You are here

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had ignited a wave of patriotism as men and women flocked to enlist in the armed forces. Men and women from La Crosse County found themselves all over the country and all over the world, courtesy of Uncle Sam. All did their duty, whether they spent the entire war stateside or took part in the fiercest combat in far-off places they had never heard of before. At home, their loved ones carried on while hoping for their safe return. More than a few families in La Crosse County received the dreaded telegram that began, “I regret to inform you . . .”

It was not unusual for families to be notified weeks, or even months, after their loved one was missing in action (MIA), wounded in action (WIA), or killed in action (KIA).

Previous feature articles

 

1945 May 7-13

Harry Blair & the Gooney Bird

 

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13, page 4)

When Harry Blair, Jr. was growing up in La Crosse and dreaming of a career in aviation, he probably never would have imagined that his interest in aviation would take him to the exotic Far East flying in an airplane nicknamed "The Gooney Bird." That most unlikely scenario for a boy from La Crosse turned out to be a significant part of World War II.

Harry Blair, Jr. was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1922, in La Crosse.[1] He grew up at 1324 State Street[2] and attended the Washington Elementary School.[3]

His father had served in the 3rd Infantry Division in World War I. During his time in the Army, he contracted a health condition that eventually led to his death.[4] Harry Blair, Sr. died in May 1936 at the age of 47. He was buried in Bangor.[5] Young Harry was just 13 years old at the time.

Blair graduated from La Crosse Central High School, and his goal was a career in aviation engineering. He enrolled at the local vocational school to start studying engineering.[6] While he was attending the vocational school in 1940, Blair also worked as a general office clerk at the National Bank.[7] He later moved a job at State Bank.[8]

He left his job as a clerk at the State Bank to enlist in the Army Air Corps on November 18, 1942. After induction at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, Blair was sent to Miami Beach, Florida, for basic training. His specialized training took place at three locations: radio communications at Sioux Falls, South Dakota; electronics at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin; and radar operation at Boca Raton, Florida. On February 4, 1944, 23-year-old Harry Blair was headed in an airplane to the China-Burma-India theater of war (commonly known as the CBI). [9]

China-Burma-India Theater

(ibiblio.org)

The war against Japan covered a vast area because of wide-ranging Japanese conquests early in the war. The Allied operations to roll back the Japanese were divided into three sectors. In the Central Pacific, Admiral Chester Nimitz commanded naval and Marine forces island-hopping toward Japan. General Douglas McArthur's naval and Army forces were island-hopping in the Southwest Pacific northward toward Japan. The Far East, or China-Burma-India (CBI) area, sometimes called "The Forgotten Theater," of the war, was the third area of operations. Because India was an important British colony, British forces took the lead but with significant American contributions in the air and on the ground.

It could be said that World War II actually started in The Forgotten Theater. Japan's Kwantung Army had been stationed in Manchuria, northeastern China, since 1906. In the fall of 1931, officers in that army, without any senior authorization, blew up part of the South Manchurian Railway line. Blaming the Chinese, the Kwantung Army attacked Chinese troops. China was unstable because of warfare between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces and the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung for control of the country. After the Japanese took control of southern Manchuria, China instituted an economic boycott against Japan. Japan's response was a brutal attack on the city of Shanghai in 1932. Japan established a puppet state in Manchuria as a base for further expansion in China. Nationalist and Chinese forces agreed to a temporary truce between themselves in 1937 to create a unified defense against Japanese advances in China.  By 1937, China and Japan were in an all-out war.[10]

Japanese troops in China

(Pacific Atrocities Education)

Even with the temporary alliance of opposing Chinese forces, the Japanese kept gobbling up Chinese territory. The Nationalists were pushed back to the city of Chungking, just 500 miles from the border of Burma. The Japanese controlled all the major seaports, so Chiang's forces had to be supplied overland.[11]

With Tibet and Nepal dominated by mountains, the only practical overland supply route ran through the British colony of Burma. It started at the seaport of Rangoon, then by rail to Lashio, and finally over the 717-mile Burma Road to Chungking. The Japanese invaded Burma and conquered it by early 1942, thus severing that supply line to China. The British retreated to India. Retaking Burma, while at the same time protecting India, was one of the main British objectives, with American help, for the rest of the war.[12]

Even though keeping China in the war was vital, Chiang Kai-shek proved to be a difficult ally. Extremely nationalistic and resentful of Western influence, Chiang was nonetheless dependent on Allied support to survive against the Japanese. American equipment, money, and personnel kept China in the war, thus tying down large Japanese forces that could not be used elsewhere. A Nationalist government was also the American preference for China in the postwar world to block Russian designs in the Far East.[13]

The Allies used India as their base of operations in the CBI.  Supplies were flown from here to China until a land supply route could be reestablished. This meant risky flying over the forbidding Himalayan Mountains ("Over the Hump").  Allied armies, primarily British and their colonial troops, protected India and made forays into Burma. 

Flying "Over the Hump"

(HistoryNet)

The principal American presence in the CBI was the Army Air Force. This consisted of the Tenth Air Force and the Fourteenth Air Force, the latter including General Claire Chennault's "Flying Tigers," which was known as the American Volunteer Group before the United States formally entered World War II.[14]

They flew supplies to China and other allies in the region, made bombing raids against Japanese installations, and protected Chinese cities from Japanese bombing raids.

In 1943, most of the Allied campaign in Burma was focused on commando and guerilla warfare behind Japanese lines. Burmese natives, assisted by American and British special operations, conducted guerilla raids on the Japanese. British General Orde Wingate developed a concept called Long Range Penetration Groups, nicknamed "Chindits," that operated behind Japanese lines. Many were inserted and supplied by air.[15]

General Orde Wingate in the light uniform, inspecting some of his Chindits

(Chindits.info)

In early 1944 when Harry Blair arrived in the CBI, the Allies had launched a three-pronged campaign into Burma. British and colonial troops went on an offensive toward the city of Akyab on the Bay of Bengal that continued the rest of the year. An American-Chinese force nicknamed "Merrill's Marauders" moved to take the airfield and railhead at Myitkyina.  They had captured the airstrip in May, but the town held out until August 1944. At the same time, two divisions of Indian troops advanced into north-central Burma.[16]

Some of "Merrill's Marauders" crossing a river in Burma

(Army.mil)

All of this military activity required an almost constant movement of equipment, troops, and supplies. To accomplish this, the Army Air Force had at its disposal one of the most remarkable cargo aircraft ever built---the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.

