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Private Joe E. Mann AK-253 - History

Private Joe E. Mann AK-253 - History


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Private Joe E. Mann AK-253

Private Joe E. Mann

(AK-253: dp. 15,580 (f.); 1. 455'6"; b. 62', dr. 28'6" s. 17 k.
cpl. 49; cl. Boulder Victory; T. VC2-S AP2j

Private Joe E. Mann (AK-253) was laid down, under Maritime Commission contract, as Owenshoro Victory (MCV hull 719) by the Permanente Metals Corp., Yard #2, Richmond, Calif. 12 June 1945, Iaunched 21 July 1945, sponsored bv Mrs. Rotert A. Nieman, and delivered to the Maritime Commission, thence to Coastwise Lines for operation, 27 August 1945.

A month and a half after delivery, Owensboro Victory departed San Francisco carrying cargo and passengers to occupied Japan. In December, she sailed for the United States, via the Suez Canal, and arrived Boston 7 February 1946. Shifting to New York the following month, she made cargo runs to European ports until returned to the Maritime Commission in September for transfer to the Army Transportation Service. Renamed Private Joe E. Mann, 31 October 1947, she served the Army until she was again returned to the Maritime Commission and simultaneously transferred to the Navy, 7 August 1950.

Designated AK-253, the victory ship was manned by a c*il service crew and operated under MSTS as a cargo ship until October 1958. Then fitted out as a missile range instrumentation vessel, she was reassigned by MSTS to the Pacific Missile Range. Renamed and reclassified Richfield (AGM-4) on 27 November 1960, she operated off the California coast, in cooperation with the US Air Force, until transferred to the Maritime Administration, 21 November 1968. Sinee then, into 1970, she has been berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay.

An Army name retained.


HistoryLink.org

On August 30, 1945, Joe E. Mann's (1922-1944) father, John Henry Mann (1891-1973), accepts the Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to his son. An award ceremony is held at Baxter General Hospital Spokane. The Medal of Honor citation speaks of his conspicuous gallantry on September 18, 1944. Private First Class Joe E. Mann, in the vicinity of Best, Holland, saved the lives of his comrades. For two days his encircled platoon had fought a much stronger enemy force. Mann had killed a number of enemy soldiers and was wounded, with both arms immobilized. When a grenade landed behind him, he could not pick it up, so he fell backwards onto the grenade. He saved six comrades in the dugout and died moments later.

Growing Up on a Wheat Ranch

Joe Eugene Mann was born in Reardan, Washington, the fifth of nine children. He worked on his family's wheat ranch and was especially skilled at mechanical repairs on farm equipment. He attended Reardan High School where he played football, baseball, and tennis, and was active in theater and debate.

Following graduation in 1941, he moved to Seattle to find a war-industry job, going to work at Boeing. On August 26, 1942, he enlisted in the army and had basic training at Fort Lewis (later renamed Joint Base Lewis McChord). Private Mann requested flight training but did not pass the physical due to a high school football injury. His next choice was to become a paratrooper. Mann completed airborne school and received additional parachute infantry training. In 1944 he went to England as a scout in the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Saving Comrades in the Netherlands

Early on September 17, 1944, Private First Class Mann of H Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry, parachuted into Holland in Operation Market Garden. Operation Market Garden was designed to create a bridgehead over the Rhine River into northern Germany. It was Mann's first combat parachute jump. The afternoon of their landing, H Company reached the outskirts of Best village. A platoon of infantry and engineers headed to the Wilhelmina Canal with Private First Class Mann a leading scout. The patrol expected to encounter a very limited defense force. Instead of a small enemy force, 1,000 German soldiers with 13 large guns had taken up positions in the Best area. They would be defeated and the Allied forces would have a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal.

The platoon came under heavy fire as they moved toward the canal. When Joe Mann and the other surviving platoon members reached the canal, they found themselves in the midst of an enemy force. The patrol dug in and waited. They had radioed headquarters that Germany's forces there were much larger than expected. American reinforcements were sent forward, but they were halted by intense enemy gunfire. The patrol with Joe Mann hunkered down for two days as a battle raged around them. On the second day German troops blew up the bridge, taking away the assault goal.

With the bridge gone, Private First Class Mann and a bazooka operator did a reconnaissance of the bridge ruins and discovered a German 88 millimeter gun and ammunition storage. The bazooka operator destroyed the gun and ammunition. As six enemy soldiers charged them, Joe Mann picked them off one by one. However, Mann and his platoon remained encircled by German troops. Mann sought out an escape route so the platoon could reach friendly troops. He was hit in the shoulder by enemy rifle fire as he looked for a way out. A medic put his arm in a sling and tied it down to prevent bleeding and further injury. The wounds did not stop him as he continued to seek an escape route. He was hit twice more in the shoulder and then had both arms in slings and bound to his torso.

His scouting efforts over, Private First Class Mann volunteered to serve as a sentry. On the third day, the German troops closed in on the remaining seven soldiers and started throwing grenades into their position. Of the first four grenades tossed, two were thrown back, one missed, and the fourth exploded at the machine gun, blinding the gunner. A fifth grenade landed near the blinded machine gunner, who felt around, located it, and threw it back just in time.

