Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Army 1
First Lieutenant 2
06 Dec 1918 1
19 Feb 2005 1

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Personal Details

Donald Kenneth Schwab 3
Donald Schwab 1
Gender: Male 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-5655 1
06 Dec 1918 1
19 Feb 2005 1
Cause: Natural 1

World War II 1

Army 1
First Lieutenant 2
Enlistment Date:
16 Jun 1941 1
Branch 2:
Army 1
Enlistment Date 2:
17 Aug 1942 1
Army 1
Organization 2:
Army 1
Organization Code:
Organization Code 2:
Release Date:
16 Aug 1942 1
Release Date 2:
26 Oct 1945 1

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Nine years after his death, a Hooper, Neb., man will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II.

Donald K. Schwab is among 24 Army veterans who will receive the award next month from President Barack Obama.

Schwab, who was 86 when he died in 2005, was a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.

Schwab is being honored for his actions during combat operations near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944. 

Schwab, a first lieutenant, was the commander of Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

On that day, Schwab led a dwindling group of men in a charge against a line of German machine guns, eventually rushing the enemy alone, according to an account in The Military Times. With his men falling around him, he rushed the enemy alone.

"Ultimately, he took out a German pistol nest by ripping off its shelter cover, bludgeoning the gunner with his carbine and dragging him behind friendly lines amid a hail of gunfire," the newspaper wrote. "The action so disorganized the enemy troops that they abandoned their defenses and withdrew."

The 24 soldiers already had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military award.

"That award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty," a White House press release said.

In May, Terry Schwab, one of Donald’s five children, got a call from a Pentagon official who said his father was going to get a “special award.”

“He says, ‘You’re going to get a call from the president tomorrow,’” he said. “Then I knew.”

The Schwab family will travel to Washington, D.C., for the March 18 ceremony.

For a long time, Terry Schwab said, his father didn’t talk much about the war.

“He was enlisted,” he said. “He was patriotic. He was fighting for freedom, his country.”

But details emerged over the years, and eventually Donald opened up about his experience during the war — including the day he charged a line of German gunners and returned with a prisoner. He was wounded three times, said Lloyd Hartmann, a longtime friend whom Schwab recruited to join the Hooper American Legion Post 18.

“He’s our guy,” Hartmann said. “We’re pretty proud of him.”

Donald Schwab was awarded the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts after his tours in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, according to an obituary that ran in the Fremont Tribune.

The 2002 federal defense spending bill authorized a review of war records to ensure that Jewish and Hispanic veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War had not been denied the Medal of Honor because of prejudice. During the review, other soldiers deserving of the medal were found.

Donald K. Schwab, 86, of Hooper died Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

He was born Dec. 6, 1918, in rural Hooper to Harry J. and Catherine (Schwein) Schwab. He attended District 15 School and graduated from Hooper High School in 1936. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a decorated war hero in World War II as a first lieutenant. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts during his tour of duty in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. After he returned from the war, he moved onto the family farm near Hooper until his appointment as a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in 1951 where he worked until his retirement in 1980. In retirement, he could be found playing golf, Euchre or gardening. He was a kind and gentle husband, father and grandpa. He had a special passion for his grandchildren.

He married Maralee Janssen on Sept. 18, 1946, at Grace Lutheran Church in Hooper.

He was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hooper, serving on the church council for many years and as treasurer for the building fund when the church was under construction. He was very active as a member of Hooper American Legion Post 18 and Hooper-Winslow Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10535. He also was active as a member of the Elkhorn Valley Golf Club. He was a past member of the Hooper and Logan View school boards and the Nebraska Rural Mail Carriers Association.

Survivors include: his wife, Maralee, of Hooper; three daughters, Susan (Mrs. David) Bohling of Blair, Ann (Mrs. Galen) McClusky of Leawood, Kan., and Mary Ellen (Mrs. John) Beshaler of Arnold; two sons, Dr. Terry (and wife, Kim) Schwab of Joplin, Mo., and Dr. Rob (and wife, Robin) of LaVista; 16 grandchildren, Katie, Sarah and Anna Bohling of Blair, Matt, Sean, Kacie and Adam McClusky of Leawood, Kan., Zachary, Ethan, Savannah and Abbey Schwab of Joplin, Alicia, Ashley and Evan Beshaler of Arnold and Lyndsay and Drew Schwab of LaVista.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, Verna Schwab, Esther Row, Anita Artrip and Mildred Peele, two brothers, Harry Schwab Jr. and Captain Virgil Schwab, an infant daughter, Julie, and a grandson, Nathan McClusky.

The funeral will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hooper with the Rev. Steve Tjarks officiating. Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. Wednesday at Warne-Johnson Funeral Home in Hooper with the family receiving friends from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Burial will be in Hooper Cemetery with military graveside services by Hooper American Legion Post 18 and Hooper-Winslow VFW Post 10535.

Pallbearers will be grandsons, Matt McClusky, Sean McClusky, Adam McClusky, Evan Beshaler, Drew Schwab, Zachary Schwab and Ethan Schwab. Honorary pallbearers will be all of Don's friends.

Special music will be provided by granddaughters, Katie, Sarah and Anna Bohling.

A memorial has been established to Redeemer Lutheran Church.

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