C-47 Skytrain/Dakota

(Flyinglegends.com)

Unlike the fighters and the bombers of World War II, the C-47 had a civilian origin. The Douglas Commercial company debuted the DC-1 in July 1933 as a passenger plane. The DC-2 came out in 1934, and the Army Air Corps bought one in 1936. Its designation was changed to C-32, and this was the progenitor famous C-47.[17]

Douglas DC-3, the civilian version of the C-47, at the La Crosse Regional Airport

(Jeff Rand, 2019 July 28)

The Douglas DC-3 first flew in December 1935. It was adapted by the Army Air Force into the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. Two 1,200 horsepower engines gave it a top speed of 220 miles per hour with a range of 1,500 miles. Crewed by a pilot, copilot, and flight engineer, the C-47 could accommodate 32 passengers on its bench seats or 27 combat-loaded troops. For medical evacuations, it could hold 24 stretchers. It could carry 6,000 to 12,000 pounds of cargo. Besides carrying troops, wounded, and cargo, C-47s towed gliders and dropped paratroopers.[18] C-47s were part of all the Allied air forces. The British, who had 2,000 of them, called them the Dakota.[19]

C-47 at the Deke Slayton Airfest, La Crosse, Wisconsin

(Jeff Rand, 2001 June 17)

It was nicknamed "Gooney Bird" because it reminded some people of the giant albatrosses living on Midway Island in the Pacific.

By the middle of March 1944, Corporal Harry Blair was stationed in India.[20] As a flight engineer on C-47s, Blair was soon to develop an intimate working relationship with the Gooney Bird. Flying unarmed over rugged mountains and trackless jungles, the Gooney Birds proved to be valuable and versatile assets in the CBI.

The cockpit of a C-47

(Jeff Rand, 2001 June 17)

As a radar and radio operator on a C-47 in the 27th Troop Carrier Squadron, Harry Blair was part of over 300 combat missions in his 15 months in the Far East. From their base in India, his squadron parachuted troops and supplies to support the invasion of Burma in early 1944. They performed this duty until the capture of Myitkyina. Several times they landed behind Japanese lines to evacuate wounded British troops. Blair had much praise for the Burmese natives who helped and hid wounded Allied soldiers until they could be evacuated. He also saw outstanding work by American Army nurses in caring for the wounded.[21]

After four months in India, the 27th Squadron was put under the control of the Chinese during the campaign to re-open the Burma Road from the east. They flew in many areas of China and assisted with the evacuation of Chinese troops from Kweilin and Liuchow when the Japanese attacked there.[22] While in China, the squadron was attached to General Claire Chennault's "Fighting Tigers" fighter group.[23]

The Gooney Birds of the 27th Troop Carrier Squadron flew 6,805 missions in the Far East during World War II.[24]

Cargo area of a C-47

(Jeff Rand, 2001 June 17)

Days off were few, but Blair was able to do a little sightseeing on day trips back over the mountains to India. In Calcutta, he dodged the sacred cows that seemed to be everywhere. He saw Hindu temples and dead bodies being bathed in the holy Ganges River before being taken to the constantly burning funeral pyres called Ghats. Blair saw Mount Everest from an airplane. He also visited the Nationalist Chinese capital of Kumming.[25]

After returning from China, Blair also saw service in Brazil and northern South America during the war.[26]

Back in the United States, he was based at Stout Field in Indianapolis, Indiana.  But the air evacuation duties of his squadron meant he never spent more than five days in any one place.[27]

During his World War II service in the Army Air Force, Harry Blair earned the Asiatic-Pacific service ribbon with two bronze campaign stars, the air medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with an oak leaf cluster, the American theater of operations service ribbon, and the Good Conduct Badge.[28] The citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross stated: "Although their aircraft were unarmed and awkward with cargo, they often flew over enemy territory and near battle lines where attack by hostile aircraft and ground installations was probable and expected. They delivered supplies and personnel to forward units which were almost inaccessible by land routes, frequently flying in treacherous weather over rugged terrain with minimum navigational aids."[29]

Harry Blair received his honorable discharge in October 1945, and he returned to his job at State Bank.[30]

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 December 16, page 13)

Like so many veterans, Harry Blair settled back into civilian life in his hometown. He married Myrle Luce of 1657 Barlow Street on May 10, 1947.[31] He was active in the La Crosse Jaycees, including a stint as president.[32]  After leaving his job at the State Bank, Blair became a building designer for Roth's Flor-Mart. Blair was active in several other youth-oriented organizations, veterans groups, and his church.  He and his wife had a son, named Harry Blair III.[33]

Blair's interest in aviation continued after the war. He was a member of the executive committee for the La Crosse Airport Dedication in 1947. In 1951, Blair was elected as a city alderman for the 14th Ward, and then he was appointed to the aviation board.[34]

(1947 La Crosse Airport Dedication program, page 22)

His interest in preserving the history of his World War II unit was also important to him as the historian for the Twenty-Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron.

About 13,000 C-47s were produced and eventually used by more than 40 countries. This durable aircraft also saw service in the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In the latter, they were modified into the AC-47 gunship for close ground support. C-47s "have flown more miles, hauled more freight and carried more passengers than any other aircraft in history."[35] The last American military C-47 was finally retired in 2012.[36]

Harry Blair's wife of 58 years, Myrle, died on April 17, 2006. Harry died less than a year later, on March 3, 2007. He is buried in the Mormon Coulee Memorial Park Cemetery.[37]

(La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7, page B-3)

General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that the bazooka, the Jeep, the atomic bomb, and the C-47 "Gooney Bird" were the four things that won World War II for the Allies.[38] The things General Eisenhower listed were important tools, but it went without saying that it was men like Harry A. Blair, and women too, who were the real reason the Allies were victorious in World War II.

