The Pacific: 1941-1945

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The early Pacific was a disaster for the United States. Caught unprepared as a country, the best the outnumbered soldiers on the ground could do was try and contain Japan until Washington DC regrouped.      

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Wilmington residents lost in early Pacific War at sea:

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Paul G. Gosnell, 27. 2515 Washington St. Gunner’s Mate. USS Shaw, US Marine Corps. Killed during Pearl Harbor attack. First Delawarean killed in World War Two.

Thomas Marvel. 40. Chief’s Machinist Mate, USS Houston. Enlisted in Navy in 1926. Killed when ship sunk by Japanese torpedo in battle of Sundra Straight. Only 368 of 1061 onboard survived to be taken into enemy captivity for duration of war.

Charles L. Caulk. 29. Linden Street.  Salesianum High School. Killed at battle for Guadalcanal when USS Juneau sunk.   One of two brothers to be killed in the war. 

William A. Holt. 24. 1209 W. 7th St. Wilmington High School. University of Pennsylvania. Dupont Company.  Lt, Junior grade. USS Orleans, Navy. Lost at sea November 30th 1942 when ship hit by Japanese torpedo.

Jack G. Smyth. 25. Dupont Company. Lt, Jr Grade. USS Duncan. Killed in action during running battle with Japanese during Solomon Islands campaign. 63 men killed, 2 survivors.

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Charles E. Durney. 22. 915 South Broom. Wilmington High School. Shipfitter, 2nd Class.  USS LST-469. Ship was part of convoy from Sydney to Brisbane that was hit by Torpedo on June 16th 1943 with 26 killed.

William C. Wilhelm. 2403 Elliot. Brown Vocational High School. Seaman 2nd Class, USS Gwin. Hit by Japanese torpedo near Kolombangara on July 13 1943. All 59 onboard killed.

Gorden Hoover. 28. Westover Hills. Yale University class of 1939. 1st Lt Jr grade, USS Cisco. Submarine sank by Japanese aircraft in South China Sea on September 28 1943. Only 1 survivor.

Richard L. Britton. 25. 2002 Monroe Place. Wilmington High School. Lt Jr Grade. USS Capellin. Lost at sea near Australia December 15 1943. Capellin disapeared while on patrol and never heard from again. “Gone without a trace, with all her crew, Capellin remains in the list of ships lost without a known cause.”

Stephen Baran. 29. Southbridge. Palmer School. Cork Insulation Company. USS Corvina. On maiden war patrol, Corvina hit by torpedo on November 16th 1943 fired by Japanese Sub I-176, all 82 killed. 

Aaron Martin. 33. Philadelphia Pike. Seamen First Class. Killed in “while on a special mission with a construction battalion” in Vella La Vella Islands November 5th 1943.

 

Army and Marines 1941-1943: 

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James W. Smith. 27. 103 W. 17th St. Wilmington High School. Dravo Corporation. Staff Sergeant, 30th Bomber Group, Air Force.  Killed in action on November 19th 1943 “when the bomber to which he was assigned as radio operator and gunner crashed as a result of combat damage in landing after a bomber mission in the Pacific.” 

Robert L. Coleman. 23. 1209 Gilpin Avenue. PS Dupont High School. Captain, 43rd Bomber Group. Swim instructor at Central YMCA. Killed December 3rd 1943 on a bombing mission in a B-24 bomber while serving as Commanding Officer of 63rd bomb squadron of the 43rd Bomber group stationed in New Guinea.  

Anthony F. Testa. 20. 220 Woodlawn Avenue. St. Thomas Parochial School. Killed in action during an enemy air raid while he was serving with Headquarters and service company, 871st Airborne Engineer battalion. 

Harold E. Hobson. 28. 119 Broom. Sergeant, 103rd Infantry division. Killed in action in Pacific, July 15 1943.

Howard K. Jordan. 34. Wilmington High School.  Pusey and Jones. Maryland Avenue.  Private, 4th Marine Division. Died from wounds received at Battle of Tarawa on November 23rd 1943.  Had only been in Marines 9 months. 

