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A Virtual World War II Honor Roll

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Stories from the Greatest Generation

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Showing Results 953 - 960 of 1059

Marvin TESHKA
Army
Marvin
TESHKA
DIVISION: Army,
36th combat engineers
May 28, 1923 - Feb 11, 2004
BIRTHPLACE: michigan
HIGHEST RANK: Corporal
THEATER OF OPERATION: European
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HONORED BY: Kurt Teshka
Robert L. Thatcher
Army Air Corps
Robert
L.
Thatcher
DIVISION: Army Air Corps,
15th AF, 455th Bomb Group
Apr 21, 1922 - Aug 18, 2012
BIRTHPLACE: Tempe, Arizona
THEATER OF OPERATION: European, Other
0
0
HONORED BY: Sally Smith Thatcher

BIOGRAPHY

Thatcher, Robert Louis, 90, a Dana Point, California resident, passed away quietly on August 18, 2012. Born April 21, 1922 in Tempe, Arizona, he served as a B-24 Squadron Leader, Group Commander and Assistant Operations Officer with the 15th Air Force, 455th Bomb Group, 742nd Squadron in Italy. He was severely wounded during his 19th mission over Augsburg, Germany and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, European Theater Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars and Silver Star for the Air Offensive Europe, Air Combat Balkans and Rome-Arno campaigns. Following his discharge, he received his Bachelor's Degree and JD Degree from the University of Southern California. As a prominent Newport Beach attorney, he developed a successful practice while owning a successful cattle ranching operation in Northern California and Oregon with his wife, Sally Smith Thatcher. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sally Smith Thatcher, along with his son, Jeffrey Thatcher and two other grandsons from his daughter, Wendy Thatcher Mabile, who preceded him in death.

Orville J. Thomas
Army
Orville
J.
Thomas
DIVISION: Army,
776th Chemical
Oct 20, 1920 -
BIRTHPLACE: Blue Rapids, KS
HIGHEST RANK: SGT
THEATER OF OPERATION: American
SERVED: Sep 10, 1942 -
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HONORED BY: Wife, Ila Marie Thomas; daughters: Sheryll, Darlene & Joyce

BIOGRAPHY

Sergeant Thomas received his basic training at fort Leavenworth, KS. Then, he was transferred to St. Petersburg, FL for advanced basic training in Chemical warfare. While in St. Petersburg, he was billeted in the city's hotels. One hotel was the Vinoy. Three men occupied one room using the hotel's furniture from which they enjoyed an ocean view. The Vinoy was a far-cry from ordinary Army housing on a military base. As a squad leader, Sgt. Thomas recalls marching his troops from the hotels to training on a prepared field outside of St. Petersburg. The marching was on the streets, through town and in traffic. Oral commands were needed to guide his squad through the city's congestion. Sgt. Thomas remained in the States for his entire enlistment. His primary MOS, 870, was to train troops in the discipline of poison gas warfare. Beyond St. Petersburg he was stationed at Lincoln Army Airfield, Lincoln, NE; Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH; Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX; Tinker Field, Oklahoma City, OK and Victoria Airfield, Victoria, KS. On one occasion, while at the Lincoln Army Airfield, Sgt. Thomas arranged a training exercise that involved tear gas mixed with phosgene (smells like cut, green corn). When the gas canisters were activated, the troops were to break to the sides of their formation and move upwind from the gas. This time a trooper broke ranks and ran down wind with the expelled gas. He was seen to have outrun an unsuspecting rabbit that was caught in the maneuver. Sgt. Thomas recalls another training drill that involved familiarizing the troops with gas mask procedures. When the command, 'Gas!' was given, a soldier was to put on his mask and leave it in place until the, 'All clear!' was heard. The soldiers were not to remove their masks, however, until a prescribed series of steps were taken to insure that no gas was present in their area. The steps were: 1. Squat on heels in place. 2. With a finger pull part of the mask from face. 3. Take a quick sniff of gas to determine its type. 4. Clear the mask by exhaling. Even when the leader called, 'All clear!,' a soldier was to determine if gas was present in his area before removing the mask. The reasoning was that gas might be present in one area and not another, according to Sgt. Thomas. Sgt Thomas, now 88 years old, has not suffered any ill-affects due to proximity and handling of warfare gasses. He attributes his well-being to the thorough training he received from those who schooled him in chemical warfare. Sgt Thomas is Honored by his wife: Ila Marie Thomas; daughters: Sheryll Jean, Darlene Kaye and Joyce Ilene; Grandchildren: Dawna, James, Ryan, Lindsay, Emilie and Rachelle; and Neighbors: Lyle & Janice Brooks, David & Melva Sanner, Al & Jean Singleton, Jon Marks, and Kenneth & Susan Steinfort.

