of the


Contributed by Pat McKerrow



Herkimer Evening Telegram Article - 1945

Sgt. William Franken, 28, a member of the 893rd AAA battalion has been overseas for three years and was one of the first from the Town of Ohio to be inducted. He has earned six bronze stars and a silver star for six major battles, including the invastation of Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

Chief Petty Officer Joseph Franken, 29, has served seven years in the Coast Guard and was on convoy duty in the Atlantic in the first phases of the war. At present he is confined to a hospital in New Guinea with jungle rot and is reported improving, according to his last letters. He married Miss Dorothy Wright of Ilwaco, Ill., two years ago.

Lt. Ernest Franken, 26, recently was graduated as a flight officer and navigator. He is now undergoing intensive combat training for the South Pacific area. Lieutenant Franken enlisted in 1941 and trained at various fields in the United States. He is a graduate of the Poland Central School. He married Miss Edna Leveille of California in January of this year.

Pfc. Bernard Franken, 25, recently wrote that "he has so many stripes and ribbons that he will look like Old Glory when he comes home." He has crossed the Rhine three times and has participated in several major battles, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Bernard is a graduate of Poland Central School.

Pfc. Arend Franken, 19, inducted 15 months ago, is a member of the 66th Panther Infantry Division. He has participated in several battles. Arend is a graduate of Poland Central School.

The Frankens have one son, Gerhard, Jr., who is not in the service.

Five Servicemen

Herkimer Evening Telegram Photo - February 19, 1945

THIS SEXTET RESPONDED earlier this week to a call to arms issued by the Herkimer draft board. L. to r. front row -- Joseph John Bienick, Poland; Paul Zarharry Fuks, Newport; Joseph Przestrzelski; Newport; back row, Walter John Alexander, leader, 314 King st.; Edward Lee Nagle, 228 N. Main St, Herkimer and George Irving Sennett Rome.


The Evening Telegram, Herkimer, N.Y. Oct. 1945

Roger H. Olds

Newport--"On this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18, April, 1945," is the inscription on the monument shown above which was visited recently by T/Sgt. Roger H. Olds, 73rd Fighter Squadron, according to a letter received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Olds, this village.

His letter in part:

"We are not to mention troop movements as there are still about 50 Jap subs to be accounted for .. I can tell you that we left Oahu on Feb. 19, stayed ten days at Schoffield Barracks near Wheeler Field, had one trip into Honolulu and saw all of Pearl Harbor.

"We were on the same boat from Feb. 19 to March 6 when we hit Saipan where we saw the affects of the terrible battle there. It was comparatively safe as the Japs hiding out were without food and ammunition. "Only once in a while did somebody get it and they were usually riding along in some kind of a vehicle.

"We left Saipan on April 6, sailed for Ulithi to make up our convoy and wait for the Okinawa campaign to begin. I had a job as a gun watch.

We sank two subs between Ulithi and Ie Shima, also shot and exploded several mines.

"We had a pretty fair scare. Landed at Ie Shima on April 30 and they were just mopping up and there were Japs dead and alive around.

"While at Ie Shimas and two other placed at Okinawa, we were anchored right opposite the front lines on Oki and could see them fighting and planes dive bombing.

"The second night we left our sister ship which had our supplies including our vehicles. Just after we left a Jap suicide plane crashed it and burned most of our vehicles. Our ship went through plenty that night.

"We came in on LST's and had to wait while some GI's with mine detectors, cleared a place for us. We later found more mines and consider ourselves lucky that they didn't explode for our pup tents were right over them.

"The next day women were sent into a cave right beside us. The Japs wouldn't come out so we dynamited the cave closed. In other caves we found wounded Japs who were unable to do anything. Our area was littered with dead ones.

"We got a bull dozer to cover them up and then later had to rebury them. They were those big Jap Marines."

"We came by a sign telling about Ernie Pyle that was pretty crude. He was killed almost on a road. I have the old pictures and am sending you one of his new monument."

Sgt. Olds told of Jap daylight air raids, the dive bombing into ships. He praised the Ack-Ack crews for an effective job for most of the Jap planes were crippled before they could reach the ship. One night bombers also caused siren alerts. One of them, he said, hit an oil dump nearby and "lit up the whole area. They also hit a big gun emplacement, our runway and a pile of wing tanks."

The bombing of eight grounded P-51's was also reported. Just after the noise of exploding ammunition died down, a B-25 bomber crashed on the runway and burst into flames.

As Sgt. Olds and others ran to help, a 500 pound bomb went off and "everything was quiet for a while, when someone hollers 'Damn it I need some help.' " Four of the crew escaped with their lives but the fifth who was still trapped, died when another 500 pounder went off, followed by a 1,000 pound bomb.

In conclusion Sgt. Olds said everything was being done to return the American forces back to the USA. Olds has been in the service since February 1941 and is now a flight chief at Ie Shima.

[Personal note from Bill McKerrow: I visited the Ernie Pyle place of death and Memorial on the island of Ie Shima in 1949 while stationed on Okinawa. On the way home, I visited his Honolulu Memorial in 1951. Roger was a very personal friend of mine and our family. He was a career soldier and as our paths crossed around the world we had an opportunity to visit. He retired from the Air Force with a distinguished Military Career.]

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Created: 5/24/01
Copyright © 1945 Herkimer Evening Telegram
Copyright © 2001 Pat McKerrow/ Bill McKerrow
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