321655330.  Born on April 5, 1917, he was the son of Albert R. and Ernestine I. Brand. 

__________

Flier Missing for Year Now Listed as Killed

Sgt. John E. Brand of the Twenty-third Bombardment Squadron, Fifth Bombardment Group of the Thirteenth Air Force, son of Mrs. Albert R. Brand of 200 West Seventieth Street, who was previously reported missing, was killed in action over Mindanoa Island on March 12, 1945, according to notice received from the War Department, it was learned yesterday.

Sergeant Brand, who was 28 years old, was an aerial radio operator.  He was a member of the crew of a Liberator that was lost on a combat mission.  He went into the Army on Aug. 4, 1940.  He had attended Bard College after being graduated from White Plains High School.
His father, the late Albert R. Brand, became an ornithologist after retiring from the New York Stock Exchange.  He was a pioneer in bird song recording and was a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and Cornell University.  Besides his mother, Sergeant Brand leaves a brother, Charles S. Brand of Ithaca, N.Y., who was a lieutenant in the Navy, and a sister, Mrs. Alice Rabson, of Ann Arbor, Mich.

___________________

The image below, from the flickr (NYC Upper West Side) photostream of Anomalous_A, Winter, 2010 view of 200 West Seventieth Street, the home of Sgt. Brand and his family.

____________________

Pages from the Missing Air Crew Report covering Maiden Montana and her crew are shown below:

The B-24 and the remains of her crew were eventually found, evidenced by the crew’s collective burial – in Section 85, Grave 98 – at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, which occurred on June 10, 1952.  An image of the crew’s grave marker, from FindAGrave.com, is shown below.  (Notably, the grave includes Navy Seaman 2nd Class Gerald F. Barrett, who was flying as a passenger.) 

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Monday, March 12, 1945, include…
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Charm, Harry S., S/Sgt., 6718203, Aerial Gunner (Left Waist), Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 351st Bomb Group, 510th Bomb Squadron
Mr. Louis Charm (father), 1511 East 9th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 12/7/15
No MACR; B-17G 43-38694 (“TU * D”; “Bigas Bird”); Pilot – 1 Lt. Ralph E. Mahnke; 9 crewmen aboard plane, no other fatalities
Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section H, Grave 8003; Buried 7/21/48
Casualty List 4/7/45
http://351st.org/loadlist
http://forum.armyairforces.com/Another-noob-researching-a-relatives-info-m241631.aspx
Harbour and Harris – 111, 116
American Jews in World War II – 288

Memler, Beatrice H. “Bobby”, 2 Lt., N-788562, Medical Attendant
United States Army Air Force, 804th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron
S/Sgt. Julius Memler (husband); Mr. Isidore Hutorina (father), 2446 ½ Malabar St., Los Angeles, Ca.
Born 1921
MACR 13672; C-46D 44-77373 (“XA 366”) Pilot – 2 Lt. Leo J. Kelly; 34 personnel aboard aircraft (Lt. Kelly and three crewmen, Lt. Memler and T/3 John H. Hudson of the 804th MAES, and 28 patients); Aircraft missing on medical air evacuation mission from Elmore Airstrip (Mindoro) to Tanauan Airfield (Leyte); no survivors.
Name commemorated on Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
American Jews in World War II – 49

____________________

There is a possibility that C-46 44-77373, on a medical evacuation flight from Elmore Airstrip, on Mindoro, to Tanuaun Airfield, on Leyte (a direct line distance of about 290 miles) collided with C-47A 42-100455 (MACR 14323), which was lost while on a flight from Tanauan Airfield, to deliver gasoline to Philippine guerillas at Labo, on the island of Mindanao. 

A review of the Missing Air Crew Report for the C-46 reveals that between 1300 and 1330 hours (local time), a message was received to the effect that the C-46 – which had taken off from Elmore Airstrip at 10:45 – was turning back to Mindoro.  No reason was specified.  C-47A 42-100455 (MACR 14323) was last seen on takeoff from Tanauan at 12:33.  

Neither plane was seen again.  (Missing air crew reports for both planes – filed shortly after they were missing – attributed their loss to weather.)

A Filipino farmer discovered the wreckage of the missing C-47 in 1989; the remains of pilot 2 Lt. Arthur F. Parkhurst were officially identified by October of 2010.  According to information provided by Robert Lucke, a member of the Facebook Group Philippine-American WW II POW/MIA Research Group, the wreckage of C-47A 42-100455 is located along the western slope of Mount Mamban, on Leyte, 35.77 kilometers (about 18 miles) from Tanuaun Airstrip.

During exploration of that area in 2013, local inhabitants told members of the Research Group about the wreckage of another aircraft – about 5 kilometers from the C-47’s crash site – aboard which had been a nurse.

Could that location be the resting place of the 34 MIAs aboard XA366?

A photograph of a possible fragment of C-46 XA366 (with the word “INSIDE” stamped upon it) discovered by the Research Group in 2013, is displayed in a late 2014 entry at the Pacificwrecks.com forum.

The map and aerial photo shown below – created from Google Maps – are of northern Leyte Island, and show the locations of Tanuan and Mount Mamban.  Tanuan is located south of Tacloban, along the western shore of San Pablo Bay, while the general location of Mount Mamban is denoted by Google’s “red” pointer.  The ruggedness of the countryside is immediately evident in the aerial photo. 

This image of Lieutenant Memler is from The Story of Air Evacuation, 1942-1989. 

Prisoner of War

Feld, Monroe Herbert, Sgt., 11021209, Aerial Gunner (Waist), Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 15th Air Force, 450th Bomb Group, 723rd Bomb Squadron
POW in Hungary – specific camp unknwon
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan and Helen Feld (parents), 35 Cherry St., Lynn, Ma.; Mrs. Evelyn (Feld) Eissen (sister), 124 West 79th St., New York, N.Y.; Major Sylvan Feld (brother)
Sgt. Feld and Sgt. Lawrence J. Cilestio were severely beaten upon capture.
Navigator 2 Lt. Richard H. Van Huisen and aerial gunner S/Sgt. William R. Ahlschlager murdered by Hungarian civilians – their bodies have never been found.
MACR 12820; B-24L 44-50245 (“Princess Pat”) 1 Lt. Murray G. Stowe (pilot); 10 crewmen – 8 survivors.
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Missing During Combat Mission – Returned to American Military Control

Salkind, Adam Paul, 2 Lt., 0-2071917, Navigator
15th Air Force, 301st Bomb Group, 352nd Bomb Squadron
Parachuted with crew, presumably over Russian-occupied Hungary
Mrs. Sarah S. Kalan (aunt), 801 West 181st St., New York, N.Y.
MACR 12992; B-17G 42-97918; Pilot – 2 Lt. Atlee B. Gulley; 10 crew; all survived
American Jews in World War II – 425

References

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

Harbour, Ken, and Harris, Peter, A Chronicle of the 351st Bomb Group (H), 1942-1945, B. Kennedy, Saint Petersburg, Fl., 1985.

The Story of Air Evacuation, 1942-1989, The World War II Flight Nurses Association, Taylor Publishing Company, Taylor, Tx., 1989

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: First Lieutenant Charles Blum

Charles Blum, a First Lieutenant in the 8th Reconnaissance Troop of the 8th Infantry Divison, was killed in Germany on March 19, 1945.  His name appeared in a Casualty List published on April 17, while his obituary – transcribed below – was published by the Times on July 26 of that year.  

____________________

Bronx Officer Killed in Germany March 19

First Lieut. Charles Blum of 1057 Faile Street, the Bronx, was killed in action on the Cologne Plain, Germany, on March 19, according to word received here.  His age was 25.