A sixth grenade landed behind Private First Class Mann who, with his arms bound, could not pick it up. He yelled "grenade" and then fell backwards onto it. He saved his comrades and moments later died. Platoon leader First Lieutenant Edmund L. Wierzboski, reviewing the situation that he had only three men not wounded and was almost out of ammunition, surrendered the position. They were taken prisoner and the wounded received medical attention. Soon afterwards German positions were overrun and they were released.

Remembering Joe E. Mann

In a ceremony at Baxter General Hospital Spokane on August 30, 1945, the hospital commander posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Private First Class Joe E. Mann. His father, John Henry Mann, accepted the medal. In 1946 the Navy ship U.S.N.S. Joe E. Mann was named in his honor. In 1956, at the site of his heroic actions at Best, Holland, the local community erected a monument to him. His parents were special guests at its dedication. In the Best area, an amphitheater and forest are also named for him.

Members of the Mann family have made several trips to Best to take part in memorial events there, where the Joe E. Mann story is still widely known. Closer to home, there is a monument near his grave in the Greenwood Memorial Cemetery, Spokane. Additionally, the veteran's medical center in Spokane is named the Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center to honor him and another local recipient of the Medal of Honor. Fort Campbell Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division, also named a theater for him. Mann Street on Lewis Main of Joint Base Lewis McChord recalls this hero from Washington state who trained at Fort Lewis.


USNS Private Joe E. Mann (T-AK-253)

USNS Private Joe E. Mann (T-AK-253) was a United States Navy miscellaneous auxiliary ship acquired in 1950 from the U.S. Army where it was known as the USAT Private Joe E. Mann.

In 1960, the Navy converted the ship to a Longview-class missile range instrumentation ship and renamed her USNS Richfield (T-AGM-4). Richfield served on the Pacific Missile Range, based out of California, and was placed out of service in 1968.


Medal of Honor citation [ edit | edit source ]

Private First Class Mann's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

He distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. On 18 September 1944, in the vicinity of Best, Holland, his platoon, attempting to seize the bridge across the Wilhelmina Canal, was surrounded and isolated by an enemy force greatly superior in personnel and firepower. Acting as lead scout, Pfc. Mann boldly crept to within rocket-launcher range of an enemy artillery position and, in the face of heavy enemy fire, destroyed an 88mm. gun and an ammunition dump. Completely disregarding the great danger involved, he remained in his exposed position, and, with his M-1 rifle, killed the enemy one by one until he was wounded 4 times. Taken to a covered position, he insisted on returning to a forward position to stand guard during the night. On the following morning the enemy launched a concerted attack and advanced to within a few yards of the position, throwing hand grenades as they approached. One of these landed within a few feet of Pfc. Mann. Unable to raise his arms, which were bandaged to his body, he yelled "grenade" and threw his body over the grenade, and as it exploded, died. His outstanding gallantry above and beyond the call of duty and his magnificent conduct were an everlasting inspiration to his comrades for whom he gave his life.


76 years ago, this WWII paratrooper threw himself on a grenade to save his buddies

To get to the boyhood home of Private First Class Joe E. Mann, you have to know where you’re going.

The rolling fields of wheat on the farm outside Reardan, reachable by dirt road, were where Mann learned to tinker with cars and fly kites with his eight siblings. The landscape is a reminder of how heroism can sprout from modest beginnings, said Byrne Bennett, Mann’s nephew.

“It’s kind of nice that this is a humble farm,” he said. “It shows that somebody can come from a place like this, and do something great.”

Visitors to that farm will now have a physical reminder of the sacrifice of Mann, whose exploits 76 years ago Saturday in war-torn Holland are told in a Congressional Medal of Honor citation. A group of about 50 friends, family and well-wishers gathered in the front yard Friday afternoon to dedicate a historical marker to Mann, made possible by the work of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Bennett, who’s working on a book about his uncle that goes beyond the official account told by the military and taught to Dutch schoolchildren, offered visitors a glimpse of Mann before he became a war hero, diving onto a grenade to save six of his fellow soldiers attempting to beat back a German onslaught during Operation Market Garden.

“His dad was not very happy with some of Joe’s shenanigans,” Bennett said. “Like when he built a fire in the potato cellar, sending smoke billowing into the house, or when he threw a homemade explosive device into the iron smelting pot, blowing it to smithereens.”

Mann sustained a football injury that would later disqualify him from becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps, like his brothers. He broke his collarbone and, true to form, stubbornly refused to leave the field, Bennett said. The metal plate left in to heal the bone kept him from passing a physical to fly.

Mann graduated from Reardan High School in 1941, and asked his father for permission to enlist in the Army. Instead of becoming a pilot, he trained to become a paratrooper, and was initially assigned to the 506th infantry regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, Bennett’s research found. That group of soldiers became immortalized in a book and later HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”

But Mann drew a disliking from one of the commanding officers, and he was issued a transfer shortly before D-Day to the 502nd regiment. A pair of hernias sustained during a final training mission sidelined Mann before the invasion of Normandy, but he was cleared to return to action in the middle of September, as the 502nd was assigned to capture bridges necessary to enable an invasion of Nazi Germany from the north.

