CPT Rafael D. Hirtz

2017-9-30 Hirtz

With his privileged upbringing – he was born to a wealthy French family, educated by private tutors, and grew up as a teenager around 1930s Hollywood– Rafael Hirtz might have found a way to coast through World War II. Instead, he volunteered for the fledgling Office of Strategic Services, even after he was told that field operatives had only a fifty percent chance of survival. He started his service in the Army Signal Corps as an Infantry paratrooper where he parachuted behind enemy lines in France twice and once with the Chinese 2nd Commandos in China. Hirtz’s last three years were spent with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Operational Forces of the OSS. Hirtz worked on three intelligence missions abroad, using his ability to speak fluent French in service to his adopted country.

We honor you, Rafael Hirtz.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

 

Joslyn Saunders

2017-9-29 Saunders

Joslyn Saunders USAF 82-86 as part of the Electronic Security Command. She served overseas and received several medals and recognition while in service. Joslyn is a recipient of the Esprit De Corps Award at San Vito AB Italy. Her winning essay was used as the example for future leadership classes at the base. As a Veteran, Joslyn participates with Continue Mission an organization that serves Veterans of all Eras. She’s a dedicated and fantastic mom and a great friend!

We honor you, Joslyn Saunders.

(Submission by: Bernadette Chavez)

SSG Joseph Arden Beimfohr

2017-9-28 Beimfohr

Joseph Beimfohr enlisted in the Army two days after his 17th birthday, with the approval of his grandmother, who had raised him. He did two tours of duty in Korea in a forward force that was on alert at all times. In August 2004, he arrived at Ft. Riley, Kansas, to train for duty in Iraq. Encouraged that he was working with experienced and dedicated men, he landed in country in January 2005. There he did more forward scouting, only this time under real, rather than anticipated, fire. What he learned from his experiences was that soldiers have to trust their training and instincts. In July he lost both legs to an explosion, and Beimfohr subsequently learned that the only limitations in his life were self-imposed.

We honor you, Joseph Biemfohr.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

SSG Eva Romero Jacques

2017-9-27 Jacques

Despite not meeting height requirements, Eva Jacques (nee Romero) was accepted into the WAC. This was largely because she was billingual and had completed three years of college. Rather than go through officer commissioning, which was offered her, Jacques requested overseas duty as an enlisted soldier.

She was sent to the Philippines where the camp’s living quarters were tents set up on cement slabs with a bare army cot and mosquito net. No pillow, no blanket, no sheet. It was so hot she often took three showers a day to wash away the sweat and grime. She thought herself lucky to have running water, but had little fresh food, eating only dehydrated or canned supplies.

Although Hispanic-American, Jacques never experienced any racism while in the WAC. Her heritage is part of what made her so valuable. Spanish was the official language of the Philippines. Jacques was kept very busy translating everything from top-secret communications for officers to censoring mail written in Spanish.

Jacques remembered fondly that she had “lots of boyfriends,” and that despite being fairly remote, the camp still had dances every night, using a hand-crank record player. She became engaged at one point, but her fiance was killed in a plane crash. She found it was safer to just have fun without forming too close of an attachment.

We honor you, Eva Jacques.

(#Repost @Pritzer Military Museum and Library)

GySgt Henry “SKI” W. Andrasovsky

2017-9-26 Andrasovsky

“SKI” as he was always known, grew up in Ohio and joined the Marines, six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor at the age of 17. During WWII he participated in action against the enemy at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942; New Guinea Operation in 1943; Cape Gloucester, New Britain in 1943 & 44; and Peleliu Island, Palau Islands in 1944. During the Korean War, he participated in the assault and seizure of Inchon, Korea and the “Chosen” (frozen) Campaign in Northern Korea in 1950. He retired from the Marines in 1961 and retired again from the Post Office in 1982. Everyone who knew him loved his stories, great ‘one-liners’ and jokes.

We honor you, Henry Andrasovsky.

