Henry A. Papke

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army

HOMETOWN
Brenham, TX

HONORED BY
John C. Burkhardt MOPH AAG Chapter 1919, Austin, TX

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

TRAINED AS A WELDER AND WORKED IN THE BROWN SHIPYARD HOUSTON, TEXAS. HOWEVER, HE WANTED TO DO MORE FOR THE WAR EFFORT AND TURNED DOWN HIS DEFERMENT AND WAS SWORN INTO THE ARMY ON JUNE 2, 1943 IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. HE WENT THROUGH TRAINING AT CAMP ROBERTS, CALIFORNIA TRAINING AS A 37MM ANTI-TANK GUNNER. HE THEN REPORTED TO FORT ORD, CALIFORNIA AND LATER TO CAMP STONEMAN, THE PRIMARY STAGING AREA FOR SAN FRANCISCO PORT OF EMBARKATION. HE SAILED FROM SAN FRANCISCO ON MARCH 19, 1944 AND REACHED THE REPLACEMENT CENTER ON GOODENOUGH ISLAND JUST OFF THE COAST OF NEW GUINEA ON APRIL 14, 1944. A MONTH LATER HE WAS FLOWN TO MILNE BAY AND WAS ASSIGNED TO THE 6TH INFANTRY DIVISION THAT WAS ENGAGED IN COMBAT IN THE TOEM-WAKDE AREA OF THE ISLAND. SINCE THERE WERE NO ENEMY TANKS IN THE AREA HE WAS ASSIGNED TO DIVISION HEADQUARTERS SECURITY. ONE NIGHT THE PERIMETER WAS ATTACKED IN A BANZAI RAID THAT WAS NEARLY SUCCESSFUL. ONE OF THE ENEMY SOLDIERS HEADED IN HIS DIRECTION WITH FIXED BAYONET, DROPPED DEAD AT HIS FEET AFTER BEING SHOT SEVERAL TIMES. DURING ANOTHER MISSION, ON THE NIGHT OF APRIL 6, 1945, A SINGLE ENEMY SOLDIER CAME AT A SOLDIER WHO WAS NEXT TO HONOREE. HE RUSHED TO HIS DEFENSE AND IN AN INSTANT THEY BOTH HAD BAYONET WOUNDS, WHILE THE ENEMY SOLDIER HAD SEVERAL GUNSHOT WOUNDS TO HIS ABDOMEN. THEY FOUGHT HARD AND SOON THE ENEMY SOLDIER WAS KILLED. HIS BOOT WAS SLICED OPEN AND PART OF THE BALL OF HIS FOOT HAD BEEN CUT THROUGH BY THE BAYONET ATTACK. AFTER CONTINUOUS COMBAT TO ELIMINATE THE JAPANESE IN THE HILLS NORTHEAST OF MANILA, THE 6TH INFANTRY DIVISION WAS IN THE CORDILLERAS MOUNTAIN WHEN V-J DAY WAS ANNOUNCED IN AUGUST 1945. HE ARRIVED AT THE SEPARATION CENTER IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS ON CHRISTMAS EVE 1945 AND WAS DISCHARGED ON NEW YEAR'S DAY 1946.