PFC Luther Lerue Rhodes

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NAME:
Luther Lerue Rhodes
NICKNAME:
Dusty
SERVICE NUMBER:
327928
HOME OF RECORD:
Hendersonville, NC
NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Harley Rhodes
DATE OF BIRTH:
March 22, 1924
ENLISTED:
November 11, 1941
DATE OF DEATH:
October 7, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Guadalcanal L/3/5 PFC KIA
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Gunshot wounds
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Presumed buried in the field
MEMORIAL:
Edneyville Cemetery, Henderson County, NC
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Full Biography

PFC Walter Pat Andersen


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NAME:
Walter Pat Andersen
NICKNAME:
Wallie
SERVICE NUMBER:
273370
HOME OF RECORD:
Portland, OR
NEXT OF KIN:
Mother, Mrs. Erma Bates
DATE OF BIRTH:
June 17, 1921
ENLISTED:
August 1, 1939
DATE OF DEATH:
October 1, 1942
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE FATE
Corregidor M/3/4 PFC Captured
CAUSE OF DEATH:
Unknown causes. Died in Japanese custody.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS:
Unknown
MEMORIAL:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

Full Biography

Second Lieutenant Richard Furman Dabbs

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Insignia of VMS-3, the Devil Birds

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Service Number: O-009475

Birth and Early Life:
Richard Dabbs was born in Sumter, South Carolina, on June 14, 1920. He was raised by Eugene Dabbs Senior and Stella Glascock Dabbs in Mayesville.

The Dabbs family had a proud military tradition. Eugene Senior was a veteran of the First World War – he served as an infantry lieutenant in France – and kept abreast of European politics. (1) The four boys (Eugene Junior, Furman, Billy and Tommy) would all serve in the armed forces; Eugene and Furman were both graduates of the Citadel.

Cadet staff officers in 1941. Furman Dabbs is at the center.
Cadet staff officers in 1941; Furman Dabbs is at the center. From The Sphinx yearbook.

Dabbs showed an early interest in aviation, and rose quickly through the cadet ranks, graduating with a degree in business administration and a commission as an infantry lieutenant.

Sphinx yearbook, 1941.
The Sphinx yearbook, 1941.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
After graduating, Dabbs joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He enlisted on July 24, 1941 and easily worked his way into aviation training, receiving his commission and his pilot’s wings in March, 1942.

Wartime Service:
Lieutenant Dabbs was posted to VMS-3, a reconnaissance squadron based out of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. He flew an OS2N-1 Kingfisher on patrols across the Caribbean; he and his gunner, PFC  Bert A. Shea Jr, mainly kept watch for German submarines, but occasionally had to search for friendly pilots who had gone missing – as was the case with 2nd Lieutenant David Kerwin and PFC Richard Van Hook.

Date Of Loss:
Lieutenant Dabbs and PFC Shea took off for a patrol over the Caribbean on September 15, 1942. They never returned. The Dabbs family was told that Furman had been searching for a missing pilot off the coast of South America when he ran into bad weather and was forced down. (2)

“Nobody knows what happened,” said his younger brother, Tommy, many years later. “But there was never any tension in the family… [just] tremendous patriotism.” (3)

No trace of Dabbs, Shea, or their plane was ever found. When Eugene Dabbs Senior passed away in 1943, his son’s name was added to his headstone with the inscription “Both served their age as good soldiers – without fear and without reproach.”

Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Eugene Dabbs

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Salem Black River Cemetery, Mayesville, SC.
East Coast War Memorial, New York City, NY.

_____
NOTES:
(1) Vasselli, Gina. “Family’s Patriotism Never Wavered, Despite Death.” Publication unknown, posted May 27, 2010.

(2) The website http://www.aviationarchaeology.com does not have a loss for VMS-3 on September 15. The squadron lost Kingfisher OS2N-1 01324 on September 14; on September 19, the following information was logged in the records of Headquarters, Tenth Naval District:

vms3recovered

It is possible that Dabbs and Shea were searching for Alexakos and Nagy, or that they were “one of the Marine Corps planes reported lost.” Unfortunately, the squadron’s war diary is not readily available, and Headquarters makes no mention of any incident occurring on September 14 aside from “routine patrols, reconnaissance, and training.”

