PFC Raymond Robert Wade

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Raymond Wade was a 23-year-old farmer in Indiana when he got his draft notice in the mail. Raymond Wade served in many locations in the Pacific Theater, including Australia, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal (twice), the Fijis, Bougainville, and New Hebrides. While overseas, Wade contracted malaria on several occasions and his knee had began to give out as well. So after a battle at Hill 260 on Bougainville and another case of malaria, Raymond was finally shipped stateside to another hospital and then finally home. Just after he was discharged from the Army, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ended the war.

We honor you, Raymond Wade.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

Cpl Paul Alexander Steppe Jr

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Paul enlisted in the Marines in 1950 and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. “Paul Steppe, a Marine infantry corporal serving in Korea, saw fierce action, punctuated by long nights when he and his foxhole buddies alternated two-hour watches. Wounded by a grenade on Christmas Eve 1951, Steppe was evacuated to a hospital, narrowly escaping death when his transport plane lost its landing gear on takeoff.”

We honor you, Paul Steepe.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

CMSgt Donald F. Karna

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Donald was born April 26, 1929 in Michigan, North Dakota to Oscar and Eleanora (Hokanson) Karna. He attended school in Michigan, ND and at the young age of 16 enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Donald served in the VMF 214, Black Sheep Squadron with Pappy Boyington. After his service in the Marine Corps, Donald enlisted in the Army where he served in the 7th Infantry Division in Korea and Japan.

Upon Discharge from the Army, Donald joined the Minnesota Army Guard and consequently joined the 934th Air Force Reserve at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Donald was responsible for training loadmasters, air cargo personnel and rigging air drop loads for all aircrew training requirements.

Donald traveled extensively in the military and his private life, traveling to all but one country in the world. Donald flew many missions with the Air Force Reserve, dropping troops, military equipment and supplies for military and humanitarian reasons. This included dropping supplies in Alaska after the earthquake, dropping hay in the Dakotas for cattle or dropping troops, supplies and equipment in Thailand and Vietnam.

From Fort Snelling, Donald went to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where he started a new unit. From Eglin, he went to Richards Gebaur Air Force Base in Missouri; when that base closed he finished his 43 year military career at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, CO as a Chief Master Sargent.

Donald was a Master Mason and a member of the Scottish York Rite and Ararat Shrine in Kansas City, MO. Donald belonged to the Ararat Flying Fez. As a private pilot, Donald flew children to the Galveston Shrine Burn Hospital, Cincinnati Burn Hospital and the St. Louis Burn Hospital. He was a member of the Cass County Shrine Club, Legion of Honor, Ballut Abyad Shrine and the Clovis Shrine Club and Cycle Corps.

We honor you, Donald Karna.

(#Repost @Kirk Funeral Home)

LT John A. Pritchard

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John A. Pritchard, Jr., was born on 12 January 1914 at Redfield, South Dakota.  He graduated from Beverly Hills High School, California, in 1931 and continued with a postgraduate course the following term.  Meanwhile he was employed as a district collector for the Los Angeles Times newspaper. 

Searching for a career, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 1 March 1932 until 17 August 1934.  While attending the Naval Academy Prep School, he was honorably discharged in order for him to accept an appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on 20 August 1934.  He graduated from the Academy on 2 June 1938. 

In February 1942 he was temporarily assigned as the aviation officer aboard CGC Northland on the war-time Greenland Patrol.  After returning to Air Station Miami for a brief period, rejoined the Northland.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 June 1942.  While with Northland only a short time, Pritchard performed his first heroic rescue on 23 November 1942, only a few days before another daring rescue was to take his life.  This first rescue involved saving three members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who had been stranded on the Greenland ice cap for 13 days.  He was posthumously awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal for this rescue.  Five days later he volunteered to attempt the rescue of the crew of a B-17 that had crashed on the treacherous ice cap on the west side of Greenland, about 40 miles from Comanche Bay, using Northland’s J2F-4 Grumman amphibian.  Accompanied by Radioman First Class Benjamin A. Bottoms, they landed near the crash site without mishap, the first successful landing on the 2,000 foot ice cap.  After recovering two injured survivors, Pritchard and Bottoms took off safely and returned to Northland.  They volunteered to fly out to the crash site again the following day, 29 November.  After again landing safely and recovering another survivor, they took off but were never heard from again.  The wreckage of their amphibian was later spotted from the air but a rescue party could get no closer than 6 miles.  LT Pritchard was declared as missing in action as of 29 November 1942 and was declared dead as of 30 November 1943.  For his heroism on this last rescue he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In addition to the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, LT Pritchard had earned the American Defense Service Medal with Sea Clasp, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