In other stories this week:

  • Killed in Action: Robert Fitzpatrick of La Crosse; William Wais, formerly of La Crosse.
  • Wounded in Action: Richard Davis of Bangor; Robert Christen, Andrew Hellerud, Robert Jones, Lawrence Wright, Charles Spah, Guilford Hanesworth, Sylan Thompson, Maurice Allen, Josiah Buhner, Edward Huebner, Harold Hefti, La Vern Robinson, Otto Brenengen, William Tudor, Frank Duffy, Leon Laseure; all of La Crosse.
  • Prisoner of War: Barton Nelson of La Crosse.
  • Prisoners of War liberated: Charles Timm and Albert Hundt of Bangor, Eldon Miedema of Holmen, Raymond Myers of La Crosse.
  • Wilbur Selbrede of West Salem writes about his part in the invasion of Okinawa.
  • Robert Bilskemper, a recently released prisoner of war, and his mother promote war bond sales.
  • Four Gardner brothers of Onalaska are serving in the armed forces.
  • Captain Richard Koeller, an infantry company commander, earns the Silver Star for bravery in combat in Germany.

 

See more HERE

 

Jeff Rand
Adult Services Librarian
La Crosse Public Library
jrand@lacrosselibrary.org

 

Sources & Notes:


[1] "Harry Arthur Blair Jr.," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 2007 March 7, page B-3.

[2] "Harry Blair," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1936 May 20, page 6.

[3] La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7.

[4] "Blair, In CBI Theater With Army Air Force, Given Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 December 16, page 13.

[5] "Harry Blair," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1936 May 20, page 6.

[6] La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7.

[7] "School Makes Nine Student Placements," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1940 November 30, page 4.

[8] " La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7.

[9] "Blair Chalks Up 300 Combat Missions During 15 Months Overseas IN Various War Theaters," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 May 13, page 4.

[10] David M. Kennedy, The Library of Congress World War II Companion (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 20-22.

[11] Kennedy, 621.

[12] Kennedy, 503-504.

[13] Kennedy, 264.

[14] Kennedy, 307.

[15] Kennedy, 542-544.

[16] Kennedy, 575-577.

[17] Andrew W. Waters, All the U.S. Air Force Airplanes, 1907-1983 (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1983), 128.

[18] Waters, 133-134.

[19] Enzo Angelucci, The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft 1914-1980 (New York: The Military Press, 1983), 355.

[20] "Corp. Harry Blair," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 March 16, page 10.

[21]  La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13.

[22] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13.

[23] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 December 16.

[24] "14 USAAF 27 Troop Carrier Squadron," accessed 2020 May 18, http://14usaaf27tcs.4mg.com/index2.html.

[25] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13.

[26] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13.

[27] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 December 16.

[28] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 13.

[29] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 December 16.

[30] La Crosse Tribune, 1945 December 16.

[31] "Marriage Licenses," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1947 April 30, page 8.

[32] "Jaycees Honor Prep Gridders," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1946 December 5, page 20.

[33] La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7.

[34] "Newburg New President Of City Council, La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1951 April 18, page 1.

[35] Waters, 134-135.

[36] "The Gooney Bird: Unsung Hero of WWII," Museum of Flight, accessed 2020 May 17, https://blog.museumofflight.org/the-gooney-bird-unsung-hero-of-wwii.

[37] La Crosse Tribune, 2007 March 7.

[38] Waters, 135.

 

1945 April 30-May 6

James Padesky: Witness to the Horror

 

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 3, page 16)

 

Lt. James E. Padesky

(Quad City Times, Davenport IA, 2017 March 28)

As the Allied vise squeezed the life out of Nazi Germany, with the Americans, British, and Canadians pressing in from the West and the Russian juggernaut hammering from the East, the Allies liberated concentration, death, and labor camps where the Nazis had imprisoned and murdered millions of people.  There is no such thing as a good war, but the horror revealed in these camps was a prime example of why this war was necessary.

Imprisoned and enslaved in these camps were people the Nazis considered "Untermenschen"[1] (subhumans), meaning Jews, and Slavs from the East. There were also political prisoners, Gypsies, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and even some Allied prisoners of war. Beaten, starved, tortured, and murdered, their only crime was being born in the wrong place and the wrong time to the wrong family.  Over six million people were exterminated in Adolf Hitler's bizarre and vengeful "Final Solution" that became known as The Holocaust.

The "big" names tend to be most remembered--Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck, Sachsenhausen, Sobibor, Treblinka--but these large camps were also nodes for a network of hundreds of other camps in Germany and its occupied territories where millions suffered and died.[2]

When the Allies closed in, the camp inmates were sometimes evacuated and herded on forced marches to keep ahead of the front. Thousands died along the way. Sometimes the guards melted away, leaving the prisoners to fend for themselves until the Allies arrived. In other cases, the guards remained until the end to be killed by Allied soldiers or, in some cases, even by their once helpless captives.

The liberation of the camps began in January 1945 and continued until Germany surrendered in May 1945. When Allied soldiers burst through the gates of these Nazi charnel houses, they were greeted by gaunt survivors and unforgettable scenes of human cruelty that they would never forget.

Buchenwald, 1945 April 16

(Britannica.com)

There are innumerable sources of testimony and primary sources on the Holocaust. In this short article, we will offer the eyewitness account of just one La Crosse World War II  veteran who was there.