Lieutenant Blum, who was born in this city, attended Benjamin Franklin High School and was graduated from Ursinus College in 1941.

He entered the Army in October, 1941, and was commissioned in Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley, Kan.  He had been a member of the Eighth Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop of the First Army’s Eighth Division overseas.

He leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Blum; a widow, three brothers and two sisters.

____________________

The image below, from Google Maps, is a 2017 view of the location (or, at least what I believe was the location) of the Blum family’s home at 1057 Faile Street, in the Bronx.  If so, the address is now a vacant lot, or, apartment building.

__________________

Lt. Blum’s is one of many Jewish soldiers whose names did not appear in the 1947 publication American Jews in World War Two.  The location of his grave is – at the present time – unknown.

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Monday, March 19, 1945, include the following…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Axelrod, Herman E., T/4, 32639418, Purple Heart (Casualty in Europe)
United States Army, “330th Cavalry (?)”
Mrs. Ethel M. Axelrod (wife), 74 Jackson Ave., Jersey City, N.J.
Born 7/22/16
Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section H, Grave 8139
Casualty List 4/10/45
American Jews in World War Two – 226

Dorf
, Jerome Manuel, PFC, 36831303, Purple Heart (Casualty in Luxembourg)

United States Army, 80th Infantry Division, 319th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. and Mollie (Lieberman) Dorf (parents), Robert Philip Dorf (brother) [7/23/28-3/28/69], 4654 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, Il.
Born Chicago, Il., 5/9/23
Waldheim Jewish Cemetery, Chicago, Il. – Gate 90, Temple Judea Section
American Jews in World War Two – 97

Mines
, Rudolph, PFC, 32993385, Purple Heart (Casualty in Germany)

United States Army, 103rd Infantry Division, 411th Infantry Regiment, A Company
Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin and Sarah B. Mines (parents), 604 Crown St. / 1763 Crown St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 3/30/25
Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, N.Y.
Casualty List 4/14/45
American Jews in World War Two – 395

Murofchick
, Edward, Pvt., 32897836, Purple Heart (Casualty in Europe)

United States Army, 95th Infantry Division, 378th Infantry Regiment
Wounded previously – ~ 11/21/44
Mrs. Gussie Murofchick (mother), c/o Jacob Murfochick, 254 Beach 141st St., Belle Harbor, N.Y. / 1596 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 10/7/24
Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section J, Grave 16204
Casualty Lists 1/21/45, 4/14/45
American Jews in World War Two – 397

Rubin, William, Pvt., 35314910, Medical Corps, Purple Heart

United States Army, 36th Infantry Division, 142nd Infantry Regiment, Medical Detachment
Died of wounds 3/20/45
Mr. Isadore Rubin (father), 10530 Clairdoan Ave., Cleveland, Oh. / Mr. George Rubin (brother), 10520 Earl St., Cleveland, Oh.
Born 1923
Place of burial unknown
Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, April 17, 1945
American Jews in World War Two – 498

Schankman
, Nathan, 1 Lt., 0-1289818, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 63rd Infantry Division, 255th Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mrs. Minne Schankman (mother), 1856 Grand Concourse, New York, N.Y. / Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1919
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 5/3/45
American Jews in World War Two – 428

Staller
, Bernard, PFC, 12227029, Purple Heart (Casualty in Germany)

United States Army, 63rd Infantry Division, 255th Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mr. Adolf Staller (father), 2316 Lyons Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born 1926
Place of burial unknown
Casualty Lists 4/21/45, 5/12/45
American Jews in World War Two – 453

Tuchinsky
, Bernard (Baruch), Pvt., 32017723, Armor (“Bow Gunner”), Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster (Casualty in Germany)

United States Army, 4th Armored Division, 37th Armored Tank Battalion, B Company, 2nd Platoon;
Mrs. Lena Frieda (Chanchiske) Tuchinsky (wife), 3033 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rabbi Jacob J. (Yaakov Meir) and Hannah Rose Tuchinsky (parents); Rabbi Nathan Tuchinsky, Rev. Herman Tuchinsky, Harry Tuchinsky (brothers); Fay Levitz (sister)
Born 1917
Place of burial unknown
Syracuse Herald American 12/19/43
American Jews in World War Two – 462

The image below, from the Rome Daily Sentinel of July 2, 1941 (found via the fabulous Fulton History website), shows Private Tuchinsky and fellow soldiers of the 4th Armored Division at Pine Camp, New York.  According to an article in the Brooklyn Eagle in early February, 1941, Bernard was inducted for a (assumed) year’s service at the star of that year.  

Weiner, Jack M., T/5, 20324118, Purple Heart (Casualty in Germany)
United States Army, 177th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, A Troop
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham M. and Esther Weiner (parents), 5323 Arlington St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Mrs. Betty W. Sholder, Daniel, Mrs. Mary Handelsman, Mrs. Rose Poplow, Mrs. Sarah Alon (siblings)
Born 1/19/22; Enlisted January, 1941
Mount Sharon Cemetery, Springfield, Pa. – Section L; Buried 1/16/49
The Jewish Exponent 4/20/45
Philadelphia Inquirer 1/15/49
American Jews in World War Two – 558

The image below shows Cpl. Weiner’s matzeva at Mount Sharon Cemetery, in Springfield, Pennsylvania.  He is one of 64 military casualties of the Second World War (50 Army, 9 Army Air Force, and 5 Navy and Marine Corps) buried at Mount Sharon. 

Wounded in Action

Lazar, Edward L., T/4, 13155230, Purple Heart (Casualty in France)
United States Army
Mrs. Ida R. Lazar (wife), Marcie Ann (YOB 1944) and Joan Susan (YOB 1949) (daughters), 6204 Washington Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. / 817 Laurel Road, Yeadon Pa.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Eva (Ethel) Lazar (parents), 1853 Champlost Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
Also 1919 N. Stanley St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 2/28/16
The Jewish Exponent 4/20/45
Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Record 4/12/45
American Jews in World War Two – 535

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Captain Arthur H. Bijur

Captain Arthur H. Bijur, a member of the 43rd Signal Company, 43rd Infantry Division, was killed in action on January 14, 1945, near Rosario, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.  Awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart, his obituary was published in the Times on February 11, 1945, while his Silver Star citation was published on August 22. 

His parents were Nathan I. and Eugenie Bijur; his brothers Herbert and Lt. William Bijur; his sister Mrs. Jean Weiss.  The National World War Two Memorial Registry includes entries in his honor by Dr. John Wolf (his friend), and classmate John Liebmann.

__________

Word Received of Death in Action in Philippines

Capt. Arthur Henry Bijur, who served in the Army Signal Corps, was killed in action on Luzon in the Philippines on Jan. 14, according to word from the War Department received Friday by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan I. Bijur of Long Branch, N.J.  He would have been 26 years old on Feb. 14.

Born in New York City, Captain Bijur was an outstanding athlete at the Horace Mann School, winning four major letters.  He later attended Brown University, where he was captain of the soccer team.  He was graduated from the university in 1941 and enlisted in the Army shortly afterwards.

In March, 1942, he was appointed a second lieutenant and in August was shipped to the Pacific, where he took part in the Munda campaign, and the invasion of New Guinea and the Philippines.  Captain Bijur was the recipient of two citations.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by two brothers, Herbert Bijur and Lieut. William Bijur; and a sister, Mrs. Joseph D. Weiss.

__________

POSTHUMOUS AWARD

Silver Star for Captain Bijur of Army Signal Corps

The Silver Star Medal has been awarded posthumously to Capt. Arthur H. Bijur, 242 Bath Avenue, Long Branch, N.J., of the Army Signal Corps for gallantry in action against the Japanese on Luzon.  He lost his life when he crawled out of his foxhole to warn his men that enemy fire would soon run through their area.  He was killed by an enemy shell shortly after his last warning was given.

