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Ike's Soldiers: A Virtual World War II Honor Roll
Stories from the Greatest Generation

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Showing Results 913 - 920 of 952

Louis H. Wenzel
Army
Louis
H.
Wenzel
DIVISION: Army
Oct 5, 1911 - Dec 20, 1983
BIRTHPLACE: Champaign, IL
THEATER OF OPERATION: China Burma India
SERVED: Jan 1, 1942 -
0
Jan 1, 1946
0
HONORED BY: Grandson, Robert G. Wenzel

BIOGRAPHY

My grandfather bought a star sapphire in India during World War II, which he gave to me on my 18th birthday. Stationed in India

Charles F. Wernette
Navy
Charles
F.
Wernette
DIVISION: Navy,
U.S.S. Wright
Nov 15, 1921 -
BIRTHPLACE: Clay Center, KS
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
SERVED: Dec 12, 1939 -
0
Dec 29, 1945
0
HONORED BY: Wife, Vera; Children, Mike, Monica, Jon and Jean Wernette

BIOGRAPHY

I enlisted in the US Navy for a six-year hitch. I had two older brothers in the service; John was in the Navy submarine service and Eugene was in the Air Corp. My father was the Commander of the Civil Air Patrol during W.W. II in Clay Center, Kansas, and my mother was also a member of the C.A.P. After my boot camp training at the Great Lakes Training Center, I shipped out on the U.S.S. Antares for Pearl Harbor to catch the ship that I would call home for the next 4 � year, the U.S. S. Wright, a seaplane tender. I was assigned the 2nd division aboard the ship, which was a deck division. My General Quarters station was powder man on the five-inch, 51-foot gun. The main responsibility of our ship was to anchor at one of the islands: Johnson, Wake, Midway, Palmspree and Christmas as well as others. Seaplanes would fly in and anchor by our ship and fly out again in the morning a search planes. After their missions were completed, they would fly back to Pearl Harbor and our ship would follow. Our last trip to Wake Island, we transported several Marines; all were either killed in action or captured and spent the rest of the war as P.O.W.'s in Japan doing forced labor. We left Wake Island November 30, 1941 for our return trip to Pearl Harbor. Arriving in Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1942, we found the submarine nets were already in place at the Harbor entrance, so no ships were allowed to enter or exit. That night, we ended up having to anchor outside the Harbor. The next day, December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked and since our ship was not in the Harbor area, we were not hit. It was a very sad sight to see the devastation and destruction of the great and beautiful ships being damaged and sunk. It was horrible, what was happening to those men and women and a horrific and sickening feeling that I'll never forget. One of the Marines that we had just taken over to Pearl on our last trip was a boy from my home town. We had several good visits aboard the U.S. S. Wright and in Honolulu before I left the island. He ended up being wounded and captured after a 16-day defense of the island. After the war, this young man came home and ended up marrying one of my sisters (who had lost her first husband, an air force pilot earlier in the war.) Eventually, an order came through that stated anyone with 30 months overseas was due to return to the United States. It actually took me two weeks to get to Marc Island, California, as we had to find our own way back home. After my discharge, I came home to Clay Center, Kansas and married Vera LaRue Gibbs in 1949. We had five children and have been blessed with several grand and great grandchildren.

Edward B. West
Navy
Edward
B.
West
DIVISION: Navy,
USS Windham Bay (CVE92)
May 9, 1925 -
BIRTHPLACE: Ozark, AR
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
SERVED: Jan 19, 1943 -
0
Jul 4, 1946
0
HONORED BY: Wife, Mildred Asa West

BIOGRAPHY

In June 1943, I quit High School and enrolled at the College of the Ozarks, Clarksville, Arkansas in order to qualify for enlistment in the Navy V-12 program. After one semester I was called to active duty in the V-12 program at Arkansas A & A College, Monticello, Ark. After 4 semesters of College work I was sent to Pre-Midshipmen School, Asbury Park, NJ: Midshipmen School, Columbia University; NTS Deck, Miami, FL; U.S.S. Windham Bay (CVA.92) for duty in the Pacific. On board I served as Assistant Division Officer, Division Officer, Ship's Gunner, Assistant Gunnery Officer, Top Deck Officer, in port and under way, Gunnery Officer.

Upon discharge at Great Lakes, I returned to Missouri Valley College to finish work on my BS degree, completed in Jan, 1948. After getting married that same month to Mildred Asa of Dexter, MO I began teaching mathematics at MO School of Mines and Metalergy, Rolla. After about 2 years I transferred to Missouri University where I taught and earned my Masters Degree in Mathematics. After graduation we moved to Beaumont, Texas with our first of the three children to teach Higher Mathematics at Lamar College. Two years later we started a 30 year career with IBM.

I retired from IBM in 1953 with 3 children and 7 grandchildren. We spend our time traveling in our RV and volunteering in our community.

William D. Wetzel
Army
William
D.
Wetzel
DIVISION: Army,
201st M.P. Company
Dec 28, 1921 -
BIRTHPLACE: East Liverpool, OH
THEATER OF OPERATION: European
SERVED: Mar 9, 1943 -
0
Dec 28, 1945
0
HONORED BY: Widow, Nancy L. Wetzel

BIOGRAPHY

William served in England, France and Germany in the 201st Military Police Company. This company was the inner security guards for General Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).