James E. "Jake" Padesky was born in 1921 in La Crosse to Jacob and Eileen (Burns) Padesky.[3] They lived at 103 North 19th Street.[4]

Padesky attended St. Mary's Catholic School and then La Crosse Aquinas High School. He was a member of the Boy Scouts.[5] He played on the Aquinas football team,[6] and Padesky was also co-editor of the award-winning student newspaper, the Aquinas News.[7]

After graduating from La Crosse Aquinas in 1939, James Padesky enrolled at Notre Dame University.[8] One of his professors at Notre Dame was La Crosse native Herbert J. Bott, who had been a member of the Notre Dame faculty for 17 years.[9]

Like so many people during this time, Padesky's life was disrupted by World War II. He was in his junior year at Notre Dame when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.[10]  Padesky entered the Army Air Corps on January 28, 1942.[11] By April 1943, Notre Dame college student James Padesky was Pvt. James E. Padesky in the 59th College Training Detachment at Raleigh, North Carolina.[12] Less than a year later, he was an air cadet in training to be an Army Air Corps pilot at Chester, Illinois.[13]  By the end of January 1944, Padesky had completed primary flying training at McBride, Missouri, and then he moved on to basic pilot training in Malden, Missouri.[14]  Other stops along the way included Miami Beach, Florida; Maxwell Field, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee.[15]The next phase of his training took him to Stuttgart, Arkansas.[16] Padesky earned his pilot's wings and a commission as a second lieutenant when he graduated at Stuttgart on May 23, 1944. That was followed by combat training in larger aircraft.[17]

Padesky shipped to England and flew bombing missions over Europe for three months.[18]  Following the invasion of France in June 1944, his unit moved to France. By early December 1944, James Padesky had already flown more than ten combat missions in a B-26 Marauder bomber. He had also earned the air medal with a bronze oak leaf cluster.[19] The two-engine B-26 Marauder bomber was considered a medium bomber in the United States Army Air Corps. Most of its combat missions were in direct tactical support of Army troops near the front lines, as opposed to the four-engine strategic bombers (B-17, B-24) that bombed larger targets and cities far behind the front lines.

Martin B-26 Marauder bomber

(Kent G. Budge, Pacific War Online Encyclopedia)

Padesky's stint as a bomber pilot was followed by an assignment as a liaison pilot with General George Patton's 3rd Army.[20] Liaison pilots flew small, two-seat, single-engine planes that were used for aerial reconnaissance and artillery spotting. The Piper L-4 was one of the most common of these types of aircraft. Because they could land almost anywhere, they were nicknamed "puddle jumpers" and "grasshoppers."[21] Their high wing placement made for easier observation of the ground. These aircraft could also be used to transport officers and couriers.

Piper L-4

(Warbird Alley)

It was in this role that James Padesky was able to visit a liberated concentration camp. He wrote to his parents:

If you see pictures or hear about the German atrocity camps, you can take my word for it---it was the worst sight I've ever seen. One camp was at Weimar and I personally saw bodies of starved men piled like logs and covered with lime to make their bodies disappear.

Also I saw half charred bodies in incinerators and trucks piled high with dead. Most of the men were slave labor workers and in two camps alone some 20,000 were supposed to have died.

When we saw it some were still alive but their legs were nothing but bones the size of broom sticks. Their stomachs were pressed against their backbones. Believe me, it's the most sickening, unbelievable thing a man can imagine.[22]

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 4, page 8)

Two concentration camps near Weimar were Buchenwald and Ohrdruf. General Patton visited there, so it is likely that these were one of the camps described by Lt. Padesky.

Many Germans claimed not to have known what was happening in the camps. The Allied military authorities set out to educate them.  German civilians were taken to the camps to view what had been taking place in their neighborhoods. German civilians were impressed to dig graves for unburied bodies. Every one of the 343,000 German prisoners of war in the United States, including those held at Camp McCoy, were ordered to watch films of the camps to see the atrocities perpetrated by their regime.[23]

Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, and Omar Bradley view charred remains at Ohrdruf

(National WWII Museum)

After the war, James Padesky finished his degree at Notre Dame University.[24]

In 1952, he married Virginia Schmidt, who was a nurse in the United States Naval Reserves Nurses Corps stationed at the Great Lakes naval training center. Padesky was working for Household Finance Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, at the time.[25] He was the manager of the Milwaukee branch of Household Finance until August 1953 when he was transferred to Superior, Wisconsin.[26]

By the end of 1955, Padesky, his wife, and their two sons were living in Illinois.[27] Moline, Illinois, was their home from then on. He worked for Sexton Ford for 29 years until retiring in 1988.[28]

James E. Padesky died at the age of 95 on March 26, 2017, in Rock Island, Illinois. He was buried with military honors at the Rock Island National Cemetery.[29]

James E. Padesky

(Quad City Times, Davenport IA, 2017 March 28)

What James Padesky saw as a 23-year-old Army Air Corps pilot was not just loss of life, it was a loss of humanity instigated by one man and embraced by many others.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami, Florida

(Jeff Rand, 2013 August 2)

I recall one of my college history professors saying that his high school history teachers were World War II veterans, and "they showed  us concentration camp films until we puked." They were just making sure the next generation would not forget what happened before them.

The Holocaust survivors' speaker series created by Darryle Clott at Viterbo University in La Crosse is more than just voices from the other side of the wire that instill remembrance; they are cautionary stories for all time.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.

(Jeff Rand, 2019 June 8)

As the last voices from World War II become feeble and are finally silenced, the Holocaust deniers may become even more emboldened and try to rewrite history to mold it into their twisted and malevolent view of the world. Mountains of documentary evidence will help thwart this scheme, but it is also up to us, and future generations, to not let them get away with it.