 

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Richard P. Richards. 24. 2601 W. 17th St. Tower Hill School. Enlisted in Marine Corps upon graduation from Williams College in 1941. 1st Lieutenant, 1st Marine Division. Killed during battle of Guadalcanal on 13 October 1942. Son of Vice President of Atlas Powder Company.

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P.O.W. Casualties:

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Lawrence P. Traynor Jr. 21. Wilmington High School. 2100 W. 6th St. Private, Coastal Artillery Unit. Captured at Corregidor in 1942 and died as POW on May 27th 1945.

Martin Eisenman. 200 W. 37th St. Wilmington High School. Sergeant 24th Pursuit Group – Air Force. Died while POW on September 7th 1944 when unmarked Japanese prison ship was sank by a US submarine.

William H. Marvel. 29.  Wilmington. 1st Lt, Army. Captured at Corregidor in 1942.   Died in the sinking of a Japanese prison boat December 1944. 

Robert W. Callaway. 31. University of Delaware class of 1935. Captain 60th Coastal Artillery Regimen. Captured at Corregidor. Died while POW on May 17th 1945.

Francis H. Williams. 39. 205 S. Jackson. Graduate of Wilmington High School ‘1924’ and the US Naval Academy. “Frequently boxed at the Central YMCA.” Major, US Marine Corps. Captured at Corregidor. Died in POW camp in March 1945. Served in Marines for 14 years.

Louis E. Roemer. 45. 1002 Madison. Wilmington High School. University of Delaware. Lt- col, Army. Died of starvation January 21 1945 on a Japanese prison ship off Formosa, having been a captive since the fall of Bataan. 22 year Army veteran.

James Holmes. 29. 929 Shallcross. Sergeant, Army. Died of illness in Japanese POW camp on November 19th 1943 after being captured at Corregidor.

William J. Dunmyer. 36. E. 40th St. Major, US Army. Died in the bombing of a Japanese POW ship on December 15th 1944 after having been taken prisoner in the fall of Bataan in April 1942 while serving as Assistant, G-3, South Luzon Force.

 

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First Delaware Soldier Killed in the War: 

Harry Fineman. 24. 803 N. Van Buren. Wilmington High School. Allied Kid Company. Sergeant, 59th Coastal Artillery Regiment. Lost his life on April 12th 1942 during  the Japanese attack on Corregidor. 

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As the first Soldier from Delaware killed during the war, a special Ceremony was conducted for Sergt. Fineman in Rodney Square: 

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Marines and Army in ground combat, 1944-1945:

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Anthony J. Monico. 21. 215 W. 4th St. Wilmington High School. Sergeant, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division. Killed in action in Marshall Islands February 2nd 1944 while serving in a tank ordinance unit.

George T. Jones. 24. 1405 Gilpin Avenue. KIA on February 22nd 1944 in Marshall Islands. 7 year veteran of Marine Corps.

George H. Hudson. Blackshire Road, Wawaset Park. Private, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. KIA in Pacific June 12th 1944.

John M. Urbanski. 20. 1203 Sycamore St. Apprentice printer at The News Journal. Private First Class, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. Died in combat on June 16th 1944 at Saipan.

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Benjamin S. Steelman. 19. 911 E. 26th St. Pharmacist Mate Second Class 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Division. KIA at Marianas Islands July 10th 1944.

Paul L. Caulk. 24. Wilmington High School. Sergeant, 3rd Marine Division. KIA in Guam July 22nd 1944 “while serving as a platoon section leader in Company L of the Third Marine Division. Brother killed in Pacific in 1942.

Fred T. Griskevich. 25. 822 Church St. Pullman Company. Private, 32nd Infantry Division. Died of typhus in Pacific July 31st 1944.

Michael C. Guida. 31. Wilmington High School.  404 W. 3rd St. Private, 211st Coastal Artillery. KIA in the Philippines while serving with the 211th Coast Artillery Battalion on December 12th 1944.