(3) Vasselli

Corporal Harold Cyril Thomure

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Service Number: 294979

Birth and Early Life:
Harold Thomure was born on November 12, 1916; he grew up in Bonne Terre, Missouri, and went to work with his father in a local foundry in his teens. The rest of the family was composed of mother Susie, and his younger siblings Aleta, Paul, and Augustus Junior.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Thomure joined the Marines on September 13, 1940. He was sent to MCRD San Diego for boot camp, and on November 9 received his first orders to report to a permanent unit – Company I, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines. (1)

Service Prior to 1941:
Private Thomure served with the Sixth Marines until he and a handful of other enlisted men were reassigned to “an Asiatic station.” For Thomure, this meant the Navy Yard at Cavite; he embarked on the USS Henderson and sailed for the Philippines on April 9, 1941.

For the next several months, Thomure had a relatively peaceful time in the Philippines. He was promoted to Private First Class on October 3, as elements of the Fourth Marines – the famous “China Marines” – began to arrive. Japanese aggression had compelled the Corps to withdraw the regiment to the Philippines to prepare a better defensive stance. Thomure spent several weeks pulling guard duty on the Bataan peninsula before his garrison was absorbed into the Fourth Marines. Suddenly, PFC Thomure found himself as a rifleman in Company K/3/4; when Pearl Harbor and the Philippines were attacked in December 1941, he would have realized that this new regiment was the one with which he would fight, and potentially die.

Wartime Service:
Thomure made corporal on April 18, 1942; nine days had passed since the fall of Bataan, and his regiment was holed up on the island of Corregidor. By the time the Japanese invaded on May 6, all hope of victory had vanished, and the Marines put up a fierce fight before finally being overwhelmed. Thomure was listed as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and as missing in action by the Americans. (2)

Date Of Loss:
The last report known to contain information about Harold Cyril Thomure was dated September 15, 1942. He died in captivity at an unknown location in the Philippines; how he died, and what became of his body remains a mystery to this day.

Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Augustus Thomure

Status Of Remains:
Unknown.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
____
NOTES:
(1) Harold’s brother, Marvin P. Thomure enlisted on the same day and at the same station in St. Louis as Harold; they went through boot camp together and both were sent to the 6th Marines. Marvin would survive the war and be discharged in 1946 as a Technical Sergeant. He died in 2013.
(2) Thomure is mentioned in the book Oh God, Where Are You? by Abie Abraham, a survivor of the Bataan Death March; unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy of this memoir.
(3) The website www.bataanmissing.com lists Thomure as having died and been buried in a cemetery near Cabanatuan; he may have been re-buried as an unknown in the Manila American Cemetery.

First Lieutenant William Boesser Deuterman

Insignia of VMF-111, the Devil Dogs

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Service Number: O-007127

Birth and Early Life:
William Deuterman was born to William and Edythe Deuterman of Los Angeles on November 16, 1917. He was raised in southern California and attended UCLA, graduating with the class of 1940.

Deuterman in the 1938 UCLA yearbook.
Deuterman in the 1938 UCLA yearbook.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Deuterman joined the Marine Corps on November 15, 1940. His educational background helped secure a spot in a Naval Reserve Aviation class, and PFC Deuterman was soon on his way to Kansas City, where he passed his elimination trials. From there, he proceeded to Jacksonville as a cadet.

Wartime Service:
Upon completing his training, Deuterman was assigned to VMF-121 in San Diego as the squadron’s Transportation Officer. He transferred to VMF-111 in the early spring, and arrived at his first overseas post – Tutulia, American Samoa – in April, 1942. With Wake Island under Japanese control, and with news of the fall of Bataan beginning to circulate, the pilots understood that they were expendable in case of a Japanese invasion – they were to resist until their airplanes were destroyed, then fight on as infantry. May brought the bleak tidings of Corregidor’s surrender, then in June the victory at Midway brought a glimmer of hope, despite the serious losses to the island’s air strength. (1)

In July, the squadron suffered its first personal loss as Second Lieutenant Jack Lyon, a former classmate of Deuterman’s, collided with another Wildcat during a mock dogfight and crashed into the sea. Shortly thereafter, Deuterman declared that he would never bail out of a disabled plane. The reasons for his decision are unknown, but his stance was common knowledge among his fellow pilots.

