by Harold (Diz) Kronenberg

This Website is dedicated to the servicemen and women from the Chippewa Valley, both living and dead, who contributed to the success of all campaigns that led to victory in World War II.

For the most part, these are simple stories of dedication, of devotion to duty, and of acceptance and discharge of an enormous responsibility--to bring to a conclusion the defeat of the enemy and victory over those who had thrust this war upon us.

All told, 9% (16 million) of the U.S. population served in the military forces during World War II. About 73% of these GIs served overseas, while the ratio of support to the actual combat troops was 10 to 1.

American forces suffered over 293,000 killed in action, 115,000 non-combat deaths, and 671,000 wounded. Besides the physical casualties, there were over 1,390,000 men who suffered from battle fatigue, also known as combat neurosis or combat exhaustion. The GIs often referred to it as "nervous in the service" or "fright burned." The Army Air Force personnel used the aphorism "flak happy."

Sixty-six per cent of all forces in the war were drafted as a result of the Selective Service Act of 1940. This act conscripted eligible males ages 18-37 "for the duration and six"--the end of the war plus six months. When more men were needed, the draft age was raised to 39.

Support for the war was universal. After all, Japan had attacked us, and Germany had declared war on us. Patriotism ran high in the Chippewa Valley and, like in all other wars, the Valley did more than its share. The articles in this book will tell the reader just a small part of the many contributions made by GIs from the Valley.

The colossal struggle known as World War II was actually the only war in history that was global in the full sense of the term. It is our greatest war; not the one that exacted the heaviest price, because that was the War Between the States.

The selections on this website range from personal narratives by fliers, infantrymen, seamen, servicewomen, the stories of civilians, and an occasional dispatch from a famous correspondent. Most of these stories are about Chippewa Valley men and women. A few articles were written by an army or navy chaplain--sometimes because the Chippewa Valley resident was unable to write. Some articles were written by a public relations officer or a friend of someone who didn't make it back. Most are taken "hot from the action" described.

The reader must make allowances for the fact that many of these stories are written in the present tense, just as though the operations in question are still going on. Our purpose is to present the stories in the form of a permanent anthology, so the voice and details of narratives have not been changed. That would only impair the freshness and fervor of the articles.

There are hundreds of participants featured on this website. They hail from every corner of the Chippewa Valley and a few from beyond. Their full stories and military history are never complete to me. The wide personal and historical interest of this volume is self-evident.

Diz Kronenberg