Bennett said despite Mann’s lack of combat experience, he was selected as lead scout for a squad of dozens of men as they approached a bridge over the Wilhelmina canal near Best, Holland. Heavy German fire killed or injured most of them, and in an attack on a German gun encampment Mann received multiple wounds to his arms.

The next morning, Sept. 19, during a counterattack, the Germans lobbed potato-masher grenades into a foxhole of injured men. Mann freed his arms and attempted to throw several out of the hole before they detonated. When the explosives piled up, Mann threw himself on the grenades to protect the injured men.

“Looking into his lieutenant’s eyes, he said, ‘My back is gone,’ and died,” Bennett told the crowd.

Many of the details came to Bennett from a speech intended to be given by U.S. Army Gen. Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall at the dedication of the community center in Hillyard that bore Mann’s name, until it was demolished in 2017. Due to bad weather, the general never arrived to give the speech.

Marshall, a military historian, interviewed the men with Mann in that foxhole “in a Dutch cattle barn,” according to the speech. The men had surrendered to the Germans after Mann’s death, but were quickly rescued as the fast-moving British and American soldiers liberated the area just hours after Mann’s death.

“It was a story of valor untouched by any other episode I know of,” Marshall’s speech read.

That story is told in Holland to this day, said Rae Anna Victor, a local historian, author and member of the Jonas Babcock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who organized the marker and ceremony Friday.

“Joe really is regarded as a true hero in Holland,” Victor said.

There are efforts underway to ensure that same regard is shown in Mann’s hometown. A plaque at the base of the American flag at Reardan’s City Hall recognizes Mann’s accomplishment, and his name is one of two Medal of Honor recipients from the area for whom the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane is named.

A nonprofit group called Reardan Heroes hopes to raise funds to build a 4½-acre memorial park honoring Mann and the town’s other veterans near Audubon Lake.

The marker dedicated on the farm that remains in Mann’s family is a step in the right direction for Bennett, who along with several other descendants accepted flags flown above the U.S. Capitol and nearby Fairchild Air Force Base in his uncle’s honor. As the sun peeked out from the smoke and shone on Mann’s boyhood home, the same day that Americans were urged to pause and reflect on those service members imprisoned or missing in action, Bennett said he hoped the piece would cause all to reflect on the sacrifices of those who fight for the country.

“I just hope people take the time to read it, and learn about him,” Bennett said. “And think about the things that he stood for. What he fought for.”


Private Joe E. Mann AK-253 - History

This USNS Private Joe E. Mann T-AK-253 License Plate Frame is proudly made in the USA at our facilities in Scottsboro, Alabama. Each of our MilitaryBest U.S. Navy Frames feature top and bottom Poly Coated Aluminum strips that are printed using sublimation which gives these quality automobile military frames a beautiful high gloss finish.

Please check your state and local regulations for compatibility of these Navy Frames for use on your vehicle.

A percentage of the sale of each MilitaryBest item is forwarded to the licensing departments of each respective branch of service in support of the MWR (Morale, Welfare, & Recreation) program. These payments are made by either ALL4U LLC or the wholesaler from where the item originated. Our team thanks you for your service and your support of these programs.

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76 years ago, this WWII paratrooper threw himself on a grenade to save his buddies

To get to the boyhood home of Private First Class Joe E. Mann, you have to know where you’re going.

The rolling fields of wheat on the farm outside Reardan, reachable by dirt road, were where Mann learned to tinker with cars and fly kites with his eight siblings. The landscape is a reminder of how heroism can sprout from modest beginnings, said Byrne Bennett, Mann’s nephew.

“It’s kind of nice that this is a humble farm,” he said. “It shows that somebody can come from a place like this, and do something great.”

Visitors to that farm will now have a physical reminder of the sacrifice of Mann, whose exploits 76 years ago Saturday in war-torn Holland are told in a Congressional Medal of Honor citation. A group of about 50 friends, family and well-wishers gathered in the front yard Friday afternoon to dedicate a historical marker to Mann, made possible by the work of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Bennett, who’s working on a book about his uncle that goes beyond the official account told by the military and taught to Dutch schoolchildren, offered visitors a glimpse of Mann before he became a war hero, diving onto a grenade to save six of his fellow soldiers attempting to beat back a German onslaught during Operation Market Garden.

“His dad was not very happy with some of Joe’s shenanigans,” Bennett said. “Like when he built a fire in the potato cellar, sending smoke billowing into the house, or when he threw a homemade explosive device into the iron smelting pot, blowing it to smithereens.”

Mann sustained a football injury that would later disqualify him from becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps, like his brothers. He broke his collarbone and, true to form, stubbornly refused to leave the field, Bennett said. The metal plate left in to heal the bone kept him from passing a physical to fly.