In other articles this week:

  • Killed in Action: David Young, George Johnson, La Verne Kessler, Clark Teasdale.
  • Wounded in Action: Albert Funk, Merle Jones, Joseph Shiftar, Arlan Johns.
  • Prisoners of War: Loren Crandell.
  • Prisoners of War liberated: Harry Atkinson, Henry Wittenberg, Tilford Torgerson, John Davis, Glen Thomas, Frank Spradling, Norman Widen, Raymond McConaghy, Willard DeBoer, Francis Sawyer, Gerald McMullen, Howard Jones.
  • Lt. Earl Schultz, a member of the Army Air Corps, spends part of a day with an infantry battalion on a mine-clearing mission. He discovers that he prefers the Air Corps to the infantry.
  • Seaman First Class Melvin Peterson's destroyer helped sink a Japanese aircraft carrier and a cruiser. His ship was just 28 miles from Japan at one time.
  • Corporal William "Boober" Parizek's letter provides detail of life on a transport ship on its way to Europe.
  • Adolph Krismer is recently discharged from the Navy, but his two sons are still serving at sea.
  • S.Sgt. Myron Turner, a waist gunner on a B-24 bomber, tells about the dangers of bombing missions over Europe and buzz bombs in London.
  • A party for Captain Don Griswold and Sgt. Armin Weingarten at the West Salem American Legion starts well except for one detail---nobody told the honorees about it. They were summoned in time to partake until the wee hours.

 

See more HERE


Jeff Rand
Adult Services Librarian
La Crosse Public Library
jrand@lacrosselibrary.org

 

Sources & Notes:


[1] "'Less Than Human': The Psychology of Cruelty," National Public Radio, 2011 March 29, https://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/134956180/criminals-see-their-victims-as-less-than-human.

[2] David M. Kennedy, The Library of Congress World War II Companion (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 683-687.

[3] James Padesky obituary, Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 2017 March 28, https://qctimes.com/news/local/obituaries/james-padesky/article_0536f727-b79f-5824-94f9-9c20e2aa5cb3.html.

[4] "Locals," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 June 13, page 4.

[5] "St. Mary's Pupils Hold Mission Crusade Parade," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1935 April 7, page 6.

[6] "Aquinas Presents 'Touchdown Twins,'" La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1939 February 15, page 8.

[7] "Aquinas Papers Receive Honors," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1939 September 21, page 2.

[8] "La Crescent Prenuptial Party Guest," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1940 September 9, page 4.

[9] "Herbert J. Bott, Former Resident of City, Heads Notre Dame Faculty," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1942 April 5, page 9. Bott was the president of the Lay Faculty Club at Notre Dame. He was a graduate of La Crosse Central High School where he was a member of the undefeated 1914 and 1915 football teams. Bott served in General John J. Pershing's headquarters in France during World War I in the statistical department. Following the war, he graduated from La Crosse State Teachers College in 1921 and embarked on a career in education, except for  a one-year interlude as a statistician for the state of Wisconsin.

[10] "School Bells Ring For 200 College-Bent," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1941 September 15, page 4.

[11] "Padesky Writes About Seeing Atrocities At German Camps," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 May 3, page 16.

[12] "Our Men In Service," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1943 April 18, page 9.

[13] "Our Men In Service," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 January 28, page 7.

[14] "Our Men In Service," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 January 25, page 7.

[15]  La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 3.

[16] "Our Men In Service," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 April 5, page 4.

[17] "Our Men In Service," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 June 4, page 10.

[18]  La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 3.

[19] "Local Aviators Now in France," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 December 10, page 16.

[20]  La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 3.

[21] Herbert P. LePore, Eyes in the Sky: A History of Liaison Aircraft and Their Use in World War II, Army History, No. 17 (Winter 1990/1991), page 32. JSTOR: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26302917?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents.

[22]  La Crosse Tribune, 1945 May 3. For related stories, see: "Nazi Prison Last Word In Vile Deeds," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 May 1, page 3. Hal Boyle, "Leaves From A War Correspondent's Notebook," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 April 25, page 12. "News Men Who Saw Atrocities Give Statement," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 May 13, page 6.

[23] "Order Nazi Prisoners View Atrocity Films," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 May 13, page 4.

[24] Quad City Times, 2017 March 28.

[25] "Nuptials Announced For Spring," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1952 March 16, page 10.

[26] "J. E. Padesky Named To Superior Position," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1953 August 2, page 13.

[27] "Births," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1955 December 20, page 16.

[28] Quad City Times, 2017 March 28.

1945 April 23-29

Clarence Raith: Softball to Sailor

Softball has a long history in La Crosse. It was originally played in the city about 1908, but it was not on a grass ball field under a warm summer sun. The first softball games were played indoors at the Y.M.C.A.[1] In fact, one of the early names for the game was "indoor baseball."[2]

The game flourished in our city after it moved outside. Early newspaper articles refer to the game as "D-ball, " which was short for "Diamondball" or "Diamond Ball."[3] Various business establishments sponsored teams in leagues as one way of advertising. The Bodega Lunch Club was one of those sponsors.

For La Crosse softball fans before World War II, the Bodega team of the 1930s was the local equivalent of the New York Yankees. The 1931 team amassed a record of 38 wins, four losses, and one tie before advancing to the national softball tournament at Minneapolis.[4]

Although they did not win the tournament in 1931, Manager Erwin "Petsy" Voss and the Bodega team came back for another try in 1932. Members of that team were: Paul "Pip" Wuest, Erwin "Petsy" Voss, George "Yip" Christopher, Benjamin "Mooney" Vondrashek, Emil "Punts" Temp, Fritz Raith, George Mekvold, Zig Wateski, Claire Raith (catcher), Clarence "Swish" Beranek (pitcher), Johnny Nekola, Frankie Smith, Clarence "Batch" Christopher, and Joe Frisch.[5]

(La Crosse Tribune, 1932 September 6, page 7)

In front of a crowd of 10,000 at Wausau, the Bodegas edged out Sather of Minneapolis despite only getting three hits off the Minneapolis pitcher. They put together a single, a walk, a passed ball, a fielder's choice, and another single to score two runs in the top of the first inning. Sather managed a run in the bottom of the 6th inning to make the final score 2-1 in favor of the team from La Crosse. Although he was hitless in the championship game, Claire Raith had two hits and scored a run in their semi-final win over Hammond, Indiana.[6]

La Crosse put on a celebration for the championship team that "started at 10:30 p.m. and lasted until far into the night." The team bus was met at the State Street entrance to the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds (now part of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus) by cars that formed a parade on both sides of the bus. The procession of several hundred fans proceeded downtown to the Bodega Lunch Club where Mayor Verchota welcomed them. Every member of the team, who had each received a trophy after the game, said a few words about the successful tournament. Their trophies and a huge banner were to be displayed in the Bodega.[7]

Most of that Bodega team stayed together through the years, sponsored at different times by the Bodega, Peerless, Cavalier Inn, and Heileman Brewing, to win eight straight city championships.[8]

Claire Raith continued to play and manage in the city softball leagues into the late 1930s and early 1940s. Raith was working for the softball team's sponsor, Heileman Brewing Company, when he had to register for the draft in 1940.



