17 November 2014

Military Monday: Chester County casualties in WWII

War, by its very nature, concedes losses and casualties. World War II was certainly no different in that regard. In June 1946 the US War Department issued a report honoring the injured and deceased soldiers.

The casualties were itemized as such:
KIA - Killed In Action
DOW - Died Of Wounds
DOI - Died Of Injuries
DNB - Died Non-Battle
FOD - Finding Of Death
M - Missing

The report breaks the figures down by county. Chester County, for example, had 187 KIA, 26 DOW, 1 DOI, 75 DNB, 23 FOD, and 2 M for a total of 314.

My uncle - Paulie they called him - was among those included in the report. Paul Kurenda was Baba's brother. His death is listed as DNB - died of non battle wounds.

My grandfather told me once that Uncle Paulie got gangrene over in Europe and the Army sent him back to the States to Valley Forge so he could be near his family. Unfortunately the family had not been notified quickly enough and he passed shortly before they got there.

His death certificate shows that he died from "tuberculosis, pulmonary, acute, military, bilateral."

His obituary reads that he died in "Valley Forge General hospital after a long illness. He was taken ill while in England where he served with the army for one year after training in this country. Brought back, he was treated at hospitals in Charleston, S.C. and Martinsburg, W. Va., before being transferred to the Valley Forge institution."

Paul was born 16 July 1922. He was the youngest son of John Kurenda and Francis Skrabalak. He is buried with his parents at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, Chester County, PA.

He is one of 314 soldiers whose families share these stories. Sadly two have unique stories. Two soldiers were listed as missing. They are: Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Armstrong and Staff Sgt. Robert J. Sabol.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Garrett Armstrong was with the 769th Bomber Squadron 462nd Bomber Group (VH). His death date is listed at 26 May 1946. He received a Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal with 2 Oak Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. His name is memorialized on the Honolulu Monument. Born 18 September 1924, Armstrong was single. He was survived by his parents: Alexander and Ethel Armstrong.

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Sabol in also memorialized on a monument in Honolulu. He served as part of the 62nd Bomb Squad 39th Bomb Group (VH). His death is also recorded as 24 May 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Air Medal. Born in 1924, he was the son of John and Caroline Sabol of Phoenixville.

Sources:
Ancestry.com. Honolulu, Hawaii, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), 1941-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Applications, WWII, 1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Ancestry.com. U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Military Personnel Missing In Action or Lost At Sea, 1941-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

National Archives and Records Administration. World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
 
National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

National Archives and Records Administration . World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel, 1946
 
Military Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.