MORE SCHUYLKILL COUNTY HEROES IN WW ll
B-17 Flight Engineer Now Training for the Pacific.
June 5, 1945
T/Sgt Harry P. Hoffman, Pine Grove an engineer and top turret gunner on the Flying Fortress B-17 “Knockout Dropper” is a veteran of more than 26 heavy bombing missions. He has taken part in missions to attack such well known centers of Nazi industry as Berlin, Munich, Hanover and Hamburg. With the end of the air war over Germany, during which the 8th Air Force heavy bombers dropped an average of a ton of bombs every minute of the past year in paving the way for the march of allied armies across Europe, Sgt. Hoffman has now begun a phase of combat training designed to equip him for service in the pacific. He holds the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
SAILOR EXPECTED HOME AFTER SERVING 18 MONTHS IN SOUTH PACIFIC.
June 5, 1945
Radioman 2/c Paul A. Sheaker, Auburn is expected home in June after serving 18 months with Admiral William F. Halsey’s Third Fleet in the South Pacific. He writes that his ship “Took part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands and Admiralties; raid on Rabul and New Ireland; first raid on Formosa; First, second, and third raids on Peleaus, the invasion of Leyte, Mindoro and Luzon, first raids on the China coast and Singapore; raids on Iwo Jima and the invasion of the China Sea and very hazardous passage through Philippine straits. This was back in December just before our troops landed in Luzon and it was quite a trip. We passed through one straight that was only three miles wide with Japs on both sides. We could see the small towns peeping through the trees and the church steeples higher than the rest. On the second afternoon we all flocked to the rail to watch a couple of Liberator’s bombing a Jap oil dump. When they ran out of bombs they came in low on strafing runs just for good measure.
“They were having a wonderful time and I’m sure glad we are ion the winning side. But all is fair in war and just to prove it the Japs gave our positions a going over on Mindoro a few nights later. We crossed the international date line four times and the Equator nine or ten times. We were in very bad typhoon and two lesser ones. We have sailed in every kind of water and climatic condition the Pacific can dish out, with air and sub attacks. We’ve run around on coral reefs and have been rammed by other ships and were the first ship in the whole navy to fuel two battleships at one time.”
AIRCRAFT MECHANIC PFC. ROBERT F. KIENZIE UNIT FLIES 500TH MISSION.
JUNE 5, 1945
Serving with the 1st Tactical Air Force Marauder “Boomerang Group” in France , Pfc. Kienzie, Pottsville recently saw the Boomerangs, fly their 500th mission in a series of six major campaigns from Africa to Germany. He is an Airplane Mechanic, and has been overseas since February, 1944. He also has three brothers in the service.
CRESSONA AIRMAN FLEW 35 COMBAT MISSIONS
JUNE 5, 1945
S/Sgt. Clarence M. Krammes, an 8th Air Force waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator, has recently been awarded a fifth oak leaf cluster to his Air Medal. Prior to VE day Sgt. Krammes flew 35 missions participating in attacks on Karlsruhe, Hamm, Ulm, Berlin, Dresden, Saarbrucken, Bremen, Kiel and military installations in conjunction with allied ground advances. Sgt. Krammes has been in the service 12 months, he received his wings at Laredo, Texas.
AIRCRAFT MECHANIC PFC. GEORGE M. HOLAUCHOOK FLIES THE BATTLFIEDS OF EUROPE.
JUNE 5, 1945
Pfc. George Holauchook, Pottsville recently participated in an aerial sight seeing tour over European battlefields. Pvt. Holauchook is a mechanic in the 4th Fighter Group and has been part of its non flying personnel for 20 months in England. While flying at 1,000 feet over Germany in a four engined Liberator, Pfc. Holauchook was able to view the grand scale of destruction of a railroad yards, bridges and factories. It was a six and half hour flight, beginning and ending at his 4th Fighter Groups base in Essex County , England.
HEGINS B-17 RADIO OPERATOR AWARDED 2ND OAK LEAF CLUSTER TO THE AIR MEDAL
JUNE 6, 1945
Sgt. Claude H. Bressler, 25 year old Flying Fortress radio operator and gunner from Hegins, has been awarded the second oak leaf cluster to his air medal while participating in the 8th Air Force bombing attacks on vital German industries and military installations. Sgt. Bressler is a member of the 447th Bomb Group, which was coordinating most of the bombing attacks with the allied ground offensive in Germany.
THREE COUNTY SAILOR’S ON A DESTROYER SUNK OFF OKINAWA
JUNE 6, 1945
S1/c Martin Fox, St. Clair is home from duty in the Pacific, where his ship a destroyer was sunk off the coast of Okinawa. A Japanese suicide plane struck amidships and she sank soon after. Two other county boys were on the ship, one of whom lost his life. He was Allan Bixler, Pottsville. The other seaman is Robert Frantz, of Minersville who escaped uninjured. Seaman Fox was an anti aircraft gunner aboard the ill fated destroyer. He was in the water only half and hour after his ship went down until he was picked up by another ship and returned to California.
