Veterans attend victory program, dance

John Gross, Napoleon, Harold Krueger, Wishek, and Alex Steinwand, Ellendale, attended the North Dakota World War II Victory Program & Dance last month in Bismarck. attended More than 650 attended the event, including 120 World War II veterans...

Many veterans attended the North Dakota World War II Victory Program & Dance recently in Bismarck.

John Gross, Napoleon, Harold Krueger, Wishek, and Alex Steinwand, Ellendale, attended the North Dakota World War II Victory Program & Dance last month in Bismarck. attended More than 650 attended the event, including 120 World War II veterans from across the state, who entertained the crowd with talent from within their own ranks.
The 188th Army Band, Fargo, played patriotic concert band music as well as Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” as two WWII sailors in uniform and their partners demonstrated dance moves from the 1940s. A short YouTube video of the dance is available courtesy of the Bismarck Tribune at .
Pfc. Gross, 91, born in Napoleon and still residing there, served as a U.S. Army Infantryman from March 1945 to November 1946 in the Philippines and guarded enemy prisoners of war during the occupation of Japan.
Krueger, 91, originally from the Kulm and Fredonia area, served in the Marines 3rd Amphibious Corps Signal Battalion from 1942-1945, “island hopping in the South Pacific to places like Okinawa and Peleliu.” He re-entered the Marines in 1946 to 1956, earning the rank of master gunnery sergeant (E-9). He served as a Secret Service agent during the Nixon administration.
Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Steinwand, 94, Ellendale, was in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1948. He served on the cargo transport USS Regulus and transport USS Osage in Asiatic Pacific waters.
All three men are enrolled in the Victory Roll Call, a roster of World War II veterans who are currently living in North Dakota on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of their victory in WWII. Those who entered service from North Dakota and are now living elsewhere are also invited to register.
There are an estimated 1,869 WWII veterans in North Dakota, according to Veterans Administration records. According to further calculations by the North Dakota Census Office provide an approximate number of WWII veterans per county. Many have not yet registered for the Victory Roll Call.
Of the estimated 35 WWII Veterans in Dickey County, three have registered for the Victory Roll Call. In addition to Steinwand, they are:
• Maj. John P. Wheelihan, 98, Ellendale, served on Ascension Island and Italy with the 15th Air Force, as a pilot and test pilot for B25 Mitchell medium bombers and P39 Bell Aircobra fighter aircraft.
• Cpl. Christ Wolff, 92, Ellendale, served in the Army from January 1944 to May 1946 stringing commo wire for a field artillery unit in the Philippines.
Of the estimated 11 WWII veterans in Logan County, only Gross and Leo Unser have registered.
Staff Sgt. Unser, 95, served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 in the Pacific Theater. He was born in Strasburg and now spends time in warmer climates.
The estimated number of WWII veterans in LaMoure County is 20. Two have registered.
Staff Sgt. Albert Dohn, 90, LaMoure, served in the Army from March 1944 to December 1946 as a field mechanic and driver in the Pacific Theater during the occupation of Japan.
Sgt. Joseph Schlosser, 90, Edgeley, served in the Marines from December 1945 to November 1947 rounding up Japanese stragglers. As a “BAR man,” he carried the Browning automatic rifle, a light tactical machinegun.
First Lt. Ralph H. Oehlke, 93, formerly from Kathryn now Enderlin, served in the band and Anti-Tank Company, 164th Infantry Regimen. He fought on Guadalcanal and earned a Bronze Star on Bougainville before being selected for Officers Candidate School.
Only one of the estimated 36 WWII veterans in Ransom County has registered.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lyle Bjone, 94, Enderlin, fought on several islands in the South Pacific and saw an aerial view of the battle on Iwo Jima from an aircraft dropping supplies.
Barnes County has an estimated 46 veterans. Only one has enrolled.
Warren C. “Tony” Griffin, 93, Valley City, served with Company G, 164th 4th Infantry Regiment in the Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Leyte and Southern Philippines campaigns, coming home in June 1945. He again mobilized with Company G for the Korean War.
Two Stutsman County WWII veterans out of an estimated 53 have registered.
U.S. Army Pvt. Charles R. Downing, 89, Jamestown, performed clerical duties in the U.S. from 1945-1947.
Pvt. Robert J. Sarbaum, 91, Jamestown, served as a U.S. Army military policeman in the American Theater from March 1946 to May 1947.
The goal for North Dakota’s 70th anniversary observance is to locate and thank all living WWII veterans in the state or who entered service from North Dakota and now reside elsewhere. This roster will include all WWII veterans from the Army, Army Air Corps, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as those who served in the Merchant Marines, Nurse Cadet Corps and anyone who participated in home front activities such as “Rosies” or those who supervised bond sales, recycling centers or civil defense.
The Victory Roll Call roster will become a historic document on file at the North Dakota Historical Society archives. Written stories or journals are welcome. All who register will receive a letter of appreciation from Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
“Seventy years ago, these men and women helped determine the destiny of the world,” said organizer Shirley Olgeirson. “It’s time to say ‘Thanks!’”
Registration will continue until the end of this year. WWII veterans or their family representative may download a simple questionnaire at the website; write to Victory Roll Call, PO Box 1111, Bismarck, ND 58502; email or phone the Victory Hotline to leave call back information at (701) 333-2064.

Related Topics: VETERANS
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