Captain Bijur’s citation praises his “keen devotion to duty, loyal consideration for his men and great courage.”  He was overseas for thirty-four months with the Forty-Third Division and was in action at Guadalcanal, in the Northern Solomons, in New Guinea and on Luzon.

____________________

Born in 1920, Captain Bijur is buried at the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines (Plot A, Row 9, Grave 104). 

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Sunday, January 14, 1945, include the following…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Benenson, Irving, T/5, 32195917, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army, 3rd Armored Division, 32nd Armored Regiment; Casualty at Vielsalm, Belgium
Mrs. Lillian Benenson (wife), 1659 President St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1917
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Ky. – E, 268 (Collective grave with T/5 Dee E. Hobbs)
Casualty List 3/14/45
American Jews in World War II – 273

Bornkind
, Jack, PFC, 16150444 (No Purple Heart?)

United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 274th Infantry Regiment, B Company
Captured 1/14/45; Died while Prisoner of War 4/23/45
Stalag 9B (Bad Orb); Berga am Elster (German POW # 27554)
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan N. and Rachel (Huldensman) Bornkind (parents); Bessie, Hildah, Josephine, Celia, Llecca, Sarah, and Louis (sisters and brother), 731 East Dartmouth Road, Flint, Mi.
Born 1/31/24, Michigan
Beth Olem Cemetery, Hamtramack, Mi. – Buried 1/9/49
American Jews in World War II – 188

Chernoff
, Alvin S., PFC, 32408380, Purple Heart

United States Army, 11th Armored Division, 55th Armored Infantry Battalion; Casualty in Belgium (Died of wounds)
Mr. Louis H. (“Herbert Lorin”) Chernoff (father), 115 W. 86th St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1914
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot G, Row 11, Grave 19
Casualty List 3/12/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Cooper
, Paul, T/5, 32425490, Purple Heart

United States Army, 35th Infantry Division, 134th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Rose Kupersmith (parents), 2764 Creston Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1909
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot E, Row 7, Grave 20 (ABMC gives date as 1/10/45)
Casualty List 3/24/45
American Jews in World War II – 293

Coslite
, Milton G., S/Sgt., 31051962, Purple Heart

United States Army, 11th Armored Division, 55th Armored Infantry Battalion; Casualty in Belgium
Mrs. Eva Ginsberg (mother), 2168 63rd St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1920
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot C, Row 2, Grave 18
Casualty List 3/13/45
American Jews in World War II – 294

Elpern
, Ivan L., 1 Lt., 0-385676, Purple Heart

United States Army, 6th Armored Division, 50th Armored Infantry Battalion; Casualty in Belgium
Mr. and Mrs. Lou H. and Margaret G. Elpern (parents), 101 Central Square, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Marvin Fortman (cousin)
Born 3/8/17; Enlisted 1935
(Matzeva and 293 File give military organization as “6th Armored Division, 50th Armored Infantry Battalion”, Member of 28th Infantry Division, 110th Infantry Regiment, from 2/17/41 to 7/19/42″)
Temple Emanuel Cemetery, Greensburg, Pa.
Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) 9/7/45
American Jews in World War II – 518

Ivan’s portrait – below – was published in Pittsburgh’s Jewish Criterion on September 7, 1945, in an extremely detailed – and quite accurate – article commemorating Jewish servicemen from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area who were killed or died during the just-ended war.  The article (perhaps the subject of a future blog post…?) carries brief biographical profiles, and photographs, of 83 servicemen, and lists the names of 32 other servicemen for whom information and photographs – at the time of publication – were missing.  In terms of individual attention, communal memory, and foresight, the Criterion’s effort was as admirable as it was remarkable, for not all Jewish periodicals published such retrospectives.

Haberer, Martin, Pvt., 32962210, Purple Heart
United States Army, 101st Airborne Division, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Max and Laura (Wertheimer) Haberer (parents), 3810 Broadway, Apt. 4-A, New York, N.Y.
Born Germany, 1925
Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section J, Grave 15963
Casualty List 3/13/45
Aufbau 2/16/45
American Jews in World War II – 339

Levine, Alfred, Pvt., 39015817, Purple Heart
United States Army, 26th Infantry Division, 101st Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Ida S. Levine (mother), 1427 Levonia Ave., Los Angeles, Ca.
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot H, Row 5, Grave 12
Casualty List 3/1/45
American Jews in World War II – 48

Rindsberg
, Walter J., Pvt., 42071539, Purple Heart

United States Army, 84th Infantry Division, 335th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Irma (Himmelreich) Rindsberg (parents), 44 Bennett Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born 1926, in Germany
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium – Plot D, Row 7, Grave 8
Casualty List 3/8/45
Aufbau 2/2/45, 2/16/45
American Jews in World War II – 413

Yusin, Irving, Pvt., 13153939, Purple Heart
United States Army, 11th Armored Division, 21st Armored Infantry Battalion
Mrs. Celia Yusin (mother), 2853 Barker Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born 4/1/22
Wellwood Cemetery, East Farmingdale, N.Y.
Casualty List 3/14/45
American Jews in World War II – 476

Zion, Morris J., PFC, 35289875, Purple Heart
United States Army, 83rd Infantry Division, 330th Infantry Regiment; Died of wounds
Mr. and Mrs. Max and Rose Zion (parents), 3738 E. 139th St., Cleveland, Oh.
ART 1C Joseph Zion, Harry Zion, and Robert Zion (brothers); Tillie Zion, Mrs. Mildred Hershman, and Mrs. Sara Oriti (sisters)
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium – Plot D, Row 13, Grave 12
Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, 2/2/45
American Jews in World War II – 504

A Portrait of Morris, provided Patti Johnson (a Volunteer Researcher studying the WW II Army Air Force’s Mediterranean-based 57th Bomb Wing) can be found at his biographical profile at the FindAGrave.com website.  This image is presented below: 

Killed (Non-Battle)
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Morris’ brother Joseph, a Navy Aviation Radio Technician, lost his life only one week before: On January 7, 1945.  His picture – displayed below – was also provided by Patti Johnson, and like that of Joseph, can be found at his FineAGrave.com biographical profile.  His name also appears on page 504 of American Jews in World War II. 

Born on August 15, 1908, Joseph was a passenger on a Martin JM-1 Marauder (Bureau Number 66724) of Naval Squadron VJ-16.  Piloted by Lt. Raymond Mara, the aircraft disappeared near Trinidad, in the Central Atlantic Ocean.  There were no survivors from the six men aboard the aircraft.

Morris and Joseph were members of the approximately fifty American Jewish families who lost two sons during the Second World War.  (The Liebfeld family of Milwaukee lost all three sons: Morris (USMC) and Sam (USAAF) in mid-1944, and Sigmund (also Army Air Force) on a domestic non-combat flight in October of 1945.  The brothers are buried at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, in Saint Paul.) 

These sets of brothers were profiled by Helen Kantzler in the appropriately entitled article “Double Gold Stars”, which was published in the Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) on September 20, 1946. 

Joseph’s name is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing, at the East Coast Memorial in New York City.