Jack R. Thomasson
Navy
Jack
R.
Thomasson
DIVISION: Navy,
NSTA, Coco Solo, Canal Zone
Oct 27, 1921 - Oct 1, 1968
BIRTHPLACE: Sheridan, Wyoming
HIGHEST RANK: Lt. (j.g.)
THEATER OF OPERATION: Other, Pacific
SERVED: Jan 29, 1942 -
0
Feb 18, 1948
0
HONORED BY: Barbara Joyce Splichal

BIOGRAPHY

Jack Russell Thomasson was born on October 27, 1921 in Sheridan, Wyoming to Russell and Thelma (Purdy) Thomasson. The family moved to Lake Wells, Florida, soon after and then when he was eight moved again to Belleville, Kansas. There he lived through high school years, graduating from Belleville High School in 1939. He attended Kansas State College in Manhattan, Kansas; graduating in May of 1943 with a degree in Journalism. After Pearl Harbor, a lot of young men were eager to 'do something for their country'. Jack Russell and his father, Russell, went to Kansas City where Jack Russell enlisted. His father also tried to enlist, but they told him 'you have had your war, Sir, go home'. Since Jack Russell had only three semesters at Kansas State College to complete his degree, the Navy deferred his going on active duty until after he graduated in May of 1943. Following graduation, he left on Memorial weekend for Notre Dame University for the Navy Officer Candidate School; earning his commission as an Ensign on September 22, 1943. He was one of the many known as a '90 day wonder' during the war, for earning their officer commissioning so quickly. After his commissioning, he was assigned to a new ship and sailed on her 'maiden' voyage down the Mississippi. This was a ship that was built near Chicago. They sailed to the Gulf of Mexico, around to the Atlantic and to Norfolk, Virginia. While in Virginia, he attended the USN Mine Warfare School in Yorktown, Virginia. He would later obtain the rank of LTJG. His war tours included working the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal Zone on a mine sweeper and working the ocean area between Japan and China on a mine sweeper. While in the Caribbean, his ship experienced a mine becoming entangled in their gear as they were ready to go into port. Jack Russell obtained a piece of that mine and carried it with him through the remainder of the war. Jack Russell was in Panama until the Japanese surrendered. Then he was sent to the Pacific and stationed in Japan. While there the ship he was assigned to did mine sweeping in the Sea of Japan. Because of his Journalism degree, he was the Communications Officer on each ship. It was while on the Sea of Japan that one day he contacted another minesweeper (because of their position on their RADAR). He told them to 'get out of there, you are in 'live' waters.' In seconds that ship was blown up. After this incident, the Japanese were ordered to sweep for the mines. His last assignment was in New Orleans, Louisiana. The various vessels and stations were as follows - USS Earle DMS-42; USS Elusive AM-225; USS YMS66, Mine Squadron Staff; USS CATBIRD, Mine Squadron Staff; and NSTA, Coco Solo, Canal Zone. Jack Russell earned the following medals - World War II Victory Medal, American Area Campaign Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with one Star. While on Terminal Leave, in April or May of 1948, Jack Russell sustained an injury to his neck during a swimming trip in Florida. He dislocated several neck vertebrates causing permanent paralysis. He was sent to the US Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida and spent a year there. Later he was flown to St. Albans Naval Hospital on Long Island, New York. From there he was honorably discharged with full disability benefits and moved back to Belleville, Kansas to his parents' home He remained there with nursing care for the remainder of his life; the next 20 years. He died in October of 1968.

Leslie L. Thompson
Army
Leslie
L.
Thompson
DIVISION: Army,
961 Medical Platoon, Medical Technician
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
0
0
HONORED BY: Eisenhower Foundation

VIDEOS

John T. Thorpe
Army
John
T.
Thorpe
DIVISION: Army,
4th Inf. Division
May 20, 1917 - Sep 9, 1974
BIRTHPLACE: Grandview, Indiana
THEATER OF OPERATION: European
0
0
HONORED BY: Jon R Thorpe
Wayne E. Thurman
Army Air Corps
Wayne
E.
Thurman
DIVISION: Army Air Corps,
15th Air Force, War Department
Oct 11, 1910 - Jul 25, 2008
BIRTHPLACE: Oconto, NE
HIGHEST RANK: Colonel
THEATER OF OPERATION: European, American
SERVED: Oct 5, 1938 -
0
Apr 1, 1968
0
HONORED BY: Nieces and Nephews

