WWII and Park Staff Connections

Gettysburg Times newspaper from May 7, 1945 with headline stating Germany Surrenders.
Gettysburg Times newspaper from May 7, 1945 with headline stating "Germany Surrenders".

The Gettysburg Times

 

On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe was celebrated across the world, as millions rejoiced in the defeat of Nazi Germany. Several months later, in August 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies as well, leading to VJ Day on September 2, 1945.

Perhaps no event in history has reshaped the world in the manner and scale of the Second World War. Virtually every corner of the world was impacted by the conflict, and its consequences are still felt generations later.

In light of the 75 year anniversary of the end of World War II in 2020, the staff of Eisenhower National Historic Site and Gettysburg National Military Park wanted to take a moment to recognize the connections we all share to the “greatest generation” of World War II veterans. Below is a list compiled by the staff and volunteers of Eisenhower National Historic Site and Gettysburg National Military Park, a list of our fathers, grandfathers, great-uncles, loved ones, and friends who served in the Second World War. You will find that some of them have photos or brief stories included about them as well. Whether all we have is a name, or a photo, or a story, it is enough to remember them and their service.

It is important to remember that this World War II generation was composed of ordinary individuals who worked together to accomplish extraordinary things in the name of a common goal. Dwight Eisenhower himself noted, in his VE Day message, “As we celebrate Victory in Europe, let us remind ourselves that our common problems of the immediate and distant future can best be solved in the same conceptions of cooperation and devotion to the cause of human freedom as have made this Expeditionary Force such a mighty engine of righteous destruction.”

In this spirit, let us remember our friends and loved ones who served our country in World War II, and never forget their example.

 
A portrait picture of Dennis E. Keener.
Dennis E. Keener

National Park Service

Dennis E. Keener

Sergeant, HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, ETO
Dennis E. Keener survived the war and lived in York County, PA afterwards, making numerous visits to Gettysburg with his wife and children, instilling a love of Gettysburg in them.
Father of Annette Keener-Farley.

 
A portrait picture of Nicholas Mitsock
Nicholas Mitsock

National Park Service

Nicholas Mitsock

Private First Class, Company E, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, ETO
Nicholas turned 18 in 1945, enlisted, and arrived in Europe right after VE Day. After being discharged that December, he immediately reenlisted and served until April 1947.
Grandfather of John Hoptak.

 

Vito (Bill) DeGeorge

Tech Sgt., HQ Squadron, 89th Cavalry, 9th Armored Division, European Theater of Operations (ETO)
Father of Bill DeGeorge.

Wilford V. Rector

Weapons Technician Second Class, USS Davis, ETO
Uncle of Annette Keener-Farley.

Charles G. Weiler

Company K, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, Pacific Theater of Operations, PTO
Charles was seriously wounded during the first wave landings on Saipan in 1944, and was evacuated to Australia, and then on to the San Diego Naval Hospital in California. He survived his wounds and mustered out of service in 1945.
Father of Ken Weiler.

Lloyd R. Larson

Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, stateside service
Father of Dave Larson.

Walter Blaisdell

U.S. Army, PTO

Walter Purcell

U.S. Army, PTO

 
A portrait picture of Harvey and Hildreth Florer in black and white.
Wedding photograph for Harvey and Hildreth Florer.

National Park Service

Harvey Elmer Florer

Sergeant, 5th Aircraft Repair Unit, Army Air Corps, PTO
Grandfather of Mike Florer.

 
A black and white photo of Charles Henry Seaton in front of a tropical backdrop.
Charles Henry Seaton.

National Park Service

Charles Henry Seaton

Private First Class, HQ Company, 770th Railroad Operating Battalion, PTO
Grandfather of Mike Florer.

 

Thomas Welch

U.S. Army, ETO
Uncle of Pat Cliber.

Raymond Welch

U.S. Army, PTO

Uncle of Pat Cliber.

Frederick Spohr

U.S. Army, PTO
Uncle of Pat Cliber.

Walter Welch

U.S. Army, Stateside Service
Uncle of Pat Cliber.

William Welch

U.S. Army, Stateside Service
Uncle of Pat Cliber

 
A black and white photo of Paul C. Martz with his Jeep parked along a street in France.
A photo of Paul C. Martz with his Jeep parked along a street in Verdun, France on September 28, 1944. It was decorated with Paul or Paulette below the windshield. It was the day he heard his first son was born - hence, Paul. It was also his wife's birthday.

National Park Service

Paul C. Martz, Jr.

Private First Class, HQ 9th Army Air Corps, ETO, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, EAME Ribbon w/ 1 Silver Star

Paul C. Martz, Jr. served in numerous campaigns during the war including Normandy, Northern France, the Ardennes, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. He spent 14 months as a rifleman, and 18 months as an auto equipment operator. During his time as an auto operator, he had the opportunity to drive Bob Hope to a USO show.
Grandfather of Jason Martz.

 
A black and white photo of Louie F. Barnett at a signal station.
Louie F. Barnett.

National Park Service

Louie F. Barnett

Signalman 2nd Class, USN
Signalman Louie Barnett, who before the war took a job as a projectionist at the local movie-house in St. Augustine, Florida. It was he, as a 16-year old kid, on the afternoon of December 7, 1941, who shut off the Sunday matinee mid-picture, then ran down the aisle to announce the bombing of Pearl Harbor to a hushed audience, and told all of the sailors present to return to their posts in Jacksonville, as all leaves had been immediately cancelled.
Father of Bert Barnett.

 

Donald Greenawalt

U.S. Army, ETO
Uncle of Lionel Wells.

Elmer Holdsworth

Army Air Corps, PTO
Grandfather of Johnny Holsdworth.

