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Dundy County Gold Star Boys
Woodrow Wilson coined the term Gold Star Mothers after World War I to honor mothers who sacrificed a son to military service.  The mothers stand as symbols of purpose, perseverance and grace in the face of personal tragedy.

At the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. the Freedom Wall contains 4000 Gold Stars; each representing 1,000 lives of the 400,000 American soldiers killed in action.  

During World War II it was a tradition for families to hang a service flag in their window for each son serving in the military.  If a son was killed in action, they were sent a gold star which they  placed over the top of the blue star on the service flag to let anyone who passed know they had lost a son.   The mothers of fallen soldier became known as the "Gold Star Mothers.  

The spirit and memory of the Gold Star Mother is preserved in the World War II Memorial with the Freedom Wall. It is literally an altar to freedom as the Freedom Wall states "Here we mark the price of freedom."

Listed below are the Dundy County men who gave their lives for their country during World War II

John Baney Phillip H. Freemyer Edgar H. Nordhausen
Lyle L. Brown Alonzo Harry Greene Everett C. Phifer
James Carlyle Carlon John F. Hollinger Clarence Pursley Junior
Robert W. Clements Henry Eugene Krause  Jennings L. Robinson
Cecil Garland Colvin  Marshall D. Long Bert Sampson
Harold W. Cooper Elbert Leroy Mathis Mathias "Mathew" F. Unger
Mervin B. DeGarmo John Marlin McKie Perry V. Willis
William Kitchin Douthit Earl Medlock James H. Wooters
Glenn E. Druliner Leonard Medlock
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John Baney

John Baney 
was a son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Baney and was associated with his father in the farming business when he volunteered for service in the Armed Forces on July 24, 1944.  He was sent to Fort Logan for a week, then on to Camp Wolters, Tex., where he took 17 weeks of basic training in the Infantry.  From there he went to Fort Ord, Calif., and to Ft. Lawton Wash., on his way to service in the Pacific.  After further training in the Hawaiian Islands and five weeks of advanced training in Saipan, he went into battle on Okinawa on April 12, 1945.  It was there he made the Supreme Sacrifice when he was killed on April 22, 1944.  John received marksmanship medals in rifle, automatic rifle, bayonet and machine gun during his training.  John was interred in a temporary military cemetery, and then returned to the States on the U. S. Sergeant Jack H. Pendleton, an Army Transport which brought home 2,061 American war dead.  The body was brought to Benkelman by rail.

Lyle Brown Lyle L. Brown was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brown and lived in the Haigler area.  He was inducted into the service in September of 1942 and was killed in action in the battle of Attu in the Aleutian Islands on May 29, 1943.  His body was returned to Yuma County and is buried in the Eckley Cemetery.

James Carlon James Carlyle Carlon, "Lyle," a son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Carlon, graduated from the Benkelman High School in 1931, later attending McCook Junior College.  He received his military training at Fort Knox, Ky., and Fort Riley, Kan.  He went overseas in June 1943 and became a tank commander in charge of the Squadron in the Italian War Theatre.  He was killed in action on Oct. 23, 1943.

Robert W. Clements Robert W. Clements, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. "Mick" Clements, grew up in Benkelman, graduated in 1943, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Denver on Nov. 13, 1943.  After training at San Diego he served as Armed Guard at Hawthorne, Nev., then transferred to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and entered foreign service in Sept. 1944, landing on Okinawa on Apr. 1, 1945.  Bob served as a Browning Automatic Rifleman in the First Marine Div.  His commanding officer was Col. Edward W. Snedeker, a former Benkelman resident. Cpl. Lyle Koolhof was attached to the same company, with a machine gun unit.  Bob and Lyle enjoyed a reunion with Bill Elliott, who was also stationed on Okinawa.  Bob was killed in action on June 2, 1945.

Cecil Colvin Cecil Garland Colvin (known as Bobbie) was a son of Madeline Fletcher and a step-son of Ray Fletcher.  Most of his childhood years were spent on the Pringle Ranch.  He attended school in Parks and Benkelman.  Bobbie joined the Navy in 1936.  In March 1942 he fell into Japanese hands when his ship, the USS Pope, a destroyer with the USS Houston, was sunk in the Java Sea.  After three days afloat, he was captured with other surviving crew members by a Japanese destroyer, and taken ashore in Macassar, Celebes.  In June of 1944 they were moved to another camp south of Cacassar, where all living conditions--housing, accommodations, food and sanitary facilities -- were exceedingly poor and the health and general welfare of the men inevitably suffered.  On Jan. 19, 1945, Bobbie was taken to the Camp Hospital, and on April 8, 1945 he died of malnutrition, starvation and diseases of the camp.  Lt. A.J. Fisherk, of the Navy who was with Bobbie wrote of him, "...Bobbie was a real shipmate.  In camp he was the librarian for our outfit and through his efforts did much to keep up our morale.  He often talked of his plans to attend the University in Oregon...He was at all times a credit to his home and his country..."  Bobbie's sister, Marian Babicky, has attended several of the Ex-POW reunions, and has become personally acquainted with some of the members of his crew who survived the POW camp. .