Date Of Loss:
Bill Deuterman was at the controls of F4F-3 #2515 on September 9, 1942. He was on a routine flight with his wingman, Lieutenant James W. “Jeff” Poindexter; as the flight progressed, Poindexter noticed that Deuterman was in serious trouble. Unable to make it back to base, and unwilling to bail out, Deuterman tried to set his aircraft down for a water landing.

R. Bruce Porter recalled the scene that Poindexter described later that evening.

…Poindexter, who was flying on Bill’s wing all the way down, saw Bill stand up in the cockpit at about the last minute before the airplane impacted. Bill was clearly trying to bail out, but he was too low in any case for his chute to have deployed. Jeff watched in sheer horror as the F4F’s propeller bit into the waves. This flipped the airplane over at great speed and threw Bill against the windscreen and instrument panel. Jeff was certain that Bill died on impact. If not, he was certainly unconscious when he sank forever beneath the waves. (3)

Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Joann Crawford Deuterman
(married October 9, 1941)

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Tablets of the Missing, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
_____
NOTES:
(1) Many of Deuterman’s classmates – Roy Corry, Bruce Ek, David Pinkerton, William Sandoval, Walter Swansberger, and more – were fast-tracked out to the Pacific and fought in the battle of Midway. Most of those engaged did not survive.
(2) Porter, R. Bruce with Eric Hammel. “Ace! A Marine Night-Fighter Pilot in World War II.” pg 99

Gunnery Sergeant Henry Levell McNair

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Service Number: 198070

Birth and Early Life:
Henry McNair was the son of Thomas and Mary McNair of Carthage, Mississippi. He was born on July 11, 1902, and would be the oldest of their nine children. The McNairs moved to Shelby, Tennessee shortly before 1920; Thomas and his older sons worked the family farm for several years before Henry enlisted on December 2, 1924.

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
McNair attended boot camp at San Diego, and was chosen for Sea School in March, 1925. His Marine career started somewhat ingloriously as a runner for the Fourth Regiment Provisional Company, but on April 28, 1925, Private McNair was made a member of the Marine Detachment, USS Pennsylvania.

Service Prior to 1941:
Henry McNair was promoted to Private First Class in May, 1925, and sailed with the Pennsylvania on fleet maneuvers around Hawaii and saw Australia and New Zealand. He spent the year 1926 in San Pedro, California, attached to the Pennsylvania, then transferred to the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, and set out for China duty. Shortly after completing his first four years in the Corps, McNair was promoted to corporal.

McNair served in China until October, 1928. He returned to the United States briefly before being sent on to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to join the HQ Company of the First Marine Brigade. He served out his enlistment in Haiti, and was discharged with a Good Conduct Medal on December 1, 1930. Re-enlisting almost immediately earned McNair a two-month furlough and nine months of stateside duty before returning to China.

Corporal McNair joined the 38th Company at the American Legation in Peiping and remained there until the end of his second enlistment in December 1934; he received a bar for his Good Conduct Medal, re-enlisted at Norfolk Navy Yard, and remained with the barracks detachment there until receiving his second sea post aboard the USS Arkansas. Though still strictly on a peacetime footing, the Navy and Marines carried out plenty of exercises, and much of (now-Sergeant) McNair’s time aboard the battleship was spent participating in rehearsals and training voyages for young Annapolis midshipmen. One of his primary duties was as a gun captain for one of the Arkansas’ secondary anti-ship batteries.

After spending most of 1938 on duty at Norfolk, McNair was brought to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he put his three stripes and fourteen years of experience to work as a drill instructor. He stayed there until mid-1941 when, as a gunnery sergeant, he joined the Marine detachment of the USS Quincy.

Wartime Service:
Gunny McNair was the second-highest rated enlisted man aboard the cruiser; in addition to keeping younger Marines in line, he was also responsible for a 5-inch gun battery. His battery first fired in anger on August 8, 1942 during a Japanese air raid off Guadalcanal. The gunners acquitted themselves well, and most probably looked forward to their next encounter with the enemy.