Mann graduated from Reardan High School in 1941, and asked his father for permission to enlist in the Army. Instead of becoming a pilot, he trained to become a paratrooper, and was initially assigned to the 506th infantry regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, Bennett’s research found. That group of soldiers became immortalized in a book and later HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”

But Mann drew a disliking from one of the commanding officers, and he was issued a transfer shortly before D-Day to the 502nd regiment. A pair of hernias sustained during a final training mission sidelined Mann before the invasion of Normandy, but he was cleared to return to action in the middle of September, as the 502nd was assigned to capture bridges necessary to enable an invasion of Nazi Germany from the north.

Bennett said despite Mann’s lack of combat experience, he was selected as lead scout for a squad of dozens of men as they approached a bridge over the Wilhelmina canal near Best, Holland. Heavy German fire killed or injured most of them, and in an attack on a German gun encampment Mann received multiple wounds to his arms.

The next morning, Sept. 19, during a counterattack, the Germans lobbed potato-masher grenades into a foxhole of injured men. Mann freed his arms and attempted to throw several out of the hole before they detonated. When the explosives piled up, Mann threw himself on the grenades to protect the injured men.

“Looking into his lieutenant’s eyes, he said, ‘My back is gone,’ and died,” Bennett told the crowd.

Many of the details came to Bennett from a speech intended to be given by U.S. Army Gen. Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall at the dedication of the community center in Hillyard that bore Mann’s name, until it was demolished in 2017. Due to bad weather, the general never arrived to give the speech.

Marshall, a military historian, interviewed the men with Mann in that foxhole “in a Dutch cattle barn,” according to the speech. The men had surrendered to the Germans after Mann’s death, but were quickly rescued as the fast-moving British and American soldiers liberated the area just hours after Mann’s death.

“It was a story of valor untouched by any other episode I know of,” Marshall’s speech read.

That story is told in Holland to this day, said Rae Anna Victor, a local historian, author and member of the Jonas Babcock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who organized the marker and ceremony Friday.

“Joe really is regarded as a true hero in Holland,” Victor said.

There are efforts underway to ensure that same regard is shown in Mann’s hometown. A plaque at the base of the American flag at Reardan’s City Hall recognizes Mann’s accomplishment, and his name is one of two Medal of Honor recipients from the area for whom the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane is named.

A nonprofit group called Reardan Heroes hopes to raise funds to build a 4½-acre memorial park honoring Mann and the town’s other veterans near Audubon Lake.

The marker dedicated on the farm that remains in Mann’s family is a step in the right direction for Bennett, who along with several other descendants accepted flags flown above the U.S. Capitol and nearby Fairchild Air Force Base in his uncle’s honor. As the sun peeked out from the smoke and shone on Mann’s boyhood home, the same day that Americans were urged to pause and reflect on those service members imprisoned or missing in action, Bennett said he hoped the piece would cause all to reflect on the sacrifices of those who fight for the country.

“I just hope people take the time to read it, and learn about him,” Bennett said. “And think about the things that he stood for. What he fought for.”


The Grand Army of the Republic first observed "Decoration Day" on May 30, 1868, to honor those who fell on the Union side (later extended to Confederates) during the Civil War . The GAR chose late spring so that flowers in bloom could decorate the graves of the heroes. During World War I the holiday evolved into a day to commemorate American military members who died in all wars. In 1971 Congress set the last Monday in May as Memorial Day to ensure a three-day weekend for workers.
  • Captain Albert H. Rooks -- Medal awarded in 1942 for commanding the heavy Cruiser USS Houston against much larger and more powerful Japanese naval and air forces. The Houston was sunk in the Sunda Strait, and Captain Rooks was declared lost in action.
  • Coast Guard Signalman Douglas Albert Munro -- Medal awarded in 1943 for his heroism at Guadalcanal. Volunteered to use landing craft under his command as shields to recover wounded Marines, saving hundreds before his death under fire.
  • Boatswain's Mate Reinhardt J. Keppler -- Awarded in 1943 for his heroism at Guadalcanal. Despite serious wounds, he died saving shipmates.
  • Private First Class Richard B. Anderson -- Awarded in 1944 for his heroism in the Pacific. He jumped on a live grenade to protect fellow Marines.
  • Staff Sergeant Jack J. Pendleton -- Awarded in 1945 for his service in Europe. Volunteered to lead his squad in an attack against an enemy machine gun, and died under fires.
  • Lieutenant Victor L. Kandle -- Awarded in 1945 for his heroism in Europe. Led attacks on several fortified positions and captured many German soldiers.
  • Private First Class Joe E. Mann -- Awarded in 1945 for his heroism in Europe. He single-handedly destroyed an enemy position, was wounded, but continued attacking. He jumped on a grenade to save his comrades.
  • Construction Mechanic Third Class Marvin G. Shields -- Awarded in 1966 for his heroism in Vietnam. Wounded during an ambush, he persevered to carry ammunition, recover a wounded comrade, and help destroy an enemy machine gun.
  • Private First Class Lewis Albanese -- Awarded in 1968 for his heroism in Vietnam. When his unit came under intense fire, he charged the enemy position and engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Platoon Sergeant Bruce Alan Grandstaff -- Awarded in 1969 for his heroism in Vietnam. Braved enemy fire to save wounded soldiers and call in artillery and gunship support.
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Ronald Leisy -- Awarded in 1971 for his heroism in Vietnam. Used his body to shield a fellow soldier from the blast of a rifle-propelled grenade.
  • Specialist Fourth Class Larry Dahl -- Awarded in 1974 for his heroism in Vietnam. While defending a truck convoy, he jumped on a grenade.
  • Private First Class William Kenzo Nakamura -- Awarded in 2000 for his heroism in Europe during World War II. Died while attacking a machine-gun nest that had pinned down his platoon. Nakamura had been passed over for a Medal of Honor at the time due to his Asian ancestry.