Clarence Raith's draft registration card

(Ancestry.com)

The back of his form shows that the 30-year-old Raith was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, and weighed 165 pounds.[9]

Clarence Raith entered the United States Navy on May 23, 1943. After basic training at the Great Lakes naval training center in Chicago, he had further training in Washington D.C.; Norfolk, Virginia; and California before going to sea in February 1944 on a destroyer escort.[10]

Destroyers and destroyer escorts were versatile warships that performed a variety of duties, but they were especially needed to escort convoys and protect larger ships. Built to destroy shore targets, other ships, aircraft, and submarines, their weaponry included smaller naval guns, anti-aircraft guns, torpedoes, and depth charges. There were several categories:

DD = Destroyer

DDE = Destroyers converted to destroyer escorts

DE = Destroyer escort (antisubmarine)

DER = Destroyer escort picket

DL = Destroyer leader (large)

They were all named after dead Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel.[11]

Sailors called destroyers "tin cans." The smaller, slower, and more lightly-armed destroyer escorts could have aptly been called "tuna cans."

With the necessity to ship men and supplies all over the world through waters infested with German and Japanese submarines, there was a great need for a large number of armed escorts to protect the cargo ships and troop carriers. Over 480 destroyer escorts were built during World War II by the United States. They required a crew of 170 to 200 men.[12] There were six classes of prefabricated, mass-produced destroyer escorts that ranged from 289 feet to 306 feet long and featured different combinations of machinery and armaments. Although smaller and slower than full-size destroyers, their maneuverability made them well-suited for anti-submarine operations. Some of them also transported raiding parties and underwater demolition teams. [13]

An example of a Destroyer Escort

(Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, Albany NY)

When American forces invaded Okinawa on April 1, 1945, it was with the largest invasion fleet ever assembled in the Pacific Theater. One of the 1,300 warships in that fleet, supporting 180,000 combat troops, was Clarence Raith's destroyer escort. Because Okinawa was considered by Japan to be part of its homeland, it was heavily defended, and conquering the island was expected to be very costly. The Americans saw it as the last stepping stone to the eventual invasion of Japan itself.[14] Because of waves of Japanese kamikaze aircraft that crashed into U.S. ships, the Navy suffered some of its most severe losses of the war.

One of those losses was a well-known softball player from La Crosse, Wisconsin.

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 April 27, page 1)

In the late summer of 1951, an old-timers softball game featured most of the national championship Bodega team playing against a group of old-timers from Winona. The names of the Bodega old-timers brought back memories for area softball fans: Mooney Vondrashek, Cully Johnson, Yip Christopher, Petsy Voss, Fritz Raith, Punts Temp, Pip Wuest, and Sig Wateski. Swish Beranek was on the mound, but Batch Christopherson was behind the plate instead of the national championship catcher from 1932, Claire Raith, who had been killed while serving in World War II. During a special ceremony on that Saturday night, Mrs. Joseph Raith presented the Claire Raith Memorial Trophy to a current softball player who best exemplified the athletic ability and character of her son.[15]

The Claire Raith Memorial award was presented annually in the La Crosse city softball league for many years after that. We hope the young men who were so honored took the time to learn about the man who was its namesake.

In other stories this week:

  • Killed in Action: Donald Severson, Harold Sackmaster, Robert Carr, Clifford Turner, all of La Crosse; Cletus Clements of Bangor.
  • Wounded in Action: James Meyer, Carl Fuchs, W. E. Clark, Rudolf Pralle, and LaVern Rieber, all of La Crosse.
  • Prisoners of War: John Pederson of Holmen; Fred Beck of La Crosse.
  • Prisoners liberated: Robert Bilskemper, Howard Jones, Robert Jahimiak, all of La Crosse; Glenn Thomas of West Salem.
  • Quentin Jeffers, a top turret gunner on a B-17 bomber, relates how he shot down a German plane on a bombing mission.
  • Frank Wickberg, a radio operator on a destroyer escort, is on one of four ships that sank a German submarine.
  • James Pittenger is with a squad that discovers 5,000 gallons of champagne in a German building.
  • Marine Corps Corporal Raymond Deml meets his Navy brother, John, in the Philippines.
  • Donald Grimsled talks about service with the Seabees in the Aleutian Islands.
  • E. J. Sinniger has six battle stars for landings in the Pacific.

 

See more HERE

 

Jeff Rand
Adult Services Librarian
La Crosse Public Library
jrand@lacrosselibrary.org

Sources & Notes:


[1] "Bodegas Grabbed National Title," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1938 July 21, page 11.

[2] "History of Softball," Athnet, accessed 2020 May 1, https://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-of-softball.htm.

[3] Athnet, accessed 2020 May 1.

[4] "Bodegas Play In National D-Ball Meet," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1931 September 4, page 7.

[5] La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, 1938 July 21. Beranek presumably acquired his nickname from the sound of the batter swinging and missing one of his pitches.

[6] "Bodega Ten Captures National Diamondball Championship," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1932 September 6, page 7.

[7] "Bodegas Are Feted After Return Home," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1932 September 6, page 7.

[8] La Crosse Tribune, 1938 July 21.

[9] The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Wisconsin, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 583.

[10] "Clarence Raith Dies in Action," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1945 April 27, page 1.

[11] Don McCombs and Fred L. Worth, World War II Super Facts (New York: Warner Books, 1983), 142.