POTTSVILLE SOLDIER SAW TOUGH FIGHTING IN HEDGEROWS OF FRANCE. AWARDED THE SILVER STAR, BRONZE STAR AND PURPLE HEART.
JUNE 7, 1945
S/Sgt. James J. Bedway, Pottsville has been awarded the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters, A Bronze Star and Silver Star. He wrote home telling of his landing near Carenton, France, (Normandy) and his entrance into action. He said in part, “It was really tough fighting in the hedgerows. I mean every word of it. There gaining ground meant hard fighting and after a breakthrough we were one happy bunch of Yanks. I have seen plenty and I mean plenty. I slept in holes next to our boys who were killed.” Sgt. Bedway had many narrow escapes among them a time when he left his fox hole to visit another group of Yanks dug in nearby, a shelling occurred and after he returned to his fox hole he found his gun and things all shot up.
B-17 RADIO OPERATOR FLIES A MISSION TO REPATRIATE ALLIED PRISONERS
June 7, 1945
TSgt. Thomas Toth, Pottsville, radio operator and gunner on the 452nd Bomb Group’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Lady Gay”, 8th Air Force, England recently assumed a different role when he flew with formations of the 8th Air force Third Division on a shuttle flight to Linz, Austria to return liberated allied prisoners of war to their native countries. The flight to Austria was made at the low level of 2,000 feet and the combat airman had an excellent view of the tremendous destruction wrought upon the Nazi hordes by the incessant heavy bombing attacks on vital German War and Nazi Industries and transportation lines prior to VE day. Sgt. Toth’s Fortress landed at an airfield on the out skirts of Linz, Austria, and he immediately began to aid in the loading and handling of the lonf imprisoned Allied troops many of them sick and injured. “The liberated Allied prisoners wee carried to Belgium and France jumped with joy and excitement as we flew over their native countries,” said Sgt. Toth.
CUMBOLA BASEBALL PLAYER SGT. SCOTT DRUM KIA.
JUNE 12, 1945
A well known Cumbola Baseball player, previously reported missing in action is now reported to have died in the line of duty.
He was Sgt. Scott E Drum who was reported lost on February 23, 1945 in Germany. Official word was received from the War Department saying he died in action.
Sgt. Drum had once been wounded in action on July 17, 1944 in France. He had many thrilling experiences and narrow escapes during his 18 months overseas, however his luck did not hold out. A member of an Artillery unit, he entered service in September, 1942.
A native of Morea, he was educated in Beaverbrook and Maryd Schools and was a member of St. Pauls Lutheran Church Prot Carbon. He was well known in the county sports world having been a star performer with the Cumbola Baseball team.
Jap suicide plane
FRACKVILLE SAILOR HELPS DESTROY TWO JAP SUICIDE PLANES.
JUNE 12, 1945
A Frackville seaman serving aboard a destroyer in the Pacific area, has been commended for helping to destroy two Jap suicide planes making attacks on his ship. GM2/c Lawrence Morgan is serving aboard the destroyer USS Harrison, and received a commendation from his commanding officer.
It Read as Follows: “You are here by commended by the commanding officer for your very exemplary performance of duty in assisting to destroy two enemy planes making suicide attacks on this vessel on the afternoon of April 6, 1945. The excellent manner in which you directed your gun crew and averted not only possible but certain damage to this vessel and her personnel, is highly commendatory.”
“Because of you and of the men of your caliber serving onboard this vessel, the commanding officer entertains a feeling of highest confidence in this command and is consequently eager to take this ship into battle at any time and anywhere.”
Morgan enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and has served in both theatres of the war.
ARTLLERYMAN FROM POTTSVILLE BATTERS JAPS
JUNE 12, 1945
Pfc. Joseph V. Fronza of Pottsville, now in action against the Japanese on Okinawa with the Bisons Artillery Battalion of the famed 27th Division. The big guns of Pfc. Fronza’s outfit are blasting fortified enemy artillery, mortar and machine gun positions in support of Army and Marine troops meeting stiff Jap resistance in the southern portion of the Island.
Aircraft from the "Sun Setters"
A MEMBER OF THE FAMOUS ‘SUN SETTERS’ FIFTH AIR FORCE
JUNE 12, 1945
S/Sgt. Donald Keefer of Pine grove is returning to the Pacific air base after completing 40 months overseas service in the South west Pacific Area with the 38th Bombardment Group famous “Sun Setters” of the 5th Air Force. He has been relived of duties as a B-26 communications specialist. HE entered the US Army Air Force in 1941.
POTTSVILLE SAILOR’S SHIP KNOCKS DOWN THREE JAP PLANES
JUNE 12, 1945
Dominick A. Marrazzo F/2c Fireman Second class took part in the invasion of Okinawa. Marazzo manned his battle station as his ship participated in the invasion bombardment. Preceding the invasion itself, Marrazzo’s shipmates beat off the attacks of Jap planes, and shot down three of them within 10 minutes.