John J. Madison. 24. 633 W. 3rd St. Wilmington High School. 1st Lt. Army. Died of wounds from fighting in Pacific on September 29th 1944.

George M. Searle. 19. PS Dupont High School. Killed on October 11th 1944 “of illness contracted while participating as a member of the Fifth Amphibious Marine Division in the invasion of the Marianas Islands.”

John A. Mlynarczyk. 25. 605. S. Harrison St. St. Hedwig’s Parish School. Pusey and Jones. Corporal, 382nd Infantry regiment, 96th Infantry Division. KIA while serving with an Anti-Tank company, 382nd Infantry, 96th division.

Richard W. Gray. 2700 Tatnall. Wilmington High School. Swim instructor at Central YMCA. Private, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. Killed in action at Saipan July 10th 1944.

James H. Rentz. 20. 2517 Washington St. PS Dupont High School. Chemist, Hercules Power Company. Private, 1st class 20th Marine regiment, 4th Marine Division. Killed in action at Saipan, Marianas Islands on July 20th 1944.

 

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William M. Maskers. 22. 821 E. 26th St. Assistant manager of Golf course. Corporal, Marines. Killed on Guam September 11th 1944.

John W. Herstine. 28. 2700 Broom St. Lehigh University. Hercules Powder Company. Captain, Infantry Army. Killed in action in China on September 12th 1944. “Only US officer in large force of Chinese troops”

James G. Campbell. 26. Graduate of St. Paul’s Parochial School and Salesianum High School. Sergeant, US Marine Corps. Killed September 19th 1944 while serving in a tank battalion at the battle of Pallaleiu.

Charles A. Bennet. 39. 3004 Washington St. Master Sergeant, Army. 14 year Army Veteran. Killed in a vehicle accident while serving as a radio operator with B-29 Super Fortress Units in India on November 15th 1944.

Lawrence A. Dougherty. 32. 1620 Lancaster Avenue. Manager of Meat department, American Store, 4th and Madison. Staff Sergeant, 305th Infantry regiment, 77th Infantry Division. KIA in Leyte on December 13th 1944.

 

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Joseph N. Faulker. Allied Kid Company. Private First Class 305th infantry regiment, , 77th Infantry Division. Killed in action at Leyte December 18th 1944.

Dominic A. Facciolo. 23. 1306 French St. St. Paul’s Parochial School. Electric Hose and Rubber. Private, 307th Infantry regiment, 77th Infantry Division. KIA at Leyte December 23rd 1944.

Raymond W. Birch. 25. 623 E. 23rd St. PS Dupont High School. Goldey College. Accountant, Interstate Amnesite Company. Private, 188th Glider Infantry. 11th Airborne Division. KIA at Luzon February 1st 1945. Scout leader….”enthusiastic stamp collector and had sent stamps home.”

Benjamin Morris. 27. 1300 Dupont St. St. Thomas Parochial School. Pusey and Jones. Killed in explosion in the Philippines, March 1945.

Maxwell Case, Jr. 28. 2300 block Monroe. KIA on February 26th 1945 on Corregidor while serving as an intelligence scout with the 542nd Parachute Infantry.

Kenneth O. LaRosch. 23. 215 W. 24th St. PS Dupont High School. University of Delaware. Hercules Powder Company. Technician 5th grade, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division Killed in action in Philippines May 13th 1945 while serving as a Scout attached to a headquarters company.

Russell T. Crawford. 42. 623 W. 3rd St. Lt, 742nd Anti-Aircraft Gun Battalion. Enlisted in regular Army in 1920. Killed in New Guinea on May 5th 1945 in an airplane accident while serving with the 76th Infantry.

 

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Arthur L. Casson. 31. Dravo Corporation. Private First Class, 4th Marine Division. Killed at Iwo Jima February 19th 1945.

Stephen J. Sobiech. 23. 920 Elm. Brandywine Fibre Co. Sergeant. Killed at Iwo Jima on February 19th 1945 “while serving with the 4th Marine Division as a platoon leader operating an amphibious tractor.” Brother killed 3 months later while also serving in the Pacific.

