Memorial Day

Memorial Day offers Americans an opportunity to mourn military personnel who died while serving in the United States armed forces. Remembering and honoring Iowans who gave the ultimate sacrifice throughout the rest of the year represents an important part of Notes on Iowa. If we look back over the past few months, a few brief calendar entries (find the full original posts):


December 15, 1944: Famed musician Glenn Miller went missing in action. While serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a troop entertainer during World War II, Miller’s aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel on December 15, 1944. The United States posthumously awarded Miller the Bronze Star.

March 14, 1945: Sergeant 1st Class Marvin Steinford, a native of Keystone, Iowa (Benton County), was part of a 10-man crew of a B-17 bomber in the 2nd Bombing Group’s 429th squadron downed during one of the final air engagements of the Second World War.

March 26, 1918, Marion G. Crandell of Davenport, became the first American woman to perish serving the US military in World War I after enlisting as a nurse and aid worker attached to the 27th Division, 106th Infantry regiment. While stationed in Sainte-Menehould, France, during March of 1918, Crandell sought shelter during a German artillery strike on the town. During the shelling, Crandell was killed in action.

April 16, 1966, Private First Class Galen Grethen of Emmetsburg, Iowa, died attempting to treat the wounds of a platoon-mate while under enemy fire in Vietnam. Awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his heroism and courage, Galen is just one of the 869 Iowans killed in action during the Vietnam War.

April 18, 1942, Corporal Leland D. Faktor, Flight Engineer and Gunner from Plymouth, Iowa, bailed out of his B-25 bomber following the Doolittle Raid on Japan. The only of Doolittle’s Raiders killed in the raid, Faktor was one of three Iowans to either bail out or crash land over the Chinese coast following the famous 13-hour flight and raid.

April 29, 1975, Marshalltown’s Darwin Lee Judge died in Saigon, Vietnam. The 19-year-old Lance Corporal assigned to the Marine Security Guard Battalion at the US Embassy in Saigon, Judge died in a rocket attack on the Tan Son Nhut International Airport outside Saigon. The final casualty of the US war in Vietnam, Judge joined 868 other Iowans in the 58,200 American soldiers killed in the conflict.

May 20, 1913, Harvey T. Rimel of Glenwood enlisted in the military in the hopes of serving the United States. Killed in Action while serving in France during World War I, Rimel died while under enemy fire on May 15, 1918.

May 25, 1930, thousands of Iowans thronged to West Lawn Cemetery in Glidden to celebrate the sacrifice of 21 year-old Merle David Hay, killed in action during World War I. The Iowa General Assembly commissioned an eight-foot tall granite monument to commemorate Hay, the first Iowan killed in the Great War (and, perhaps, the first American serviceman killed in the conflict).

Make sure to remember the service and sacrifice not just today, but every day.


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