Prisoner of War

Lippin, Robert, PFC, 32974463
United States Army, 26th Infantry Division, 328th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 12A (Limburg an der Lahn) (German POW # 96673)
Mr. Bernard Lippin (father), 8020 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, 14, N.Y.
Born 6/7/23
NARA RG 242, 190/16/01/01, Entry 279, Box 41
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Wounded in Action

Alper, Eugene, Pvt., 37642240, Purple Heart; Wounded in Germany
United States Army
Mr. Nathan Alper (father), 738 Interdrive, University City, St. Louis, Mo.
Born Missouri, 1925
Saint Louis Post Dispatch 2/21/45
American Jews in World War II – 207

Hershfield
, Jesse L., PFC, 33810667, Purple Heart; Wounded in France

United States Army
Mrs. Lillian Hershfield (wife) Rachelle (daughter), 3320 W. Cumberland St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born 1921
National Jewish Welfare Board record card incorrectly gives surname as “Hershfeld”
The Jewish Exponent 2/23/45, 3/9/45
Philadelphia Inquirer 2/13/45
Philadelphia Record 2/13/45
American Jews in World War II – 528

Other Incident

Schrag, Emil, PFC, 31336965, Medical Corps, Bronze Star Medal
United States Army, 30th Infantry Division, 120th Infantry Regiment
Unknown incident in Germany 1/14/45 – RMC 4/12/45
Mrs. Hilde Dorothee (Schrag) Heimann (sister), New York, N.Y.
Mrs. Lena Schrag (mother), 510 W. 184th St., Bridgeport, Ct.
Born Germany, 1925
Aufbau 2/9/45, 5/4/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Corporal Philip Arkuss

Corporal Philip Arkuss’ name appeared in a Casualty List published in the Times on March 8, 1945, and his obituary – below – was published on March 20. 

Philip served in the 100th Bomb Squadron of the 42nd Bomb Group, a B-25 Mitchell equipped combat group of the 13th Air Force, stationed in the Southwest Pacific.  His aircraft, B-25J 43-27979, piloted by 2 Lt. John W. Magnum, was shot down by anti-aircraft fire during a low-level bombing and strafing mission to Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.  (Formerly the Netherlands East Indies.)  The plane was at too low an altitude for the crew to escape by parachute, though their chance of survival if captured would have been (very) highly problematic, at best.

According to American Jews in World War Two, Philip received the Purple Heart, but, no other military awards are listed for him.  If this is correct, it would suggest that he had flown less than five combat missions at the time of his death. 

__________

Former New Opera Player Dies on Celebes Mission

On Christmas Day Corp. Philip Arkuss of 170 Claremont Ave. entertained several thousand servicemen at his base by playing a violin he had purchased from a “buddy” after he went overseas.  Before entering the service he had been with the New Opera Company and with “Porgy and Bess,” and had won a Philharmonic scholarship.  He was 23 years old.

His widow, Olga Bayrack Arkuss, has received a War Department telegram reporting that he was killed on Jan. 11 in action over the Celebes Islands.  He was a radio operator – gunner in a B-25 bomber that was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft while flying low and crashed into a mountainside.

He had entered the service in February, 1943, training in Florida, South Dakota and South Carolina and went overseas in October of last year.  Before entering the service he had been concert master of a United Service Organization’s Symphony Orchestra that toured the country.

Besides his widow he is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Arkuss, and a brother, Albert.

This is a (very!) contemporary – a la 2017 – Google Street view of the Arkuss family’s WW II home – 170 Claremont Ave., in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan.

And, an equally contemporary street scene of 170 Claremont Ave., from (appropriately enough…) streeteasy.com.

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The MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) covering the loss of this plane and crew is presented below.  The number of this MACR – 15661 – indicates that the document is a “fill-in” MACR, filed after the war ended.

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The plane’s entire crew of six was buried in a collective grave at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, in Louisville, Kentucky, at Section E, in plot 145-146, on August 16, 1949.  An image of the crew’s collective grave marker taken by John and Kim Galloway (contributors to FindAGrave.com) is shown below:

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Other Jewish casualties in the 100th Bomb Squadron include Sergeant James Edward Levin (flight engineer), from Charleston, S.C., whose crew was lost on April 8, 1945; Second Lieutenant Joseph B. Rosenberg (navigator), from New York, N.Y., whose aircraft was lost on March 10, 1945; and Flight Officer Ralph E. Roth (navigator) from South Bend, In., lost with his crew on April 14, 1945. 

__________

Two other Jewish casualties on Thursday, January 11, 1945 included 1 Lt. Edward L. Heiss and Sgt. Philip Wolk, the bombardier and central-fire-control gunner of a B-29 Superfortress bomber (42-65226) of the 677th Bomb Squadron, 444th Bomb Group, United States Army Air Force, which was shot down during a bombing mission to Singapore.  The aircraft, piloted by Major Joseph H. Wilson, was struck by anti-aircraft fire while on its bomb-run – just two minutes from the target – and exploded. 

Of the 11 airmen aboard the B-29 (squadron number “54”), only three would survive:  Major Wilson, co-pilot 1 Lt. Russell G. Fitzgerald, and radio operator S/Sgt. Jerry D. Roberts.

Sgt. Wolk, Flight Engineer 1 Lt. Charles E. Vail, aerial gunner (right blister) S/Sgt. Boyd M. Gumbert, and, tail gunner T/Sgt. Alerick A. Holt presumably died in the explosion or crash of the aircraft. 

Lt. Heiss, navigator 1 Lt. Carroll N. Osterdahl, radar operator 1 Lt. Robert W. Yowell, and aerial gunner (left) S/Sgt. Samuel B. Ellis, Jr. all survived the explosion and – like Wilson, Fitzgerald, and Roberts – parachuted to safety. 

According to postwar statements by Major Wilson and Sgt. Roberts, Heiss and Yowell were captured by the Japanese while attempting to reach the headquarters of a local Chinese guerilla unit, possibly with the connivance of Manuel Fernandez, a “plantation worker who may have been playing both ends of the game for his own personal enrichment”.  Other (web) sources reveal that Lt. Osterdahl and Sgt. Ellis were also captured. 

In any event, these four men were killed (murdered) by their captors (specifically, a “Sub-Lieut. Koayashi” and a “W/O Toyama” of the 10th Special Base Unit) on February 10.    

Genealogical information about Pepi Heiss and Philip Wolk is presented below:

Heiss, Edward, 1 Lt., 0-688085, Air Medal, Purple Heart, 12 missions
Born in New York, in 1918
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Pepi Heiss (parents), Seymour and Sylvia (brother and sister), 503 East 2nd St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Commemorated at the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
http://www.444thbg.org/677thbombsq.htm
http://mdivah.blogspot.com/
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?p=196841
http://darkandbizaarestories.blogspot.com/2012/01/downed-b29-crewmen.html
http://wcsc.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/Japan/singapore/Trials/Fukudome.htm
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Several images of Lt. Heiss and his parents, and a crew photo, can be found a blog post by his niece, at “On Memorial Day, Remembrance of my Uncle Eddie is a blessing”, at her Divah World blog.

(Please check out http://mdivah.blogspot.com/ !)

This is the image of the crew (with Lt. Heiss’ circled) from the Divah World blog.  Since the aircraft forming the backdrop to the crew is a B-17 Flying Fortress, this image would have been taken while the crew was undergoing training in the United States.  Though no names are available, the men standing to the right and left of Lt. Heiss would presumably have been the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and flight engineer, with the enlisted personnel in front. 

This is Pepi’s photographic portrait, presumably taken upon his graduation from bombardier school:

Wolk, Philip, Sgt., 32805025, Purple Heart
Mrs. Bette Wolk (wife), 2810 Wallace Ave., Bronx, N.Y., Mrs. Bertha Wolk (mother), Miss Alice Wolk (sister)
Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, N.Y. – Path 30 Right, Gate 2, Grave 1, Kadish Brooklyn Society; Buried 6/21/50
American Jews in World War Two – 475

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

References

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom – Compiled by the Bureau of War Records of the National Jewish Welfare Board, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

Jewish Casualties in 100th Bomb Squadron (myrightword.blogspot.com), at http://myrightword.blogspot.com/search?q=100th

Zachary Taylor National Cemetery (Internment.net), at http://www.interment.net/data/us/ky/jefferson/zachnat/zachary_aaar.htm

B-25J 43-27979 (PacificWrecks.com), at http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-25/43-27979.html

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Private Alfred A. Berg

An obituary for Private Alfred A. Berg, an Army infantryman, accompanied a Casualty List published in The Times on February 22, 1945.

