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Military Narrative of Leroy Henry Lochman
1941-1945 | Casablanca, Tunisia, Sicily and Omaha Beach
(This narrative is based on five hours of interviews with Leroy, nearly age 75, on 24 May 1998 during his visit with his sister's (Doris Ann Lochman Schwartz) family at Higgins Lake, Michigan.)
Leroy Henry Lochman, eldest son of Arthur George and Bertha Isabelle (Hollender) Lochman, began military service on 11 July 1941 at Jefferson Barracks, Hannibal, Marion County, Missouri, after enlisting at age 17, following his junior year at Palmyra High School in Marion County, and being assigned for induction. He received basic training between July 1941 and October 1941 at San Francisco, San Francisco County, California. He was assigned to Company K in the 3rd Division of the 30th Infantry Regiment in October 1941 at the Presidio Army Base in San Francisco. He was on maneuvers at Fort Lewis, Washington, on 7 December 1941, when Japan attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.
Leroy was part of Unites States Army Shore Defense at Portland Sound from 8 December 1941 until February 1942. From February to June 1942, he was trained in amphibious operations at the marine base at Camp Pendelton in San Diego County, California. His unit was moved by train from California to Norfolk News, Virginia, in June 1942, then a troop ship took them across the Atlantic Ocean, landing at Fedala, Morocco, to participate in the November 1942 invasion of North Africa. Upon cessation of resistance there, his Division provided security operations in late November 1942 for the Casablanca Conference, attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Charles DeGaul.
Leroy was then part of a border security operation when the 3rd Division was move up to the Spanish-Moroccan border. In late February 1943, he was among several transferred as casualty replacements to the 1st Division, 18th Infantry Regiment, Company L, on the battlefront in Tunisia. He participated in the Tunisian campaign until its conclusion in May 1943. It was during this time, in late April, that Leroy's picture taken along with several others from his company by Life Magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon as the group was returning from the Tunisian front. The picture appeared in Life Magazine, Volume 14, Number 20, dated 17 May 1943.
Leroy's unit was allowed to recuperate for a brief period before preparing for the invasion of Sicily, which commenced on 6 July 1943. He was landed at Gena on the southern coast of Sicily. Sometime after the end of Sicilian campaign, around November 1943, he was removed to England for preparations for the Allied invasion at Normandy.
On 6 June 1944, aboard an LCI (landing craft infantry) in the first wave of Allied troops, Leroy landed at Omaha Beach but was wounded upon his arrival on the beach. He was evacuated on a hospital ship to a field hospital in England, then, in August 1944, was sent back to the United States to Billings General Hospital in Indiana. He was released from the hospital in November 1944.
Leroy was reclassified to United States Army Air Force and sent to Kiesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi, to be trained as an airplane mechanic. Before completion, however, it was determined that he had too many service points for such training and he was transferred to the Basic Training Personnel Office at Shepard Field, Texas. He ended military service in September 1945 at Jefferson Barracks in Hannibal, Missouri. After his honorable discharge, Leroy returned home to complete his high school education, graduating from Quincy Senior High School in Adams County, Illinois, at age 21, then attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, graduating with honors 3 year later .