Harold W. Cooper lived with his aunt, Iva DeGarmo, and attended High School in Haigler.  He enlisted in the Marines on April 1, 1942, and was a member of the 2nd Marine Division as a tank driver.  He was engaged in the battles of Tarawa and Saipan, and was killed in action on June 16, 1944, on Saipan.  He had been in the service 14 1/2 months.
Mervin B. DeGarmo Mervin B. DeGarmo was the son of Glen and Iva DeGarmo and graduated from Haigler High School in 1942.  He was inducted into the Marine Air Corps on October 16, 1942, and went overseas in March, 1943.  He was serving at Pearl Harbor when he was killed in an airplane-truck accident during training on August 19, 1943.  Mervin was 18 years old and had been in the service for ten months.  He had chosen the Marines, as his father had served in that branch of service in World War I.  Mervin was buried in Pearl Harbor National Cemetery, and later returned to the States for burial at Crown Hill Cemetery in Denver, Colo.

William Douthit William Kitchin Douthit was a son of Mr. and Mrs. F.R. Douthit, and was reared in the Highland District north of Max, Neb., and graduated from Benkelman High School.  He was working at a defense plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was inducted into the Army in May 1944 at Fort Douglas, Utah.  He received his training at Camp Fannin, Texas, in the Army Infantry Replacement Command where he qualified as an expert rifleman.  He embarked from Ft. Meade, Maryland, for overseas in December 1944.  No word was received from him until February 1945, when his family was notified that he had died on Jan. 12, 1945, aboard the "Santa Rosa" at sea in the European area, as a result of a heart attack.  The body was laid to rest in St. Ande, U.S. military Cemetery at Normandy, France, and in April 1949 was returned to St. Francis, Kan.
Glenn E. Druliner Glenn E. Druliner a son of Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Druliner Sr., and graduated from Benkelman High School in 1940; later attended Wesleyan University at Lincoln.  He entered the Air Service of the U.S. navy on July 27, 1942, and his Naval training took him to Mr. Vernon, Iowa; Del Monte, California; Norman, Oklahoma; and Corpus Christi, Texas, where he won his Wings on March 15, 1944.  He received his advanced training at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and at Great Lakes, Ill.  Glenn was serving in the Pacific Theatre as Pilot of a Grumman Avenger, a large torpedo bomber, operating from the decks of the USS Franklin.  His plane was waiting its turn to leave the ship when it was hit by a Japanese bomb.  Glenn made the supreme sacrifice for his country on March 19, 1945.  He was married to Mildred (Anderson) of Parks.
Phillip H. Freemyer Phillip H. Freemyer  was a son of Roy and Lily Freemyer of Haigler, and graduated from the Haigler High School in 1941.  He volunteered in the U.S. Air Force in December 1941 and received his basic training at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, later to Columbia University for Basic Aeronautics Course.  He was stationed at Santa Ana, Santa Barbara and Merced, Calif., as an Aviation Cadet.  He earned his Wings and Commission as 2nd Lieutenant at Luke Field, Ariz., in August 1944.  At the war's end, he re-enlisted in the Air Force and attended Finance School in Indiana.  He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant before going overseas in August 1946.  He was first stationed at Johnston Field in Korea, then sent to Misawa Air Base in Japan.  His continued interest and training led him to qualify to fly all the planes before becoming a jet pilot.  Phillip was killed on duty on Honshu Island on July 26, 1948, in the crash of a P51 Fighter Plane.
Alonzo Harry Greene Alonzo Harry Greeneson of William Greene and Marie Denny, lived in Dundy County all of his life, except two years when he lived near Charolon, Kan.  He became a member of the armed forces on April 5, 1943, at Fort Logan, Colo., and received his training at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, where he was a member of the glider troops.  In March 1944 he was transferred to Camp Forrest, Tenn., and on June 5, 1944, he volunteered for the airborne paratroops.  Twelve days later he had completed his five jumps and was awarded the coveted honor of wearing the wings and boots of the paratrooper.  He embarked for overseas duty at Boston, Mass., on Aug. 29, 1944; received his combat training in England and went into combat duty in Belgium in late December 1944.  He was a member of the Seventeenth Airborne Division which helped establish the lower Rhine bridgehead.  His division was rushed into the battle of the Ardennes as part of Lt. General George S. Patton’s Third Army and fought in the Bastogne area, helping relieve the siege of the One Hundred First Airborne division which fought gallantly and held that major Belgian road center.  The Seventeenth Division is the Eagle's Claw Division commanded by Major General William Miley.  It landed on the Westphalian plain as part of Major General Mathew Ridgeway's Eighteenth Airborne Corps, fighting alongside the British Sixth Airborne Division.  Only the Seventeenth and Sixth Divisions have been mentioned in cross-Rhine airborne operations.  Shortly after helping the Third and First Armies erase the Ardennes Bulge, the Seventeenth was in the vanguard of Third Army troops which cracked through the Siegfried line opposite Luxembourg.  In the battle near Cleaveauz on the Siegfried Line, he won his advancement from PFC to Staff Sergeant, was cited for gallantry in action and awarded the Bronze Star decoration.  He was also awarded the Badge of the Order of Purple Heart, the last award being made posthumously.  On March 24 he was reported missing in action, and later his body was found near Wesel, Germany.  At the time of his death he was serving as a squad leader in Company A of the 194th Glider Infantry.  Harry was buried in an American Military Cemetery in Holland.  He was married to Ida May (McCoy) of Max.
Albert Haas  was a son of Mrs. August Gunther, and spent most of his younger life in Dundy County.  He was inducted into the Army in November 1943 as an Infantryman.  He went overseas in June 1944 and was killed in action in the Battle of the Bulge on December 17, 1944.  His body was returned to his home town in the State of Washington.
John F. Hollinger John F. Hollinger  was a son of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Hollinger, and grew up in Benkelman.  He had moved to the west coast and was working in Eugene, Ore., at the time of his enlistment on Feb. 3, 1944.  He entered foreign service in August 1944, and was engaged in battle on German soil when he gave his life for his country.  He was stationed in the same area where his father had served in World War I.  John was a member of a tank crew in the 3rd Armored Division, and had crossed the German border about the 15th of September.  John was married to Irma Adams of Haigler.