"History at your fingertips!"

Thanks to community donations, we have digitized 26 years' worth of the Mercer Island Reporter, accessible for free on-line -- at mih.stparchive.com. The years currently digitized--and key-word searchable--are: 1968-1985, 1994, 1995, 1997-2000, 2004, and 2005.

A special thank you to the donors who've contributed to our digitization project thus far: Cyclemates Bike, the Kiwanis Club of Mercer Island, the Mercer Island Rotary Club and the Mercer Island Community Fund. We welcome individuals' donations on our "Donate" page.


76 years ago, this WWII paratrooper threw himself on a grenade to save his buddies

To get to the boyhood home of Private First Class Joe E. Mann, you have to know where you’re going.

The rolling fields of wheat on the farm outside Reardan, reachable by dirt road, were where Mann learned to tinker with cars and fly kites with his eight siblings. The landscape is a reminder of how heroism can sprout from modest beginnings, said Byrne Bennett, Mann’s nephew.

“It’s kind of nice that this is a humble farm,” he said. “It shows that somebody can come from a place like this, and do something great.”

Visitors to that farm will now have a physical reminder of the sacrifice of Mann, whose exploits 76 years ago Saturday in war-torn Holland are told in a Congressional Medal of Honor citation. A group of about 50 friends, family and well-wishers gathered in the front yard Friday afternoon to dedicate a historical marker to Mann, made possible by the work of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Bennett, who’s working on a book about his uncle that goes beyond the official account told by the military and taught to Dutch schoolchildren, offered visitors a glimpse of Mann before he became a war hero, diving onto a grenade to save six of his fellow soldiers attempting to beat back a German onslaught during Operation Market Garden.

“His dad was not very happy with some of Joe’s shenanigans,” Bennett said. “Like when he built a fire in the potato cellar, sending smoke billowing into the house, or when he threw a homemade explosive device into the iron smelting pot, blowing it to smithereens.”

Mann sustained a football injury that would later disqualify him from becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corps, like his brothers. He broke his collarbone and, true to form, stubbornly refused to leave the field, Bennett said. The metal plate left in to heal the bone kept him from passing a physical to fly.

Mann graduated from Reardan High School in 1941, and asked his father for permission to enlist in the Army. Instead of becoming a pilot, he trained to become a paratrooper, and was initially assigned to the 506th infantry regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, Bennett’s research found. That group of soldiers became immortalized in a book and later HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”

But Mann drew a disliking from one of the commanding officers, and he was issued a transfer shortly before D-Day to the 502nd regiment. A pair of hernias sustained during a final training mission sidelined Mann before the invasion of Normandy, but he was cleared to return to action in the middle of September, as the 502nd was assigned to capture bridges necessary to enable an invasion of Nazi Germany from the north.

Bennett said despite Mann’s lack of combat experience, he was selected as lead scout for a squad of dozens of men as they approached a bridge over the Wilhelmina canal near Best, Holland. Heavy German fire killed or injured most of them, and in an attack on a German gun encampment Mann received multiple wounds to his arms.

The next morning, Sept. 19, during a counterattack, the Germans lobbed potato-masher grenades into a foxhole of injured men. Mann freed his arms and attempted to throw several out of the hole before they detonated. When the explosives piled up, Mann threw himself on the grenades to protect the injured men.

“Looking into his lieutenant’s eyes, he said, ‘My back is gone,’ and died,” Bennett told the crowd.

Many of the details came to Bennett from a speech intended to be given by U.S. Army Gen. Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall at the dedication of the community center in Hillyard that bore Mann’s name, until it was demolished in 2017. Due to bad weather, the general never arrived to give the speech.

Marshall, a military historian, interviewed the men with Mann in that foxhole “in a Dutch cattle barn,” according to the speech. The men had surrendered to the Germans after Mann’s death, but were quickly rescued as the fast-moving British and American soldiers liberated the area just hours after Mann’s death.

“It was a story of valor untouched by any other episode I know of,” Marshall’s speech read.

That story is told in Holland to this day, said Rae Anna Victor, a local historian, author and member of the Jonas Babcock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who organized the marker and ceremony Friday.

“Joe really is regarded as a true hero in Holland,” Victor said.

There are efforts underway to ensure that same regard is shown in Mann’s hometown. A plaque at the base of the American flag at Reardan’s City Hall recognizes Mann’s accomplishment, and his name is one of two Medal of Honor recipients from the area for whom the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane is named.

