Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
As you step out of the museum, you see the Memorial which was dedicated in 1960. You will see each of the state seals listed alphabetically on the columns.
You will next notice 450 names of the missing. By some of the names there are small brass rosettes. This signifies that since 1960 the soldier has been found and ID'd. In the ceiling you will see 13 gold stars representing the 13 colonies. Looking out in the plot area the first thing you notice is the Angel of Peace. Mr. Donald Ide of San Diego was the model. He visited here in the summer of 2000. By the end of the war the cemetery contained over 17,600 American dead. In addition as you look to the right side of the stone fence there were over 10.600 German dead as well as 191 British, Canadian and Polish dead. After repatriation there now rest 7.992 Americans.
Proceeding down the stairs to the left side, you come to B plot on your right side. The headstones are numbered by plot, row and headstone number. Go to B-16-2/3 and you see the Custer brothers the first of 38 sets of brothers in the cemetery.
As you look to the next row B-15-4 you see the gravesite of Ltc Thomas Reagan one of 3 chaplains in the cemetery. One hundred chaplains were killed in the war making their job the most statistically dangerous of all.
Continuing down the rows, you come to B-14-18/19/20 the gravesites of the Tester Brothers. This is the only cemetery to contain 3brothers side by side. One notices they are from different States. They are in fact from Jonesborough, Tennessee but the state on the headstones shows where the soldiers entered service. The first brother was killed in North Africa, the second on the German-Luxembourg border and the last in the Vosges Mountains in France.
A bit further to the left, one sees headstone B-15-26 Calvin Ellis. He typifies many of the First Infantry Division soldiers in the Cemetery of which there are 699. The Big Red One as it is known began the war in North Africa, landed in Sicily, Omaha Beach, Normandy, Mons, Belgium, took Aachen and then fought in the Hurtgen Forest (where Ellis was killed) and then the Battle of the Bulge. Ellis earned the Distinguished Service Cross at Omaha Beach. In addition he earned 3 Silver Stars, 1 Bronze Star and 4 Purple Hearts! There are 54 soldiers here who earned the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor.
Proceeding to the far right corner of the next plot we come to headstone D-2-60. You will notice it is for Six Comrades in Arms.
There are a total of 94 unknowns in the Cemetery.
From here, you walk back until you come to D-13-53 and you see the first of 3 Medal of Honor Recipients BG Frederick Castle. The headstone is different as it is all in gold engraving. You can read the citations of the MoH recipients in the visitors' room with the battle maps.
Moving back now to the center aisle and down to F-2-1, one sees the grave of William McKinney. He hails from Bay City Michigan and is of interest because his sister is on the Wall of the Missing in our cemetery in Tunisia. She was one of 18 Women Army Corps who left North Africa on an aircraft never heard from again.
As you go to F-6-28 you find the second MoH recipient Truman Kimbro.
If you continue all the way to the last row F-1664 you will find Richard Hughes the only soldier from E Co 506 Parachute Infantry - the famous Band of Brothers.
Proceeding now to the back plot you will see H-11-51 Leonard Hoffman the first American soldier killed in Holland on 12 Sept 44 for the liberation of Limburg Province.
Going back further, you will see H-15-37/38 the Hall brothers. You will notice Gilkey was killed 7 June with the Big Red One by Omaha Beach. He was moved here to be with his brother.
Proceeding now on the sidewalk past the flagpole you come to two Stars of David in the back row. These are the Unger/Ungar brothers. G-15-21/22 They immigrated to the USA from Hungary in 1922 as children and it seems they ended up with different spellings of their last name when they came through Ellis Island. This caused some pain for the Graves Registration people as they tried to figure out that they were in fact brothers.
Walking in from there to your right front, you come to G-8-34 William Nellis - fighter pilot and namesake of Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas. Directly behind him you see G-7-34 the grave of Robert Young, a black soldier murdered by the Waffen SS in the village of Wereth, Belgium along with 10 others during the Battle of the Bulge. 7 of the 11 are buried here.
Going from there to your right front, you come to G-3-46 Eric F. Wood. The headstone states 17 Dec 44 as the date of death but we have good reason to believe he waged guerilla warfare behind German lines and died on 22 Jan 45. He earned the DSC, Silver Star, Bronze Star and is the only American soldier in WW2 to be awarded the Belgian Order of Leopold in Gold - their equivalent to our Medal of Honor.
Walking straight ahead in E plot, you find E-14-42/44/48. You notice they all died on 16 Dec 44 and wonder did their ship go down that day and if so why are they so far inland? They died in fact along with 296 other Allied servicemen in the Rex Theater in Antwerp watching a movie when it was hit by a German V-2 rocket fired from Holland as one of the opening salvos of the battle of the Bulge.
If you proceed now back to the center walkway you come to E-15-3 Francis Clifford. He was the only soldier to die on11 Sept 44 in the liberation of the Berwinne Valley - the beautiful view one sees from the outlook at the top of the cemetery. For the locals 11 September is considered their libration day. From the look out one can also see the bell tower, of the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.
Going back up the sidewalk you come to C-13-3 the grave of Carl Genther - a medical officer who is believed to be the first to die when shot by a young Waffen SS soldier in what came to be known in the history of the Battle of the Bulge as the Malmedy Massacre. The SS murdered 86 unarmed US prisoners of war in cold blood at cross-roads in Baunez near Malmedy. Twenty-one of them are buried here in Henri-Chapelle.
To the left front of his grave, you see C-11-2 James Stewart another of the 11 Black soldiers from the Wereth massacre, which happened the same day not many miles away from Baugnez.
A bit further up you see C-6-4 the grave of Leroy Adams from the 2nd Ranger Battalion of Point du Hoc fame on 6 June at Normandy. There are 13 Rangers in the cemetery most of whom died 7/8 Dec 44 in the Hürtgen Forest taking Hill 400 which was the key terrain from which the Germans field artillery was controlled that caused so many casualties in the bloody fighting in the Siegfried Line fighting just to the east of here. Total US casualties in the fighting there from all causes, KIA, WIA, accidents, etc were 140.000. Compare this to the more famous Battle of the Bulge with 79.000 Almost 70% of the soldiers buried here are from that campaign.
Proceeding now to your right front, you come to A plot and in the last row we find A-1825 the gravesite of our third Medal of Honor Francis X. McGraw.
Moving back towards the Angel of Peace you will notice at A-10-6 John Frankish - one of two civilian war correspondents in the cemetery.
This completes your walk among our heroes.