Bernard F. Humphreys Bernard F. Humphreys was an adopted son of Mr. and Mrs. Emory Miller, and lived in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood in his early years.  Upon the death of his parents, he was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Ora Humphreys who lived in the South Divide of South Chase County.  Bernard entered the service in May 1941 at Meridian, Wyo., and after two months of training, was sent to the Philippines for duty.  He was among American soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese as they invaded and captured the island.  He was reported missing in action in May of 1942.  The following February 1943, word came from the U.S. government that he was a prisoner of war held by the Japanese at a military prison camp in the Philippines.  Six communications were received from him by his parents from the time of his capture until July 24, 1944.  On June 19, 1945, official word was received of his death which occurred on October 23, 1944.  Bernard was aboard a Japanese ship sailing from Manila, carrying 1,775 prisoners of war, apparently being moved to another location.  It was reported that the prison ship was without lights, and refused to halt or be identified when it was sunk by submarine action in the South China Sea.  Bernard had been a Japanese prisoner for two and one-half years.  In the photo:  William Humphreys (left), Bernard Humphreys (center), and a friend.
Henry Eugene Krause Henry Eugene Krause grew up in Haigler, graduated from Haigler High School in 1941, but was working on the west coast in defense work when he was inducted into the Army on April 18, 1943.  He received his basic training at Boise, Idaho, and served at San Francisco and at Ft. Lewis, Wash., where he was in the Medical Corps.  He was transferred to Camp Berkley, Texas, after he volunteered for overseas duty, and was sent to Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri, for training as a machine gunner.  He left for overseas duty in November 1944.  Eugene was killed in action on the battle front in France on Jan. 3, 1945.

Marshall D. Long Marshall D. Long was a son of Ted Long of Haigler.  He graduated from Haigler High School in 1941.  He enlisted in the Air Corps on September 23, 1943.  He became a radar expert, serving on one of the B-29's, the Super Fortresses leading the attacks on Japan.  Marshall was killed in action over Japan on March 10, 1945.  In photo, Marshall is kneeling, third from right.

Elbert Leroy Mathis was the son of Albert W. Mathis of Benkelman. He was killed in action in Germany on September 28, 1944.

John Marlin McKie was born at Haigler to Mr. and Mrs. Louis McKie.  He grew up around Haigler and Wray, Colo.  He was married to Minnie Mae Hamil, also of Haigler.  John made the supreme sacrifice for his country in the invasion of France when he was killed in action on June 14, 1944.  He was posthumously awarded the bronze star for bravery in action.  John's body was returned from overseas on Feb. 10, 1948 to Green City, Missouri where interment was made..

Earl Medlock Earl Medlock was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Medlock of Haigler, and entered the service on Dec., 8, 1943 at Denver, Colo.  He embarked for France in August 1944 and was killed in action in the 3rd Army in the Battle of the Roer on Dec. 3, 1944.  Earl was married to Clara (Blecha) and was a brother to Leonard Medlock who also lost his life in the service to his country.  The bodies of Earl and Leonard were returned to Haigler where a double military service was held for them, and then taken to Stratton for burial.

