Sep 15
Private First Class Kenard Schrock, 24, was from Moss Creek, Pennsylvania. He was a machine-gunner in the 317th Infantry, 80th Division, 3rd Army. Schrock was killed in heavy fighting on Sept, 17, 1944, when a mortar shell struck his foxhole. This image is courtesy of Roger McClelland.

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 the Allentown, Pennsylvania area, 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 the first World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel introduced us to the series, and showed us individuals killed in action at Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal.

In the second World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the final resting place of individuals killed during the Italian Campaign, and in air operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the third World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the final resting place of individuals killed at Normandy, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guam, and Okinawa.

In today’s World War II at Gettysburg post, Ralph Siegel shows us the graves of one of the first land based soldiers to enter Germany during the war, and some individuals killed at the Battle of the Bulge and Okinawa.

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-#10 were taken in Section 2 of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This map was created facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Saturday, September 11, 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.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is kneeling by the grave of Kennard Schrock, who was killed during fighting at Metz, in northeastern France. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

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In Video #8 (Videos #1-#7 were shown in the previous World War II at Gettysburg posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows us the graves of some individuals killed near the French and German border in 1944. This view was taken facing west to northwest to west at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Kenard Schrock’s nephew, Roger McClelland of Cecil, Pennsylvania, visits his uncle’s gravesite with his two sons, Aaron, left, and Jacob. This photograph is courtesy of Roger McClelland.

George Honnage was a member of “Task Force Cherry,” one of the first groups of American land forces to enter Germany. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Wartime photo of the venerable M-4 Sherman tank of the type driven by Tec-5 George Honnage of Philadelphia. The tank was inferior to German armor in almost every respect but was built in vastly greater numbers, giving United States armor units battlefield superiority. This image is courtesy of the United States Army/National Archives.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is standing by the headstone of Amedeo Caruso, who was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

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In Video #9 Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the graves of two soldiers killed during the Battle of the Bulge. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.
A rare, beautiful color photo of Private Amedeo Caruso, 19, of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, serving with the 84th Infantry. He was killed in the Battle of the Bulge January 13, 1945. This image is courtesy of the National World War II Memorial.

Lewis Flanigan was a medic killed during the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day, 1944. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is standing by the grave of Pete Celani, who died when his ship was struck by a kamikaze pilot during the Okinawa Campaign. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

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In Video #10 Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the grave of Radioman Pete Celani, who was killed during the Okinawa Campaign. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Wartime photo of the destroyer USS OBrien. Radioman 3rd Class Pete Celani was aboard during the Battle of Okinawa when a kamikaze suicide attack plane hit the ship on March 27, 1945, killing 50 of 336 crewmen. This view is courtesy of the U.S. Navy History Heritage and Command Archive.

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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