[12] John Ellis, World War II A Statistical Survey: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants (New York: Facts on File, 1993), 300.

[13] Thomas Parrish, ed., The Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 155. The USS Slater is just one example of a destroyer escort. We do not know the name of Raith's ship.

[14] Louis L. Snyder, Louis L. Snyder's Historical Guide to World War II (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982), 496-497.

[15] "National Champ Bodegas Return To Action Face Winona Old-Timers Saturday Night, La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1951 August 1, page 17.
 

1945 April 16-22

Killed, But Not By the Enemy

(La Crosse Tribune, 1945 April 17, page 1)

Deaths in war are not always the result of combat. There are many ways to die in a war that has nothing to do with battles. The death of La Crosse native Emil Krause is just one example.

Colonel Krause was killed in a traffic accident involving a Jeep on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

Although the article does not provide details, his death was most likely the result of a collision or a rollover, or a combination of both. The versatile Jeeps were small open-air vehicles without a roof or doors, so the occupants had almost no protection when they crashed into something or rolled over.[1]

A World War II jeep goes airborne

(CarCovers.com)

Emil Krause grew up at 1512 Mississippi Street in La Crosse. His father, Edward C. Krause, worked for the V. Tausche Hardware Co. for 28 years and for the Krause Clothing Company for 20 years.[2]

Emil Krause graduated from La Crosse High School in 1910. Then he graduated from the two-year teacher training course at the La Crosse State Normal school in 1912.[3]

Krause's first teaching job was in Superior, but after one year he resigned so he could study for the examinations necessary to gain admittance to the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point.[4] By early May of 1914, Krause had passed the examinations and secured an appointment to West Point from Congressman John J. Esch. When he reported for duty on June 15, 1914, Krause was the fifth man from La Crosse ever to be appointed to West Point.[5]

After the United States entered World War I in early 1917, the Army officers accelerated Krause's education at West Point. The Class of 1918 was graduated and commissioned in August 1917.[6]

Krause was a career Army infantry officer, rising from Lieutenant to Captain, to Major, to Lt. Colonel, and finally Colonel. Krause served in an infantry regiment from 1917 to 1919. He was part of the Polish Typhus Relief Expedition in Warsaw in 1919. The interwar years saw him serving with infantry regiments in Germany and the United States, as well as in the Philippines for two years.[7] He also did a stint as a Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at the University of Minnesota in the early 1930s.[8]

Early in World War II, he was assigned to the 305th Infantry Regiment.[9] The 305th Infantry Regiment was reactivated and reorganized at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in March 1942.[10]

Three years later, Colonel Emil Krause was in that ill-fated convoy on Luzon.

His widow, who he had married in Germany in 1922, was the former Edna DeWitt Kelly of New York City.[11]

Non-battle deaths have occurred in war probably as long as there has been war.

The American Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, but the majority of soldiers died from disease instead of battle by a ratio of five to three.[12] Two-thirds of the military deaths in the American Civil War were caused by disease. Primitive sanitation and rudimentary medical care were the main contributing factors.[13]

During World War I, the influenza pandemic killed 15,849 soldiers in France and an additional 30,000 in military camps stateside.[14] Those 45,849 dead were more than all the American military deaths in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 combined.[15]

In World War II, three out of every 1,000 American servicemen died from causes other than combat.[16] For the Army alone, 75,280 men died of non-battle injuries and disease (60,054 from injuries and 15,226 from disease). By comparison, battle caused 225,165 deaths.[17]

The  World War II armed forces were not consistent in what was counted in their casualty statistics. The Army and Army Air Force categorized such deaths as "DNB = Died Non-Battle" for "Army personnel who died in the line-of-duty, from sickness, homicide, suicide, or accidents outside combat areas [emphasis added]. This would include deaths during training and maneuvers outside combat areas." The Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard "only listed those men on active duty that died as a direct result of enemy action or from operational activities against the enemy in designated war zones from 7 December 1941 until the end of the war."[18] By the Army definition, Emil Krause would be counted as a battle casualty because he died in a combat area, even though the cause of death was a traffic accident.

In the U.S. Army during World War II, there were about 17 million hospital admissions due to illness or accidents. Two million of these were attributed to accidents, so hospitalizations for illness were about 15 million. That compared to about one million combat casualties.[19]

Training for deadly combat could itself be lethal. Men drowned while practicing river crossings. Parachutes failed to open. Some training was conducted with live ammunition, so accidents were inevitable.

Camp McCoy in nearby Monroe County was a training base for many servicemen during the war, and it provides a few examples of death and injury during training. Three McCoy soldiers were killed when their car collided head-on with a semi-trailer on Highway 16 near Bangor in November 1942.[20] Two soldiers were seriously injured and four more had minor injuries in an accident on the artillery range in June 1943.[21] A Second Lieutenant from Rhode Island, training with the 76th Infantry Division, was "instantly killed"  in August 1944.[22]

Aircraft were a major killer of servicemen, and not just in combat. Aircraft crashed because of weather, mechanical problems, and human error. The United States lost 65,164 planes during World War II, but just 22,948 of those were because of combat. Accidents in the United States brought down 21,583, and accidents overseas claimed 20,633. Combat killed 52,173 American aircrew, but accidents killed another 25,844. Just learning to fly warplanes resulted in the deaths of 15,000 trainees.[23] Often neglected are the 38 female WASP pilots who died while flying military aircraft.[24]

Even the servicemen who did not fly were not totally safe. Corporal Floyd Hortum of Black River Falls, a member of the Medical Corps attached to the Army Air Force, died by falling from the top of a 70-foot tower at an airfield in England.[25]

Just being around so many weapons was a risk factor. A combat-seasoned paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division took a pistol as a souvenir from the body of a German officer that he had killed. The pistol was in his right pocket as he walked around, with his hands in his pockets, talking to his comrades about his recent exploit. The pistol went off in his pocket sending a bullet into his thigh. The bullet hit an artery, and he bled to death despite the efforts of a medic.[26]

Of La Crosse County men in the Army during World War II, 37 of them died from non-battle causes in a war zone.[27]

Colonel Emil Krause, the West Point graduate from La Crosse who served his country as a career Army officer for 28 years, died in a simple vehicle accident amidst the vicious carnage of a world war. It matters little whether his death or all the other deaths that did not happen at the hands of the enemy is categorized as battle or non-battle; they were all tragic losses in a time filled with many tragic losses.