Leonard Medlock Leonard Medlock was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Medlock of Haigler.  He was called into Army service in September 1944.  He embarked for overseas and was stationed in the South Pacific where he made the supreme sacrifice on the Ryukyu Islands battle of the Okinawa campaign on May 17, 1945.  He was married to Jessie (Stafford).  Leonard was a brother of Earl Medlock, who also lost his life in the service of his country.  The bodies of Earl and Leonard were returned to Haigler where a double military service was held for them, and then taken to Stratton for burial.

Edgar H. Nordhasen Edgar H. Nordhausen entered the service on March 13, 1942, serving with the Armored Infantry.  He received his training at Camp Cooke, California; Camp Campbell, Kentucky; and Fort Meade, Maryland.  He embarked in November 1943, and served in Africa.  On January 5, 1944, he left for Italy and took part in the Italian invasion.  He was killed in action on February 11, 1944, in Cassino, Italy.  He had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.  Edgar was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Nordhausen.

Everett C. Phifer Everett C. Phifer was a son of William and Mable Phifer and grew up in the Parks area.  He was engaged in farming when he enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 21, 1942.  He earned the rating of Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class and qualified as an aerial gunner.  He was stationed at a land base on Guadalcanal and given aerial patrol duty.  It was in the performance of this duty on May 23, 1944, that he made the supreme sacrifice for his country.  Everett was killed as the plane in which he was flying crashed soon after takeoff.  He is buried in the Benkelman Cemetery.  He was married to Fern Stamm.

Clarence Pursley Junior Clarence Pursley Junior  was a son of Clarence and Pearl Pursley and received his education in the Benkelman Schools.  He enlisted into the Marine Corps on May 15, 1943  In January 1944 he went overseas as a member of the 4th Marine Division and immediately took part in the Marshall island assault.  His second landing was made at Saipan and then Tinian, before his assignment at Iwo Jima.  It was here that Junior made the supreme sacrifice for his country on Feb. 19, 1944.  In his service before Iwo Jima, Junior had won three Battle Stars and the Combat Infantry Rating.  His body was returned to Benkelman in March 1945.  Junior and his three brothers, Thelman, Malvin and Raymond, were all engaged in overseas campaigns at the same time.
Jennings L. Robinson Jennings L. Robinson was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Applebey of Haigler.  Prior to his enlistment he was employed at Rock Creek Hatchery.  He enlisted in the Marines on Jan. 2, 1941, at Denver and went to San Diego for his boot training.  In addition to regular training, he studied radio repair.  He entered foreign service in January 1943 and took part in the battle of Midway, later was moved to Pearl Harbor for general duty.  He was awarded the ribbon for Defense of Pacific, one Star for a major battle, the Asiatic Pacific ribbon and marksmanship medal.  Jennings died in the service of his country at Stockton, Calif., on Oct. 9, 1945, as a result of a car accident.
Bert Sampson Bert Sampson was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Sampson, and was raised north of Parks, graduating from the Parks High School.  He entered the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army, and attained the rank of Lieutenant.  He was serving in the Philippine Islands and lost his life on Leyte Island on March 10, 1945, as a result of injuries sustained in an airplane crash.  Bert was a brother of Alta Teel of Benkelman.

Mathias "Mathew' F. Unger Mathias "Mathew" F. Unger was a brother of Al and Andrew Unger, who operated a grocery store in Benkelman at one time.  Mathew enlisted in the Army Air corps in December of 1940 and was serving in the Alaskan Theatre, his work being principally aircraft maintenance.  He had been in the Air Corps for 20 months and had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, when he was reported missing in action on July 5, 1942.  Three months later his death was confirmed with the report that his plane had been flying in foggy weather and it had struck a mountain.

Perry Willis Perry V. Willis entered the service on October 21, 1941.  He received his training at Camp Wolters, Texas, and two camps near San Francisco.  In April of 1942, just a few months after Pearl Harbor, he was sent to the Central Pacific area.  In the Gilbert Island campaign, Perry was wounded and awarded the Order of the Purple Heart.  He volunteered for his last mission, and made the supreme sacrifice to his country in the Battle of Okinawa on April 30, 1945.  Perry was a son of Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Willis, and lived in and around Benkelman previous to his induction.

James H. Wooters
James H. Wooters was a son of Edward and Bertha Wooters and graduated from Parks High School in 1933.  He was living in Oregon at the time of his enlistment on July 15, 1943.  He was assigned to the Infantry and received training at Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  He entered foreign service in December 1944 and was killed in action in Germany on April 7, 1945.  He is buried at Butzbach, Germany.

"The War Years, A 50th Anniversary Album, Dundy County Nebraska", 1992.
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