BIOGRAPHY

Wayne Thurman graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in January 1936. Two years later he entered U.S. Army pilot training in San Antonio, earning his wings and a commission as 2nd Lt. Wayne was privileged to fly 38 types of military aircrafts at several different bases of assignment before flying overseas to Europe in September 1942. The over-the-Atlantic-ocean flight to Prestwick, Scotland was accomplished in a combat ready B - 17 Flying Fortress with 12 crew members, loaded machine guns and all the baggage needed in the European Theater of operations. Wayne successfully completed 50 air combat missions over Europe as a Pilot in a P - 38 and B - 17 during his 18 months in Europe and Africa in World War II. In this time he photographically mapped the air route from West to East in Central Africa; commanded a heavy Bombardment Group of B-17's (2500 officers and enlisted men), including acres of support equipment, gasoline and bombs. He was pilot of the lead Bomber of several 15th Air Force missions over Europe. One of the largest formations of B-17's and B-24's he led on a bombing target (an enemy aircraft factory) was 98 Bombers and 50 Fighter aircrafts. After completing 50 missions and before leaving for the U.S.A., he had been promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel which was awarded in September 1943. Lt. Col. Thurman was assigned to General Marshal's Chef of Staff Office as assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Thomas T. Handy, where he was promoted to full Colonel. He remained in this position after the war when General Eisenhower was Chief of Staff. Col. Thurman was the Senior Pilot on General and Mrs. Eisenhower's South American Goodwill Tour, August 1-19, 1946. He was also in General Eisenhower's official party when General Eisenhower spoke at the Nebraska State Fair on 30 August, 1946. A command pilot for 22 years, Col. Thurman logged over 6,000 hours of pilot time, 1,000 hours of which he piloted subsonic and supersonic fighter aircrafts. He flew supersonic F-101, F-102, F-104, and the F-106 beyond the speed of sound. (The F-104 flies twice the speed of sound, 1400 miles-per-hour.) Col. Thurman's career decorations are the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 7 Battle Stars, American Theater Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Medal; The Air Force Longevity Service Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster, and the War Service Medal, presented by the Brazilian Government. The photo shows Col. Thurman with General Eisenhower, as well as a portion of the War Department organizational charts. Wayne Thurman passed away in 2008 in McPherson, Kansas, at the age of 97.

Robert G. Tills
Navy
Robert
G.
Tills
DIVISION: Navy,
Patrol Squadron 21
Mar 9, 1918 - Dec 8, 1941
BIRTHPLACE: Manitowoc, WI
HIGHEST RANK: Ensign
THEATER OF OPERATION: Pacific
0
0
HONORED BY: Sister, Jean Aplin

BIOGRAPHY

Early on the morning of Dec 8, 1941, nine Japanese fighter planes swooped down on Malalag Bay in the Philippines and strafed and sunk two US Navy seaplanes at the very outset of World War II. All of the Americans escaped unharmed except Ensign Robert G. Tills, 23 of Manitowoc WI, who was cut down by machine gun bullets. 'Ensign Robert Tills died in the fusillade of bullets from the Japanese strafers, the first American naval officer killed in the defense of the Philippines,' the Naval Historical Center wrote. Tills' sister Jean was 11 years old at the time. 'Our minister heard over the radio that he was among the missing and called us,' she said recently. 'Then somebody came to the house a couple of weeks later and said he was killed.' But Robert's body was not recovered. Memories were all that Jean and her parents and sister had of their beloved Bob. 'Airplanes and flying, that was his passion,' Jean Aplin, now 78 remembers. 'He wanted to do that from the time he was little. I was just very proud of him and idolized him. He was my hero.' Robert, whom the Navy named a destroyer escort after in 1943, was one of 78,000 Americans still missing from World War II. 'I always thought the Filipinos had probably found him and buried him somewhere over there,' Jean said. She had pretty much given up hope of ever learning what had become of her brother when the Navy notified her this past summer (2008) that his remains had been recovered from aircraft wreckage in Malalag Bay and identified through his dental records. 'Oh, I'm very happy about it,' she said, 'because I'm the only one left, and I've just always wondered, and I'm glad he's finally coming home.' But the story doesn't end there. 'We found the girl he was going to marry, his fiancee, and she is still alive and in good health,' Jean said. Jean, who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, found Vicki Quandt Lee through the Internet, living in Hendersonville, NC. 'She married somebody named Robert E. Lee, and she just couldn't call him Bob, so she always called him Lee,' Jean said. Now 89 and widowed, Vicki hopes to join Jean on March 23, 2009, when Bob Tills is finally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetary.

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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