George M. Strong. 25. PS Dupont High School. Dupont Co. Edgemoor Plant – foreman for 5 years. Private, 4th Marine Division. Killed at Iwo Jima February 23rd 1945.

Russell Keen Jr. 22. 831 Washington St. Brown Vocational High School. Baldwin Locomotive Plant. Gunnery Sergeant 4th Marine Division. KIA at Iwo Jima on February 25th 1945. Awarded a medal for heroism in 1944 campaign:

Peter J. Jurski. 23. 712 Warner St. Private First Class, 3rd Marine Division. Killed at Iwo Jima on February 28th 1945.

William D. Veasey Jr. 22. 1100 S. Broom. Killed in action at Iwo Jima, March 2nd 1945. Had only served nine months from the point of induction into military to being at Iwo Jima.

Charles E. Young Jr. 21. 702 N. Harrison. Brown Vocational ’42.’ Hercules Experimental Station. Killed in action March 8th 1945 on Iwo Jima by mortar fire while on mine-clearing and demolition duty while serving with 4th Engineering regiment, 4th Marine division.

 

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Robert Durnan. 18 Faulkland Road. AI Dupont School. Private First Class 4th Marine Division. Killed at Iwo Jima by a Japanese sniper on March 10th 1945.

Wallace R. West Jr. 22. 1230 King St. Brown Vocational High School. Sun Shipbuilding Co, Chester. Private 4th Marine Division. KIA at Iwo Jima on March 11th 1945.

George W. Pierson. 19. Brown Vocational High School. Private first class, 182nd Infantry Division. KIA March 5th 1945 “by rifle fire on Leyte, Phillippine Islands while serving with the “American” Division.

Thaddeus J Piorkowski. 33. 905 Church St. Allied Kid Company. Private First Class, Infantry Army. Killed in Phillipines March 28th 1945 of wounds received the previous day at Luzon, Philippines.

Joseph F. Maczynski. 24. 111 Bird St. Allied Kid / Ace Theater. Private First Class, 145th Infantry Regiment 37th Infantry. Killed in combat in Philippines February 12th 1945.

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Henry J. Sklodowski. 21. 206 8th Avenue. Private 1st Class, 32nd Infantry Division – Army. Killed on April 5th 1945 at Okinawa.

Jacob D. Mariane. 20. Shipley Road PS Dupont High School. Worked on family farm. Private First Class Paratroops – Army. Killed at Okinawa on April 25th 1945.

John M. Mendinhall. 24. Wilmington Friends School. 1st Lt 4th Marines. Lost at sea near Okinawa on May 31st 1945 as a result of a plane crash at sea off Bolo Point, Okinawa while serving as an aviator on a fighter plane.

Robert R. Hogan. 504 Delaware Avenue. Private 29th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division. Killed at Okinawa on June 11th 1945 while serving as a machine gunner.

George Lutz. 24. Vandaveer Avenue. St. Patrick’s Parochial School. Warner Jr HS. US Navy. Killed while detonating a mine in the Aleutian Islands as member of a demolition squad.


Air Corps, Pacific: 1944 and 1945

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Daniel P. O’Donnell. 24. 502 N. Clayton. Salesianum High School. Ursuline Academy. Captain, Air Force, killed in line of duty in Australia March 7th 1944. Newspaper noted efforts following fall of Corregidor to make a 7,000 mile trip with rescue plane to bring 35 US soldiers from Phillipines to Australia.

Charles N. Wagner. 23. 2300 Harrison St. 2nd Lt, 28th Bomber Group. Killed in action November 15th 1944 while returning from a bombing mission near Attu, Aleutian Islands over Paramishura, Kurile Islands while serving as a pilot of a B-25 bomber of the 77th bomber squadron. Son of assistant super intendent of Wilmington Public Schools.

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Joseph A. Dugan. 25. 2001 W. 4th Wilmington High School. Attended Wharton School. 1st Lt 58th Fighter Group. P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot. Killed in action near Phillipines on January 10th 1945. Newspaper reports that plane hit by Japanese and crew made attempt made to bail out but parachute would not open.