Date Of Loss:
That encounter would come sooner than any aboard the Quincy could have believed. They were roused by General Quarters shortly before 0200; those who were slow in waking were urged on by the sound of Japanese shells tearing the cruiser apart. Within 20 minutes, Quincy was out of control, unable to return fire, and sinking. Gunnery Sergeant McNair was one of the Marines who lost his life in the battle of Savo Island; no trace of his remains was ever found.

Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Henry McNair (1)

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
_____
NOTES:
(1) Mrs. McNair’s name and the date of their marriage is unknown. At the time of his death, she was living in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania; this location is officially listed as McNair’s hometown.

Staff Sergeant William Joseph Lynch

Billy Lynch in 1940

Most biographical information comes from a pamphlet prepared by Moore’s Marauders, a nonprofit organization that works to identify American MIAs.

Please visit their site for the amazing story of their work to identify Billy Lynch, and to donate to their recovery effort, Operation Mukden.

Service Number: 256599

Birth and Early Life:
William “Billy” Lynch was born on March 24, 1919. He was raised in a house on Victory Road in Dorchester, Massachusetts; after the death of his father, Daniel, Lynch was raised by his mother Marie and older sister Eleanor. Lynch was a spirited child, often getting into trouble, but showed an aptitude for mechanics. He graduated from Mechanic Arts High School, and then joined the 26th Signal Company of the National Guard in 1935. (1)

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Lynch joined the Marine Corps on January 15, 1937. He attended boot camp at Parris Island and after graduation in May was assigned to the base headquarters detachment for additional training in “telephony” – possibly using skills he had learned in the National Guard. By July 1, he was on his way to the First Signal Company at Quantico, Virginia.

Lynch's enlistment photo, taken in 1937.

Service Prior to 1941:
During his first months at Quantico, Private Lynch was shuttled between detachments before joining the Motor Transport section of Quantico’s service battalion as a truckdriver.

Lynch was better suited to driving than to communications; he attended Motor Transport School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from February to August 1938 before returning to Quantico as a fully licensed motor vehicle operator. His driving on base was exemplary, but in November, Lynch was involved in a serious car accident while on liberty in Jersey City. He was quickly brought to the Brooklyn Navy Yard hospital, where he remained under a doctor’s care until January, 1939.

That August, Lynch joined the Motor Transport company of the Fourth Marines in Shanghai, China. He would ply the streets of Shanghai with his truck until promoted to Private First Class in December 1939; Lynch was reassigned as a dispatcher the following month. 1940 would be a busy year for Lynch, as he qualified as a mechanic, qualified as a sharpshooter (the picture above shows him proudly sporting the cross-shaped rifle shooting badge) and was promoted to Corporal in June. For the rest of the year, Lynch served with the mechanics of Motor Transport, along with Frank Hundley.

Wartime Service:
In 1941, Lynch was promoted to Sergeant. His regiment was moved to the Philippines, where they began preparing to defend the islands against a predicted Japanese attack. Their fears proved true; the Japanese began hitting the islands on December 8, and landed ground forces on December 22. As they pushed forward, the American and Philippine Army troops began to fall back; after the fall of Bataan, the survivors fell back to the island of Corregidor, and were promptly besieged. Sergeant Lynch and his comrades endured weeks of shelling before the enemy landed and forced the surrender of the garrison on May 6, 1942.

Date Of Loss:
The Fourth Regiment muster roll compiled after the war claims that LYNCH, William J., Sergeant, Service Company, died of wounds in the Philippine Islands on May 6, 1942. (2)

However, Lynch’s story did not end on Corregidor, nor even in the Philippine Islands. He laid down arms with his comrades, suffered the indignity of being marched through the streets of Manila to Old Bilibid Prison, survived transport to and imprisonment at Cabanatuan, and was finally loaded aboard a “hell ship” for transportation to Formosa.

Lynch was then sent to Korea, where he worked as a slave laborer in Pusan. He was scarcely a model prisoner, from the Japanese perspective – he was at the center of many scraps at the prison, and was reported to have attempted to escape twice, only to be recaptured and beaten each time. Why Lynch was not simply executed after his attempt – a common practice in nearly every Japanese prison camp – is unknown, though some research suggests that his mechanical skills made him a very valuable POW in  industrially-challenged Pusan. Eventually, his captors decided Lynch would be of more use in a manufacturing plant, and had him sent to Mukden, China, where there was a Mitsubishi production line.