A nonprofit group called Reardan Heroes hopes to raise funds to build a 4½-acre memorial park honoring Mann and the town’s other veterans near Audubon Lake.

The marker dedicated on the farm that remains in Mann’s family is a step in the right direction for Bennett, who along with several other descendants accepted flags flown above the U.S. Capitol and nearby Fairchild Air Force Base in his uncle’s honor. As the sun peeked out from the smoke and shone on Mann’s boyhood home, the same day that Americans were urged to pause and reflect on those service members imprisoned or missing in action, Bennett said he hoped the piece would cause all to reflect on the sacrifices of those who fight for the country.

“I just hope people take the time to read it, and learn about him,” Bennett said. “And think about the things that he stood for. What he fought for.”


HistoryLink.org

One Washington resident was awarded a Medal of Honor in World War I and 21 Washington residents were World War II Medal of Honor recipients. A Washingtonian became the only U.S. Coast Guardsman to receive the Medal of Honor. Six University of Washington students received the Medal of Honor for service during the world wars. (With a total of eight students honored altogether, the University of Washington is one of the leading public colleges in the country in Medal of Honor recipients.) This is Part 2 of a set of three that includes all Medal of Honor recipients that lived in Washington or are buried here.

Deming Bronson (1894-1957). Deming Bronson was born in Wisconsin and moved to Washington. He attended the University of Washington and played on the Huskies football team. Lieutenant Bronson trained at Camp Lewis. He served in World War I with the 364th Infantry Regiment, 91st Division. On September 26, 1918, Bronson was wounded during an offensive and fought on. Wounded a second time that day, he refused evacuation and stayed with his troops. The next day he led another attack, was wounded a third time, and again refused evacuation. In 1929 he received the Medal of Honor for his valor. After the war, he worked in the paint industry and then in a family lumber business in Oregon. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Bronson Hall, a distinguished-visitors lodge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is named for him. A Medal of Honor monument at the University of Washington honors Bronson and seven other University of Washington students who have been awarded the medal over the years.

Donald K. Ross (1910-1992). Donald K. Ross was born in Kansas. He enlisted in the navy in 1929 and made it a career. On December 7, 1941, he was on board the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor. Machinist Ross worked in the smoke and steam filled dynamo room to keep the ship's machinery operating despite the life-threatening conditions. Ross was one the first two men in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor. Ross retired, with the rank of Commander, in 1956 and settled in Port Orchard, Washington, where he and his wife Helen ran a diary farm. In 1980 Donald and Helen Ross published Washington State Men of Valor, which tells the stories of Washington Medal of Honor recipients. Donald Ross died in 1992 and his ashes were scattered at sea. The guided missile destroyer USS Ross carries his name.

Jose Calugas (1907-1998). Jose Calugas was born in the Philippines. In 1930 he joined the Philippine Scouts, a unit that was mobilized by the U.S. Army in World War II. On January 16, 1942, as Japanese forces were attacking the Philippines, a Scout gun battery was bombed and its crew killed or wounded. Mess Sergeant Calugas and other volunteers crawled to the gun position while under attack. Most of the volunteers were driven back by enemy fire, but Calugas and another soldier brought the gun back into action. They fought valiantly for several hours. Sergeant Calugas was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor, the only Filipino to receive the medal in World War II. With the fall of the Philippines, Calugas became a prisoner and survived the Bataan Death March. As a prisoner he was put to work in a Japanese-controlled rice mill and served as a spy for a local guerrilla force. When U.S. forces returned to the Philippines, he fought alongside them. Following the war Calugas remained in the U.S. Army, earning a commission and U.S. citizenship. Calugas retired in 1957 with the rank of Captain and moved to Tacoma. He worked at Boeing and graduated from the University of Puget Sound. His grave is in the Mountain View Cemetery in Tacoma. Calugas Street on Fort Sam Houston, in Texas, honors him.

Albert H. Rooks (1891-1942). Albert Rooks was born in Colton, Washington, and grew up in Walla Walla. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914 and became a career naval officer. During the period from February 4 to 27, 1942, Captain Rooks displayed gallantry while under heavy attack. Captain Rooks was commanding the USS Houston when Japanese forces sank it in the Battle of the Java Sea on March 1, 1942. He went down with the ship and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Rooks Park near Walla Walla honors him.

Robert E. Galer (1913-2005). Robert Galer was born in Seattle and attended Queen Anne High School and the University of Washington. In 1935 he entered naval aviation training and became a Marine Corps pilot. He commanded Marine Corps Fighter Squadron 211 at Guadalcanal in August 1942. His leadership, as well as his skill as a fighter ace, earned him the Medal of Honor. Staying in the Marine Corps, Galer again served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War. Brigadier General Galer retired in 1957. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

Douglas A. Munro (1919-1942). Douglas Munro was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in South Cle Elum, Washington. He attended Cle Elum High School and Central Washington State College. At Guadalcanal on September 27, 1942, Coast Guard Petty Officer Munro was in charge of landing craft delivering Marines ashore. He volunteered to use the landing craft as shields to recover Marines wounded and trapped on the beach. While saving Marines he was hit by enemy fire and killed. Petty Officer Munro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He is the only U.S. Coast Guardsman to receive the medal. His grave is in the Laurel Hill Memorial Park cemetery in Cle Elum.

