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WORLD WAR II

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“I don’t like it. It’s not right,” World War II veteran Vern Otterson said. “We were fighting against the Nazis. They were horrible. Why should anyone be running around selling Nazi stuff?”
Army Lt. Col. Hortense McKay, a Brainerd High School graduate, served as a nurse in a makeshift hospital in the Philippines during World War II starting in 1941 and returned to the Southeast Asian country a second time as a nurse following her evacuation from it.
The family of 2nd Lt. William J. McGowan was able to lay him to rest Saturday, 78 years after the 23-year-old pilot's plane was shot down on D-Day. His remains were recovered in France in 2018 and identified in 2019.
The remains of Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. William J. McGowan, a Benson native killed June 6, 1944, in France, will be buried in the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on Saturday.
Eighty years ago this month, the first of 6,000 soldiers came to the Twin Cities during World War II to be trained at a covert military intelligence language school. Most were Nisei, born in the United States to Japanese immigrant parents. They would later be shipped to the Pacific theater to intercept radio signal communications, translate captured battle plans, interrogate prisoners of war, and even crawl toward enemy lines to spy on Japanese commanders.
Letters and diary entries spell out the family impact of losing two of their three sons in just six months.

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For Memorial Day, an American military cemetery in Cambridge wants to honor the Americans (including North Dakotans and Minnesotans) who are buried there with photos beside their grave markers. Maybe you know one of these men.
Of the 64 men from the tank company that left Brainerd who went with the 194th to the Philippines, three were killed in action and 29 died as prisoners of war and 32 survived captivity, including Walt Straka, a lifelong Brainerd resident and last survivor of the Bataan Death March.
Minnesota 96-year-old Arnold "Buck" J. Zahratka told reporters that he was amazed by the commendation and reflected on his service in the U.S. Army during the pivotal battle.

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