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World War II Casualties, Comanche County, Kansas

"All these were honored in their generations and were the glories of their time" --Ecclesiasticus 44:7


Lt. Louis T. BARRON, USAAF, KIA 26 June 1943.
Trained first as a Bombardier, then a fighter pilot. His aircraft was presumably shot down over Germany or German-held territory.

Donald Frank BETZER, WWII Pilot Instructor, Killed June 3, 1943.
The plane flown by a student pilot he was instructing was hit by another plane at the Wichita, Kansas, Municipal Airport.

Corporal Robert BOOTH, Jr., U.S. Army, KIA July 9, 1944.
Died in the invasion of Normandy, France.

Lt. Howard R. BURNETT, U.S. Navy, MIA August 4, 1944.
A decorated dive bomber and fighter pilot, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames over Iwo Jima.

Sgt. Marion Lyle "Mickey" CANFIELD, KIA February 5, 1945.
Ball turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, was killed in a plane crash in February while over Germany going toward Russia.

1st Lt. Johnnie CASTEEL, U.S. Army, Died of Wounds 12 Aug 1944
Leader of a tank platoon, died of wounds received in action while serving with the Fourth Infantry Division in Europe. Awarded the Silver Star posthumously for gallantry in action.

Pfc. William Henry FINNEY, U.S. Army, KIA October 24, 1944.
Gunner in the Coast Artillery Corps, captured by Japs at Corregidor and held as a prisoner of war, lost at sea when a Jap prisoner of war ship (Arisan Maru) which was taking prisoners from the Philippines to Japanese-held possessions in the South China Sea was sunk by an American submarine, the USS Shark (SS-314). The Arisan Maru, one of the infamous Jap "hell ships", had no markings or flags to indicate that it carried American prisoners of war.

Ensign William M. GRIFFITH, USN, KIA, June 19, 1944
Commander of a L. S. T. (Landing, Ship, Tank) sunk in the invasion of Normandy, France.

Sgt. Lee Harold HECHT, USAAF, KIA, March 24, 1945
Tail Gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber which was shot down on an aerial combat mission to Wesel, Germany.

S.Sgt. Aubrey C. HOLLAND, USAAF, KIA, June 12, 1944.
Armorer, killed in action on Biak Island, off New Guinea.

Tec4 Robert Leo HOUGH, US Army, DOW, April 17, 1945
Killed in action on the island of Cebu. He was a Staff Sergeant in the Medical Corps, posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Motor Mechanics Mate 2nd Class John JENKINS, USN, MIA, October 29, 1943
Crewmember of the USS Pampano, a submarine lost in the Pacific Ocean while on war patrol.

Ivan Richard KEESEE, Boatswain Mate 1st Class, U.S. Navy
Suffered a severe back injury during the war while captain of a gun crew in the Atlantic in the battle against the German submarines, died of wounds after the war ended.

Pvt. Howard KING, US Army, KIA, June 18, 1944
Infantry, killed in the invasion of Normandy, France.

Pvt. Martin McMILLEN, US Army, DNB, September 16, 1943
Died in an army camp hospital at Drew Field, Tampa, Florida.

Sgt. Hugh MELROSE, US Army, KIA, June 12, 1944
Killed in action in the Normandy Invasion, France.

S.Sgt. Ira Leighton METZKER, USAAF, KIA, August 24, 1943.
Gunner on a B-24 Liberator lost in a raid over Japanese-held territory by the U.S. 14th Air Force

S.Sgt. Clarence OLLER, U.S. Army, KIA February 2, 1945.
Veteran of many battles in the South Pacific, killed by enemy artillery shrapnel while fighting on Luzon, Philippine Islands.

Melvin Verl PARK, Private 1st Class, US Army, KIA, July 12, 1944.
Infantry, killed in action in the battle of Cherbourg, France.

Warren PETTY, Private 1st Class, US Army, KIA, December 20, 1944.
Infantry, member of reconnaissance, combat and scout patrols which penetrated behind enemy lines, killed in action in Germany.

CPO Alfred Glenn SEIDEL, USN, died a Prisoner of War, December 19, 1942
Mr. Seidel, a C. P. O. electrician's mate, and all other members of the crew of the S. S. Houston, were reported lost following a sea battle with the Japanese forces. He died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Herbert L. SEYFRIT, Aviation Cadet, USNR, killed October 31, 1942
Killed instantly when two navy air trainer planes collided 100 feet off the ground as they were landing at the Gardner air base near Olathe, Kansas.

S.Sgt. Eric A. SIMS, US Army, DOW, December 9, 1944
Sgt. Sims went overseas in May, 1944, and remained in England until about July 1 when his infantry unit entered France. Wounded in the battle of Brest, France, July 16, 1944, returned to service, wounded again in battle on December 7, 1944, in Germany.

Corporal Elwin Edward SMITH, USMC, KIA, May 8, 1942
Gunner on the top deck of the USS Lexington aircraft carrier, killed in action in The Battle of Coral Sea when the Lexington was sunk by enemy action.

Lt. Ralph J. SOOTER, USAAF, MIA June 5, 1943.
Pilot of a P-40 fighter plane, shot down over Shortland Island near Bougainville in the South Pacific.

1st Lt. Hobert H. THOMPSON, USAAF, KIA, August 8, 1943
Co-pilot of B-24 Liberator Bomber in the Pacific Theatre, missing in action near Port Moresby, New Guinea.

T.Sgt. Leo Curtis THRALL, USAAF, MIA, October 4, 1943.
First Engineer and Crew Chief on a B-24 Liberator bomber, missing in action in the European Theatre.

Sgt. Ernest TRUMMEL, USAAF, KIA, January 5, 1944.
Gunner with the U. S. Eighth Air Force in England, his B-17 bomber was reported missing in action over France.