Reinhardt J. Keppler (1918-1942). Reinhardt Keppler was born in Ralston, Washington. He grew up in Washington and graduated from Wapato High School. Keppler joined the navy in February 1936. On November 12, 1942, his ship, the USS San Francisco, came under heavy attack. Despite serious wounds, Boatswain's Mate Keppler pulled other wounded crew to safety. He died doing so and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Keppler's grave is in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California.

Arnold L. Bjorklund (1918-1979). Arnold Bjorklund was born in Clinton, Washington, and graduated from Ballard High School in Seattle. He joined the army in February 1941. On September 13, 1943, in Italy, First Lieutenant Bjorklund single-handedly attacked and destroyed two German machine gun positions and a mortar emplacement. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for these actions. After the war Bjorklund spent eight months in the Walla Walla army hospital and met his future wife there. Bjorklund lived in Vancouver, Washington, his last 17 years and was a manager at a chemical company. He is buried in the Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.

Jesse R. Drowley (1919-1996). Jesse Drowley was born in Michigan and grew up in Spokane. On January 30, 1944, on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, Staff Sergeant Drowley, of the Americal Division, jumped on a tank to lead an attack on an enemy bunker. Despite being wounded twice he remained in the lead until the bunker was destroyed. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and valor. Drowley returned to Spokane and a career at Fairchild Air Force Base. His grave is in the Fairmont Memorial Park cemetery in Spokane.

William Kenzo Nakamura (1922-1944). William Nakamura was born in Seattle. He attended Garfield High School and the University of Washington, where his studies were interrupted by incarceration in a Japanese-American internment camp. He joined the army and served with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. On July 4, 1944, Private First Class Nakamura attacked a German machine gun nest that pinned down his platoon. His attack suppressed fire so his platoon could escape. Later that day, in another attack on a machine gun position, he was killed. William Nakamura received posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross. In 2000 Nakamura was awarded the Medal of Honor that he had been denied due to his ancestry. His grave is in the Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle.

Joe E. Mann (1922-1944). Joe Mann was born in Reardan, Washington, and joined the army in August 1942, serving in the 101st Airborne Division. On September 18, 1944, in the Netherlands, Private First Class Mann single-handedly destroyed an enemy position, was wounded, but continued attacking. He performed guard duties that night, and the next day during an attack he jumped on a grenade to save his comrades. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His grave is in the Greenwood Memorial Terrace cemetery in Spokane. Mann Street on Joint Base Lewis-McChord honors him.

Orville Emil Bloch (1915-1985). Orville Bloch was born in Wisconsin and grew up in North Dakota. He graduated from college, but was denied an officer's commission due to his short stature (5 feet, 4 inches). He enlisted in the army as a private and worked his way up the ranks to colonel by his retirement in 1970. In World War II he served in Italy with the 85th Infantry Division. On September 22, 1944, First Lieutenant Bloch, leading his platoon, attacked and destroyed enemy positions, actions for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Following his retirement, Bloch started an apple orchard business in Manson, Washington, and had a home in Seattle. He is buried in the Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle.

Richard B. Anderson (1921-1944). Richard Anderson was born in Tacoma and grew up in Agnew, Washington. He graduated from Sequim High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1942. On February 1, 1944, on Kwajalein Island, Private First Class Richard Anderson was in a foxhole under attack. He went to throw a grenade but dropped it. Then, to protect his fellow Marines, he jumped on it, giving his life. Private First Class Anderson was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. His grave is in the New Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma. The Port Angeles Federal Building is named in his honor.

John "Bud" Hawk (1924-2013). John D. Hawk enlisted in the army in 1943 after graduating from Bainbridge High School. During the battle of the Falaise Gap in France on August 20, 1944, Sergeant Hawk, manning a machine gun, held back an enemy counterattack. Despite wounds he directed fire against advancing enemy tanks that caused their destruction. His fearless initiative and heroic conduct was in large part responsible for crushing two counterattacks. On June 21, 1945, President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) placed the Medal of Honor around Sergeant Hawk's neck on the Washington State Capitol steps. Bud Hawk returned to Washington and graduated from the University of Washington. He became a teacher and principal in the Kitsap School District, guiding the young for 31 years. The John "Bud" Hawk education center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord honors his heroism and his achievements as an educator.

Victor L. Kandle (1921-1944). Victor Kandle was born in Roy, Washington, and grew up on land that would become part of Fort Lewis. Lieutenant Kandle served in the 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. On October 9, 1944, in France he led his platoon on an attack that destroyed a powerful German defense. With destruction of this position Lieutenant Kandle led an attack on a fortified house and captured its soldiers. Two months later he was killed in action. Victor Kandle was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He is buried in the Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, France.

Jack James Pendleton (1918-1944). Jack Pendleton was born in North Dakota and grew up in Yakima. On October 12, 1944, Staff Sergeant Pendleton volunteered to lead a squad attack against an enemy machine gun. Despite his wounds he moved ahead of his troops and came under heavy fire. He was killed and awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor. Pendleton Avenue on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is named to recall his valor. He is buried at the Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima, Washington.