Edward V. Atwell. 24. 1900 Delaware Avenue. Wilmington High School class of 1939. 2nd Lt. Killed in plane crash in Pacific in 1945.

John Nickols Jr. 25. Sun Oil Co. Staff Sergeant, 875th Bomber Squadron. 498th Bomber group. KIA February 10th 1945.

John J. Williams. 22. Wilmington High School. Hercules Powder Company. Petty Officer, US Navy Air Corps. KIA off Okinawa on March 29th 1945 while serving as radioman and gunner on a dive bomber attached to USS Bunker Hill when it was attacked by Japanese suicide bombers. 

Stanley B. Exar. 21. PS Dupont High School. Engineering student at UD when called up. Aviation Machinist 3rd Class 17th Bomber Squadron. Killed in action on July 1st 1945.

Ralph B. Johnson. 25. Wawaset Park. Lehigh University. Captain India-China Wing -Air Trans Command. Killed in action July 18th 1945.

Holstein Harvey III. 29. 1611 W. 16th St. Tower Hill School. Harvard. 2nd Lt. 27th Infantry Division. Army Air Force. Killed in action in Saipan.

George J. Chadick. Hedgeville. Wilmington High School. James Watson & Sons Company. Lt. Jr Grade Navy. Killed in combat near China on June 24th 1945.

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Navy, 1944 to 1945:

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Henry T. Irwin Jr. 28. Wawaset Park. PS Dupont High School. Yale University. Lt Commander. KIA on April 1944 when the submarine U.S.S. Tullibee “failed to return from patrol duty.”

Charles A. Wicker. 35. Central YMCA. Dupont Company – research chemist. Lt, 14th Naval District. Killed by accident on April 12th 1944 in line of duty while serving as an officer in charge aboard a ship of the 14th Naval District.

Benjamin S. Steelman. 19. East 26th St. Pharmacist’s Mate. US Navy. Killed in action July 1944 in the Marianas Islands.

Anthony F. Rybinski. 22. 103 Cedar St. Hedwig’s Parochial School. Hearn Brothers – store room. Seamen First Class. KIA August 11th 1944 in “airplane crash aboard the U.S.S. Hancock to which he was attached.”

Edmund L. Nawrocki. 20. 733 Maryland Avenue. NVF Plant. Advance Ordinanceman second class, USS Bellau Wood. KIA in Pacific on October 30 1944 when a Japanese Kamikaze was shot down before hitting ship but landed on the deck causing extensive fired and ammunition to explode, killing 92 men on board.

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William E. Taylor. 20. 1014 W. 3rd St. Watertender 2nd Class, USS Hoel – Navy. Ship sunk, 86 survivors, 253 dead after running battle with Japanese ships near Leyte on October 25th 1944. In 1976, the Naval Support Division on the Kirkwood Highway was named after Taylor – read extensive information about Taylor here.

John Horlick. 24. 803 Augusta Road. Tower Hill School; Ensign, USS Aulick. One of 31 killed when 6 Japanese planes attached the ship in a coordinated attack on November 29th 1944.

Stanley Cieszynski. 22. 325 S. Jackson. St. Hedwig’s Parochial School. NVF Factor. Coxswain, USS Monaghan, Navy. Ship sunk by Typhoon storm December 18th 1944 leaving only six survivors.



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Joseph G. Smith Jr. 18. 2310 Carter. PS Dupont High School. Seamen First Class, SS Henry Knox. Lost at Sea January 5th 1945.

Charles H. Norton Jr. 21. 108 E. 23rd St. PS Dupont High School. Atlas Powder Company. Ensign, USS Cowpens. Killed in Pacific January 7th 1945.

Edward F. O’Neill Jr. 24. Woodcrest. Conrad High School ’37’ American Car and Carriage Company. Chief Pharmacists Mate, USS Palmer – Navy. Ship sunk in battle with Japanese on January 7th 1945.