Born on August 31, 1923, he was a member of the 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized), of the 9th Armored Division, Private Berg was killed in action on December 23, 1944.  He was buried at Riverside Cemetery, in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, on July 27, 1948.  (Family Section 11, Map 325, Block I, Section 33, Plot 27, Grave 1.)

__________

Veteran of D-Day Landings is Killed in Luxembourg

One of the first to hit the Normandy beaches on D-day, Pvt. Alfred A. Berg, who did reconnaissance work in the mechanized cavalry, was killed in December in the unsuccessful German counterattack in Luxembourg, the War Department has notified his family here.

Private Berg, who was 21 years old, saw active service in all the major engagements leading up to the German break-through.  He never had much time to write his family of all his experiences because, as he explained in one of his letters, “I’m always in the foxholes.”

Born in this city, he was graduated from De Witt Clinton High School in 1941.  He was active in sports and was a member of the school’s swimming team.  He attended Pennsylvania State College before enlisting in the Army on June 25, 1943.  After five and a half month’s training at Fort Reilly, Kan., he was sent to England.

The Purple Heart was awarded to him posthumously.

Surviving are his father and stepmother, Mr. and Mrs. William Berg of 639 West End Avenue; a brother, Lieut. Russell Berg, now serving with the First Army in Belgium, and a stepbrother, Pfc. Laurence Curtis, who is stationed in Spokane, Wash. 

__________

An image of the location of his parents’ residence, at 639 West End Avenue (from apartments.com) is shown below:

__________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Saturday, December 23, 1944 include the following…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Chodash, Joseph, Pvt., 42088672
United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 345th Infantry Regiment, A Company, Purple Heart
Mr. Harry Chodash (father), 177 Broadway, Bayonne, N.J.; Joseph H. Chodash (nephew)
Born 12/21/15
United Hebrew Cemetery, Staten Island, N.Y.
American Jews in World War II – 229

Goldberger, Edward L., Cpl., 32797851
United States Army, 1st Infantry Division, 26th Infantry Regiment, Silver Star, Purple Heart (Matzeva gives date of 12/22/44)
Mr. Albert Goldberger (father), 1511 Sheridan Ave., New York, N.Y.; Edward and Stella (uncle and aunt)
Born 12/5/24
Riverside Cemetery, Rochelle Park, N.J. – Section Temple Beth Elohim, Map 129, Block G, Section 20, Plot 19, Grave 8; Buried 11/10/47
American Jews in World War II – 325

Hene
, Julius A., Capt., 0-477319, Purple Heart

United States Army, 106th Infantry Division, 422nd Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Bianka J. Hene (wife), 15 West 106th St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1909; Graduate of Cornell University
POW ~ 12/16/44; Interned at Stalag 12A (Limburg an der Lahn); Killed when stray bombs struck prisoners’ barracks during RAF bombing of adjacent rail yard
Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland – Plot F, Row 17, Grave 25
Casualty List 3/13/45; American Jews in World War II – 343

Klores
, Daniel N., PFC, 12022507, Purple Heart

United States Army, 101st Airborne Division, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment,
Mrs. Molly Klores (mother), 3109 Brighton 7th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 3/29/18
Mount Judah Cemetery, Cypress Hills, N.Y. – Section 1, Block S, Grave 138, Path R07, Charles Weinstein Society – Buried 11/29/48
Casualty List 3/9/45
American Jews in World War II – 364

Posner
, Norman F., Pvt., 42057685, Purple Heart

United States Army, 3rd Armored Division, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment
Mr. Jacob Posner (father), Box 721 / 940 North Hill St., Oceanside, Ca. // 5151 North 4th St., St. Petersburg, Fl.
Born Brooklyn, N.Y., 1925
Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland – Plot I, Row 11, Grave 6
American Jews in World War II – not listed

Prosnick
, Leonard, 2 Lt., 0-1032549, Purple Heart

United States Army, 106th Infantry Division, 106th Reconnaissance Troops
Mrs. Gladys Alene (Scott) Prosnick (wife) and Sherrylynn Prosnick (daughter) Born 9/24/44 (Murfreesboro, Tennessee?)
Mrs. Selma Fogel (mother), 117 South 55th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland – Plot H, Row 8, Grave 5
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 6/6/21
American Jews in World War II – 544

Saltzman
, Solomon, Pvt., 42004657, Purple Heart

United States Army, 10th Armored Division, 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
Mrs. Ida Saltzman (mother), 700 Avenue A, Bayonne, N.J.
Born 1926
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium – Plot H, Row 1, Grave 69
Casualty List 3/6/45
American Jews in World War II – 252

Died in other circumstance…

Feinberg, Sydney Charles, Capt., 0-482585
United States Army
Mrs. Nettie Feinberg (wife), Jimmy (son), New York, N.Y.; Mrs. Sadie Feinberg (mother); Dorothy and Melvin (brother and sister)
Graduate of Columbia University
Died in New York State
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War II – 305

Prisoners of War

Goldberg, Sheldon A., Pvt., 20218182, Purple Heart
United States Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 15th Infantry Regiment
POW at Reslaz Magdeburgh
Mrs. Gloria L. Goldberg (wife), 678 Linwood St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casualty List 6/5/45
American Jews in World War II – 325

Levy, Milton, PFC, 32874904
United States Army, 28th Infantry Division, 109th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 3A (Luckenwalde)
Mrs. Lena Levy (mother), 1945 64th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casualty Lists 4/19/45 and 5/23/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Semel, Jason W., Sgt., 32352898
United States Army, 101st Airborne Division, 401st Glider Infantry Regiment
Location of POW Camp unknown
Mr. and Mrs. Milton and Anna Semel (parents), 305 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born N.Y., 4/21/20
Casualty List 6/21/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Skoler, David, 1 Lt., 0-1292948
United States Army, 84th Infantry Division, 333rd Infantry Regiment
POW at Oflag 13B (Hammelburg)
Mrs. Gertrude Skoler (mother), 115 Quincy St., Quincy, Ma.
Casualty List 6/12/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Weitman, Morris, PFC, 12219182, Purple Heart
United States Army, 82nd Airborne Division, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 12A (Limburg an der Lahn)
Mr. Jacob Weitman (father), 212 East Seventh St., New York, N.Y.
Casualty List 6/20/45
American Jews in World War II – 471

Zimberg, Bernard, Pvt., 32204882
United States Army, 101st Airborne Division, 401st Glider Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 4B Muhlberg
Mrs. Bessie Zimberg (mother), 1448 57th St. / 5701 15th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1914
Casualty List 7/19/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Wounded in Action

Fogel, Edward, PFC, 13008356, Purple Heart (in Germany)
United States Army
Mr. George Fogel (father), 1289 East Chelten Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Pa., 1922
Philadelphia Record 1/11/45
American Jews in World War II – 521

Savran
, Bernard, PFC, 13054181, Purple Heart (in Germany)

Mrs. Fannie Savran (mother), 3122 West Clifford St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Pa., 1919
Philadelphia Record 2/18/45
American Jews in World War II – 549

Simon
, Henry I., PFC, 33588283, Purple Heart (in France)

United States Army
House Sergeant George Simon (father) [policeman], 5030 F St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Pa.; 1923
The Jewish Exponent 4/20/45
Philadelphia Record 1/30/45
American Jews in World War II – 522

Weisman
, Edward, Pvt., 33806816, Purple Heart (in France)

United States Army
Mrs. Edith Weisman (wife), 1608 S. 7th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Pa.; 1914
The Jewish Exponent 2/9/45, 2/23/45
Philadelphia Record 1/28/45
American Jews in World War II – 559

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

 

The Flight of JEWBOY: A Jewish Fighter Pilot in the Second World War – III: The Plane – P-38J 42-104107

Doubtless some visitors to this blog will already be familiar with Lockheed’s P-38 Lightning, but for those who are not…  The Lightning was one of most versatile, successful, and particularly one of the most physically distinctive fighter aircraft of the Second World War.  Designed by the Lockheed corporation to meet a 1936 Army Air Force Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new fighter (“interceptor”) aircraft capable of protecting the continental United States from bomber aircraft, in time the P-38 would also successfully fulfill the roles of aerial reconnaissance, pathfinder, bombardment leader (“droop-snoot”), and night fighter (albeit not actually used in combat in that role).