John F. Wheeler
Navy
John
F.
Wheeler
DIVISION: Navy,
Aviation
Apr 10, 1925 -
BIRTHPLACE: Salina, KS
THEATER OF OPERATION: American
SERVED: Apr 6, 1943 -
0
May 17, 1946
0
HONORED BY: Eisenhower Foundation

BIOGRAPHY

Enlisted in Navy V-5 aviation program in 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri. Joined Navy V-2 Unit at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas in 1943. Pre-flight training at Iowa City, Iowa. Soloed, washed out of flight training in C-stage. Sent to Naval Air station in Jacksonville, Florida for gunnery training. Seaman 1/c air crewman on PB4y2 (also known as B-24). Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 26 in Jacksonville, Florida. Honorable discharge in May 1946 point system.

Travis A. White
Army Air Corps
Travis
A.
White
DIVISION: Army Air Corps
Feb 17, 1945 - Feb 18, 1989
BIRTHPLACE: Doniphan
0
0
HONORED BY: Eisenhower Foundation
Lawrence A. White
Army
Lawrence
A.
White
DIVISION: Army,
Battery E., 2nd Battalion, 501st C.A. (A.A.)
Jan 15, 1910 -
BIRTHPLACE: Oneida, KS
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
SERVED: May 23, 1942 -
0
Dec 15, 1945
0
HONORED BY: Wife, Elaine E. White; Children: Donna Catron, Dennis White, Dreda Smith, Danny White
Warren A. White
Navy
Warren
A.
White
DIVISION: Navy,
USS LCI (FF) 998
Apr 11, 1926 -
BIRTHPLACE: Rural Graham County, KS
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
SERVED: Mar 1, 1944 -
0
Apr 1, 1946
0
HONORED BY: Wife, Jean M. White

BIOGRAPHY

The only way I could be assured of going to the Navy instead of the Army was to join before I turned 18. So in late March 1944, I went to Kansas City, MO, to join on a delayed program which allowed me to finish high school. Five days after graduation I was called to active duty. On 5 Oct 1944, I reported aboard the USS Landing Craft Infantry 998, in San Diego harbor. Right after going aboard, the ship's captain told me to get more clothes. As I was flat broke, I had to wire home for money to get enough clothes to go to sea. The ship went to sea on 10 Oct taking 10 days to get to Pearl Harbor. That was my first experience on BIG water. On 1 Jan 1945 I was sent ashore to a radar school while radar equipment was being installed on my ship. Three days after returning to my ship, it left for the Marshall Islands. Our ship, now a staff ship for the Coast Guard Commander, was his command post and we were outfitted with the latest radio equipment for his convenience. As the ship left Pearl Harbor, carrying the 3rd Marine Division, the sea was rough and did I ever get sea sick. I had never been that sick before and it lasted about 24 hours. The invasion of Iwo Jima Island started on 19 Feb 1945. About 6 hours out, we could see the flashes from the big guns on the battle ships and heavy cruisers pounding the beaches of the island. About 2 hours out we could feel the concussion from the big guns. The 4th day, the Marines left our ship in the 3rd wave. Our commander wasn't very good about staying on station as he wanted to see and be seen. As a result, when the 1st US flag was raised on Mount Suribachi, our ship was just below the mount (about 200 yards away) and we could see the whole action very plainly. The surface of the harbor was covered with debris and litter of one sort or another. The first night our ship stayed in the invasion area all night, Japanese swimmers were reported in the water. Trying to blow up the ships with explosives attached to the hulls, they would get under some debris to stay out of sight while swimming. I was put on watch that night with a submachine gun on the bow and it was pretty frightening. I shot at everything I saw. The ship was at Iwo Jima 7 days and then left for Saipan and Leyte Harbor, Philippine Islands. We took on supplies and equipment and the 2nd wave troops for the new invasion. We left Leyte Harbor on 25 Mar 1945 and 6 days later we were participating in the invasion of Okinawa on 1 Apr 1945 (my 19th birthday). The Japanese 'Kamikaze' planes were very active here; one hit the ship next to us and some of our people were hit by shrapnel. We landed our troops and equipment on the second day. After the 8th day, we took our flotilla and left for the Caroline Islands, arriving on 17 Apr. On 1 May 1945 my rating for 3rd Class Radarman came through (it made little difference except for a little more pay). We left the islands on 7 Jun for Saipan again, arriving on 10 Jun 1945. I was allowed to go ashore and stay overnight with Don Billips, a close school buddy. I really enjoyed seeing someone from home. I got to see him twice more before we left for Leyte Harbor. There, we went on invasion maneuvers again, this time carrying the initial troops for the invasion of Japan proper. As the initial staging area, the harbor was completely full of ships and troops preparing for the invasion (over 2000 ships were at Leyte alone). On 10 Aug 1945 Japan announced their surrender. When the announcement was made that evening, the whole harbor went wild and the ships began shooting off their flares and pyrotechnics and spraying water from fire hoses into the air all night. When dawn came not one ship in the harbor had any flares or pyrotechnics left aboard. Japan signed the official surrender papers on 2 Sep 1945 aboard the Battle Ship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Our ship, with our flotilla, left Leyte Harbor for Sasebo Harbor, Japan (a large Japanese Navy Base heavily damaged

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Jan 1, 2000 - Jan 1, 2000
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The mission of Ike's Soldiers is to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower's legacy through the personal accounts of the soldiers he led and share them with the world.

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"Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends."
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Eisenhower Signature

Guildhall Address, London, June 12, 1945