LT Pritchard’s classmate, VADM Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG (Ret.), remembered Pritchard as:

 . . .not only my Classmate but he was my room mate for our last year at the Academy. . .John was unique–he was the happiest man I have ever known.  At reveille, he would practically jump out of his bunk and, in spite of rain, snow or darkness, he would say “Good morning Tom, what a great day” and break out in song.  He had a good singing voice and his favorite rendition was “The Grandfather’s Clock”-he knew all the verses.  At first, starting the day like this was a little wearing but, his enthusiasm for life was so infectious, I actually looked forward to reveille!!!  John was an outstanding seaman and a Coast Guardsman of the highest order.  During that last year at the Academy, we became as close as brothers but, unfortunately, after graduation, I never saw him again.  I received word of his death while I was Commanding Officer of the USS PC-469 based in Trinidad–[his death] was a real shock to me.  The man with the incredible zest for life was gone.  He was our only war casualty [Class of 1938].  At Coast Guard Air Station Mobile there is a barracks and BOQ called the Pritchard-Bottoms Hall and I had the great privilege of presiding at the dedication in 1971.  John and RM1c Benjamin Bottoms were kindred spirits so the building, housing both enlisted men and officers, is very aptly named.  John’s mother attended and unveiled the dedication plaque.  The last words of the chorus of John’s song are “and the clock stopped, never to run again when the old man died.”  John, the clock stopped too soon for you.

We honor you, John Pritchard Jr.

(#Repost @USCG)

SSgt John J Cenky

John Cenky enlisted in the Air Force during World War II, serving from 1942-1945. He was in the 873rd Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb group; and the 341st Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group. John was a part of Operation Torch in North Africa and the Invasion of Italy. 

He assisted in escorting P-38 aircraft across the Atlantic to England. Then, John was on standby for the Aleutian island campaigns. He also served on submarine patrol.

We honor you,  John Cenky.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

COL Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson

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When the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAC) was organized, the Army received over 30,000 applications for the first class. The women chosen were amongst the best of the best: college educated, unmarried, capable, strong and willing to serve their country. Mary Louise was one of 440 selected for the first class in July 1942. She was quickly recognized as an outstanding woman of her class, and by October was the WAC Training Center Director at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. At the war’s close, she was transferred to Washington D.C. and became WAC Deputy Director. She worked on legislation to make the WAC, the Army Nurses Corps and the Women’s Medical Specialist Corp part of the regular army. She also served in Europe for several years. In 1957 returning to the States, Colonel Mary Louise Milligan became the 5th Director of the Women’s Army Corp. Mary Louise Retired from the military in July of 1962.

As director of the WAC unit, military historians credit her with major achievements including increasing the WAC’s strength, insisting on effectiveness in command, working with Congress to amend laws that deprived women of service credit and benefits, and expanding the range of military opportunities open to women.

Mrs. Rasmuson retired in 1962 after 20 years of military service, during which she received a Legion of Merit award with two oak leaf clusters for her work integrating black women into the WAC. She was also awarded the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Occupation Medal and National Defense Medal. At an event honoring her, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry said, “When you hear about women seizing new opportunities to serve, remember that they march behind Colonel Rasmuson.”

Mary Louise went on to become a great philantropist in the state of Alaska.

We honor you, Mary Louise Rasmuson.

(#Repost @Rasmuson Foundation, @SitNews, and @Veteran’s History Project)

2d Lt Robert Caughey

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Robert was born on June 24, 1933 in Wenatchee, WA. Robert served in the U.S. Air Force as a Russian linguist, with work in the Intelligence Service, receiving training as a paratrooper and achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant. Upon discharge from the military he received degrees in Mathematics (BS), Far Eastern Studies (BA), and Computer Science (MS). He held private sector positions in finance, accounting and County Government, and completed 30 years of service with the Federal Government, holding positions at NASA, Bonneville Power, and BLM, retiring to Puyallup in 1993.

We honor you, Robert Caughey.

(#Repost @tacomanewstribune)