The irrepressible Lynch, given access to important aircraft parts, was certainly involved in sabotage activities – other American prisoners would deliberately break machinery, misunderstand orders, or lose tools, enduring beatings for their “stupidity.” Lynch may have been too conspicuous in his efforts, and was removed from the machine shop to a tannery, where he was compelled to treat leather for rifle slings and equipment.

Finally, Lynch could take no more. On May 20, 1944, seemingly without any prior planning or forethought, Lynch dropped his working tools, slipped through a door onto the main grounds of the camp, and simply walked away unchallenged. His escape came to an end the next day when, clad in a Russian military coat he had been issued at the camp, Lynch entered the town of Mukden and attempted to bluff his way past the kempetai guards, despite not speaking a word of Russian. He was caught, shot in the leg, and brutally beaten before being returned to Mukden on a stretcher. (3)

Again, for unknown reasons, he escaped summary execution – but the Japanese had something worse in store for the troublesome Billy Lynch. Documents discovered in 2008 tell that Lynch was removed from Mukden and sent to Lushun – formerly Port Arthur – a notorious prison camp reserved for spies, saboteurs, political dissidents, and other men considered a threat to the Japanese rule. Lynch was a rarity at Lushun, and civilian Chinese and surviving prisoners would long remember “the American.”

No-one was meant to survive imprisonment in Lushun, and it was here that fate caught up with Billy Lynch. It is believed that Lynch was horribly tortured, having the skin flayed from his body, before being killed and dismembered.

Upon their death, prisoners were buried in the barrels that they were compelled to carry with them; when the cemeteries were filled, some barrels were exhumed and the remains dumped in the wilderness. The date of Lynch’s death is unknown, but is believed to have happened in 1945; an eyewitness claimed seeing “twelve Koreans and one American” buried on the same date near Lushun.

Lynch is the only man from Mukden not accounted for after the war; when the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA) arrived to recover prisoners after the war, Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan spent an unusual amount of time personally searching for Lynch in the Mukden area without success. (4)

Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Marie Lynch

Status Of Remains:
Recovery effort by Moore’s Marauders is ongoing.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
William J. Lynch Square, Dorchester, Massachusetts.
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NOTES:
(1) Nate Leskovic. Will Staff Sergeant Lynch Be Coming Home Soon? Dorchester Reporter, December 11 2008.
(2) The date of Lynch’s promotion to Staff Sergeant (if indeed he was promoted) is unknown, he is referred to by that rank on the DMPO list of the missing.
(3) The kempetai treatment of Lynch has been the subject of much curiosity. Renowned for their brutality, the Japanese military police force had absolutely nothing to lose by killing Lynch, yet they returned him to the prison on a stretcher – in itself unusual – and with no reprisals visited on the other inmates. The Japanese would answer in his place at roll call from the date of his disappearance until the end of the war.
(4) Donovan’s interest has led to the speculation that Lynch was involved in covert activities, although no solid evidence has been found to confirm this.

Private Claude Franklin Shouse

Service Number: 307087

Birth and Early Life:
Claude Shouse was the son of Claude and Anna Shouse of Fresno, California. (1)

Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Shouse enlisted sometime in early 1941. He would have attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego, and may have been enrolled at Sea School in San Diego. 

Wartime Service:
Private Shouse joined the crew of the USS Houston at an unknown date; he either joined the ship directly from training, or was one of a number of men diverted from posts in the Philippines in early 1942. While aboard the Houston, Shouse participated in action in the battles of Makassar Strait and the Java Sea.

Date Of Loss:
Claude Shouse was killed when the Houston was sunk in the battle of Sunda Strait on the night of February 28, 1942. He is considered lost as of March 1, and was officially declared dead on December 15, 1945.

Next Of Kin:
Parents, Claude & Anna Shouse

Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.

Memorial:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.

_____
NOTES:
(1) A Claude F. Shouse, son of Claude F. and Anna L. Shouse, appears on the 1930 United States Federal Census for Fresno, California, aged 2 ½. His service number suggests he enlisted in early 1941, making him 13 or 14 when he joined and 14 or 15 at the time of his death. While not impossible, Shouse’s youth would have been extremely unusual, especially for a pre-war enlistment.