Wilburn K. Ross (1922-2017). Wilburn Ross was born in Kentucky. On October 30, 1944, with the 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Private Ross manned a machine gun through numerous enemy assaults. As fellow riflemen ran out of ammunition Ross continued to hold off the German attacks. He killed over 50 enemy soldiers and held his position for 36 hours. For his valor and inspiration to comrades he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He retired as a Master Sergeant and took up residence in Dupont, Washington.

Dexter James Kerstetter (1907-1972). Dexter Kerstetter was born in Centralia, Washington. Kerstetter was a Centralia creamery worker for 13 years before induction in the army in 1942. He was assigned duty as a cook's helper, but volunteered for combat. On April 13, 1945, Private First Class Kerstetter displayed heroism while his unit was attacking Japanese forces defending a ridge at Luzon in the Philippines. He led a small group against the hill defenses and while under intense fire he destroyed a machine gun, a mortar position, and other defenses, killing about 16 enemy soldiers. His actions allowed his company to take the hill, and for his exceptional heroism he was awarded the Medal of Honor. After his 1945 discharge Kerstetter returned to Washington. He went to work at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in 1954. In 1972 he died in a fishing accident. Kerstetter's grave is in the Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington.

Robert Eugene Bush (1926-2005). Robert Bush was born in Tacoma and joined the U.S. Navy before finishing high school. On May 2, 1945, Hospital Apprentice First Class Robert Bush was serving as a Medical Corpsman with a Marine Corps rifle company on Okinawa. While under intense enemy fire he rushed from one casualty to another, saving a number of comrades. He remained on the line as counterattacking Japanese forces overran it, and he fought the attackers with a pistol and carbine. After the war, Medal of Honor recipient Bush returned to Tacoma, finished high school, and went on to the University of Washington. He became a successful businessman. Robert Bush's grave is in the Fern Hill Cemetery, Menlo, Washington. A park and street in South Bend, Washington, where he lived, are named in his honor.

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (1912-1988). Gregory Boyington was born in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, and grew up in Tacoma, attending Lincoln High School and the University of Washington. Boyington led Marine Fighter Squadron 214, known as the Black Sheep Squadron, striking at the enemy with daring. Major Boyington was shot down and captured. While a prisoner and declared missing he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His story and that of the Black Sheep Squadron have been the subject of television shows, books, and films. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Jonathan M. Wainwright IV (1883-1953). Jonathan Wainwright was born at Fort Walla Walla. He became a career officer reaching the rank of general. His soldiers called him the fighting general. He led the defense of the Philippines in 1941 and 1942, and with their fall he became a prisoner of war. General Wainwright was awarded the Medal of Honor at the end of the war for leadership and courage in the face of a superior enemy force. General Wainwright considered Washington home and made a triumphal visit to Walla Walla and other parts of the state in November 1945. Events led him to retire to San Antonio, Texas. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Richard M. McCool Jr. (1922-2008). Richard McCool was born in Oklahoma and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1944. On June 10 and 11, 1945, Lieutenant McCool rescued survivors of a sinking ship. The next day he was wounded and still led his crew in firefighting and the rescue of his burning ship. McCool served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and retired in 1974 as a captain. He spent his retirement years on Bainbridge Island.

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Cultural Resources Program, Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Deming Bronson (1894-1957) headstone, Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Historic Bachelor Officer's Quarters, now Bronson Hall, Fort Lewis, 2008

President Harry Truman awards Congressional Medal of Honor to General Jonathan Wainwright, Washington D.C., September 10, 1945

Courtesy U. S. Army Medical Department Regiment

William K. Nakamura (1922-1944) headstone, Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Jose Calugas (1907-1998) headstone, Mount View Memorial Park Cemetery, Tacoma

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Picnic shelter, Rooks Park, named for Medal of Honor winner Albert H. Rooks (1891-1942), Walla Walla, 2011

Courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers

Robert Edward Galer (1913-2005) headstone, Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Douglas A. Munro (1919-1942) headstone, Laurel Hill Memorial Park, Cle Elum

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Reinhardt J. Keppler (1918-1942) headstone, Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Arnold L. Bjorklund (1918-1979) headstone, Willamette National Cemetery, Portland

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Jesse Ray Drowley (1919-1996) headstone, Fairmont Memorial Park, Spokane

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Joe E. Mann (1922-1944) headstone, Greenwood Cemetery, Spokane

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Orville E. Bloch (1915-1985) headstone, Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Richard Beatty Anderson (1921-1944) headstone, New Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Jack James Pendleton (1918-1944) headstone, Tahoma Cemetery, Yakima

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Dexter J. Kerstetter (1907-1972) headstone, Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent

Photo by Bob Coleman, Courtesy Creative Commons

Robert Eugene Bush (1926-2005) headstone, Fern Hill Cemetery, Menlo

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (1912-1988) headstone, Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)

Richard M. McCool Jr. (1922-2008), Columbarium, US Naval Academy, Annapolis