Particularly and immediately noticeable is the aircraft’s general design:  The configuration of most fighter aircraft of the Second World War – whether powered by radial or in-line (liquid-cooled) engines – was manifested in the “conventional” planform of a fuselage with engine at front, atop low-mounted wings, and with a single tail.  Of course, tremendous variation in design existed between the Axis and Allies, let alone among the aircraft manufacturers of any warring nation.  Due to the RFP requirements for speed, a fast rate of climb, heavy firepower, and duration of flight at full throttle, the Lightning was strikingly different.  This was due to the innovative approach of the aircraft’s design team, which was headed by Clarence C. “Kelly” Johnson.

Two supercharged engines were used.  But, rather than a conventional, continuous fuselage extending to and terminating in a single tail unit, the pilot and armament (and other equipment, such as aerial cameras, bombsight, or bombing radar), and radio were situated in a central “pod” or “gondola” between the engines, the latter being housed in individual nacelles, each extending rearward to an individual fin and rudder.  Mounted between and “connecting” these twin fins and rudders was a horizontal stabilizer / elevator, with the plane resting on tricycle landing gear.  The resulting design was visually distinctive and thus readily identifiable at great distances, by coincidence imparting an almost “art-deco” quality to the plane.

Though other WW II American military aircraft may be better known in popular culture, the Lighting’s technologically innovative design and consequent versatility, combined with its performance and firepower, eventuated in an outstanding and eminently successful military aircraft. 

And in another sense, an aesthetically beautiful flying machine, as well.         

The Lightning was used by the Army Air Force in all combat theaters, rising to special preeminence in the Pacific, the United States’ two most successful WW II aces (Major Richard I. Bong and Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr.) attaining the entirety of their victories against the against the Japanese in P-38s.  In the European Theater, though eventually almost entirely superseded – in the fighter role – in the 8th and 9th Air Forces by the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt – the plane was continuously used by three Mediterranean-based fighter groups (1st, 14th, and 82nd) which were assigned to the 12th (and in turn 15th) Air Forces.

For a comprehensive and detailed account of the development and use of the P-38 Lighting upon the air war against Germany and Japan – with particularly insightful analysis of the strategic impact of the P-38 in the European Theater, where the reputation of the P-38 was eventually overshadowed by the P-51 Mustang – the following document by Dr. Carlo Kopp, from the Air Power Australia website, is particularly noteworthy and very highly recommended:  Der Gabelschwanz Teufel – Assessing the Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Technical Report APA – TR – 2010 – 1201).

The image below is an excellent representative photograph of a P-38 in flight.  When this picture was taken, this specific P-38J – 42-68009 – later (temporarily) nicknamed Snafuperman – was probably being flown by Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier (mentioned in Phil’s interview).  42-68009 was lost in a flying accident in New Guinea in early 1945. 

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JEWBOY, P-38J, 42-104107, was photographed some time in late May through early June of 1944.  Assigned to the 49th Fighter Squadron (“Hangmen”) of the 14th Fighter Group, it was eventually wrecked in an accident at Triolo on July 31, 1944.

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The 14th Fighter Group, like most Army Air Force fighter groups, was comprised of three squadrons (the other two being the 37th and 48th), as well as a Headquarters Squadron.

The individual aircraft in the 14th’s squadrons were identified by numbers painted upon both sides of the nose, and also upon the outer surfaces of the tail-boom mounted coolant radiators.  A specific numerical range was used to denote the planes in each squadron, with numbers 1 through 30 being allocated to the 48th, 31 through 60 for the 49th, and 61 through 90 for the 37th.  The squadron’ aircraft were further distinguished from one another by horizontal stripes painted upon the upper, outer surface of their planes’ fins and rudders, with all aircraft in a squadron bearing the same color:  Red for the 37th, blue for the 49th, and white for the 48th.  This stripe was sometimes highlighted or trimmed in black or gold to render it more distinctive.  The central part of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator was also painted and trimmed in the same squadron color.  Finally, common to all 15th Air Force fighters as of early 1944, the propeller spinners were painted red. 

The plane’s squadron markings are thus typical in appearance for P-38s assigned to the 49th Fighter Squadron in 1944 and 1945.

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Though the date of the photograph is unknown, it was probably taken some time between May 25, 1944 (the date of Phil’s last victory), and his departure for the United States on Jun 9 of that year.  The circled swastikas likely denote aerial victories, while the “uncircled” swastikas probably denote aircraft destroyed in a strafing attack against a German airfield at Villaorba, Italy, on May 14, 1944.

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The two images below are from the flickr photostream of Stefanie Comfort; specifically her album “Jewish Military, U.S.”, where they are listed as “U.S. Military WW2 Jewish Philip M. Goldstein scan0069“.

Unfortunately, the name of the photographer, and the date and location of the images are not given.  However, the B-24 Liberators in the background of the photos provide a clue.

In this photo, a B-24 Liberator is visible in the right center of the photograph.  The horizontal bar on the lower portion of the bomber’s starboard fin and rudder indicates that the aircraft probably belonged to the 461st Bomb Group.  This implies that the photos were taken at the 461st’s base at Torretto.

This image confirms that the word “Jewboy” was painted in English – rather than German – on the plane’s starboard nacelle.

The following image is particularly useful in illustrating the blue tail stripe of the 49th Fighter Squadron on the plane’s fin and rudder, and, the individual aircraft squadron number “47” painted on the exterior of the starboard oil cooler housing.  Though the aircraft’s serial number “2104107” is situated below the tail stripe, it has been obscured by exhaust gases from the supercharger, which (not visible in the photo) is mounted atop the engine nacelle.  (This was a common effect in P-38s, often making photographic identification of specific planes difficult.)

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Here are two beautiful illustrations of 42-104107 by Andrej T. Sadlo, which appear in the Mini Topcolors series book P-38 Lightning at War, Part 2 (coauthored with Maciej Góralczyk, and published by Kagero). Like other works in the Mini Topcolors series (which covers both aircraft and armored vehicles), the book is a painting and markings guide for a few, select military subjects with significant and unusual markings, and includes 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32 scale decal sheets, published by Cartograf, for each subject.  Each aircraft is illustrated by a four-view profile.

 

This vertical view illustrates the central stripe painted on the horizontal stabilizer and elevator of 14th Fighter Group P-38s.

The Flight of JEWBOY: A Jewish Fighter Pilot in the Second World War: A Voice From the Past

Phil, in front of his plane.

In this 24-minute file (derived from a much lengthier interview) Phil relates memories and highlights of his service as a military pilot.  The “sections” of the interview are listed below.