John J. Brown. 36. 808 W. 6th St. Salesianum High School. Allied Kid Co. Ship Cook 2nd Mate USS Bismark. Lost at Sea February 21st 1945. Ship sunk by Japanese suicide bombers on 21 February 1945 killing 318 men.

John F. Hetzler. 19 1903 Elm American Car and Foundry Co Seamen First Class USS Wasp. Killed on March 19th 1945 when ship hit by 500 pound armor piercing bomb, killing 102 crewman.

Nicholas J. Perillo. 19. 506 Washington St. Salesianum High School. American Car and Foundry Company. Seamen First Class USS Franklin Pacific. One of 764 crewman killed when Japanese Suicide bomber slammed into ship on March 19th 1945.

John Bryant. 19. Southbridge. Howard High School.  Eastern Malleable Iron Company. Steward’s Mate First Class, USS Gilmer. Killed off Okinawa on March 26th 1945 when a Japanese kamikaze hit his ship.

Robert C. Miller. 20. 1201 Read. Wilmington High School. Benjamin Shaw Company. Signalman Third Class USS O’Brien. Killed near Okinawa on March 27th 1945 when Japanese suicide bomber slammed into ship killing 50 men.

Henry M. Demenchuck. US Navy. New Castle Avenue, Southbridge. Killed on May 4th 1945 when Japanese suicide bomber flew into and sunk USS Luce.

Stanley B. Exar. 21. PS Dupont – Engineering student at UD when called up. Aviation Machinist 3rd Class 17th Bomber Squadron. Killed in action on July 1st 1945.

Ralph B. Johnson. 25. Wawaset Park. Lehigh University. Captain India-China Wing -Air Trans Command. Killed in action July 18th 1945.

Edward J. Radka. 20. 1215 Elm St. Signalman Third Class. One of 124 killed onboard USS Underhill when sunk by Japanese torpedo on July 24th 1945.

Adam J. Sobiech. 29. 820 Elm St. Brandywine Fibre Company. Seaman 1st Class USS Underhill – Navy. Lost at sea in Phillipines on July 24th 1945. Brother and brother in law also killed in war.

John Bruce Gibson. 908 Poplar. Steward’s Mate Second Class USS Callaghn – Navy Pacific – KIA on July 28th 1945.

Thomas F. Naylor. 46. St Mary’s Parochial School. Chief Machinist’s Mate USS Tadcen Navy. Died 1945 in Pacific. Was a veteran of the First World War. Had the chance to retire but chose to stay on for WW2.

William F. Jones. 23. 417 S. Broom. Brown Vocational High School. Pusey and Jones Torpedoman’s Mate – 2nd Class USS Zellars. Killed off Okinawa on April 12th 1945. Paper notes that in his last letter home he wrote on April 3rd that “If you read up on the news, you will know where I am.”

Richard F.Grace. 20. 2203 Harrison. Archmere Academy. Fireman Second Class USS Lagarto – Navy. Lost at sea on May 4th 1945 when Submarine sunk by a Japanese Depth charge, all onboard killed.

Armando J. Ciabattoni. 25. 512 Rodman St. Dravo Company. Fireman First Class USS Bunker Hill Pacific. KIA on May 11th 1945 when ship hit by Japanese Kamakaze plane.

Anthony G. Daniello. 20. 1714 Rodney. PS Dupont High School. Worked pre-war at Bond Manufacturing Company. Seamen First Class USS Indianapolis. Lost at Sea on July 30th 1945. Worked as a caddy at Wilmington Country Club.

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Harry Hickey. 21. Bellefonte. Lost at sea with the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, July 30th 1945.  Four weeks earlier had given on a talk while on leave about the Pacific War at the Brandywine Fire Hall: 

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2 thoughts on “The Pacific: 1941-1945

  1. Nathan thank you so much for this very informative article and the research you did. My father also was in the war, and thank goodness he wasn’t KIA. I do have his personal journal in which he speaks about all the different places his troop went to, all the ships, and others in his company. He was a marine in WW II. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in reviewing this? Please let me know. Thank You

    Like

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