Era: World War II
Military Branch: Air Force
Ralph H. Bertz
Mr. Bertz enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 7, 1942.
Attended basic training in Miami Beach, Florida was commissioned weather officer on February 1, 1943.
Due to surplus of weather officers, he was reclassified as Sergeant and a weather observer at Lemoore Air Base, California, and Air Corps Overseas Replacement Depot, Kearns, Utah. In April 1945, he shipped overseas and served as a weather observer at Tacloban Air Base, Leyte, Philippines, 15th Weather Squadron.
In his words: "As all Army units on Leyte and Naval units on adjacent island of Samar worked in support of securing the remainder of the Philippines and Okinawa and preparation for the invasion of Japan, the following events highlight my service in the Southwest Pacific Theater.
"August 6, 1945: dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima; August 9: dropping of the second bomb on Nagasaki; August 14: Japan surrendered and the great relief that we would not have to go through the anticipated bloody, high-casualty invasion of the Japanese home islands.
"On January 28, 1946, I departed Manila for a 16-day ocean trip home. Honorably discharged, Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, February 23, 1946; three years, two months and 16 days service as my small part of a great crusade that has shaped the world to this day - 50 years later."
He received the following: Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal and one overseas service bar.
Source: Hometown Heroes: The Saint Louis County World War II Project, page 37.