1: 0:00 – 0:42 – Mother attending Graduation at Williams Field; Saying good-bye to family and friends
2: 0:45 – 3:46 – Aircraft flown in training (PT-17, BT-13, P-322, AT-9); Encountering and overcoming antisemitism
3: 3:50 – 5:22 – Departing United States (via ship) for overseas from Hampton Roads, Va.; Encountering a rabbi before departure; Saying good-bye to family
4: 5:29 – 9:00 – Use of P-38s by 8th Air Force; Maintenance and flyability of P-38 in England (8th Air Force) versus Mediterranean (12th and 15th Air Forces); Losing engine on take-off while flying the P-38; Witnessing Tony LeVier fly P-38
5: 9:05 – 11:23 – Nature of combat flying (physical and mental aspects); Living conditions in North Africa and Italy (diet)
6: 11:28 – 13:00 – Personalities of fighter pilots (“Tiger” Jones and James W. Tipton); Opinion about movie “Top Gun”
7: 13:05 – 16:14 – Wingmen; Best wingman (Warren E. Semple); Incident over Ploesti; Three B-24s attacked by German fighters; Me-109s engaged by Goldstein and Semple; Claims not confirmed; Semple later killed in action.  (Actually, incident with Semple occurred over Piacenza, Italy, on May 25.  Goldstein shot down an FW-190; Semple shot down an Me-109 and FW-190.  Phil actually shot down the Me-109 on April 2, over Steyr, Austria.)
8: 16:20 – 16:42 – Death of best friend (Edgar G. Hemmerlein)
9
: 16:45 – 17:32 – Psychologically acclimating oneself to combat flying on a routine basis
10: 17:37 – 22:06 – Thoughts about implications of being a Jew flying combat missions over German-occupied Europe; Assumption that he would not survive war; Meeting rabbi at Hampton Roads; Saying good-bye to family; Most dangerous mission he flew (Wingman to Robert K. Seidman 5/14/14); Witnessing loss of B-24s over Munich
11: 22:09 – 23:42 – Getting his “own” P-38 and naming aircraft “JEWBOY”; Reaction of others to nickname
12
: 23:47 -24:13 – Reading from the Tanach and saying Shema Yisrael every night; Wearing Mezuzah with dog-tags.

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This is a 1944 or 1945 aerial view of the 14th Fighter Group’s airfield at Triolo, Italy, looking south-southwest. (Photograph from Historical Records of 14th Fighter Group, in NARA Records Group 18.)

This is a very contemporary (2017) Google Earth 3-D view of the site of the Triolo Airfield, adjusted to view the location from the same orientation and perspective as the above photograph.  Though the runway, taxi strips, and revetments no longer exist, the locations of these features can be distinguished by the areas of light-colored soil which have the same “shape” as these wartime features.  Akin to the above image, south-southwest is towards the top.

This image shows the same area as the above photo, but in a conventional, vertical view.  The locations of the taxi strips are readily distinguished by light-colored soil.

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Interview Part 4: Use of P-38s in 8th Air Force

According to Bert Kinzey, in P-38 Lightning in Detail & Scale – Part 2, difficulties with P-38s in England were attributable to the, “…poor quality of British fuels.  These fuels did not cause problems in inline engines which had mechanical superchargers or even in radial engines with turbo-superchargers.  But they simply did not work at high power settings in an inline engine that was turbo-superchargers.  Wherever Lightnings were used with high grade American fuel, they performed admirably and established a great record for reliability.”

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Interview Part 6: Pilots of the 49th Fighter Squadron, May, 1944

The 49th Fighter Squadron is credited with 139 confirmed aerial victories attained between November 24, 1942, and March 22, 1945.  Of the 184 pilots known to have been assigned to the squadron, 79 were lost, based on an examination of squadron records and Missing Air Crew Reports.  Of the 79, 24 survived as POWs, 45 were killed in action, 8 were killed in non-combat related flights, 1 evaded capture, and 2 others survived under unknown circumstances. 

This photograph of the squadron’s pilots was taken on May 22, 1944.  The 27 men pictured comprise only those pilots assigned (or, at least present for the photograph!) at the actual time the image was taken.  As mentioned above, many other pilots were assigned to the squadron before, and after, this date.   

Front Row (L – R; seated)

Nathan M. Abbott, Major (Squadron Commander) 0-378458, 103 Shelburne Rd., Burlington, Vt.; 4 aerial victories.
John G. Schill, Jr., 1 Lt., 0-798170, 317 West Rockland St., Philadelphia, Pa., KIA 7/14/44 over Hungary (P-38J 42-104148, # 138, MACR 6868); 1 aerial victory; Buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France – Plot B, Row 23, Grave 20
Houston C. Musgrove, Jr., Lt., 0-802060, Box 431, Homer, La.
Warren L. Jones, Lt., 0-1703079, Box 112, Live Oak, Ca.; 5 aerial victories (ace)
Wesley L. Jule, 2 Lt., 0-1703109, 404 Baker St., Bellingham, Wa., POW 6/14/44; over Hungary (P-38J 42-104135, # 49, “Fighting Irishman”, MACR 6420); 1 aerial victory
Philip M. Goldstein, 2 Lt., 0-750574, 642 George St., Norristown, Pa.; 3 aerial victories

Second Row (L – R; seated)

Edgar G. Hemmerlein, 2 Lt., 0-75058, 423 Fourth St., Huntingburg, In., Died on May 27, 1944, after an accident at Serragio, Airdrome, Corsica the preceding day (P-38J 42-104236, # 53, No MACR); Buried at Fairmount Cemetery, Huntingburg, Indiana
Warren E. Semple, 1 Lt., 0-744772, 12 France St., Norwalk, Ct., KIA 6/15/44 France (P-38J 42-104266, # 54, MACR 6423); 2 aerial victories; Buried at Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France – Plot B, Row 9, Grave 3
Harold Simmons, Lt., 0-659192, 580 Beach St., Revere, Ma.; 2 aerial victories
Jack Lenox, Jr., Lt., 0-1703108, 123 West Birch, Enid, Ok.; 5 aerial victories (ace)
Louis L. Benne, 1 Lt., 0-802235, Box 156, Listie (Somerset County), Pa., POW 6/14/44 Hungary (P-38J 42-104229, # 38, MACR 6031); 5 aerial victories (ace)
Wilson H. Oldhouser, Lt., 0-739662, 43 North Albermarle, York, Pa.; 3 aerial victories

Third Row (L – R; standing)

Quentin A. Teige, 2 Lt., 0-758887, 1529 Mary St., Marinette, Wi., KIA 5/24/44 Austria (P-38J 43-28261, # 60, MACR 5184); 1 aerial victory; Buried at Forest Home Cemetery, Marinette, Wi. – Plot K, 24, 1, 1
John D. Lewis, Lt., 0-754522, 1282 Oxford St., Berkeley, Ca.; 1 aerial victory
George T. Johnson, Lt., 0-817958, 582 Cate Rd., Pico, Ca.; 1 aerial victory
Gunvald B. Thorsen, Lt., 0-758891, 429 61st St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Swanson T. Shortt, 2 Lt., 0-744776, Galax, Va., KNB 6/20/44 Triolo, Italy (P-38J 43-28450, No MACR); 3 aerial victories; Buried at Gladeville United Methodist Church Cemetery, Galax, Va.
Moses J. Long, 2 Lt., 0-816126, 513 S. Conception St., Mobile, Al., POW 8/14/44 France (P-38J 43-28643, # 42, MACR 7953, Luftgaukommando Report ME 2274); 1 aerial victory
William R. Palmer, Lt., 0-729052, 3565 Calafia Ave., Oakland, Ca.; 2 aerial victories

