1 of 11
Lawrence W. Stimpson, Army: WWII

Each year around Veterans Day, the University of Utah selects nominated military veterans to be honored during a special ceremony. This year the University Veterans Day committee chose to honor World War II veterans because of their "advancing" years and "enormous" contributions they made to their country.

The following 11 World War II veterans (their short biographies were written by a university official) will be honored at 11 a.m. on Nov. 9 in the main ballroom of the U.'s Olpin Union Building.

Charles A. Cooke came to Utah from Mississippi as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was drafted into the Army, where he was a machine-gunner with the 38th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. After three months in North Africa, he landed on Utah Beach in Normandy two days after D-Day. Cooke was never wounded in battle and was discharged at Fort Douglas in 1946.

John L. Moore joined the Army Air Corps Reserve in 1942. In May 1944, Moore's crew, part of the 492nd Bombardment Group, began flying missions over Europe. After 26 missions, Moore was assigned to the clandestine 801 Composite Group, nicknamed Operation Carpetbagger. Moore also flew 25 night missions in the Korean War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals, three European Campaign Medals and two Korean Campaign Medals.

Lawrence W. Stimpson volunteered for the Army in February 1944 and was assigned to the 504th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne, the "All American" Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in Anzio, Italy, in 1944 during weeks of relentless artillery bombardment, under which many of his fellow paratroopers suffered physical and psychological damage. By the time the company was withdrawn, only 13 men of the original roster were fit for duty. After Anzio, his company rested and rejoined battle at Nijmegen, Holland. Stimpson is the only original member of the 120-men B-Company to have survived unscathed.

Luman P. Slagle went into the Army in 1942. He served in the 60th Artillery of the 9th Infantry Division. Slagle landed on Normandy two days after D-Day. He was given the duties of radio operator on an artillery forward observation team. Slagle and company advanced through France and captured the Remagen Bridge, which was the only one over the Rhine left standing. Slagle was awarded the Silver Star.

Raymond S. Howarth protested a II-B classification for a heart murmur so he could get into the Army in 1943. He joined the 60mm mortar section of a rifle company in the 100th Infantry Division. After months of fighting in France, Howarth was wounded and captured in January 1945. He spent the next three months in Stalag XIIA, Happenheim, Germany. Happenheim was called a prison "hospital," but was really a death camp where Allied soldiers were starved and suffered horrendous conditions while wounded. Liberated in 1945, Howarth received a Unit Citation, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge.

Willard H. White enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1942 and was quickly selected to be a B-26 Marauder bomber co-pilot in the 397th Bomb Group. White and his crew flew their first combat mission over Normandy on D-Day. His most hazardous mission was during the Battle of the Bulge. For their bravery under heavy enemy fire without fighter escort protection, the 397th was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. White is credited with 66 bombing missions and was awarded the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters and European Middle Eastern Ribbon with six bronze stars.

Nelson T. Akagi, like other Japanese Americans, was alienated by his own country when World War II broke out. He had to move with his family to Idaho, where he volunteered for the Army to prove his loyalty to the United States. He served in the 522nd Artillery Regiment. Forward observers and forward echelon groups from the 522nd are credited with being among the first Allied troops to release prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp. Akagi earned a medal for fighting in four campaigns, a Good Conduct medal and an Army of Occupation medal.

Jack Schade signed up with the U.S. Army Air Forces to be a pilot in 1939. He was assigned as an apprentice mechanic and later started flying patrols to search for subs. After getting his wings, Schade trained in B-17 heavy bombers and flew 26 missions in B-29s over the Japanese homeland. Schade's last mission was the famous "Show of Force" as the surrender documents were signed in Tokyo Bay.

John H. Dinkelman volunteered for the Tank Corps in 1942. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 741st tank battalion. In Germany, the 741st was taken by surprise in the Battle of the Bulge. After weeks of nearly continuous fighting, Dinkelman's unit was able to begin liberating Nazi death camps. Two decades later, Dinkelman volunteered for two combat tours in Vietnam. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service.

Don E. Hammill joined the Navy in 1942 and was assigned to a troop-carrier attack ship, which was part of the amphibious warfare task force, "The Green Dragons." Hammill helped carry out 17 amphibious landings. In November 1943, Hammill saved his ship from an apparent kamikaze suicide attack. He was awarded 10 battle stars and a Navy Commendation Medal. Hammill returned to Utah and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Utah.

Ora Mae S. Hyatt volunteered to be an Army nurse after Pearl Harbor was attacked. She started overseas in the 376th Station Hospital. Hyatt and one other nurse volunteered to go on detached service duty in Okinawa. Volunteering for duty seemed to be Hyatt's norm. She was anxious to go on detached service even when it meant getting close to the front lines. She worked 12-hour shifts with surgeons and administered emergency care to soldiers on the front. After the United States bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Hyatt stayed in Japan for six weeks before returning to Utah.

E-mail: sspeckman@desnews.com