In other news this week:

  • Killed in action: Harold Burbach of Bangor; George Knutson of La Crosse.
  • Wounded in action: William Clow and Rudolph Pralle of La Crosse; Lynn Nichols of Bangor; Bernard Thill and Gordon Gullickson of Onalaska; Wayne Pfaff and William Hammes of West Salem.
  • Missing in action: John Musser of Holmen; George Sullivan of La Crosse.
  • Prisoners of war: Marlin Schultz and Luther Freng of Bangor; John Pederson of Holmen; La Vern Kramer of La Crosse.
  • Prisoners of war liberated: Samuel Sloggy, Edward Felsheim, and Maurice Stensgard of La Crosse; Donald Weber of Rockland. Clarence Schmitz, whose wife lives in La Crosse, is home after escaping from a German POW camp.
  • Lt. Col. Donald Richardson wins the Silver Star for leading an infantry battalion in combat in Germany.
  • Henry Knebes is home after 20 months of duty in a Navy submarine.
  • Lorene Cook, a member of the WAVES, appears in a Kate Smith show in Boston.
  • Lt. Bruce Thomas, a B-17 pilot, is rescued in Yugoslavia after a crash landing.
  • Captain Richard Koeller's infantry company frees 800 Russian female prisoners in Germany.
  • Lt. Warren Bosshard has completed 70 missions as a bombardier on a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.
  • Lt. William Mayo rescued Allied airmen shot down behind enemy lines.

 

See more HERE

 

Jeff Rand
Adult Services Librarian
La Crosse Public Library
jrand@lacrosselibrary.org

Sources & Notes:


[1] Lincoln Riddle, "20 WW II Jeep Facts You Should Know!," War History Online, 2016 May 16, https://www.warhistoryonline.com/military-vehicle-news/20-facts-world-war-ii-jeeps.html. This article includes several photographs of Jeeps.

[2] "Edward C. Krause," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1939 November 11, page 6.

[3] "Capt. Emil Krause Enjoying Visit At Old Home in Town," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1925 August 4, page 5.

[4] "Emil Krause Is Named As Cadet," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1914 February 5, page 7.

[5] "Order Krause To Go To West Point," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1914 May 7, page 6.

[6] "La Crosse Boy Out Of West Point Today," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1917 August 30, page 1.

[7] "Emil Krause, Native of La Crosse, Now Colonel In U.S. Armed Forces," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1942 November 29, page 7.

[8] "Emil Krause, Of La Crosse, Finishes Infantry School," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1930 June 10, page 11.

[9] La Crosse Tribune, 1942 November 29.

[10] "Lineage and Honors Information Regiment," U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2019 July 8, https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/regt/0305rgt.htm. In the book, Second to None! The Story of the 305th Infantry In World War II  edited by Charles O. West, Philip C. Wood, Neil F. Wender, and Harold R. Butler (Infantry Journal Press, 1949), there is a chapter on the regiment's service on Leyte but nothing about Luzon. Colonel Emil Krause is also not listed as one of its officers killed in action. Col. Krause was probably with a different unit on Luzon.

[11] "Mr. and Mrs. P. F. Kelly of New York City," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1922 December 3, page 13.

[12] "Civil War Casualties," American Battlefield Trust, accessed 2020 April 23, https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties.

[13] Stanley B. Burns, MD, "Behind the Lens: A History in Pictures--Disease," PBS.org, accessed 2020 April 23, http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/uncover-history/behind-lens/disease/.

[14] Harry Thetford, "Flu killed more World War I troops than any battle," The United States World War One Centennial Commission, accessed 2020 April 23, https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/3978-flu-killed-more-world-war-i-troops-than-any-battle.html.

[16] "Research Starters: US Military by the Numbers," The National WW II Museum, accessed 2020 April 22, https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-us-military-numbers.

[17] B. Dixon Holland, Medical Corps, U.S. Army, and Arthur P. Long, Medical Corps, U.S. Army, "Cost of Non-Battle Injuries and Diseases as Compared to Battle Casualties," Oxford Academic, accessed 2020 April 23, https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article-abstract/117/1/46/4932890?redirectedFrom=PDF.

[18] "Casualty Codes," With Military Honors, 2016 August 1, http://www.withmilitaryhonors.com/wwii/code_index.php.

[19] Kent G. Budge,"Casualties," Pacific War Encyclopedia, accessed 2020 April 23, http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/C/a/Casualties.htm.

[20] "Highway 16 Crash Kills Three McCoy Soldiers," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1942 November 4, page 2.

[21] "McCoy Men Hurt On Artillery Range," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1943 June 24, page 2.

[22] "McCoy Officer Killed in Training Accident," La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1944 August 11, page 1. The article does not provide any details of how the officer died.

[23] Robert Blanchard, "Sobering Stats: 15,000 U.S. Airmen Killed in Training in WW II," RealClearHistory, 2019 February 12, https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2019/02/12/staggering_statistics_15000_us_airmen_killed_in_training_in_ww_ii_412.html.

[24] Captain Barbara A. Wilson, United States Air Force (Retired), "They Gave Their Lives," AUG UNK Communications, accessed 2020 April 23, http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/lives.html.

[25] Robert W. Teeples, Jackson County Veterans [Volume 1] (Black River Falls, Wisconsin: Block Printing, 1984), 102.

[26] Stephen E. Ambrose, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 202-203.

[27] "Tabulation By Counties and Types of Casualties," National Archives and Records Administration, accessed 2020 April 23, https://nara-media-001.s3.amazonaws.com/arcmedia/media/images/29/21/29-2045a.gif.