Jerry Elias

Jerry Elias of Gheen, Minn. was inducted into the Army on Aug. 27, 1941 at Fort Snelling, Minn.

He served as a Technician 4th Grade with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 63rd Field Artillery Battalion in New Guinea, South Philippines and Luzon and Pacific Theater.

He describes an incident that occurred while he was serving in Hawaii and driving a major through a rainstorms:

"Putting the Jeep into 4-wheel drive I started up a slight grade.The car began to spin all four wheels and was sliding backwards. Looking back, I saw a huge tree which I was heading for. Turning the wheel was to no avail. We slammed into the tree."

Men nearby helped push the Jeep out. "We started back and Major Leibe said: "Elias, we should be picking you up in a basket now if it wasn't for that tree." I told him I tried to miss the tree. He told me to go back. "I want you to see what's behind that tree." We returned and just 50 feet behind the tree was a sheer dropoff about 250 feet straight down. I got the message."

Elias says he returned to Hawaii in 1975 but avoided returning to the spot.

Mr. Elias was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze service stars and six overseas service bars.

He was honorably discharged on Aug. 23, 1945 at Camp McCoy, Wis.

Source: Hometown Heroes: The St. Louis County World War II Project. 74.


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