(#Repost @Russon Mortuary)

Lt Col Herman F. Mondschein

2017-9-25 Mondschein

“How’s the weather?” might sound like a mundane question, but it can be a significant one during wartime, particularly for pilots, when passing clouds can obscure a target or an enemy plane. The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, First Lieutenant Herman Mondschein joined the Army Air Forces even before the US entered World War II, though his dreams of flying ended upon discovering he was colorblind. While stationed at Bradley Field, Connecticut, he became intrigued by weather forecasting, and became a qualified weather observer. In April of 1943, he shipped out to England, where he worked at a number of weather stations, finally serving as Station Chief at a weather station near Fowlmere. He served with the 339th Fighter group in the 18th Weather Squadron. Working around the clock, without the benefit of modern satellite imagery, his team prepared the weather charts that provided critical information on conditions that could make or break a combat mission.

“Forecasting at that time was primitive compared to what it is now… we didn’t have satellites, and furthermore, Hitler didn’t cooperate by giving us weather reports over Germany or occupied France. So the underground, [they] supplied weather reports for us.”

He left the service as a warrant officer in December 1945, served in the Missouri Air National Guard as a second lieutenant, 1946-51, and was recalled to active duty in 1951-52 during the Korean War. At Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, he helped provide weather service for air evacuation of soldiers wounded in Korea. He also prepared and delivered air safety weather lectures to senior and command pilots, for which he received several letters of commendation for their quality and effectiveness. After 40 years of active duty, National Guard and Reserve service, he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1981.

We honor you, Herman Monoschein.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project and @Kansas City Jewish Chronical)

Col John Howard LaVoy

2017-9-24 LaVoy

December 7, 1941 shocked the nation, and he immediately drove to San Francisco to enlist in Naval Aviation Training…after a short wait he was told to report to Pre-Flight School at St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA as a Seaman Second Class and later as a Cadet. He moved to E Base at Livermore, CA…The E stood for Elimination and the Indoctrination Officer informed the Cadets that they’d either leave by the front gate as pilots, or the back gate in a casket. Corpus Christi, TX, and training at Cudahy Field, and fighter training at Kingsville followed. In May 1943, he graduated as a 2nd Lt., choosing USMC aviation. Following receiving his Gold Wings, he went to Great Lakes Naval Station for carrier training and to Jacksonville, FL for combat training.

Overseas orders soon followed, and he arrived in American Samoa to fly SBD’s in VMSB-151. This tour flew patrol around the Ellis Islands and moved with the fighting to the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and raids on the Carolina Islands.

Returning to the U.S., he married Marian Hennen La Voy on September 26, 1944 at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral with their dear friend, Rev. Luigi Roteglia officiating. They had been married 9 months and were living at Cherry Point, NC when overseas orders arrived to report to Malabang (Mindanao) Phillipines to do air support of both Army and Navy ground forces. Flying SB2C’s, the squadron moved to Okinawa to prepare for the invasion of Japan. The war ended and VMSB/244 moved to Tsingtao, China where pilots flew the China Wall patrol and bombed railroads to check Mao Tse-Tung’s moves on Chiang Kai-shek forces. Returning to the states, “Big John”, as he was fondly known decided to make the Marine Corp his career. He was stationed at MCAS El Toro-MB Quantico and MB Camp Lejeune where he was sent to Ellingson Field at Pensacola FL for helicopter training. Shortly thereafter, he received orders to Korea and joined VMO-6 and spent a year on the front lines evacuating wounded Marines and Soldiers.

Returning to El Toro for four months, he was deployed to Gifu, Japan for over a year as there was a fear that Chinese troops would once again be deployed to Korea.

Kaneohe MCAS was next and he was CO of Headquarters Sqdn. The Honolulu newspaper honored him with a headline that referred to him as “Mr. Rescue” for all the downed pilots and civilians that he rescued off the coast of Oahu. Sikorsky Corp. also honored him for his bravery.

Edenton MCAS and Cherry Point found him back in fixed wing aircraft. He next “Bootstrapped” at The University of Nebraska at Omaha, receiving flight time at Offutt AFB. He graduated in 1962 with a BS in Military Science and moved on to Senior Officer School in Quantico, VA.

Vietnam beckoned, and as CO of HMM-364, he took a squadron of young helicopter pilots to Da Nang. Their heroics are legendary and not one man in the squadron was lost. The Legion of Merit with combat V was presented to him by USMC Commandant Major General Wallace Greene at the historic H and I base in Washington DC. He ended his career at the Pentagon where he worked for the Secretary of the Navy in The Office of Program Appraisal until 1969, and then became President of The Naval Examining Board. He retired in 1970.

We honor you, John LaVoy.

(#Repost @Reno Gazette-Journal)