Louis Ben "Louie" VONACHEN, USAAF, KIA, 1944
Tail gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress, killed in action over Italy.

1st Lt. Donald G. WHITE, USAAF, MIA, February 23, 1943
P-38 fighter pilot, reported missing in action in the Pacific Theatre while on a mission to accompany bombers on a raid over Bougainville.

Lt. Donald E. WRIGHT, USAAF, MIA December 15, 1943.
Head bombardier navigator and leader of the 30th Bomb Group (H). His B-24 Liberator bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire in the battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

Watertender 1st Class Squire B. ZANE, USN, KIA, December (7th or 29th), 1942
Killed in action while serving on a submarine tender off the Philippines.


Memorial Shaft

View of the men listed who gave their lives in WW2 military service from Comanche County, Kansas, Memorial Shaft in the Crown Hill Cemetery near Coldwater, Kansas. At left: photo by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck of the Memorial Shaft in Crown Hill Cemetery near Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas. 

 

THE FOLLOWING
SERVED IN
WORLD WAR II
 

CLARENCE L. OLLER
ERIC A. SIMS
ELWIN E. SMITH
HOBERT H. THOMPSON
MARION L. CANFIELD
DONALD F. BETZER
HUGH H. MELROSE
SQUIRE B. ZANE
LEO CURTIS THRALL
AUBREY C. HOLLAND
HERBERT L. SEYFRIT
WM. M. GRIFFITH
MARTIN B. McMILLEN
ROBERT BOOTH, Jr.
ALFRED G. SEIDEL
ROBERT L. HOUGH
HOWARD R. KING
ERNEST A. TRUMMEL
WILLIAM H. FINNEY
LEE H. HECHT
DONALD E. WRIGHT
H. R. BURNETT
WARREN L. PETTY
DONALD G. WHITE
LEIGHTON METZKER
JOHNNIE L. CASTEEL
RALPH SOOTER
MELVIN V. PARK
JOHN D. JENKINS
IVAN KEESEE



Sources of Information

Abbreviations for sources cited in histories for WWII Casualties:
  • ABMC   --   American Battle Monuments Commission     ABMC Search Engine

  • CCH   --   Comanche County History

  • CCIP   --   Comanche County in Pictures

  • CCVM   --   Comanche County Veterans Memorial, Heritage Park, Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas.

  • DJHSP   --   Diamond Jubilee Historical Souvenir Program, Coldwater, Kansas, Aug. 30 - Sept. 2, 1959, page 42. "The Friendship Memorial Rose Garden in Coldwater was planted in the city park in the spring of 1940, to honor the memory of our men and women who gave their lives, in the service of our country and others who were in the service."

  • OHNCC   -- Ollie Hackney's Newspaper Clipping Collection pertaining to Comanche County, Kansas. Used on this website courtesy of her grand-daughter, Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.

  • SB An article contributed to this website by Shirley Brier from her research in microfilms of Comanche County, Kansas, newspapers. Thanks, Shirley, for pitching in when I asked for your help in honoring these men whose families received a telegram beginning "We regret to inform you...".

  • WWII HL     World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from Kansas.
    Source: NWCTM-407-WWIICASARMY-KS, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).


World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from Kansas.
Source: NWCTM-407-WWIICASARMY-KS, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

CLICK HERE to view a facsimile of the original document listing some of the Casualties of World War II from Comanche County, Kansas.

       
NAMESERIAL #RANKDEATH
Booth, Robert Jr37221755CPLKIA(Killed In Action)
Finney, William H.17010871PFCKIA(Killed In Action)
Hough, Robert L.37237704TEC4DOW(Died Of Wounds)
King, Howard R.37530438PVTKIA(Killed In Action)
McMillen, Martin37236480PVTDNB(Died Not Battle)
Oller, Clarence L.37017077S SGTKIA(Killed In Action)
Park, Melvin V._6935555PFCKIA(Killed In Action)
Petty, Warren L.37732706PFCKIA(Killed In Action)
Sims, Eric A.37147645S SGTDOW(Died Of Wounds
Thompson, Hobert H.         0_737585         1st LTKIA(Killed In Action)
Thrall, Leo C.37254188T SGTFOD(Finding of Death)
Trummel, Ernest A.37254200SGTKIA(Killed In Action)
White, Donald G.0_7306892nd LT        FOD(Finding of Death)

 


CLICK HERE to visit the National World War II Memorial website.

The National World War II Memorial will be the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II. The memorial, which will be established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, will honor all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms. The Second World War will be the only 20th century event commemorated on the Mallís central axis.

Kansas and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide variety of programs and services for the nation's 25 million veterans.

Naval Historical Center: Naval Historical Center Mission: To enhance the U.S. Navy's effectiveness by preserving, analyzing and interpreting its hard-earned experience and history for the Navy and the American people.

WWRM (World War II Families for the Return of the Missing): "An advocacy group of volunteers that can assist in the confusing and often frustrating process of locating and repatriating the remains of our missing service personnel from World War II."

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COMANCHE COUNTY, KANSAS: HISTORY & GENEALOGY
Bibliography     Biography     Cemeteries     Churches    Cities & Towns     Clubs     Contributors     Diamond Jubilee    Events     FAQ     Genealogy     Guest Book - Sign     Guest Book - View     History     Links     Maps     News Articles     Newspapers     Opry     Photos     Poetry     Queries     Records     Resources    Satellite Images     Schools     Search     Veterans     HOME
Civil War Veterans   Gravestones of Veterans   Heritage Park Memorial   Home Front   List of Comanche County Veterans   Memorial Rose Garden   Photos of Veterans   Research Sources   Spanish-American War   World War I   World War I Casualties   World War II   World War II Casualties   Undeclared Wars: Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars