MSgt Ted Kampf (Ret.)

Ted Kampf enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940 at the age of 19. After completing his training he was sent to the Philippine Islands and served on watch duty. In January of 1942 he was captured by the Japanese Army  and thrown aboard an old freighter ship with about 1600 other soldiers to an unknown destination. The ship bounced from island to island stopping in Hong Kong, then on to Taiwan, or Formosa as it was then known.

Kampf was then taken from the ship and detained as a prisoner of war for six months. The Japanese then took Kampf, along with about 300 other prisoners, to mainland Yokohama, Japan, then to a city just outside of Tokyo, Japan where he was forced to work in the steel mills from early morning until late in the night, for about six months. Then he was taken to a seaport city in Northern Japan where he was forced to work on the docks, loading and unloading ships from China, and being sustained on the bowl of rice and a little soy as a daily rotation.

Kampf was also taken to another island to build an air strip with about 300 other prisoners. He was one of the 150 who were sent back tot he camps in the first group while the remaining 150 prisoners stayed to finish the project and were then executed; though 11 did miraculously escape the execution, but not unharmed.

On August 15, 1945, one day after the surrender of the Japanese that these prisoners, including Kamps, found out that the war was over. Kampf recalled that they awoke one morning and found that there were no guards, rifles laid about on the ground, the gates were kept open, and at last they were free from their daily toil.

“U.S. Airplanes flew overhead dropping 55 gallon drums containing food, candy, clothes, cigarettes, and toilet supplies,” Kampf said. “We stayed out of the way of the drop zone as the barrels didn’t even have parachutes attached to them.”

These men then commandeered a train heading to Tokyo where they were then barged out to hospital ships in Tokyo Harbor to heal from their captivity, wounds and illnesses. Once they were treated they were flown back to the Philippine Islands.

Kampf finally boarded a U.S. troop ship and was headed state-side after three and a half years as a prisoner of war and weighing only 78 pounds. After about 6 months of in hospital treatment in San Francisco, Ca., and Spokane, Wa., Kampf was permitted three months leave to return home for some rest and relaxation.

Upon returning to service Kampf reenlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and retired from the U.S. Air Force after 20 years of service.

Kampf continued his service to his country after retirement by serving on the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Police Force for 18 and a half years before retiring from this service.

Kampf now resides in the Rose Park area of Salt Lake City where he has lived for the past 47 years. He celebrated his 96th birthday in July and is one of the few surviving World War II veterans still with us.

It is our privilege to honor Master Sgt. Ted Kampf and recognize him for his exemplary service and sacrifice to America, and to each of us. Thank you Master Sgt. Ted Kampf for your incredible example to us all!

We honor you, Ted Kampf.

(Submission written by: Dan Short)

Pvt. Everett A. “Smitty” or “Pops” Smith

New Guinea 10/24/44

 

U.S. Army Air Corps/HQ Co/187th/11th Airborne Division

1942-1946 WWII Pacific Theater
Paratrooper/Gliderman/ Expert in 37mm Tank Destroyer cannon; General Joseph Swing’s HQ Service Staff.
He grew up on Broad Channel, New York and first retired in Hallandale and then North Lauderdale, Florida.
Having been 27 years old when the 11th Airborne was established, he was older than everyone, less 2 officers.  Despite his age, he was selected to be one of the newly formed, soon to be elite trained 11th.
As a member of the Headquarters Company, he was part of the unit that made a perimeter of defense for the 5th Air Force Hospital when Japanese paratroopers dropped in that area of the Philippines, but he never spoke in the first person, he always related a story about what his division accomplished.
During Smitty’s time with the 11th, Gen. Swing became the one man he ever looked up to and served under him from the creation at Camp MacKall, NC to New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon, Okinawa and one of the first into Japan and the ‘clean-up’ operations.  He was promoted to Corporal during his tour, but he was busted back to Private 2 weeks before being sent home after giving a Major a right-cross for stealing the general’s souvenir sword.  [and he said he never regretted it.].
Everett Smith was a terrific father and my hero.  I have his PTO ribbon with 3 stars, Philippine Liberation ribbon with 2 stars and an arrowhead, Occupation of Japan and Asia-Pacific Campaign.
We honor you, Everett Smith.
(Submission written by: GP Cox)

 

PO3 Clarence W Dabney

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Ship’s Cook First Class Dabney (right) was wounded when Japanese aircraft bombed the LST on which he was stationed in the Southwest Pacific. Two of his shipmates were killed when [Japanese] bombers dropped their ‘eggs.’

