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StorySeal 01119

StorySeal™ 01119


Earnest Wayne Thompson

9/28/1919 – 9/29/2009
Branch: Army
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Outfit: 309th Infantry
Service Dates: 1941 – 1945
County: St. Louis
City: Eureka, MO
Medals: Purple Heart
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Rhineland, Ardennes aka Battle of The Bulge
Story uploaded: Saturday, May 9, 2009 / Thursday, March 7th, 2024


StorySeal™ 01120


Jaroslav “Jerry” Ondracek

4/14/1920 – 6/21/2009
Branch: Army
Rank: Corporal
Unit: 2nd Armored
Outfit: 195th Auto Weapons Battalion
Service Dates: 1942 – 1945
Veteran Station: D-Day plus 5 – Omaha Beach
County: Pettis
City: Sedalia, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II. Amazing story about a hometown friend of his who became a POW!
Story uploaded: Thursday, September 27, 2007 / Updated Friday, November 3, 2023



Victor P Bauer
12/12/1922 – 7/5/2013
Branch: Army Air Corp & Infantry
Rank: T-5
Unit: Chemical Weapons
Service Dates: 1943 – 1946
County: St. Charles
City: O’fallon, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: WWII
Story uploaded: June 2010 / Updated: July 13, 2023


Jesse E. Ballew Sr.

8/7/1926 – 8/24/2015
Branch: Navy
Rank: Seaman 1st Class
Unit: USS Wilkes Barre
Service Dates: 1943 – 1947
County: Lafayette
City: Lake Lafayette, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Forward Assault of Okinawa and Japan, Diverted Japan during the invasion of Iwo Jima, Helped rescue the USS Bunker Hill, Present for the Japanese Surrender Ceremony & Occupation Of Japan
Story uploaded: Thursday, October 4, 2007 / Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2023


USS Wilkes Barre


Transfer of wounded from USS Bunker Hill





Oliver Coleman Estes

6/11/1919 – 5/24/2012
Branch: Army
Rank: Combat Engineer
Outfit: 106th Infantry Division
Service Dates: 1943 – 1945
County: Greene
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Captured in the Battle of The Bulge, POW in Germany until the end of the War. His story was featured in the book “Hell Frozen Over”
Story uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2009 / Updated: Monday, May 15, 2023








Virginia “Booy” Scott

8/9/1922 – 3/14/2012
Branch: Army
Rank: Lieutenant/Captain
Unit: 3rd Division – Followed General Patton through ETO
Outfit: Nurse Corp
Service Dates: 1944-02-08 – 1946-03-05
Veteran Station: Clinton County
County: Clinton
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, In The Battle of the Bulge She was surrounded by the Germans when 101 Paratroopers came to rescue them.
The First Paratrooper she saw was from her hometown home church.

Interviewed at Missouri Veteran Home In Cameron Missouri. Story Uploaded: Friday, May 18, 2007 / Updated: Tuesday April 11, 2023


Bernard Joseph Wahl

3/21/1924 – 1/15/2011
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Unit: Paratrooper
Outfit: 82nd Airborne
Service Dates: 1940 – 1946
Veteran Station: Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II Paratrooper – Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Casino, Holland, England (Hinkley and Lestershire), Sicily (Palermo)
Interviewed at Missouri Veterans Home In Mexico, Missouri. Story uploaded: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 / Updated: Saturday April 1, 2023




Ralph H. Murray

StorySeal™ 01005

10/8/1919 – 2/28/1988
Branch: Army
Rank: Tech 5
Unit: 997th Field Artillery Battalion
Service Dates: 1942 – 1945
Veteran Station: Normandy to Central Europe
Home County: Franklin
Home City: Pomona and Ottawa, KS
Medals: Good Conduct, ETO, WWII Victory, Combat, 5 Campaign Bronze Stars
Conflicts/Significant Events: Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhine
Story uploaded/modified: 2009/Feb 9, 2021


Ralph was inducted in Fort Leavenworth March 2, 1942, and became a member of the 997th when it was organized March 1, 1943 in Fort Ord California.

They moved 50 times between March 1st, 1943 and November 1st 1945.
33 moves during their time in combat and 4 moves during the liberation following VE day.

While in combat in the European Theatre of Operations the 997th fired 40,744 rounds which totaled 9,900,306 lbs or 4,950 tons of ammunition. It would have required almost 2000 trucks loaded to capacity to haul this amount of ammunition.

The 997th participated in the Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes (aka as the battle of the bulge), Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns.

From what I have learned in researching the history of the 997th from the Battalion Historian, WWII maps, my dads discharge papers, and books/articles on the battles now known as famous battles; my dad and his battalion played a part in history that changed the world.
1. Landing at Omaha Beach to reinforce the D-Day troops.
2. The battle for hill 192.
3. The battle of the hedge rows.
4. The battle for St. Lo..
5. Versailles/Paris.
6. The Ardennes Forest in Belgium (later known as the Battle of the Bulge).
7. Followed by crossing the Rhine. (See Image about 4/1/1945)
8. Finally when firing missions were over they provided security and helped capture enemy soldiers, and control the migration of former POWs and displaced citizens.

This is only a brief summary, more details will be added to flesh out very interesting details about what this battalion witnessed, experienced and most all lived through.

by StorySeal 01005

StoryGuard by StorySeal 01005