Rear Row (L – R; standing)

Thomas S. Purdy, Lt., 0-802343, 165 South 1st Ave., Alpena, Mi.; 4 aerial victories
Richard L. Fowler, 2 Lt., 0-750564, 1565 Chestnut St., San Francisco, Ca. / Indian Rock, Tx., POW 5/24/44 Italy (P-38J 42-104202, # 44, MACR 5638); 1 aerial victory
James W. Tipton, Lt., 0-750724, 324 1/2 South 18th Ave., Phoenix, Az.
Jackson R. Schetler, Lt., 0-799654, 526 Fairview St., Riverside, N.J.
John F. Cullen, Lt., 0-743922, 99 Knowles St., Pawtucket, R.I.; 1 aerial victory
Walter C. McConnell, 2 Lt., 0-816901, Box 58, Cornelius, N.C., KIA 8/14/44 France (P-38J 42-104123, MACR 7976); Tablets of the Missing at at Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France – Possibly Buried as “Unknown X107”
Lawrence A. O’Toole, Lt., 0-760486, 387 Cross St., Akron, Oh.; 1 aerial victory
Clyde L. Jones, Jr., 2 Lt., 0-760324, 1104 S. Adams St., Fort Worth, Tx., POW 6/14/44 Hungary (P-38J 42-104262, # 48, MACR 6127); 4 aerial victories

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First Lieutenant James W. Tipton

“1st Lieut. James W. Tipton, 24, 324 1/2 South 18th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, and his crew chief S/Sgt, Maimone.  The Lieut. has successfully completed 50 combat missions and returned to the United States.”  (Image from Historical Records of the 14th Fighter Group – Headquarters Squadron, AFHRA Microfilm Roll BO079)

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Interview Part 7: Aerial victories of First Lieutenant Warren E. Semple, May 25, 1944

First Lieutenant Warren E. Semple (Image from FindaGrave.com)

These two accounts are transcribed from Combat Claim Forms in the Historical Records of the 49th Fighter Squadron, from AFHRA Microfilm Roll AO742.

“On May 25, 1944, I was flying number four position in White flight on a mission escorting B-24s to the A/D at Piacenza, Italy.  As we entered the target area we engaged 8 to 10 Me 109s.  During the combat I followed my leader down in a long dive.  Due to the terrific speed of my plane I was unable to pull out at the same time my leader did.  When I managed to pull out of the dive I was fairly far behind my leader.  As I pulled up to join him a FW 190 crossed in front of me at 30 [degrees] and I made a slight turn as I fired.  I saw three or four 20mm strikes around the cockpit and then the whole canopy seemed to be blown off.  At this time the plane flipped onto its back out of control and it was still spinning as it passed thru the cloud level 5 or 6 thousand feet below.  As there seemed to be no recovery, I judge that the pilot had been killed after my shells hit the cockpit.  I did not follow him thru the clouds for it was imperative that I return and join the squadron.”

“On May 25, 1944, I was flying in white four position, escorting B-24s in a mission over Piacenza Airdrome in Northern Italy.  As we entered the target area at approximately 25,000 feet, we saw a group of 8 or 10 Me 109s in flights of two.  These enemy planes were a little high to us at three o’clock.  One other Me 109 was flying at the same clock position as a decoy.  The flight leader called out the flight which would engage the enemy.  As the 109s broke toward us and down I got on one’s tail.  From dead astern I fired a very long burst while closing in.  I saw the plane burst into flame all along the engine and cockpit.  I followed it through a cloud and saw it crash into the ground.”

Warren Semple was killed on June 15, 1944, during a strafing mission against Luftwaffe airfields at Lajasse (near Salon), Orange and Avignon, France.  He is buried at the Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France

There were no actual witnesses to his loss; squadron records simply state that he was “…last seen in the target area at 44-08 N, 04-52 E.”  He is among a group of five American fighter pilots – killed at the Plan de Dieu between June 15 and August 13, 1944 – who in April of 2005 were memorialized on a commemorative tablet at Travaillan, Vaucluse, France.  According to the Kracker Luftwaffe Archive, he was shot down by 56 victory Luftwaffe ace Leutnant Eduard Isken of III / JGr (Jagdgruppe) 200. 

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Here is the Combat Claim Form for Phi Goldstein’s aerial victory of May 25, 1944, from AFHRA Microfilm Roll AO742.  The description of the combat is transcribed below.

“On May 25, 1944, I was flying blue three position on a mission escorting B-24’s to the A/D at Piacenza, Italy.  As we entered the target area we sighted several enemy airplanes and immediately engaged them in combat.  During this engagement a FW 190 made a head on pass at me.  I gave him a quick burst and then pulled around to get behind him.  As I completed my turn I noticed that his engine was on fire and then I saw the plane roll over and the pilot bail out.”

Unfortunately, 49th Fighter Squadron Combat Claim Forms only seem to exist (or least, to have been preserved) from May of 1944 forward.  Thus, no such document is available for Phil’s victory of April 2.  A Combat Claim Form does exist for his victory over an (apparent) IAR 80 on May 7, but is not presented here. 

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Interview Part 8: Second Lieutenant Edgar G. Hemmerlein

Similar to the accounts for Warren Semple, this account is transcribed from a Combat Claim Form in the Historical Records of the 49th Fighter Squadron, from AFHRA Microfilm Roll AO742.

“On May 25, 1944, I was green three on a mission escorting B-24s to the A/D at Piacenza, Italy.  As we escorted the bombers to the target area we were engaged by approximately 30 mixed enemy aircraft.  I sighted one FW 190 in a dive.  He was approaching us from head on.  I lowered my nose to give him a little lead.  I saw that I was giving him too much lead so I held my trigger and let him fly through my line of fire.  I saw several pieces fly off the plane and also saw my cannon shells bursting on his fuselage.  As the enemy plane passed under my nose I lost sight of him.  Due to the enemy action I was not able to look for him, as I was too busy trying to keep away from the other enemy fighters.”

Edgar G. Hemmerlein, as an Aviation Cadet.  He is buried at Fairmount Cemetery, in Huntingburg, Indiana.  Edgar’s tombstone carries the inscription “2 LIEUT 49 AAF FIGHTER SQ – WORLD WAR II”

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Interview Part 9: Phil’s Combat Missions (From Historical Records of the 14th Fighter Group, in NARA Records Group 18.)

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Brigadier General Atkinson, Major Bright, and Colonel Oliver B. (“O.B.”) Taylor, the latter Commander of the 14th Fighter Group from September 26, 1943 to July 17, 1944.  (Image from Historical Records of the 14th Fighter Group – Headquarters Squadron, AFHRA Microfilm Roll BO079.)

Interview Part 10: “With Seidman” – Phil is referring to the loss of 1 Lt. Robert K. Seidman, who was shot down by flak and killed during the 14th Fighter Group’s strafing mission against German airfields near Aviano and Villaorba, Italy, on May 14, 1944, on his 50th, and last scheduled combat mission.  (P-38J 42-104259, #42, “Peg”, MACR 5049)  From Pittsburgh, Robert is seen below, with fellow Pittsburgher Lt. Joseph Havrilla, in an official photograph taken on December 21, 1943.  (Army Air Force Photograph 3A-49287 / C-27286)

From Lt. Seidman’s diary, “Dec. 21st: No mission today.  Overcast heavy everywhere.  All of our targets obscure.  Photographer came out from Wing and took pictures of Colonel Taylor, Lt. Havrilla, Lt. Schoener and myself in front of a 38.”

Robert’s fate was resolved in 1948.  He is buried at B’Nai Israel Cemetery, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.