We honor you, Clarence Dabney.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and @CGPurpleheart)

PFC Mario Cian DaRosso

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My father shipped out on the USS Mariposa on July 14, 1943, and arrived in Casablanca, N. Africa on July 21, 1943 as part of a replacement unit with the 34th Infantry Division. By the time he arrived, along with 2,000 other soldiers on his ship, the British and American troops had already driven out the German forces led by Gen Rommel, the Desert Fox.

In September of 1943, he left the Africa bound for and invasion of Salerno, Italy, under Lt. General Mark W. Clark, commander of the 5th army. Because of his ability to speak Italian, his assignment was changed to interpreter. His job was to talk to the Italian civilians to obtain information about the movement of the German troops, how many there were, and where best to cross the rivers. His division became part of the 3rd crossing of the Volturno River, outside the town of Santa Maria Oliveto.

As an interpreter, my father was part of the Headquarters Company. On November 7, 1943, they were bivouacked under Hill 550 eating lunch and getting ready to advance into the town. They could see German troops marching around and across the field. Without warning, the Germans shot 88’s from cannon, which exploded around their campsite. His Captain was hit, and as my father went to assist him, shrapnel struck him on his chin. He lost part of his chin, which was open and bone was showing. An ambulance evacuated him to a field hospital in Naples, a 2-hour drive away. He spent 3-4 days there and then was flown to a hospital in Bizert, Tunisia for surgery. They cut the scar that had formed and closed the hole with a skin graft from his arm. They pulled 2 of his teeth for space for a feeding tube, and then wired his jaw shut. He stayed like that for 2 months. He was 165 pounds when he entered the army, and while on the feeding tube, went down to 80 pounds.

After crossing back to the US by hospital ship, he spent the next 27 months moving to various hospitals. His first stop was Nashville, Tennessee, in January 1044. In February 1944, he was sent to Valley Forge, PA, which was a major plastic surgical center. Here he had reconstruction on his chin by Colonel Dr. James Barrett Brown, noted plastic surgeon and founding father of modern plastic surgery. After a year there, in  February 1945, he was sent to Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, then on to El Paso, Texas, where he had more surgery to cut down his scar tissue. On February 21, 1946, he was honorably discharged from the army.

We honor you, Mario Cian DaRosso.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

 

 

LT Joseph King Naftel

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Joseph was drafted into the Army in 1941, and he served until 1946. He was part of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team. Joseph spent time in Australia, New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and the Pacific Theater.

We honor you, Joseph Naftel.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

LCDR Maurice David Jester

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Maurice Jester enlisted in the Coast Guard as a Surfman in 1917, working his way up to Chief Boatswain’s Mate by 1935 while serving on five cutters. Commissioned as a Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he was the first Coast Guardsman to earn the Navy Cross in World War II, and the first Coast Guard Officer to receive the award for a combat action in direct confrontation with enemy forces.

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Maurice David Jester, United States Coast Guard, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. ICARUS (WPC-110) during a successful action on 9 May 1942, with an enemy German submarine. The conduct of Lieutenant Commander Jester throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

We honor you, Maurice Jester.

(#Repost @Hall of Valor)

LT Wallis S. Curtis

2017-7-24 Curtis

Martin Harris was an engineer during WWII from 1944-45. He would clear mines and such and even brought one home along with a few captured Nazi guns and a dagger. He would explode bridges and things like that. After landing on Omaha beach (116 days after D-Day which was “a fortunate occurrence in our view”, as stated in his memoir), he recalls a company Sergeant who stepped on an S-mine (which is basically what we would call a bouncing Betty today). It hit him on the knee and didn’t explode.

However my grandfather saw many horrors of war. He remembered going into a bombed out church and found two dead young soldiers: one German, one American. He said, “They were both good-looking young men, and he realized once again, how tragic war can be.” He described that as one of the most moving experiences he had seen during the war. He also remembers being bombed by an Axis plane. One bomb hit a munitions and explosives supply dump, killing at least on sentry, and another landed 2 houses down from where he and others were sleeping. He helped in the crossing of the Roer River, too. And as you can imagine, as the Germans shot back from the other side of the river, the infantry were very angry with the Germans after seeing some of their close friends killed.

In Korea, he was clearing out a stump in the road to make it wider for vehicles to pass, but when he set the charge and exploded the stump, Chinese forces across the valley started mortaring them. He yelled at everyone to hit the ground, as did he, and then passed out. He woke up in a helicopter, very cold, with the Chaplain praying over him because they thought he was on his way out. Later he found out that he had been hit in the lung by shrapnel. He asked the doctor who operated on him for it, but he refused and said they were making a collection.

After the General Army Hospital in Tokyo, he was given a Purple Heart, which my grandmother still has, along with his helmet, officers cap. I have his shirts and whistle, and bag.

We honor you, Wallis Curtis.

(Submission written by: Martin Harris)