32nd Division Insignia
FIGHTING WITH THE “RED ARROWS” IN NORTHERN LUZON
JUNE 12, 1945
Pvt. Mark H. Gongloff, Orwin has been assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion of the 32nd (Red Arrow) Division crack 126th Infantry Division. He entered the Army in October 1944 and came overseas in April 1945. He is now fighting with the veteran (Red Arrows) in Northeren Luzon, among the mile high ridges of the Caraballo Mountains.
M-36 Tank Destroyer
POTTSVILLE TANK DESTROYER COMMANDER TELLS FOLKS ABOUT 10 MONTHS OF WAR
JUNE 13, 1945
Sgt. Warren P. Wildermuth is commander of a tank destroyer has been overseas for the last nineteen months. And wrote this letter to his family. Excerpts of the letter:
“It took us three days to cross the English Channel. We hit the Normandy Beach on July 4th some days after the invasion. Those were rough days. We came up from the beaches in our tanks and there the Jerries were. I was in combat ten minutes when I was strafed by a Nazi plane. It was some experience. Days passed and we pushed them back and back. We were strafed and shelled plenty.
“In Mortain, my first real combat. I went from assistant gunner to gunner to commander, I lost some good buddies there.
“After we won that fight. It went easy. We shoved them across France and took Paris. I was in the victory parade there, the first victory parade of the war and I will never forget it or the happy free people. After Paris we hit the Siegfried Line and there in one day we knocked off thirty six pill boxes. On our way to the Siegfried Line we were the first to officially free Luxembourg. Can you imagine me directing fire into the famous city, shooting at Jerry Tanks and 88’s. We were ambushed on the other side by 88’s but we came through somehow, and that’s what counts.
“From the Siegfried Line we went to the Hurtgen Forrest, the coldest bloodiest place I have ever seen. We sweated out that one and were ready to take Durin when the Heinies broke out ion Belgium, (The Bulge). It was hell there, and there I was the where I had my closest call.
“Two of my men had frozen feet one morning, and my driver was eating with the infantry. It was barely light and my gunner and I were drinking cold coffee in our tanks, when the S.S. Troops attacked before our very gun muzzle. They got my neighbor tank first shot but we waited until two of them got into the open, and though we could not see them very well, we got both tanks. But in doing so the Heinie infantry had surrounded us and the machine gun fire was terrific. My driver managed to get inside and we held them off until we got the motor started and then we took off. Our motors stalled just as we were getting away and my machine gun was frozen. (God it was cold). They were almost upon us as our motors finally started again and I emptied my carbine into their ranks as we made our getaway. We called for artillery and got more tanks to support us and finally killed them all. It was a terrible battle.
“After the Bulge we crossed the Rhine, in fact we were the first tank destroyers to cross. One of our tanks fell through the Remagen Bridge. Good friends of mine were killed in that wreck. We crossed under fire but we made it.
“After the Rhine we shipped to the Rhur Pocket. I got another Jerry tank there, and had the pleasure of seeing the Whole German army surrender there. It was the beginning of the end.
“That was my last fighting with the First Army. We joined Patton’s Third Army and spearheaded to the Czech border where the war ended.
‘All in all, I had almost ten months of combat and was in five major campaigns. I was never scratched and was lucky for I have dodged tons of artillery, not to mention direct enemy fire. I have fought with almost every division in the First Army, even the 82nd Airborne. I have left out so much that I could never begin to tell you, but this will give you a good idea in case you wanted to know.
“ I am proud of my outfit and its men. They were about the best in front line troops and it was a privilege to fight with them. Our outfit is indirect shock support of infantry and tanks and many times are ahead of them both. Unfortunately the press gets us all mixed up, and the tankers get credit for much of our work”
MOTHER GIVEN DFC MEDAL FOR SON WHO DIED A HERO
JUNE 14, 1945
This is the story of Pvt. Milton B. Long Pottsville, who was killed in a plane crash January 18, 1945 in Casper, Wyoming. Through his heroic actions he saved the lives of his fellow crewmen.
By special instructions from the War Department the presentation was made by Major Lawrence a Flor, Commanding Officer, Recruiting Station Harrisburg.
Standing in the parlor of her home Mrs. Long accepted the DFC Medal, (Distinguished Flying Cross) in his name. The Citation accompanying the award reads:
“Mrs. Long by direction of the President of the Untied States, I present you with this Distinguished Flying Cross Medal awarded to your son Pvt. Milton B. Long for heroism while serving as an engineer of a B-24 type aircraft on a training flight on 18 January 1945.
“Immediately after take off the No. one engine blew a cylinder head causing the engine to catch fire making it necessary to prepare for an emergency landing. With complete disregard for his own safety and with full knowledge that the airplane was flying an extremely low altitude. Pvt. Long left the comparative safety of the flight deck and proceeded to turn off the fuel supply to the burning engine. The heroic efforts of Pvt. Long were instrumental in saving the lives of his fellow crew members and reflect highest credit upon himself and the military service of the United States and may his soul rest in peace.”