Harvey Leo Ploof Staff Sgt. 43 Div 172 Inf WW2 SILVER STAR & PURPLE HEART
According to his Burlington, VT birth Certificate he was born Walter Harvey Ploof on 11 Sep 1920 of William Leo Ploof and Elizabeth Garrow, He was baptized at St Joseph church on 29 Sep 1920 as Harvey Leo Ploof with the same parents. In the 1930 census he was living at 52 Front St. and he was the 2nd child of a total of 6 children and his father was an electrician and did house wiring. In the 1940 census Harvey was the 2nd of 7 children and his father was an electrician working on a project at Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester. Now Harvey was age 19 and was a mail clerk at the City Newspaper and his older brother was a paper boy for the City Paper. Harvey graduated from Nazareth Elementary School and Burlington High School.
Harvey enlisted on 24 Feb 1941 in Burlington, VT into the National Guard and his service number was 20151449. He was 65 inches tall and weighed 121 pounds. There was a big article in the newspaper on 25 Feb 1941 about the National Guard troops and CO. K being moved into Federal Service and Harvey was listed as a Private in Co. K. On 7 Jul 1941 Harvey was on a 10 day furlough at 52 Front St while at Camp Blanding, FL. In the 10 Mar 1942 Free Press, Harvey of the 172nd Infantry was promoted to Corporal and was stationed at Camp Shelby. On 1 Apr 1942 he was promoted to Sergeant. On 30 Oct 1942 his unit arrived at a new destination. On 17 Mar 1944 he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and is stationed somewhere in the South Pacific. Harvey served as a Staff Sergeant, Company K, 172nd Infantry, 43rd Infantry Division, US Army during World War II.
Harvey was admitted into a WWII Field Hospital on January 1945 and was discharged from the hospital on Feb 1945. He had a perforating wound near the liver, probably by a bullet and also bronchial pneumonia. He had a laparotomy incision into the abdomen followed by penicillin therapy. He had been in the service about 3-5 years.
Harvey died on 1 Feb 1945 age 24 Harvey "Died of Wounds" received in action during the war and was awarded the Purple Heart. On 14 May 1945 there was a mass for Harvey at St Joseph church.
His headstone application was entered by his mother Elizabeth Ploof on 9 Nov 1948 when she was living at 186 Pine St in Burlington. It was destined for the St Joseph Mt Calvary cemetery in Burlington.
Posthumous Silver Star Award Made To Harvey Ploof
Staff Sgt. Harvey Leon Ploof, 24, (shown here) son of Mr. and Mrs. William Ploof of 52 Front St. has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star, according to a letter received from Maj. Gen. Edward F. Witsell, acting adjutant general, by his parents. Sgt. Ploof died Feb. 1 on Luzon as the result of wounds received in action. The citation read in part:
“Acting as platoon Sergeant, Sgt. Ploof led the assault platoon up the hill and deployed his men as skirmishers. He maintained excellent control of his men despite the difficulty up the steep terrain and tall grass. Upon reaching the reverse slope of the hill, Sgt. Ploof noticed an enemy heavy machine gun only four yards from his position. Immediately he opened fire, knocked out the gun crew and killed two riflemen. His men quickly took up positions and engaged other enemy soldiers who were dug in, in standing type foxholes and offered bitter resistance. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Sgt. Ploof remained exposed and fired on targets of opportunity until he was severely wounded in the abdomen by an enemy bullet. At this point, our heavy, well concentrated grenade, rifle, and mortar fire was so effective that the enemy was driven from its positions. The superior leadership, coolness under fire and firm determination of Sgt. Ploof were major factors in the successful completion of the platoon’s mission”
Sgt. Ploof left Burlington with Co. K in 1941 and had been in the South Pacific for 30 months. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in the New Georgia campaign.
WWII action of the 43rd Infantry Division: The 43d Infantry Division landed in New Zealand on 23 October 1942. The 172d Regiment arrived at Espiritu Santo, 26 October. The Division moved to Noumea, New Caledonia, in November and to Guadalcanal, 17 February 1943. Russell Islands were occupied without opposition, 21 February, and training continued. Elements landed on Vangunu and Rendova Islands against minor resistance, 30 June, but the enemy fought fiercely before relinquishing Munda and its airfield, 5 August. Vela Cela and Baanga were taken easily, but the Japanese resisted stubbornly on Arundel Island before withdrawing, 22 September. After training at Munda, the 43d moved to Guadalcanal and thence to New Zealand for rest and rehabilitation. On 19 July 1944, the Division assumed defensive positions at Aitape, engaged in patrols and reconnaissance at Tadji and along the Drinumor River, 25 July, and took the offensive, 8 August 1944, ending organized resistance on the 25th. On 9 January 1945, the 43d made an assault landing in the San Fabian area, Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. Under enemy fire, the Division secured the beachhead and fought into the Lingayen Plain by 12 February. Source: https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/cbtchron/cc/043id.htm
This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen's name and read his/her story.