Ottar Skotheim

Lt. Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Stateside Service
Ottar served 32 years in the USCG stateside, from 1926 to 1958. An immigrant from Norway, Ottar served in numerous postings across the United States during his decades of service.
Grandfather of Erik Kreush.

 
A photo of William Sherwood Mills in his U.S. Marine uniform.
William Sherwood Mills

National Park Service

William Sherwood Mills

Private, 74th Platoon, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps, PTO
Grandfather of Steve Sims.

 
A photo of John Peter Schuster in his military uniform.
John Peter Schuster

National Park Service

John Peter Schuster

Tech. Sgt., Medical Corps, U.S. Army, PTO
Uncle of Jean Matteson.

 
A black and white photo of Juventino Villarreal in his military uniform.
Juventino Villarreal

National Park Service

Juventino Villarreal

Tech/5, Company A, 282nd Combat Battalion, 540th Combat Engineers, ETO
Juventino immigrated from Crucias, Nuevo Leon, Mexico to Kingsville, Texas in 1920, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 1942. He gained his citizenship while serving his country. His regiment, the 540th Combat Engineers, saw service in numerous campaigns throughout the war, including fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany.
Grandfather of Ahna Wilson.

 
A black and white photo of John J. Tuskan, Sr. in his military uniform.
John J. Tuskan, Sr.

National Park Service

John J. Tuskan, Sr.

T/5, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, U.S. Army, ETO
Father of John Tuskan, Jr.

 
A color portrait picture of John D. Garbin in his military uniform.
John D. Garbin

National Park Service

John D. Garbin

Private, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, ETO, KIA on June 6, 1944.
Uncle of Sandy Tuskan.

 
A black and white photo of Theodore C. Schmidt next to his radio equipment in the field.
Theodore Schmidt near Cherbourg, France, June 1944.

National Park Service

Theodore C. Schmidt

Radio Operator, HQ Battery, 26th Field Artillery, 9th Infantry Division
Father of Carol Detweiler.

 

John A. Graziano, Sr.

Corporal, 3rd Army, U.S. Army, ETO, Purple Heart Recipient
Father of John Graziano Jr.

Clement "Clem" F. Leone

TSgt; Army Air Forces; 8th AF, 445th Bomb Group, 700th Bomb Squadron; ETO
Friend of Pete Lindquist.

Dave Demichei

SSgt; Army Air Forces; 7th AF, 30th Bomb Group, 38th Bomb Squadron; PTO
Friend of Pete Lindquist.

John Gunther

Sgt. 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army, ETO
Father of Bob Gunther.

George McCarthy

Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps
Father of Bob Gunther.

Robert McCarthy

Corporal, 2nd Infantry Division, ETO
Father of Bob Gunther.

Frederick Katt

Private First Class, 9th Infantry Division, ETO, KIA at the Battle of the Bulge
Father of Bob Gunther

Horace M. Bushman

Corporal, 310th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, PTO, Recipient of the Purple Heart, KIA June 25, 1944
Brother-in-law of Betty Howard

 
A black and white photo of Don Smith in his military uniform sitting behind a .50 caliber machine gun.
Don Smith, sitting behind a .50 caliber machine gun.

National Park Service

Donald S. Smith

Private First Class, Co HQ, 410th Regiment, 103rd Division, U.S. Army, ETO, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge recipient
Smith’s platoon was one of the first to reach Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchesgaden.
Father of Doug Smith.

 
A black and white photo of Richard F. Gustafson in his military uniform on a boat.
Richard F. Gustafson

National Park Service

Richard F. Gustafson

USS Riverside, United States Navy, PTO
Grandfather of Daniel Vermilya.

 
A color portrait picture of Elmo Vermilya in his military uniform.
Elmo Vermilya

National Park Service

Elmo Vermilya

USS Davis, U.S. Navy, ETO
Grandfather of Daniel Vermilya.

 
A black and white photo of Page Evans in his military uniform hugging a woman in a yard with a tree in the distance.
Page Evans

National Park Service

Page Evans

USS Tillman, USS Compton, U.S. Navy, ETO, PTO
Grandfather of Alyce Evans.

 
A black and white photo of Thomas Lindsay in him military uniform sitting on a bench with a woman at the beach..
Thomas Lindsay

National Park Service

Thomas Lindsay

Platoon Sergeant, Company H, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, PTO
Grandfather of Alyce Evans.

 
A color portrait picture of Robert A. Green in his military uniform.
Robert A. Green

National Park Service

Robert A. Green

Staff Sergeant, Service Company, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, ETO, participated in the Battle of the Bulge, the Ruhr Pocket, and the Occupation of Germany, recipient of the Bronze Star.
In the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge, Robert’s regiment was on the front lines in the Losheim Gap. He was a motor mechanic, and worked to keep the regiment’s vehicles working as the men fell back and fought against the German advance.
Grandfather of Philip Brown.

 
A color portrait picture of Maurice F. Green wearing his military uniform.
Maurice F. Green

National Park Service

Maurice F. Green

Corporal, Service Company, 304th Combat Engineer Battalion, 79th Infantry Division, participated in the Normandy Campaign, KIA July 7, 1944, recipient of the Purple Heart, brother of Robert A. Green (pictured above).
Robert and Maurice Green were born in South Carolina, and grew up together in North Carolina. Robert was drafted in September 1942, and Maurice joined the following month. Maurice was the first of the brothers to arrive in the ETO, coming ashore on Utah Beach several days after D-Day. He was killed during an artillery bombardment outside of St. Lo, France, on July 7, 1944. The Green family was notified of Maurice’s death on July 25, 1944, the day which Robert left town from his final furlough to head overseas.
Great Uncle of Philip Brown.

Last updated: September 9, 2020

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