Jul 21

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel lives in Mercersville, New Jersey. He is the host of our series on World War II soldiers buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. He is by the headstone of Stanley Walinski, who was killed in action in Germany in 1945. This photograph was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel, of Mercersville, New Jersey, is conducting a new research project that seeks to uncover and present the stories of American soldiers killed in World War Two, and who are now buried in the Gettysburg Soldiers National Cemetery.

Resting near the Civil War dead – and overlooked by many visitors – are two seamen killed at Pearl Harbor, 11 who fell in the D-Day landings, an artilleryman killed in the infamous Malmedy massacre, the young pilots of B-17’s, B-24 Liberators, and B-26 Marauders, a P-51 fighter ace, and one boy from Allentown, Pa., who was killed in the Marine Corps’ first Pacific battle on Guadalcanal at the shocking age of 15.

The Gettysburg cemetery is most widely recognized as a Civil War landmark, particularly as the site of the immortal address delivered by President Lincoln in 1863. But of the roughly 7,000 veteran graves, more than 1,600 are for veterans of World War Two, and nearly 500 of those men died during that war.

“My concern is that these brave Americans who lost their lives – many of them extremely young – do not receive our attention and our affection,” said Siegel.

Ralph has documented the 494 graves of World War Two dead buried at Gettysburg whose dates of death coincide with the years of the war. Digital images were made of each grave and used to enhance unreadable grave markings. Databases from the National Archive and the National WWII Memorial helped confirm that 433 of these veterans died in battle or in combat-related missions. The names are listed at a special research website, www.WW2atGettysburg.com.

“I hope the tours and the Web site will prompt family members and unit historians to make contact and send along records, recollections or tips on where to find records,” said Siegel. “We are trying to collect documents, to confirm details and to make sure that these important, dramatic stories are also told here at Gettysburg.”

Ralph Siegel has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2004, and he has long taken a special interest in conducting cemetery tours.

In today’s World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel introduces us to the series, and shows us individuals killed in action at Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal.

To contact Ralph, you can click here to reveal his email address.

This map shows the location of the videos for the World War II at Gettysburg series. Videos #1-#3 were taken in Section 2 of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This map was created facing north at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, July 17, 2010.

This map shows the only three “outer” sections of the Gettysburg National Cemetery which contain the 495 graves of men who died during World War Two. This map, created facing east, is courtesy of Ralph Siegel.



In Video #1 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel introduces us to the series, and shows us the grave of Sergeant Stanley Walinski, who represents the non commissioned officers whom General Dwight D. Eisenhower said won the war for the United States. This view was taken facing southeast to north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Technical Sergeant Stanley Wolinsky of Philadelphia led his infantry squad through Africa, Sicily, Italy and France before he was killed in Germany on Feb. 8, 1945, one week before his 30th birthday and three months before Germany’s surrender. This photograph is courtesy of the National World War II Memorial.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is kneeling by the headstone of Regis Bodecker who was killed aboard the U.S.S. Helena on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.



In Video #2 Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel begins the series by showing us some military personnel who were killed in action, in chronological order. This video concerns the sailors and soldiers killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This view was taken facing southwest to north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Wartime photo of the cruiser USS Helena, struck during the attack on Pearl Harbor that mortally wounded Yeoman 1st Class Regis James Bodecker, 24 years old. The Helena would be repaired but lost at Guadalcanal. This photograph is courtesy of the U.S. Navy History & Heritage Command Archive.

Private Eugene B. Bubb was a member of the United States Army (Coastal Artillery) killed on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is kneeling by the headstone of George Stembroski who was killed aboard the U.S.S. Nevada on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Rare wartime photo shows USS Nevada run aground and on fire in Pearl Harbor. In one of the heroic moments of the battle, the Nevada made for open sea but the crew ran her aground instead during the second wave of air attacks to prevent her from being sunk in the ship’s channel. This photograph is courtesy of the U.S. Navy History & Heritage Command Archive.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is standing by the headstone of Marine Private Paul Heller who was 15 years old when he was killed at the Battle of Guadalcanal. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.



In Video #3 Ralph Siegel shows us the headstones of some individuals killed at the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is standing by the headstone of Marine Private Stephen Parana who was killed at the Battle of Guadalcanal. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

This chart provides a breakdown of where the World War II Gettysburg dead are buried. There are 1624 World War II veterans in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. 494 of them died during the war, and 431 were killed in action. There are 433 headstones because the bodies of two individuals were never recovered. This chart is courtesy of Ralph Siegel.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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